“President Kimball taught that the time will come when 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.”  (Successful Marriages and Families) The past twelve weeks I have had the opportunity to learn and understand the Family Proclamation to the world more in depth.  I have come to love this proclamation, I have founded my home on these principles.  The proclamation is what help me as a mother, wife, daughter, and in my community.  The proclamation gives guidance and direction to the family.  

One person commented on how the Proclamation brought him great strengthen within his family and helped him after his wife had passed.  Another testifies, “I rejoice in the sweet spirit that accompanies that document; it can inspire people of very different background across the world.”  (Successful Marriages and Families) The Proclamation not only blesses our individual and family lives it helps us defend families from the attacks from the world. 

People have shared this stories as to how the Proclamation talks about marriage between a man and women, that fidelity is to be between husband and wife who are legally married, how gender is essential to Heavenly Fathers plan and how children are born in the image of god, they need to be loved, nurtured and provided for.  (Successful Marriages and Families) So much strength is offered to the world in this document.  It can strengthen our homes and families if we but read it, live it and believe it.  

I have been a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints my whole life but my husband had only been a member for just a little over a year.  Since I felt I had been preparing for marriage and having a family my whole life I wasn’t concerned about my role in the marriage but my husband was worried about his.  We began to pray for guidance and direction on being the type of husband Heavenly Father desired him to be.

 Through our prayers we were lead to the Family Proclamation, we were even given one on the day we were sealed in the Temple.  This was my first love and understanding of the article.  I felt we had found the cliff notes to the scriptures, a cheat sheet preparing us to be the kind of husband, wife, parent, and children our Heavenly Father needed us to be.   My husband felt the weight of the world ease on his shoulders.  The Proclamation stated the exact role for a husband and father.  By “Divine design” he knew he was supposed to provide, protect his family, and bring spirits to this earth. 

 As a wife, I knew we needed to include Heavenly Father in our decisions in our marriage and how we were going to provide and protect our family.  The Proclamation states, “Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.”  We tried to apply these principles the best we could in our home so that we could have the happiness described in the proclamation.

We received a beautiful copy of the Proclamation to hang in our home and then there is sat for a while, just being looked at. About five years ago we got back to our Family Proclamation because our children needed to study it for their Faith in God program. Even though we had it placed in our home and we were living by it, we were not studying it, or teaching by it.  As we got back to studying and teaching by the Proclamation I started noticing things about gender and how each gender is important to families and that we need to prepare our children to be good citizens.  This helped me in teaching my children about a gender-confused society, how important their gender role was and understanding that gender was even before one comes to earth.  That marriage is between a man and a woman, that children are meant to come to a family with a father and a mother. 

The cliff notes were back, the cheat sheet to teach my children in a world that taught conflicting views of the gospel was there to help me lead, guide, protect and help my children understand their gender, and role.  There to help me and my husband understand our roles.  The Family, a Proclamation to the World helps me lead and guide my family in love and righteousness, reminds me that we need to be patient with each other, support, teach and follow Heavenly Father’s plan for us.  I know when we study and apply the doctrines taught in the Proclamation we can have a strong family unit and happiness. 

Just within twelve weeks I have been strengthened by stories of those whose lives have been changed because of the Proclamation.  I myself have found great comfort, a deeper understand and a stronger testimony of the truthfulness of this document.  I was reminded to be more patience and understanding with my children.  I sought forgiveness from my  husband, I supported his role, remembered that I was a child of God and have felt empowered to stand up for the family.  “The Proclamation is an inspired document…revelatory and scripture like in its power.  It contains timeless truths that will bless not only our lives but also the lives of those around us as we reach out, near and far, to share it. ”  ( Successful Marriages and Families)  I love the Proclamation and I ask you to please take on the challenge to read it and see how it applies to your family.  Take the document one paragraph at a time, break it down and work on one paragraph at a time and see how it strengthens and builds your family.  I hope and pray you will take this challenge and share how it has changed you and your family. 

 

Image: Family Proclamation 

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The Family Proclamation to the world says, “Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, (and) compassion.”  Forgiveness in marriage can be very difficult especially when infidelity occurs.  A few years ago there were several friends of ours who were getting divorced because their spouse had an affair.  

Even though our friend was going through difficult times, my husband and I were able to come together and evaluate our own marriage and how we would deal with such circumstances.  I began to wonder where my ideas of how I would handle such a situation such as infidelity.  As I pondered this I realized most of my thoughts had come from media, T. V. mostly.  

