Living, Laughing, Loving

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Dating/Chemistry 101 — January 18, 2017

Dating/Chemistry 101

Haven’t been on this good ole blog in AGES. I’m sure you’ve all been anxiously anticipating a new post 😉

Here’s some thoughts that have been keeping me up late at night.

WHAT IS CHEMISTRY?

You know when you meet someone and you just click? You feel chemistry or a spark between you two? My best friend and I would always ask “did you feel the sparkles” after we’d get home from a date. What does that even mean? What are you feeling? Try to describe what chemistry means out loud right now. It’s hard, I promise.

Or, how about this. How many times have you said after going on dates with someone “Eh, I don’t know. I’m just not really feeling it”. Again, what does that even mean? What are you “not feeling”?

The point I’m getting at is what in the world is chemistry? How do you define it? It’s honestly nearly impossible to describe what it is. Yet it’s something all us singles are looking for. How do you find something you can’t even define?

STORY TIME

This topic of chemistry came up in one of my classes months ago, and I’ve been thinking of it ever since.

My professor told us a story. After weeks of dating a girl, he said he still “wasn’t feeling it”, he didn’t feel like they had chemistry. But he also realized that, on paper, she was exactly what he wanted. If he was to write down the qualities he was looking for in a wife, she had them all. He decided to change his way of thinking, and continued dating her. “The spark”, or chemistry, eventually came, and they are now happily married with a cute little family. He married a woman who had all those qualities he was looking for, all because he changed his perspective.

“Instead of looking for chemistry, I started looking for a spouse, for an eternal companion”. 

HOW DO WE DO THIS

In order to implement this way of thinking, to look for the person we will spend eternity with instead of  searching for some intangible feeling we call chemistry, we need to change the way we look at dating.

Maybe instead of asking “did you feel the sparkles”, we ask questions like:

Is he kind?

Is he honest, obedient, hard working?

Is she patient, forgiving, nurturing and righteous?

What is their character like?

Will he/she help me to be my best self?

These are going to be the kind of things that are really going to matter 20, 30, 50 years from now.

Let me clarify that I am not saying that chemistry isn’t important. Chemistry is definitely needed in our relationship with our spouse. However, I don’t think it’s something we need to look for very first off when we’re dating someone. There are more important things, like their character and conscious. Once we find the kind of person we are looking for, then we can delve into the chemistry searching. And we learn from the story, that when we find the kind of person we are looking for,  the chemistry can follow.

I’m obviously no expert, but lately I’ve been trying to figure this out. Dating is messy and sometimes complicated, but this new perspective gives me hope. Hope that I can sort through all my feelings and that I’ll find the kind of man I’m looking for. Hope it does the same for you 🙂

 

Stop looking for chemistry, and start looking for an eternal companion. 

 

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For the Moms — December 3, 2015

For the Moms

Motherhood is precious. It is divine.

A survey taken in the US found that only 48% of mothers feel appreciated most of the time, and that almost 20% felt less valued by society (M.F. Erickson & Aird, 2005).

That means that more than half of the moms in this country feel under-appreciated. This breaks my heart! So mommas, this one is for you.

Moms, listen hear. I am not a mom, but I have a mom, I watch moms like a creep, and I can’t wait to be a mom one day. I can’t wait to rock that little one to sleep, send them to school, watch their football games and dance recitals. There is nothing I’ve wanted more ever since I can remember than to be a mom.

That said, I know it isn’t all snuggles and laughs. It’s dirty diapers, long nights, heartaches, tests of patience, and so much more. Being a mother is not an easy task. It’s hard, and exhausting I am sure.

I will never forget the day my best friend had her first baby. I can’t even put it into words, but she changed when she became a mom. She had the “mom glow”, we called it. Her whole world revolved around that baby boy. All the kind, nurturing, loving qualities she already possessed were magnified. Moms are seriously so incredible. There is something so selfless, so pure about a mothers love.

Ladies, you are so needed. That little one crying, he needs you. The toddler climbing around you, he needs you. The six year old with the skinned knee, he needs ya . Even the teenage girl who acts like she doesn’t, she needs you too.

That nurturing, loving, care you give is a divine gift from the Father to you. He has given us as women certain qualities and characteristics to help us raise our children. Mothers become partners with God in raising His children. We can always go to Him for help, they are His kids too.

