Thursday, March 28, 2013

Chapter 19

Hello there again,

    Let’s talk about the wonderful gift and opportunity that prayer can afford every facet of our life. Specifically how it can bless our familial and spousal relationships. This discussion will be based off of chapter 19 which is entitled “Sanctification and Cooperation: How prayer Helps Strengthen Relationships in Good Times and Heal Relationships in Bad Times”

    Prayer is a magnificent blessing, we are given the ability to speak to our loving Heavenly Father and He eagerly responds and answers our pleas. Though the answers are not always visible or immediate they always come, we just need to learn how to better look for and recognize them.

The quote I like from the chapter comes from page 197:

     “Prayer is the means by which individuals may invite God to play an active role in their relationship. Including God in a relationship as one of the “threefold cords” through praying for one’s partner should imbue the relationship with perceived sacredness. As individuals pray specifically for the well-being of their partner, they come to perceive their relationship with this person as being holy and sacred (Fincham et al., 2010).”

    I think this quote points to the fact that the effects of prayer reach so far into our destiny and future that is before us, that we can hardly fathom the good it can do for us and our dear loved ones.

    As I was courting my now husband, there were many difficult aspects that I was not sure of in regards to our relationship, yet I knew I loved my boyfriend. I poured my heart and soul in my closet while on my knees to my loving Father in Heaven. Though the trying moments lasted for months, praying gave me strength and insights that cemented my love and desire to see our relationship blossom into marriage.  I know that as we give God all we have and as we express to Him our deepest and most sincere concerns He willingly will help us improve the situations we are in. My Dad always likes to say that saying “God helps them who help themselves” and I believe that is true too, if we want to improve our relationship with our spouse or another loved one, what good would praying for that to happen if we are not willing to change something that we are doing that may be causing some of the issues we wish were resolved?

    I once heard someone say that we should not treat God like He is our butler. I had to think about that for a moment, and then it really made sense, you only ever call on a butler (if for some reason you actually had the luxury of having one) when you want or need something. Most people who have a wait staff don’t summon them just to thank them for all that they are doing to make their life better. We need to treat God as our Father and treat Him more as an invested partner in our plans for righteous success and less as our butler who comes to our rescue at our every whim.

    One aspect of the quote I really respect and agree with is the word the author uses, ‘specifically’; I know from personal experience that if you want to see the answers to prayers more vividly you need to pray specifically, because as you pray with specificity you are more aware of what you are hoping for and thus when it happens or the answer comes your mind and heart are in a place to better recognize what God has done for you.

    So you’re thinking, that is lovely, Julee, but what does that have to do with relationships exactly? Well everything, when you pray about someone you love and how you can help to better that relationship or simply when you pray for their needs, the answers that come are more visible and in my opinion turn your heart closer to God and that person.

    I know that God loves us and He desires for our joy, so He has given us relationships to nourish, and as we nourish them or try to revitalize them, He will be there to answer our prayers and to make our efforts consecrated so we can find great joy.

    Instead of answering a question for me this time, please consider a relationship you need or would like to see improved, think about what the issue(s) at the core are, and then pray, and see what your loving Father will do to help you grow closer to the ones you love.  

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Chapter 4

Hello my dear friends,

Today the topic comes from chapter 4.

(If you are new please scroll down and read the beginning posts to see where I am coming from)

We will be focusing on equality in marriage. Our generation from the 1940’s or so until now has been given the most freedom in this realm. First of all what is equality in marriage? I think it means that there is not a ruler and a subordinate in the marriage but it is more like a team of two. After all when you are married who else is better suited to be on your “team”? There are so many facets to this topic, I hope to cover a few, in meaningful ways.

I am of the opinion that marriage was never meant to be a sorrow factory, that the ideal role marriage played in the life of those who engaged in it, was to offer security, love, warmth, opportunity, friendship, and many other valuable and needed aspects of successful human life.

Here is the quote that I like a lot from chapter 4 (the title of the chapter is Equal Partnership between Men and Women in Families)

                “The Lord did not people the earth with a vibrant orchestra of personalities only to value the piccolos of the world. Every instrument is precious and adds to the complex beauty of the symphony.”       - quoted from Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin

I love the imagery this quote summons up. If you really think about it, would you ever go to a symphony expecting it to be only French Horns? Even if it were all French Horn players, the notes they often play only appear from time to time and there would be a remarkable and confusing void in between.