Media teaches that we should be angry, hurt, scream, yell, throw, things and most likely kick the person out of our lives.  I realized that this is not reality.  Couples who go through this are so hurt, there is much pain, and confusion because you love your spouse but you feel betrayed, your own emotions even confuse you.  These situations are very stressful and mentally wearing.  

I have also found it interesting that people are quick to forgive their friends but not their family members.  I am not talking about repeating offenders because we know that most circumstances are not that way.  I am talking about the one time offenders or small mishaps that happen between in-laws.   The third article of faith says, ““We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.” They can’t be handled with a few hurtful words, kicking, scream but must be handled with love, patience, and understanding.  

Mullet, Neto and Riviere found three factors that influence one’s decision to forgive.  Situational factors, (intent of harm, repetition of offense, severity of the consequences, apologies, or compensation from the offender) Relational factors, (the attitude after the offense and environmental pressures) and personality factors.  (Successful Marriages and Families)  “Repentance is a process of enhancing internal awareness  and interpersonal accountability.” (Successful Marriage and Families)

Here are some important ways in How to forgive:

  1. Recall the Hurt so many times we want to forget that pain and move forward but you need to acknowledge the wrong during and injury in order to move forward.
  2. Empathize, Even though this may be difficult you must see the other person’s point of view.  You might realize it was an honest mistake, what pressures were they facing, was their an understandable reason regardless of the seriousness of the offense, has the offender been a victim in the past, what pain and remorse is the offender feeling. 
  3. Offer the altruistic gift of forgiveness, “Forgiving with altruism is easier when the victim is humbled by an awareness of his or her own shortcomings and offenses, with special gratitude for those occasions when he or she was freely forgiven.” When hate is put aside and forgiveness is offered both parties can move forward more easily.
  4. Commit public to forgive, you could write in a journal, talk to a counselor, write a letter.  Verbalize your forgiveness will help the victim to heal. 
  5. Hold on to forgiveness, you will still be haunted by the pain of the offense but hold on to your forgiveness process, move forward, reframe the thought process with something more important or meaning full instead of dwelling on the negative experience.  
  6. Recognize the offense, be willing to name the offense and claim the injury.
  7. Sorrow for the Offense, Grieving is also essential for the victim in the healing process, and should be a temporary healing process.
  8. Disclose,  In order to forgive, the victim must recognize that something was wrong and someone was at fault.  
  9. Avoid the offending behavior, establish boundaries and make important decisions about people you want in your life, keep yourself safe.
  10. Make restitution, instead of expending energy on retaliation, the victim can find way to replenish their own depleted reserves. ( All about steps came from Successful Marriages and Families)

Reconcile is usually the desired result and is a give and take process where the two parties will eventually come closer to each other.  Make sure you give yourself time this will not happen in one day or in a week.  The time frame will be different for each individual and circumstance.  There will be times when there is “one-way forgiveness”, whose victims offenders cannot or will not repent, and forgive and that can be difficult, but try to reconcile when possible.   Too many times the question asked is should forgiveness take place, but the real question is how it should take place.  (Successful Marriages and Families)  Forgiveness is possible, it will take time but it is possible. 

Sometimes you will need to forgive a spouse for withdrawing their love when they are angry or upset, or a child who was dishonest.  Not all situations are extreme but many times in families they are small offenses that can add up.  We must be sure to take the time to forgive each other even in small circumstance.  I know there are times I have to ask my children to forgive me for jumping to a conclusion, getting upset easily, or perhaps demanding more from one child than another.  I know I often have to ask my husband for forgiveness when I take my bad day out on him or withdraw myself from situations I am done with.  Asking, receiving, and allowing forgiveness are what will keep families strong and the efforts are worth it! Too many times the question asked is should forgiveness take place, but the real question is how it should take place.  (Successful Marriages and Families)  Forgiveness is possible, it will take time but it is possible. 

Image: Repenting Man

Source: Successful Marriages and Families

The Family Proclamation to the world says, “Successful …families are established and maintained on… wholesome recreational activities.”   Recreational activities should not be created to escape but to bring families closer together. ” We seem to be connected to the whole world electronically yet disconnected to those closest to us.” ( Successful Marriages and Families)  Choose activities that will help produce stronger family relationships.  