“Motherhood is near to divinity. It is the highest, holiest service to be assumed by mankind. It places her who honors its holy calling and service next to angels.” J Reuben Clark JR.

Because your role is so important and essential in the lives of your family, 3210Satan will do everything in his power to tell you otherwise. He will tell you what you’re doing isn’t important, making you believe that motherhood isn’t enough in society. He might make you think that you aren’t doing enough, that you aren’t measuring up to other moms, or that you have failed at some motherly duties. He will ask you to trade those pure, delicate traits for harsh, coarse ones.

I can testify that what you are doing IS important. Those little ones (and even those 22 year old ones) need all that you are. You are involved in the most important work on earth. As you build a home of peace and love, you are contributing more to society than you could any other way.

I hope you know how loved you are not only by those little ones (or big ones), but also by the One who’s little ones they are. He knows your name. He knows your struggles, the daily ones, and the ones that seem to never end. He knows all you are capable of and has sent you special spirits to help Him take care of and to help you become more like Him.

“The work of a mother is hard, too often unheralded work. Please know that it is worth it then, now, and forever.” Elder Jeffery R. Holland.

Motherhood is precious. It is divine.

Emotional Fidelity in Marriage — November 28, 2015

Emotional Fidelity in Marriage

I have heard so many saddening stories of couples, even a growing amount of young, newly-married couples, who have faced infidelity in their marriages.

Whenever I hear that someone has been unfaithful, I would normally think that they had inappropriate (usually sexual) relations with someone other than their spouse. This isn’t always the case. There is more aspects to infidelity than what we usually consider as cheating.

What about that husband who spends an unnecessary amount of time with his coworker and starts to invest more in that friendship than his own marriage?

Or the wife who looks forward to seeing her ex-boyfriend  on campus and anticipates her route so she can run into him?

Or the spouse who is constantly texting/Facebook messaging an old friend from high school, going to them for support and comfort instead of their spouse?

There might not be any secret meet ups, sexual affairs, or physical actions taking place, but is this still wrong?

An emotional affair is when someone’s thoughts and emotions are focused on someone other than one’s spouse. Emotional affairs weaken marital trust. They hurt.

Having friends of the opposite sex is not the issue, we can have friends. It is when we let our thoughts and hearts dwell on this other person and when we put more energy and emotion into that relationship than our marriage, that it becomes a problem.

The Lord has commanded us to “cleave unto [our spouse] and none else” (D&C 42:22). This means that not only do we keep our actions faithful, but we keep our minds and hearts faithful as well.

Emotional affairs usually start out harmlessly, but over time can build into something destructive.

What can we do?

If you’re married:

  • Avoid altogether being alone with someone of the opposite sex
  • Talk together of boundaries- what’s okay and what isn’t. (Facebook, Work, Church, Etc.)
  • Always be open and honest with your spouse about conversations, interacitons with any member of the opposite sex (never do or say something you wouldn’t want to tell your spouse).
  • Keep your marriage your #1 priority and relationship.

If you’re not married:

  • Practice now being loyal
  • Be respectful of married friends and keep relationships appropriate. “Abstain from all appearance of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22).
  • Gain your own understanding of the importance and sanctity of marriage.

 

Our marriages are sacred and special. We should do all we can to protect it. Some might think we’re silly or extreme, but when something is so precious, we need to treat it as such. We shouldn’t be carefree, or expose it to the elements. We must shield and defend it always.

Pride and Penelope — November 7, 2015

Pride and Penelope

“Oh, you lost 15lbs? Well I lost 20.”

Have you ever seen the “one-upper” skit from Saturday Night Live? Penelope twists her hair and always has to outdo others. She has to win literally EVERYTHING. In any conversation, no one else can be more accomplished than her. Watch this clip (it’s funny I promise): tumblr_ldnltlQXEN1qzi615o1_1280

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sX9xNn2f1Go

Penelope is a comical example of a serious sin: pride.

Pride is usually easier for us to see in others, but harder to admit in ourselves. I used to think pride was just thinking highly of yourself, which it is, but pride is more than just an over-confidence.

Pride is competitive, unforgiving, and faultfinding. It is backbiting, jealous, and selfish.