Similarly as humans we can fill the void created by others weakness or they can help us with ours.
So what does this have to do with marital equality? Everything! One spouse can not dominate and expect beautiful music to flow in their life.

Marriage by nature allows room for the other’s weakness to be strengthened by the talents and abilities of the other. However when two people get married that have very similar weaknesses that can lead to their demise. So it is important to remember that as you select a mate, or begin to see that in your own marriage.

I love that my husband is wonderful with music, that he is smart, kind, and witty. I have strengths that help him progress, and his strengths help me. Though we are not perfect it is about doing your best to progress at a rate the two of you are comfortable with, based off of clearly stated goals and hopes.

For many thousands of years in many cultures one spouse was dominate and overpowering, while the other was basically forced to just go with it. I do want to say that I do not know if some people simply preferred that way or not. I do not want to be guilty of judging the past through presentism’s eyes.  People lived as they knew depending on their culture and time period, and after all isn't that what we are doing anyway?

I suppose my point here is that it is nice and exciting that equality is showing up more often in marriages, however we need to realize that this is a seemingly new way to handle things. I do think there is much value in treating your spouse as an equal and allowing for roles to be met by the most suited individual.

What is your opinion?

Which way seems healthier?

What have you seen happen in either an equal partnership, or in a higher/lower marriage?

Thank you again for your time and thoughts.

I strongly believe the more we talk about important topics and educate ourselves the better equipped and able we are to improve our situation and the situations of those in our circle of influence. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Chapter 3b

 Hello again my friends, 

Today we will be talking about what can lead to a wonderful and amazing marriage.

The quote comes from chapter 3 of the book we have been discussing here thus far.

Though it is a simple quote it is very powerful and something I have felt as important and true for  a long time.
“The one commandment was to love as Jesus loves, thus setting the standard for the pure love of Christ that should be sought in marriage.” (pg. 30)

    So for some people this thought is entirely will strike them as new or odd, and for others it may be what they are already doing or planning to be doing.

My first question for you is: 

     What was your first thought as you read that Christ-like love is something that should be sought within a marriage?

    I think it makes perfect sense. Marriage can prove to be grounds for refinement, none of us enter a marriage already being entirely patient, forgiving, humble, entirely honest, as well as many other attributes that Christ held. We may be really good at patience, but when you get married you soon find out you still have a long way to go.

    I personally believe for a happy marriage to thrive it should carefully be modeled after (click here for the text of the verses) 1st Corinthians 13 and should be filled with long suffering, kindness, and love unfeigned.

    We live in a ‘me’ culture where we are taught by the media and the actions of many people around us that life is about pleasing ourselves, and that if we can do some good for others it should be at no real pain to us.     That idea is wrong and so against what would make a healthy marriage thrive. Who really wants to be married to someone who all of the times only does what they feel like and only rarely gives token gestures of kindness?

    Okay no, you are probably thinking “this is great in theory Julee, but how do you really live that Christ-like every day?” my answer to that is, life is a journey and we are not expected and nor should we expect to have it all down today, we need to take our time and do our best to progress and move upward with each new sunrise.

    Another reason this should seem like the best way to run your marriage is to think of the many causes for divorce. Can you think of one reason someone has been divorced over, that wasn't rooted in selfish and un-Christ-like behavior?

    Another strong reason is based off of verse 22 from section 42 in the Doctrine and Covenants which says “Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart”. (click here to see original) It is pretty clear that the Lord wants us to love our spouse entirely and the best formula in my opinion is to model your life after 1st Corinthians 13. Yes love all those around you, but always put your spouse a bit above others with your affections and priorities.

    My husband and I are not perfect and being newly married each day we are finding crossroads where we can choose to be selfish or selfless. Each little choice adds up, I hope that we can find a way to truly love our spouse and do all it takes to grow in charity and devoted love towards them.

    Thank you again for reading and please comment and leave me your thoughts, disagreements, ideas, or questions.

Here is another picture from our recent honeymoon. 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Chapter 3a


Let’s talk today about what really makes marriage wonderful! Perhaps a little about what does not make marriage so wonderful either?

The quote comes from chapter 3 of the book and is a quote from Elder Robert D. Hales:

“An eternal bond doesn’t just happen as a result of sealing covenants we make in the temple. How we conduct ourselves in this life will determine what we will be in all the eternities to come. To receive the blessings of the sealing that our Heavenly Father had given to us, we have to keep the commandments and conduct ourselves in such a way that our families will want to live with us in the eternities.”