Find activities that promote family growth and development. “Psychologist and social philosophers describe contemporary happiness as…the pursuit of comfort, pleasure and wealth in the form of material good.  Many of us have seen a pattern of behavior where a parent….engages obsessively in recreation apart from the family.”  While cruises may be fun and relaxing for the family, working together can actually create a strong family relationship even though it isn’t always fun.  (Successful Marriages and Families)  Doing activities with the family creates lasting memories over one doing something alone, the memory only last with that one person.  

 Research has shown that independent activities have a negative effect on marriages, especially for wives.  “Wholesome family recreation can be diminished or enhanced by the choices we make.” When thinking of recreational activities think of one that promotes interaction, communication, develop skills, face challenges, create memories, share traditions and beliefs, spending time together, and cooperation.   Spend quality play time with your children, teach them good sportsmanship, fair play, and kindness.  Children mimic the behaviors they learn from their parents and how you choose to play during recreational time will be how your child plays later on in their life as well.  

What are some types of recreational activities your family can enjoy?  Canoeing tennis, chess, rock climbing, movie night, board games, hikes, bike rides, basketball, soccer, gardening and the list can go on and on.  Find activities that promote communication, interaction, and cooperation.  (Successful Marriages and Families)   A few years ago we started a garden.  I was a learning experience for the whole family because none of us had gardened before.  Our children loved to work with us, pulling the weeds, watering, cutting the lettuce, picking the strawberries, and wishing the carrots to grow.  We didn’t realize how much our garden would help our family grow.  Find the recreational activities that work for you.   

 Successful Marriages and Families says, “Joint recreational activities involve high levels of communication and interdependence.”  I am not a huge fan of video games but my children like to play them so once in a while I do it for them.    We make sure that the video games are for everyone and is usually for four or more players.  Finding games like this can help you communicate and work together while doing something your children enjoy.  

Last night our children were playing together and I was just observing.  During that conversation, our daughter says, “I’m not with you how sad.”  Then I hear “You’re my brother I will wait for you.”  Later my son says, “Yes you’re here with me.”  I couldn’t help to think, even though I am not a fan of video games, what kind of relationships they were building.  They were working together and even in a virtual world, they didn’t want to be without one another.  These joint activity, even though it is not my favorite and should be limited, was bringing us all together.  

 There are so many benefits to recreational activities.  “Research has shown…recreational activities involving the family are central to families of every kind.  They found a positive relationship between the quality of family relationships and a family participation…(which) enhances communication, interaction, satisfaction, problem-solving, trust and love.”  Our family built our home together.  My brothers worked hard to on the framing of the home, while I helped with some of the wirings, learning to lubricate to keep the wires together as my brother pulled.  We played baseball in the yard together, make me laugh, went to dodger games, went to the beach, and worked often together.  We still continue to get together once a year and do recreational activities at our family reunion.  “Research has shown that family satisfaction with current levels of leisure involvement is a strong predictor of overall satisfaction with family life, even when accounting for income, marital status, age, and history of divorce.”  (Successful Marriages and Families)

With our children now I have kept these activities alive that I learned in my childhood.  We work together, we do puzzles, we eat together, have weekly family home evenings, Friday night movie nights, cook together, and have a number of traditions.  Take the time now to build strong family relationships now.  It is never too late to seek wholesome recreational activities that will bring your family closer together.  Be sure to look for joint activities that promote communication, and interdependence to bring your family closer together and create memories that will last beyond a lifetime.  

Image: Family Time

Source: Successful Marriages and Families 

 

Mother Nurturers

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Thomas s. Monson says, ” One cannot remember mother and forget God.  Why?  Because these two scared person, God and mother, partners in creation, in love, in sacrifice, in service, are as one.”  (Successful Marriages and Families) What a wonderful thought to know how much Heavenly Father is partnered with mothers.  There is such an important role for women as nurturers. 