In President Benson’s talk, he defines pride as enmity towards God or our fellow men. Enmity means “hatred toward, hostility to, or the state of opposition to” (Ezra T. Benson, April 1989 General Conference).. So, we are being prideful when we put anything above God or our fellowmen. When we withhold gratitude to our Father, or to others, we are being prideful.

34810_000_006_01-pride

Pride is not just selfish and contentious acts; pride is an attitude. It is an attitude of  “me, me, me.” “How does this affect me?” “How could they do something like that to me?” Pride is turning in instead of out.being_selfish

Benson says “Pride affects our relationships. Christ wants to lift us to where He is, do we desire the same for others?”

Humility is the opposite of pride. It is a characteristic of Christ we have been invited and asked to develop.

Humility is not a weakness, but it is a strength. As we realize our never-ending need for the Lord, we are able to receive His divine grace. We are able to change, progress, and grow. It has been said that humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking less ABOUT yourself.

People who are humble see their need for the Lord. They reach up and out, looking to the Lord first and then to others around them for opportunities to serve.

download“Life is about Lives”- I have a whole other blog post about this. It’s my life motto. It means that life is all about serving, building, and loving others. Think about it. The happiest days of your life, you were probably surrounded by those you love most.

I am far from perfect, and I have way more bad days then I probably should. But, when I look back on those “rough” days, 9 times out of 10 it is usually selfish reasons. I woke up late and couldn’t fix my hair, I have a 12 page paper due, homeboy doesn’t love me back, or text me back for that matter. Whatever it is- it’s normally a pretty silly and self-absorbed reason.

Humility and happiness comes from thinking of God, Jesus Christ, and other people. When we are focused on ourselves, our joy ISN’T full. When our focus is out and on others, life starts to have more meaning and something happens inside of us. We are happier. That’s what life’s about. Life’s about lives.

We can overcome pride. We all struggle with pride in some way or another. It is part of the natural-man inside us. For me, it’s a daily battle, but through Christ’s Atonement, it is possible. We can change our prideful ways and thoughts little by little.

ether12

Turning in or Turning Out? A Small Principle from Ballet Class that Makes a Big Difference in Relationships — October 30, 2015

Turning in or Turning Out? A Small Principle from Ballet Class that Makes a Big Difference in Relationships

D&C 64:33 – “Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.”

If you come to any of my ballet classes, I can cliparti1_ballet-clipart_09almost guarantee you will hear me call out “TURN OUT!” several times. Turning out has to do with your hip rotation, and how your legs are set. It seems like just one small thing, but it changes everything else, the entire look of a ballerina.

Simply “turning in” in ballet is bad, it looks gross and throws the entire product off. However, “turning in” in a relationship is one small and simple, but vital pattern.

“Turning towards each other” is Dr. Gottman’s third marriage principle in his book Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. He describes how spouses make “bids” for each other’s attention and affection, and we either turn toward those bids or away. He says that turning towards each other in a marriage is the “basis of emotional connection, romance, and passion.”

Examine the two different scenarios.

Scenario One:

Jim walks in from work.

Sally: How was your day?

Jim: Work was awful today. My boss called me out in a meeting, right in front of everyone, on part of the project that wasn’t even mine. (Bid for support, affection)

Sally: You always take the role of victim with your boss. (Criticizing) I’m sure he was valid in his concern over what was wrong. He wouldn’t just make that up. (Taking bosses side)

Jim: Sal, it was in front of everyone. And it was Fred’s job on the project, not mine. My Boss even threatened to fire me, and wouldn’t hear me out when I tried to tell him that I had a different assignment on this project. (Another bid for support and understanding)

Sally: Here you go again, trying to blame someone else for your mistakes. I wish you’d take more ownership for what you do wrong. (More criticism, not striving to understand)

Scenerio Two:

Jim walks in from work.

Sally: How was your day?

Jim: Work was awful today. My boss called me out in a meeting, right in front of everyone, on part of the project that wasn’t even mine. (Bid for support, affection)

Sally: Oh babe, what did he say? (Showing genuine interest) In front of everyone?! That’s ridiculous. (Taking spouse’s side and communicating understanding)

Jim: He talked about the new complex we just built. Said the tile and wood flooring was a joke. “Looks like someone just slabbed it together”. I didn’t even do the flooring on this complex! That was Fred. I was in charge of counters and cabinets. I tried to explain that to him, but he wouldn’t listen. He even threatened to fire me!