This quote reminds me of another one I have heard a few times, I found it referenced from a talk that was given by President Faust who retold the tale as follows “Perhaps you have heard of the young bride who said, “When I get married, it will be the end of my troubles.” Her wise mother replied, “Yes, my dear, but which end?”(Click here for original text )

Marriage is not easy, Hollywood and fairy tales may corrupt us as children and make life look like bliss once you have made it to your dream day. They would often have you think you have it made and no worries or issues could ever arise once you have arrived at marriage.

One of the largest problems with that thought process is that you have “arrived” once this becomes your mindset you stop trying, how can you expect life to stay amazing or get better when you stop trying?
A common problem in the LDS community is that many young girls feel that if they can make it to their temple of their choice to the man they love (or think they love) and believe that marriage will just “work” for them. Haha funny, it does not work that way and it was never meant to. Marriage is actually one of the hardest schools you can ever be enrolled in. It exposes your selfish tendencies, weakness, and frailties as well as your spouse’s. It is the place in your life you need to work hard at. If you let a flower garden go on its own and forget about loving it and taking excellent care of it, you won’t be taking any of your flowers to the fair to show. Similarly with a marriage if you neglect it nothing wonderful will come to it.
A healthy and functioning marriage requires work, effort, love, devotion, patience, kindness, loads of forgiveness, excellent communication, and so much more.

Like many people say you need to work for your marriage if you want it to work for you.

My question for you today is what have you seen in blossoming marriages and conversely what have you seen occur in withering marriages?

Friday, March 8, 2013

Chapter 2

Hello Everyone,

Today’s topic is dating, I can hear you cheering and booing already.

This blog post is based off of chapter 2 from the book Successful Marriages and Families.
Chapter 2 is entitled

                       “The ABC’s of Successful Romantic Relationship Development: Meeting, Dating, and Choosing an Eternal Companion”
I am going to base a lot of my thoughts around my own life experience with dating and companion seeking/choosing.
This quote sets up my thoughts up perfectly
“ “This will be the most important decision of your life, the individual whom you marry.” The difficulty for many single adults is how to do it! … within the framework of the ABC’s or more correctly, the ABCDE’s of mate selection. George Levinger (1983) postulated a five-phase development of heterosexual romantic relationships:
               A.      Awareness  of or Acquaintance  with another person;
               B.      Buildup of the relationship;
               C.      Continuation following commitment to  a long-term relationship (which may result in marriage                        for many couples);
               D.      Deterioration or Decline  in the interdependence of the couple;
               E.       Ending of the relationship”

        My thoughts are that A,B, and C are what lead to marriages that can prosper, while A-E lead to a beak off of the relationship in most cases for the best outcome of both parties.

       For me as I began dating most of the people there were to choose from I already knew so A had already been established, and B was the focus of blossoming romantic relationships. However nothing at the early stages remained at C. I dated for a while, became engaged, then broke it off. It was a hard choice to break off that relationship but it was for the best for the both of us. I moved to Utah later that year and that is really when my life fit more fully in this model.

       As I began to adjust to my new surroundings and only being in Salt Lake City for about a week, I had managed to go on three dates. I did not come planning to move so swiftly but all of a sudden there were so many men around me and well the asking commenced. I am not saying any of this to boast but rather to explain where I am coming from.

     So for me mid August to late September I was becoming very aware and becoming well acquainted with several new prospects or friends depending on how you look at it.  Then I moved to stage B with a guy, we will call him Ralph (not his real name) and for a few months we progressed and really enjoyed dating, but it just felt like it needed to end just because we would not have been a good long-term match. We had a lot of fun and enjoyed being with each other but our differences would have grown large and vast if we had been married and became parents together so, D moved quickly to E- the ending of the relationship.
Then for the next 8 months or so I went through a lot of ups and downs, new people to get to know but they all seemed to end as quickly as they began.

      It was during those months I really reflected on what was the cause of relationships that last versus those that crumble. It was clear to me that most marriages that last and that are fulfilling begin with a strong friendship foundation, and so I chose that the next time I was going to be serious with someone that we would not have physical contact for over a month. 