In my child development course I have been reading about strong attachments and how an infant can recognize their mother’s voice and make out features of their face.  In one study the infants could make identify mothers voice and face even before the father.  The Family Proclamation says, “Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children.” I believe infants are so familiar with their mothers because Heavenly Father had a role for women to be nurturers.  Successful Marriages and Families says, “The relationship formed through a mother’s attentive love provides the foundation for all of the other major tasks of motherhood. “

 I have been blessed to have had a wonderful mother, and my mother had a wonderful mother but my grandmother did not have a wonderful mother.  She was determined to love her children, to be a nurturer to them in ways she was not nurtured.  My grandma was a wonderful mother who raised my mom to become a mother.  My mother raised me to become a mother and I couldn’t wait.  My mother also raised her sons to become good men and wonderful husbands and fathers.  Our mother’s attentive love provided a wonderful foundation for nine children, 31 grandchildren, 2 step grandchildren, and one on the way.   A statement 1942 says, “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 the angels.” (Successful Marriages and Families) 

I am so thankful that I have been blessed with children.  I love being a mother.  I loving being to be able to stay at home with my children.  There are many women who tell me, “I wish I could do that!” You can do it, you just have to be brave enough to do it.  I think switching from being a career woman is similar to the anxiety people feel when switching to any job, but I can guarantee that this job switch will change your life and your families.

 I think some would struggle at first because being home means, now someone is home.  There will be a lot of messes during the day, things won’t stay done like they do at work.  People will not always thank you for a job well done and there will be times you wonder if you are even doing a good job.  The nurturing you do will be paid in attitude, unappreciation, hugs, kisses, smiles, and gratitude (down the road).   Nurturing is so much more than holding your child and letting them know you love them.  It is being there with them and for them.  “Motherhood is the greatest potential influence either for good or ill in human life.” (Successful Marriages and Families) 

Mothers can provide that love and security that children need and it happens most with love, pray and desire.   Mothers can express love “through listening, communicating and monitoring (which) allows the mother to be warm and supportive will setting and enforcing appropriate limits.”  (Successful Marriages and Family) There will be challenges of course with motherhood but you can handle it.  Heavenly Father will help you to become the nurturing mother you want to be.  

One day I was already very frustrated with my homework load and other responsibilities.  I was trying very hard to try to be patience and understanding.  I was being asked repeated question while trying to finish up a quiz and I was about to lose it.  I was ready to shout “it’s time to go outside” but then I remembered my children need attention too, they need to be heard, they wanted to share their day.  So I stopped what I was doing, it wasn’t more important than being a mother.  I took a deep breath went to my children asked about their days, read with my daughter and finished up my work later that night.  I wasn’t sad that I spent time with my children I was thankful that Heavenly Father knew I need to be a mother then and not a student, coach, or house keeper.  Heavenly Father will help you to become the nurturing mother you want to be.  The proclamation reminds us that we need to be nurturers first, that we have a solemn responsibility to raise and nurture our children.   

Image: Mother and Child 
Quote: President Thomas Monson

Love, Latitude and Limits

The Family a Proclamation to the World says, “Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. ”

I have always felt that Heavenly Father was so smart to want to send us into families because we have support, love, and when you become a parent you have a desire to learn and become better for your children.  I think I would have become stagnate if it weren’t for my children, I don’t think I would have grown as much if it wasn’t for them.  Elder Perry says, “As parents we partner, even join, with God in bringing to pass His work and glory among His children.” (Becoming Goodly Parents)

Parenting doesn’t have to be difficult there are many resources to help parents raise their children in love and righteousness.  “Parents should never drive their children, but lead them along, giving them knowledge as the minds are prepared to receive it.” (Successful Marriages and Families)  In Successful Marriages and Families, it teaches how to parent with love, limits, and latitude.  Even though children need individual approaches Here are some suggestions from you can implement from the book:

  • Love, warmth, and support
  • Clear and reasonable expectations fro competent behavior
  • Limits and boundaries with some room for negotiation and compromise
  • Reasoning and developmentally appropriate consequences and punishments for breaching established limits
  • Opportunities to perform competently and make choices
  • Absence of coercive, hostile forms of discipline, such as harsh physical punishment, love withdrawal, shaming, and inflict guilt
  • Models of appropriate behavior consistent with self-control, positive values, and positive attitudes

Now that that we have set some limits and boundaries to parenting here are three different parenting styles typically used by parents. 

“Coercive parenting or authoritarian style are parents who are coerced, deride, demean, diminish, put down, mock, and/or hold power over their children or try to psychologically control. Hostility is shown in the home by spanking, yelling, criticizing, name calling, and forcing and is linked to anti-social behavior, withdrawn children, and delinquent behaviors.”  (Successful Marriage and Families) 

“Permissive parenting is characterized by parents who overindulge their children, or who just leave them to do their own thing. This is shirking our sacred parental duties and leads to children who don’t or can’t follow orders. Social science shows that children raised by permissive parents may have greater difficulty respecting others, coping with frustration, delaying gratification for a great goal, and following through with plans.” Permissive parenting does not go along with Proclamation because parents have a responsibility to guide their children.   (Successful Marriages and Families).