Sally: Are you kidding me? I can understand why you feel so mad. (Validating emotions) Here, we are going to make a plan to explain what’s going on to your boss. (“We against others” attitude)

alma-37-memeThe above scenario is such a simple example, because turning towards each other is such a simple thing. We turn towards someone when we show honest interest in what they share with us and communicate our own understanding of what they’ve shared. We take their “bids” and run with them. It shows that we care about them, and about what they are saying to us. We show love by expressing that the things important to them are also important to us.

Turning in is so simple. Here’s some ideas from Gottman:

  • Make a list and go grocery shopping together.
  • Do the dishes together
  • Eat breakfast together during the week
  • Play a board game together after the kids go to bed
  • Attend a sporting event
  • ***Reunite at the end of the day and talk about how it went. (He says this is the most effective way to build your “emotional bank account” and gives a whole section on it.)1d615ccca8cbca3d8a600d7632f47e9c

Gottman says that the secret to romance is not a candlelit dinner at a beach getaway, the secret to romance is “turning to each other in little ways every day.” Responding to bids of attention and love is what keeps us emotionally connected; it nurtures that friendship and love for each other.  It helps us feel like we matter, someone supports and understands us and we are being heard.

This can apply to the strengthening of any relationship, not only marriage. When you take the time to turn in, and really show that you care and value someone, the relationship will grow and be stronger.

Just like in ballet, “turning in” is such a small thing, but turning in to our spouse, friend, etc. can make a world of difference in our relationships.

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Love Lessons Learned From Grandpa and Grandpa — October 25, 2015

Love Lessons Learned From Grandpa and Grandpa

This week, the topic for class was “Cherishing Your Spouse.” When I first saw that, I instantly thought of my grandparents.

GPA

Grandpa and Grandma are my #relationshipgoals (the new and hip way of saying my grandparent’s marriage is my heroic example of what I would someday treasure to have; the role-model couple.)

These two ,especially Grandpa, LIGHT UP when you ask them the story of how they met. Literally Grandpa tells it all the time, any open window of conversation.

So the story goes: Grandma was on a date at the skating rink with another guy. Grandpa saw her and points her out to his buddy. The friend says “Dang it O’dell! I’ve been trying to set you up with her for weeks!” Embarrassed he hadn’t taken the offer before, Grandpa responds, “Well if I would’ve known it was her I would’ve been all in.”

Grandpa (stubborn as ever and always determined to get what he wants) butts his way in on his ice skates and asks grandma on out a date… right then and there while she’s on a date. Talk about courage and confidence. Go Gramps!skaters

“That poor guy I was skating with. He didn’t have a fighting chance.” Grandma says giggling, “the rest is history.”

This story alone is just one small reason I love these two. (P.S. you have to hear them tell it. It’s precious.) The way they love and care for each other is unbelievable. Grandpa is just as crazy about her as he was when he first saw her at the skating rink almost 60 years ago. I wish I could put into words the way he adores her.

Best friends. That’s what they are. They joke around and poke fun at each other all the time. Grandma loves teasing Grandpa, and he gives it right back. He knows what she orders at any restaurant, knows when to let her be because she’s not feeling well, and she knows how to deal with his stubborn ways.

He is so incredibly patient with her as she is constantly retelling stories, forgetting where she put things, or asking the same question 15 times in five minutes. He comes home from work at least once a day to check on “his Eva”, who is struggling with dementia. He adores her, and takes such good care of her.

In the reading this week, we learned about sacrifice, enhancing your “love maps”, and nurturing fondness and admiration for your spouse.

Obedience and Sacrifice: These two love the gospel of Jesus Christ. They take every opportunity they can to teach and testify. They live it every day as they show what Christ-like love and service means. Grandpa would give up anything for Grandma, and she would do the same for him. For example, she makes the Utah Jazz her love, because she knows he loves it so much, even if she’d rather be doing something else then watching a b-ball game. He takes time to help her with everyday tasks she can no longer do without complaining.

love+maps

Love Maps: According to Dr. Gottman’s The Seven Principles of Making Marriage Work, your “love map” is the part of your brain where you store information about your spouse. Things in your love map would be their background, likes, dislikes, hopes and dreams, fears, etc. Like I said before, these two are such an example of really knowing each other. They know each other’s moods and quirks. The backgrounds of each other, and how those affect each other are something they know. Grandma knows just what to say to him to lighten the mood (she is the repair attempt queen). Because they know each other so well, they are able to make things work. They know what is important to each other so that also helps them to know what sacrifices to make, and how to show each other love and admiration.