      Well it just so happened my now husband was the next one to come along. I told him just how long he would have to wait to hold my hand/ date me and then how much longer to kiss me, much to my surprise he agreed to wait the time I had decided on. (I want to make it clear however that though this worked for me you are different and what worked for me may work for you or may not- I simply suggest that you are very prayerful about your dating strategies and techniques)

       So for me I wanted to and did keep the acquaintance aspect around for a while because I valued having a high level of both friendship and companionship in my marriage someday. To often when the physical aspect of a relationship is rushed into our judgment is clouded and we may not be able to see that we are not as well suited as we may have thought or realized if we had waited longer to move to that dynamic of the relationship.

Lastly I want to say, DON’T give up hope, be serious about dating because it is that important, and do what feels right in your heart.

This is simply how I feel I fit under this model, please take time and think about how you can improve your future relationship(s) and commit to doing it.

My only question for this post is:

What is the most important part of dating that you feels help you truly get to know a perspective companion/spouse?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Chapter 20

Hello Friends,

Today we will be discussing forgiveness in the family.  My ideas come from Chapter 20 of the book all of these posts have been based off of.   (scroll down for actual title and authors)

Forgiveness comes easy for some and hard for others. However holding in to past mistakes and errors of others in the long wrong will prove only harmful to you and possibly to them as well.
The book talks about steps that need to be taken in the process of forgiveness.
They reference Worthington’s- Click here to see the list 5 steps for effective forgiveness.
The step I want to focus on is the 5th which is to Hold on to Forgiveness
I think it is so important to commit to the forgiveness that you have chosen to give. It can be a hard choice to forgive someone especially when they are close to you. However the best way to mend that relationship is to commit to leaving the past in the past. I am not saying the pain has to always be gone for it to be real forgiveness, no it simply means you do not hold it against them any longer nor flaunt it in their face.

Why do you think we need to forgive other people?

Why should we commit to forgiving people?

I know that in my life when I have chosen to forgive I feel freed and better able to love. For me it is as though a wall has been taken down and clearer more meaningful communication can resume.

 It may be hard but I urge you to choose someone you have been holding back forgiveness from and take the little and big steps needed to free you and them from further pain and sorrow.

Forgiveness is a blessing to all because it allows for our souls to be set free from the pain plaguing us. It is a choice, and it will cause renewed peace when we commit to let pain go and love into our lives. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Chapter 6

Hello Friends! Today’s topic is… Fidelity in Marriage

Perhaps the first real post was a bit long, this time around it will be a little more friendly to the casual reader.

Thank you for taking your time to come and see the thoughts I have placed here.

Let’s get started!

Here is the quote I will be basing this post off of.

“Often we think that infidelity primarily happens when spouses do not love each other enough,  when the marriage is bad, when sexual intimacy is suffering, or when a more attractive alternative comes along. But infidelity is not primarily about love, sex, or attraction; it is about boundaries – where we draw the line.”

My main question for you today is how have you seen simple things lead to infidelity?

Or if you have not seen it, why do you think simple little things often lead to larger offenses?

I have to be honest, this is not a topic most people are overjoyed to think about. However I think that people not thinking about fidelity in marriage leaves them less prepared for preventing adultery in their marriage. In life if we choose to not think about something it does not mean it will not happen. So to be ready to combat infidelity we need to know what we are or will be fighting and have a plan of attack or defense.

What are good ways you can think of that will fortify a marriage from possible attacks or threats?

Another threat to marriages today and will become a greater threat in the future is the casual outlook people are taking towards marriage.

How can we protect marriage and how can we help others see the value of marriage?

How can we help others help us protect our marriages?

Pictured below my brother-in-law, sister, myself, and my
We need to protect what we value, I value marriage in general and I value my marriage specifically as well. I know that no one is perfect, that we can not nor should endeavor to control our spouse, instead we need to trust them and trust that they will do the right things when we are not looking. 

I think some of the best ways we can help prevent infidelity from gaining even a crack of a door into our lives can be:

To never be in a car alone with an adult of the opposite gender (that is not blood related).

Never meet with another person alone for lunch or dinner that is of the opposite gender. 

Do not accept flirtations nor offer them to anyone but your spouse.

Always wear your wedding ring.

Pray when you feel tempted.

Talk freely with your spouse about anything you think could develop into something unhealthy and make a plan together of avoidance. 

Do not do anything your gut is screaming "No you really should not do that."

Lastly be smart, is it seems like a dumb idea, then don't do it? Is a moment of fun worth the damage done? 

Thank you everyone.