“Authoritative parenting provides a positive emotional connects, provides regulation that is fair and consistent, and allows for reasonable decision making for the child allowing autonomy. ” This parenting style consists of three characteristics: connection (love), regulation (limits), and latitude (autonomy). (Successful Marriages and Families)

Using the Authoritative parenting style helps family relations develop, allows the child to grow and developing using their decision making but still allow the parent to offer guidance and direction along the way.   This parenting style helps children to self-regulate and become the responsilbe citizen in society.    When you guide behavior it does more than corrects the behavior.  We have noticed with our children that when 

We have noticed with our children that when keep the rules simple and don’t have to many it is easier for them to achieve.  We have also found that when we speak logically to them the are less likely to repeat the behavior.  

The other day my son found some metal pipes.  These pipes had broken off our old trampoline.  The kids thought it would be fun to play with the metal pipes.  I observed from the window to see how the pipes were being used and indeed, as most 11-year-olds would, the pipe soon become swords and other cool weapons.  

I went outside and allowed the children to tell me what fun they were having with these metal pipes and all the places their imagination had taken them.  After they had finished I told them how fun that all sounded and then asked if they had noticed the sharp edges on the pipes.  For the first time they really looked the pipes then the looked at me, I then asked if they thought that the pipes could cut someone.  They stated that they believed they would.  I then simply said next time you play with the pipes could you please remember how sharp they are. Then my son sat there for a minute honestly thinking and taking everything.   Then he smiled real big and said mom you sure do take the fun out of everything! Yet, they didn’t play with the pipes anymore.  I didn’t have to say or do much, they understood the danger, they felt the love, they understood the limits for their safety and made the choice for themselves.  He knew logically it wasn’t safe.  Now if I had simply opened the window and yelled, “hey put the pipes down and don’t play with them;  or said hey that’s dangerous put that down.” I know I would have had to say that at least 3 more times, probably tended to a minor injury, and possibly of had some disagreement go on.  Authoritative parenting allows to truly love, limit and have latitude.  Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.

Authoritative parenting allows to truly love, limit and have latitude.  “Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.”  Remember to have these attributes when raising your children.  We all make mistakes we all need forgiveness from time to time. We all need compassion and love.  Keep your parenting influences positive and strong.  

Image: Child Dedication 

Sources: Successful Marriages and Families, The Proclamation to the World 

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“Life is sacred because Jesus Christ is the ultimate source or fountain of life through His work in the Creation and through His sacrifice in the Atonement.” (Successful Marriages and Families)  We believe in the sanctity of life.  The Family Proclamation says, “ALL HUMAN BEINGS—male and female—are created in the image of God.”  We believe every life is a from Heavenly Father.  Children are a gift from Heavenly Father, “Teach your children to respect the sanctity of human life, to revere it and cherish it.” (Successful Marriages and Families) 

In 2014,  6, 438 adoptions (birth to 18 years) occurred in the United States.  In 2104, 926,240 abortions occurred in the united states.  In 2014, over 231,768 couples were trying to adopted (that was only couples who reported they wanted to adopt).  The couples would have adopted more than one child but are limited to the number of children they are able to adopt.  With population decreasing, high infertility rates, women should consider adoption before abortion.  Every child has the right to experience life.  

Due to laws abortions are easier than ever to have.  Teenage girls can even have abortions without the parent’s consent.  “The U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe V. Wade, it is now legal for a woman to abort her child for almost any reason at almost any time.” (Successful Marriage and Families) Russel M. Nelson calls “the global ‘war on the unborn’ a war that kills approximately 40 million voiceless and defenseless unborn babies each year.” (Successful Marriage and Families) Abortion is a huge topic especially in the political and religious arena.  Many debates occur as to when the life of a child begins.  It is still a life, it is precious, it is divine, it has a right to come to earth and life it’s life like everyone else.  

There are rare cases in which abortion may be justified such as, incest, rape, or when the life or health of the women is in serious medical jeopardy.  Even in this case couples or families should consult with one another and be prayerful about their decisions.  