Nurturing Fondness and Admiration: Also in Dr. Gottman’s book, he discusses how important it is to really enjoy the company of your spouse, and to nurture that admiration and love for them.  Grandma and Grandpa are always together. Like I said, he will leave work to come home and see her. If he’s at work, she’s talking about him non-stop. They love being with each other. Dr Gottman says that the way a couple reflects back on their relationship says a lot about their marriage. Seeing as how my grandparents delight in talking about their early days of dating and marriage, it’s no surprise their marriage is a happy one. Gottman talks about the importance of believing your spouse is worthy of honor and respect. The way that Grandpa talks about Grandma, saying that the two of them meeting and their marriage is a “miracle” is one example of how sacred and honorable he (and she) hold each other.oldpeople

I have learned so much from these readings, and so much from watching the example of my grandparents. The way they talk to (and about) each other and the way they serve each other gives me a high goal of what I hope to someday have, be, and marry.

Cherishing your spouse is about loving them with Christ-like love. It’s loving with all your hear when you’re in your first years, struggling financially, and facing trials together- and even when your old, sick and forgetful. You willingly make sacrifices for your marriage. You continue to build your relationship with actions of love and kindness. You serve and lift each other. You make their needs your priority.

The Foundation of a Happy, Successful Marriage — October 18, 2015

The Foundation of a Happy, Successful Marriage

I remember sitting in my church young women’s group about ten years ago (12-year-old me), feeling as hopeful and anxious as can be while my leader talked about marriage.

Since I was a little girl (like most little girls) I have dreamed of that day. What would my dress look like? How would I do my hair? What would the mysterious “he” be like? I chose then that I would be married in a Mormon temple, and that because of that, my marriage widaho-falls-idaho-808x480-0001581sould last throughout the eternities. Today, I still don’t know what my dress will look like, how I’ll fix my hair, who mystery man is (if you have any leads, let me know), but I do know I will marry in a house of the Lord.

Back then, I thought that because I was getting married in such a beautiful place, making such special promises to the Lord and to my future husband that life would be a “happily ever after” fairy-tale after that. Since then, I have had a reality check, don’t worry.

NEWSFLASH- Just because you get married in a holy temple to a person who you love dearly does not mean life is going to be 100% blissful.

Marriage was never intended to be that way. It is a way for us to grow in love and light.

So if it isn’t easy, how do we ensure we have a happy, successful, healthy, enduring marriage?
Helaman 5.12 Helaman 5:12 in the Book of Mormon tells us that if we build upon a foundation of Christ, we cannot fall. This is the same thing in our marriages. If our marriage is built upon the Lord, it will not fall. These steps help us not to just build a happy marriage, but also to become more like Christ which is ultimately the answer to a happy, successful marriage.

Here are 6 steps from my textbook ( Successful Marriages & Families:Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives by “A.” Hawkins,”D.”Dollahite,”&”T.”Draperthat may help us out:

  1. Personal Commitment to the Marriage Covenant. You realize that your marriage is not a contract- “if you do your part, I’ll do mine”. You give 100% of yourself to the marriage. You see it as an opportunity to serve and love and give, not to get. Your heart is in it. You realize that your marriage covenant is with the Lord, and as you grow closer to Him (to becoming like Him) you grow closer to each other.
  2. Love and Friendship. In chapter one of Dr. Gottman’s book “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work”, he makes a point that friendship (respect for each other, simply loving to be together, etc.) is a determining factor of marriages that will be long lasting and happy.

We can increase our love and friendship by:

  • Responding to each other’s bids for attention, humor, support, etc.
  • Enjoying everyday activities together (dishes, phone calls on work break)
  • Friendly, stress-reducing chats
  • Serving the spouse in a way they love and need
  1. Positive Interaction. In a nine year study, researchers found that positive emotions and interactions were the ONLY predictor of marital stability. In marriages that worked, the ratio of positive to negative comments was 5 to 1. In marriages that were ending, the ratio was 0.8 to 1.                                                                                                           So, how are our interactions with our spouses and those we love? Are we kind and helpful, or contemptuous and critical?
  1. Accepting Influence from a Spouse. Elder Nelson said “Husbands and wives, learn to listen, and listen to learn from one another.” I am not yet married, but I feel like this principle is the one I want to work on and practice most in my relationships. Accepting influence from others requires humility and a willingness to change and improve. It shows that we care about the other person- their thoughts, opinions, and feelings.