You should believe in the sanctity of human life.  When something begins to grow and develop scientist consider it alive, but when it comes to the development of human life it is a controversy.  The scriptures teach, “Thou shalt, not steal, neither commit adultery, nor kill, nor do anything like unto it.” I once heard that someone said a baby isn’t alive until it takes its first breath.  So if a mother did not want this child as long as the baby didn’t take its first breath, and it many causes babies doesn’t take their first breath immediately after birth, according to child development studies, then it would be okay to kill the baby right then before the first breath occurs.  “Potential viability creates a situation where babies are aborted alive, meaning the baby survives and abortion attempt, is born alive, and is left to die from the abortion effects, even though it could survive with medical help.” (Successful Marriages and Families)  Does not seem so in human.  I feel that sometimes we make more lives to save animals lives than we do human lives.  

My parents know of a woman who’s mother took her to get an abortion, every day she thinks about that child, every year she thinks about the day that baby would have been a year older.  The majority of abortions are under the age of 20, people who feel they are not ready to have a child and care for them.  Instead of aborting these babies there are many couples waiting to have the joy of starting their own families. There are many wonderful adoption stories and it is one of the most selfless acts a mother can offer to her child, a home where mother and father want to provide a loving home and loving life for that child.  Please realize how special each life is, protect the sanctity of life Mother Teresa pled, “I am willing to accept any child who would be aborted and to give that child to a married couple who will love that child and be loved by the child.” (Successful Marriages and Families) 

Images: Baby

Source: Successful Marriages and Families

Should I Keep Trying to Work it Out.

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While many children are resilient when families dissolve children are at twice the risk for social and emotional problems.  So many times we hear couples ask if they should continue to stay and work things out in their marriage.  “Many people seem to believe that once a marriage has gone, ‘bad’, it is like bruised fruit that cannot be restored, but instead needs to be thrown out and new fruit bought.”  (Successful Marriages and Families) Don’t make the presumption that just because you may be currently unhappy that the marriage cannot be saved.  When couples are patient unhappy marriages often improve significantly over time. 

From the first family Heavenly Father instructed them to cleave unto each other.  In Genesis 2:18  the Lord says, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.”  Genesis 2:24 says,  “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”  We are taught that mankind is supposed to be married that they are supposed to become as one and have a family.  The family Proclamation says, “THE FAMILY is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan.”

Many factors should be considered before leaving a marriage.  Seek counsel, try to resolve problems before seeking divorce.  “More than 75 percent of individual in Waite and Gallaher’s study who gave the lowest rating on marital satisfaction scale but persisted reported a few years that later they were happy or very happy… long-lasting marital unhappiness is uncommon; unhappy marriage often improve significantly over time for those who are patient and keep trying to work things out.” (Successful Marriages and Families) So hang in there and try to find a way to make things work.  

I knew of a couple that was struggling in their marriage but only one spouse knew it.  Couples can not fix what is not shared.  Remember you are not alone in your marriage and your spouse may be feeling some of the same things you are.  Be sure to talk to your spouse, sit down and focus on the problem not the individual.  Counsel with one another, be there for each other. Instead of thinking divorce start thinking of how your marriage can improve.

Three books that are recommended are The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, The Divorce Remedy, and Covenant Hearts.  (Successful Marriages and Families)  One I personally recommend is Drawing Heaven into your Marriage.   My husband and I have put into place the Seven Principles and you don’t realize sometimes how you self-sabotage a marriage.  

I cannot say that my husband and I have reached the point of frustration that we were ready to divorce but we have had our ups and downs. I was given a challenge in one of my course to turn my thoughts around.  Instead of only focusing on the negative of my spouse look for all the positive things he was doing.  It was amazing to see how thoughtful and insightful my husband actual was.  He noticed I was busy with homework he would try to help get the kids ready for bed, do the dishes, iron clothes, ask me if I needed anything and the list continued to grow.  

Please don’t consider divorce.  Try reading this books, try applying the steps, go through the process, remember that most couples are only unhappy a short time.  “Pray can be invaluable in this process.”  (Successful Marriages and Families) You will be surprised at you be prompted to do or say.  You will find that when you have made positive changes your marriage will too.  

When we stop thinking of marriage as something that is rotting or going bad we can focus on what good fruit our marriage is bringing forth.  Take the challenge to notice all the good things that are going on in your marriage and if you can’t find one thing, then self-reflect and see why you have blinders on.  “God will support those efforts to help couples preserve a union.”  (Successful Marriages and Families) Every marriage is worth saving and I believe everyone can work it out with the right tools.  I know if you have a desire to have a strong marriage you will.  

Image from Google search

Source: Successful Marriages and Families

 

Fidelity

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The Family a Proclamation to the world says, “Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity.”  It is amazing how much our children know about their parent’s married lives.  The other day my youngest daughter said, ” I hear when you and daddy are laughing, I know you tease daddy, I heard you fighting with daddy, I heard you talk to daddy about us.” Even when we believe our conversations are private they aren’t.  Children can read the emotions within their family, whether they are happy or sad.  It is important that couples remain faithful to each other because it affects more than them.  

Successful Marriages and Family says, “Infidelity is easier to prevent than to remedy.”  I don’t believe most couples who experience infidelity intentionally go out seeking to harm their spouse.  I feel as though they get caught in a trap without realizing it.  I remember reading a story about a woman who became close to a co-worker.  One day a co-worker and

I remember reading a story about a woman who became close to a co-worker.  One day a co-worker and her went to lunch.  At lunch they talked about various things and they realized they had a lot in common.  They continued going to lunch daily, they enjoyed their lunch time together.  Soon they exchanged numbers and they would text and talk to each other throughout the day.  One evening the woman’s sister asked her a series of question regarding the co-worker.  The woman was at first upset with her sister asking her such questions as if she was having an affair with the male co-worker.  Later that evening the woman asked herself the questions again.  She was looking forward to talking to her co-worker more than her husband.  She was more excited to meet him daily than to come home to her own husband.   She realized she talked about this co-worker more than her husband and family.  She slowly saw how hurt her husband was by her talking of this co-worker.  Even though she had not crossed any “lines” she knew she was surely walking closely to the line.  She quickly adjusted her time with the co-worker and kept it only professional.  She talked to her spouse and they counseled together.  She became happier and marriage became stronger.  The proclamation says, “families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.”  Since this family was established and maintained on faith, prayer, repentance and good family members this woman was able to correct her course and strengthen her marriage.  Don’t get caught in the trap but up wise boundaries to protect your marriage. 

 The best way to have fidelity in marriages is to talk regularly and openly about how you as a couple are doing.  “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.” (Successful Marriages and Families)  Make sure that as a couple you put up the walls and boundaries that will protect your marriage. 

Wise Walls and Boundaries

  • Resist the desire to rescue an unhappy soul who pours his or her heart out to you.
  • Don’t share the most painful things of your soul with an attractive alternative.  This develops deep levels of intimacy. 
  • If a conversation makes light of marriage, respond with something positive about your own marriage.
  • Discuss marital issues wiht you spouse.
  • Don’t have lunch or take work breaks with same person all the time.
  • Don’t have lunch alone with an old flame.
  • If an old boyfriend or girlfriend is going to be at a class reunion, make sure you bring your spouse along.
  • When you travel with a coworker, meet only in public places.
  • Don’t flirt with anyone other than your spouse.
  • Don’t travel together with someone of the opposite sex when going to meetings for work, church, or in other circumstances. ( Above listed from Successful Marriages and Family)

I have seen the pain that comes to the entire family when infidelity occurs.  It is like a cancer that eats away at the family.  Some are strong enough to get through it but others are not. It is easier to prevent than remedy infidelity. Take the proper precautions to keep your marriage safe and happy.  

Sources: Proclamation, Successful Marriages and Families

Image: Married Couple

 

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“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. ” (Successful Marriages and Families) The parts of an orchestra or not equal.  Some parts are harder, some have more parts than others but when put all together it is a masterpiece.  Marriage is the same way.  Every task will not be equal, one may have more parts than others but together it is a masterpiece.  

So many people today get caught up on the word “equal” and focus only on one meaning.  Equal is “having the ability or resources to meet (a challenge)…Capable of, fit for, up, good enough for, strong enough for, suitable for, suited to, appropriate for” and on and on. “Equal partnership in marriage does not mean that husband and wife are identical, but it does mean that in a very real and meaningful sense they must stand as equal before each other to find the joy that is their heritage in marriage.” (Successful Marriage and Families)

Couples are equal to the task.  The workload may not be equal but couples goals will be and they can support and love each other when trying to accomplish them.  Bruce Hafen says, “husbands and wives are interdependent with each other. They are equal. They are partners.  And in an equal-partner marriage both also bring a spiritual maturity to their partnership, without regard to gender.  Both have a conscience and the Holy Ghost to guide them.” (Successful Marriages and Families)