We can learn to accept the influence of our spouse by:

  • Turning to them for advice
  • Being open to their ideas
  • Listening to and considering their opionns
  • Learning from them
  • Showing trust
  • Recognizing points of agreement, showing respect on disagreements
  1. Respectfully Handling Differences and Solving Problems. We learn in the scriptures that their “must be opposition in all things”. Conflict is not necessarily a bad thing. How we handle conflict is more important.

Here are some ideas for handling differences:

  • Prevention- Drop it. Let go of things that aren’t a big deal.
  • Couple Councils- Pillow Talk. Apologizing. (Read Counseling with our Councils by M. Russell Ballard)
  • Eliminate destructive patterns
  • Be calm!
  1. Continue Courting. Dating isn’t just for those of us who are married. After your married, you still have things to learn about each other and love to fall deeper into. That happens by still spending time with each other. I have seen the wonderful impact that “dating” has had on my own parents, and on many other couples I know.
Commitment: A word missing from the English Language Lately (Covenants vs. Contracts) — October 11, 2015

Commitment: A word missing from the English Language Lately (Covenants vs. Contracts)

Commitment:

  • The state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc. (google)
  • A promise; to be loyal to someone or something (Merriam-Webster)
  • Willingness to give your time and energy to something you believe in (Cambridge Dictionary)

To me, commitment is a devotion that doesn’t just last for a minute, or when things are all sunshine and rainbows. Commitment is a forever promise.

pinky-promise-close-up

I remember being a little 12 year old in my little church young women’s group learning all about the temple, a place where we make covenants (or binding promises) with God. I was in complete awe as my leaders taught me how a marriage there would last forever. It was like a real life fairy tale with a happily ever after, a happily FOREVER after. I wanted that.  I made that one idaho-falls-idaho-808x480-0001581sof biggest goals.

As I’ve grown older, that is still my goal. I have had the opportunity to attend marriages in the temple, and they are experiences that will forever be near and dear to me. Marriages performed in the temple under heavenly authority do not use the words “till death do you part”. As those who marry there keep their promises, they are promised to be with their spouse and family forever. https://www.mormon.org/faq/topic/temples

THERE IS NOTHING I WANT MORE THAN TO BE WITH THE MAN I LOVE FOR ALL ETERNITY .

How does that work? How can I have a forever marriage?

Christ, our ultimate example, teaches us a beautiful lesson on how we should commit in John 10, using a flock of sheep.

Think of the littleshepherd-sheep-12 flock of sheep. Following their leader, they are happy and “baa”-ing away until the big wolf comes.

First, we learn about the “hireling”. He does not claim the sheep to be his. He is not attached to them; so, when he sees the wolf coming, he bails, runs off, leaving the sheep to fend for themselves. He “careth not for the sheep”. (John 10:12&13)

Contrast this attitude with that of the Savior, or the Good Shephard. He would lay down His life for those sheep. He knows them, they are His, and he cares for and loves them. (John 10:14&15)

In his article entitled “Covenant Marriage” Bruce C. Hafen explains the difference between a contract marriage and a covenant marriage.

https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1996/10/covenant-marriage?lang=eng

Contract Marriage Covenant Marriage
Bails when things get hard Works through troubles
Marries for their own gain Marries to give and to grow
Only stays if receiving personal benefits Makes sacrifices for spouse/relationship
Gives 50% to the marriage Gives 100% to the marriage

Those who view marriage as a contract run away when things get hard (like a hireling running from the wolf)- looking for happiness elsewhere. They marry to satisfy their own wants and desires, and if those aren’t being met, they aren’t likely to stick around. They give 50% of themselves to this marriage, expecting the other spouse to pick up the other 50%.

When we see marriage as a covenant, we work through difficulties. We don’t ditch and run when the wolves come. People who understand that marriage is a covenant marry to give and to grow. They look for ways to serve and sacrifice for their spouse, and ways they might improve to help the relationship. They give 100%.