There was a time in my marriage I felt like I was doing it all with the family.  I remember wondering besides providing what was it my husband was doing.  One day I remember his saying I think we both feel like we are doing it all.  I was shocked and put off at first.  How could he possibly feel like he was doing it all….but when he shared his mental stresses that a father and provider goes through I began to see how he could feel that way.  The Proclamation says, “Fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.”  Just like the orchestra we each were playing our part.  We had to come together and understand how each was functioning in order to make it beautiful.  After that day of coming to understand that we were equal to the task, and perhaps not the workload,  I realized that our focus and goal was the same.  When we heeded to the council of the Proclamation our marriage become stronger, our family become stronger, and our task became lighter. 

Bruce Hafen’s uses this analogy, “In the little kingdom of a family, each spouse freely gives something the other does not have and without which neither can be complete and return to God’s presence. Spouses are not a soloist with an accompanist, nor are they two solos. They are the interdependent parts of a duet, singing together in harmony at a level where no solo can go.”  When couples focus on the bigger picture instead of the individual parts they can go where no solo can go, they will have something beautiful.  

Sources: Successful Marriages and Families, Bruce Hafen 

 

Image: Couple hand in hand

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I was talking to my 15-year-old niece one day and she asked us, married ladies, how would she know when she found “the one”, the right one to marry.  Different things were shared and someone said to be prayerful about who to marry.  As quickly as it came out one of the women said that she knew couples who were prayerful and their marriages didn’t end well.  

The problem with those marriages is that they forgot about that prayer, the answer who to marry.  I knew PLENTY of women who were prayerful who’s marriages were successful because they were loving, forgiving, communicated, dedicated, the dated after marriage, they were interdependent, they were friends, had positive interactions, and counseled with one another.  

“I have witnessed much of the best and much of the worst in marriage…faultfinding replaces praise.” (Successful Marriages and Families) I have been guilty of faultfinding instead of praise.  I feel that sometimes when we are unhappy we take it out on our spouse nonverbally.  One might start to focus on all the things they aren’t doing instead of all they are doing.  When I switched my attitude of looking for the positive things in my spouse I was truly humbled.  He was doing so much for me and my family.  He would help with the dishes, he would read to children when I couldn’t, he would always say something positive to me, how nice I looked or thanking me for all I had done.  I was ashamed at my withdraw of love, my lack affection, and own lack of positive phrases to him.  “You see, we are all still imperfect, and these unresolved differences, allowed to accumulate day after day,  add up to a possible breakdown in the marital relationship all for the want of better communication, and too often because of foolish pride…if you want something to last forever treat it differently.”  I had to get over my own pride, communicate better and treat my marriage with the eternal respect it deserved.  

I started to sit down and counsel with my husband, we found out about each others day, we tried to show affection in different ways by sending text, leaving a note in his lunch, telling him one thing I appreciated that he did for me.  You can turn your marriage into something beautiful when you look for the positive.  We started as friends, are continuing as partners and building on our foundation daily.

“True marital love emerges from profound friendship” (Hawthorn, 2012) How many of us have friends that we stuck to their side no matter how they have treated us or the problems we have faced yet we don’t offer our spouse the same forgiveness and commitment.   Just as you would with your friend you should become committed to your spouse and marriage, “it means a willingness to change any and all behaviors and attitudes for the good of the relationship. This might involve learning to resolve differences in a more healthy way, overcoming tendencies toward impatient listening, moderation unrealistic expectations, spending an evening alone together each week, or resolving personal problems.” (Hawthorn, 2012)

If you would like a strong foundation in your marriage become committed to the

  • Relationship
  • Nurture the relationship
  • Become friends with each other
  • Have positive interactions
  • Counsel with one another at least monthly
  • Accept influence sharing the decision making
  • Respectfully handle differences and solve the problem. When you focus on the problem you don’t focus on the individual
  • Continue dating through the years

When using these foundations to build your marriage Spencer W. Kimball describes that marriage can be “more an exultant ecstasy than the human mind can conceive.” My husband and I have made these changes in our marriage.  Even good marriages need fine tunning.  See what a difference just one of these things can do for your marriage.  You will be surprised at how much better a good marriage or even the best marriage can become.  Marriage is the foundation to a happy home, community, and country.  Please take the time to nurture your marriage and build that firm foundation for it to last throughout the years.  

 

Image: Happy Couple 

Source: Successful Marriages and Families