“Covenant marriage requires a total leap of faith: they must keep their covenants without knowing what risks that may require of them. They must surrender unconditionally, obeying God and sacrificing for each other.” (Bruce C. Hafen, “Covenant Marriage,” Ensign, Nov 1996, 26)   

The word atonement describes how we are to be ‘at one’ and reconciled to God (LDS Bible Dictionary). The Savior’s Atonement is the only thing that makes it possible for us to actually become one with our Father. Likewise, it is the only thing that can make us ‘one flesh’ (Genesis 2:24) with our spouse.

Comittment

Having a covenant marriage is following Christ’s example. It means that we love our spouse enough to make sacrifices for them. We are willing to do anything for our marriage. We use His grace to change and better ourselves and our marriage. We know that our marriage can be eternal through sacred covenants made in temples, and we give our whole hearts and our whole selves to that. We don’t run away when the wolves come. We don’t marry for our own personal gain. We marry to “gain and grow”, to serve and sacrifice, with the hope and faith that we will be with our spouse for all eternity.

A covenant marriage partner is selfless. They turn “I” and “me” into ‘us’ and “we”.

Protecting & Preserving What is Most Precious- Our Families — September 26, 2015

Protecting & Preserving What is Most Precious- Our Families

Spencer W. Kimball taught us …only those who believe deeply and actively in the family will be able to preserve their families in the midst of the gathering evil around us.

Did you hear that? Only those who believe DEEPLY and ACTIVELY in the family will be able to save the family. We must feel it deep in our hearts and be proactive in the way we protect our family from the evils of the world.

It is no secret (at all) that Satan is attacking the family unit. We can see it everywhere. Here are some stats that might make your heart weep.

According to “The State of Our Unions” published by the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia and the Center for Marriage and Families:

  • Between 40% and 50% of first marriages end in divorce
  • In 1980, 13% of kids coming from mothers who were moderately educated were born outside marriage. In the late 2000s that jumped to 44%
  • Between 1960 and 2011, the number of people cohabitating increased sevenfold. From about 0.5 million people to about 7.6 million.

Why does it matter that the traditional nature of family is falling apart? Trust me, it does.

Divorce and the breaking of families have a heavy impact on the entire family. Not only does it cause heartache and pain to the spouses, but the children are impacted as well, usually an impact that will last a lifetime.

Dr. Paul R. Amato listed several studies showing the impact the change on the formation of the family has on children:

  • Children with divorced parents (on average, compared to children living with both biological parents) measure to have lower academic achievements, more conduct/behavioral issues, lower physiological well-being, and lower self-esteem.
  • Children who live in a home with cohabiting parents have more behavioral and emotional problems and lower level of school engagement than children living with married parents.
  • ¼ of cohabitating parents don’t live together anymore after a year of child’s birth. 31% break up after 5 years, leaving the children with dissolution about relationships and commitment.

Families aLet Him leadre ordained of God, and are meant to be a forever thing. The changing and breaking of the family unit has such a heavy impact on the family members because it was never meant to be broken.

I understand that all families are different, that sometimes a marriage dies, and divorce is necessary.  (for more on that read
https://www.lds.org/ensign/2007/05/divorce?lang=eng
).

On the same hand, I know that when we are both committed to the Lord and to our spouse and to our family, we can see miracles change and heal our marriages and our family.

I have seen the miraculous healing power of the Atonement save a marriage that some would consider unsalvageable. I know it can happen when we humble ourselves and let Christ in.

The Lord wants it to be forever, so if we put in the effort, He will provide the miracles.

So how do we protect our families and our marriages from all this nasty?

James E. Faust said that the cure for the decaying family life is for men, women, and children to honor and respect the roles of fathers and mothers in the home. In so doing, mutual respect and appreciation divine will be fostered.

So, there we go. As we honor and respect our roles and the roles of others in our family that we learn from Family Proclamation (nurturing mothers; presiding, providing, and protecting fathers), we will become more united. As we serve and sacrifice for our family and realize the sacrifices other family members are making for our family, we will realize that we’re all on the same team, reaching for that same goal. Because living this way is keeping our covenants, there will be a powerful bonding in our families and in our marriages. Again, when we put in the effort (both husband and wife together), the Lord will provide the miracles. No one wants more for our families to be forever united than He does.

Treat it differently

References

Spencer W. Kimball, Ensign, Nov. 1980, 4.

The State of Our Unions: Marriage in America 2012; The National Marriage Project.

Amato, P. (Fall, 2005). The impact of family formation change on the cognitive, social, and emotional well-being of the next generation. The Future of Children, 15(2), 75-96.

Oaks, D.H. (May 2007). Divorce. Ensign.

Elder Faust; “Father, Come Home,” Ensign, May 1993, 35

Let’s be Real: A Lesson in Effective Communication (Trust Me You Want to Read This) — August 28, 2015

Let’s be Real: A Lesson in Effective Communication (Trust Me You Want to Read This)

Is this You?

  • Are you one of those people that has a hard time saying no? Me too. We’re twins.
  • Do you find yourself saying”it’s fine, don’t worry about it”, after someone has hurt or wronged you? Me too. We’re twins.
  • Do thoughts of ‘the one that got away’ keep you up at night worried because you didn’t say how you really felt? Me too. We’re twins.
  • Is there someone close to you that you have yet to bring up an issue with because you don’t want to offend them or make them feel uncomfortable? Me too. We’re twins.

People-Pleaser Syndrome

Honesty, openness, sincerity, boldness, and authenticity have been the topics running through my mind these days.

Like most humans, letting people down is the last thing I want to do- and so is being vulnerable and open with my feelings… It’s a phobia. In consequence of these two fears, I sometimes have a hard time standing up for myself or telling people how I really feel. I think I have people-pleaser syndrome. Can anyone relate?

Here’s the Solution

Caitlin taught me an awesome lesson one day. She could tell I was one of those girls who was afraid to “rock the boat”, and she decided to help a sister out. She told me about the concept of content communication- saying what you mean and meaning what you say.

So, if Caitlin was to tell me “Look at this sandwich I made! Do you want one?” I would respond in a way that was saying what I meant and meaning what I said. I wouldn’t say “sure!” and  proceed to suck it up and eat the sandwich, hating every ingredient in between those two bread slices. Instead, I’d be real. I would say “Girl, I’m so glad you’re loving your sandwich, but I actually don’t like avocado, or mustard, or pickles, or bologna. Thanks though!”

I get it. Sandwiches are kind of an elementary example, but I hope you get the point of content communication. Basically, it means being real, honest, and clear.

Sandwich311

Here’s another example. We’ll use dating because we all love those. Let’s go:

So, you’ve been hanging out (hopefully going on real dates… hint hint ;)) with homeboy (or homegirl) for a month or so. You’re totally falling hard, but don’t know where he is at. What’s a girl to do? You make small hints at the desire for a DTR (Determine the Relationship chat), but he just isn’t getting it. Don’t freak out, but girl (or boy), SAY SOMETHING.

Again, I get it. You don’t want to be the weird one. “Where are you at?” “What are we?” “Do you like me or what?” “Do you see yourself marrying me?” “WILL YOU BE MY BOYFRIEND ALREADY?!” So, don’t be weird. Just be BOLD, be REAL, and be SINCERE.

I know, I know, it is petrifying to open yourself up, especially with the chance of getting shut down. And I am totally being hypocritical right now, but I want to be better. So, let’s help each other out, okay? (support group for the win! :))

Boldness doesn’t mean shouting out your deepest feelings from a tree outside someone’s window.

BOLDNESS IS PLAINNESS.

When you are bold, you say what is in your heart and on your mind. You give people a clear explanation of where you are and how you feel. You leave them without question on where you stand.

Boldness doesn’t mean being rude, or blunt. It is being real, authentic, genuine and true.

authentic

Join the Movement

Vulnerability and authenticity are something to apply to every relationship. With anyone. Content communication will improve all your relationships- coworkers, friends, children, and a spouse. When you are open and honest, it allows others to be open and will strengthen your trust in each other.

When you have a belief/opinion on an issue, when someone does something that hurts or offends you, when you need help, or when someone wants you to do something that you can’t, say something. You can kindly say what you mean and mean what you say. You can be BOLD, be REAL, and be SINCERE.

So, I’m going to try harder to say what I mean and mean what I say. I feel like communicating this way will lead to deeper and truer relationships, less regrets, and more confidence. Who’s with me?