Why TEMPLE Marriage?

If I were to offer you something that you could have for a limited number of years and then the same thing that you could enjoy for ETERNITY, I think most of you would jump at the opportunity to have something for longer, especially if that something in question was a strong and faithful relationship with someone you love and adore.

I remember really learning about the concept of Temple Marriage in Young Women’s and thinking, “who would NOT want a Temple Marriage that promises you eternity?” It was also then that I tried to understand the concept of eternity and how it goes on literally forever, which my small brain still cannot process, but that’s a conundrum for another day.

In The Family: A Proclamation to the World, we read that, “The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan.” It’s important to note that it doesn’t say, “Marriage between man and woman is essential to your Earth life.” Although marriage is fundamental to our time here on Earth because it’s the beginning of our life with this companion, it’s just the opening act. Our marriages have the potential to span the eternities and those blessings are found in the House of the Lord.

This is the plan that our Heavenly Father has intended for us. He wants us to find a love here on Earth that we can build on and desire to make that an eternal thing with our spouse.

My husband is a convert, baptized in 2014. Since we had to wait a year to be married in the temple, we unintentionally kept putting off the temple classes until after our son was born. When my husband and I got married in the Chicago Temple, there was no better feeling in this world than seeing my little guy dressed all in white at the altar with us. He was very distracted, and my mom took his little hands and put them near ours. It was so incredibly special and a day I will never forget. I feel so lucky and blessed that I can always be with my little family by honoring the covenants we made in the temple.

President Gordon B. Hinckley said in a devotional with BYU students, “I remind you that the association you now enjoy as students is probably the best time of your lives to find your own “Beloved Eternal Companion.” Do so with a prayer in your heart. It will be the most important decision you will ever make. It will influence your life from now through all eternity.” (Hinckley, 2006)

The choice of who and where you marry is truly so important and sets the tone for the rest of your married life.

References:
Hinckley, G. (2006, October) Experiences Worth Remembering, https://speeches.byu.edu/talks/gordon-b-hinckley/experiences-worth-remembering/

The Family: A Proclamation to the World. (n.d). https://www.lds.org/topics/family-proclamation

Image:
https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/temples/photo-gallery/salt-lake-temple?lang=eng


Dating after you TIE the KNOT

I’m here to tell you that if you don’t take anything else away from my blog, please hear this: dating your spouse is one of the most rewarding things that you can do. It’s no secret that while you are dating and preparing for marriage, everything is fun and new and exciting and it’s also not a secret that after you are married, you find your starter place to live and start working on your family, you can easily lose that luster of the newlywed glow.

I don’t think any couple means to lose the spark, and it can happen at varying times throughout your marriage, but all of the responsibilities you now share as a couple can start clouding the fun and commonalities you have with each other and felt strongly while dating.

My antidote for this lull in the love feeling is to KEEP DATING. I could not find the original author of this quote, but I love the advice, “To keep the one you have, treat them like you don’t have them yet.”

There is an entirely different attitude you can bring to your marriage if you treat your spouse how you did when you were dating, when you were getting to know each other, and everything was brand new. Well, there is good news! Even after several years of marriage, there are always new things you can learn about your spouse and an infinite number of experiences you can have with them. It’s important to make it a priority to keep getting to know your spouse and seeking out new experiences and opportunities with them.

This is something that I’m still trying to figure out completely with my husband, that balance between our needs as a couple and all the responsibilities we have, including our son. What effort we have already put into this has rewarded us ten-fold. We are reminded why we fell in love in the first place and just how much fun we have together. We are reminded that we have a good solid friendship at our foundation and that’s a really great feeling.

In Chapter 2 of our textbook, there is a great quote from Marvin J. Ashton that reads, “True love is a process. True love requires personal action. Love must be continuing to be real. Love takes time. Too often expediency, infatuation, stimulation, persuasion, or lust are mistaken for love. How hollow, how empty if our love is no deeper than the arousal of momentary feeling or the expression in words of what is no more lasting than the time it takes to speak them.” (Holman, Poulsen, et al 2016, p. 20). I love this quote because it is speaking of mature love, and I can’t think of a better way to keep cultivating that than putting effort into your spouse and dating them for your whole marriage.

Although you do have more on your plate when you are blending your lives, between work and school endeavors and bringing children into this world, your commitment and bond with each other is also important and deserves time just like anything else.

References:
Holman T. B., Poulsen, F., et al (2016). Successful Marriages and Families: Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives. BYU Bookstore Publishing Services.

Image:
https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/media/image/couple-holding-hands-8a3241f?lang=eng&collectionId=3dac508701ae4fd092d4d1a54ec8a1e6

Ok, but how is it done?

How do you make a marriage last, especially in a world where we tend to take the marriage to the salvage yard instead of a mechanic when we have a flat? How do you create a meaningful and healthy connection that can stand the test of time?

The answer: Work.

Just like every in this life that is worth having, a good amount of work will be required of you. But what separates a lasting marriage from those that head to salvage yard is committing to covenants.

In Chapter 3 of our textbook, Successful Marriage and Families, we learn that “Successful covenant marriages are founded on the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ and tied to our discipleship.” (p. 28)

I also love this quote by Elder Lynn G. Robbins that reads, “Agency plays a fundamental role in our relationships with one another. This being true, we must make the conscious decision that we will love our spouse and family with all our heart, soul, and mind; that we will build, not “fall into,” strong, loving marriages and families.” (Duncan, Zasukha, 2016, p. 30).

I think one of the most impactful things you can do within your marriage outside of really committing to covenants is to learn your spouses’ needs and do what you can to meet them.

Of course, there is a certain amount of meeting your own needs that you will be required to do but finding out what makes your spouse tick could be the key to making your married life easier and more joyful.

I love the idea of sitting down with your spouse on a regular basis and counseling together about how things are going. Being honest and open in those conversations allows you to work together to meet each others needs and also make goals individually and as a couple. This all sounds like a lot of work and to be honest with you, it is. But I promise you that it’s some of the most rewarding work you will ever do and feeling content and at peace in your marriage with both of you happy is worth all of the effort.

References:
Duncan, S. F., Zasukha, S. S. (2016). Successful Marriages and Families: Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives. BYU Bookstore Publishing Services.

Image:
https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/media/image/scriptures-8939171?lang=eng&collectionId=4c1997b4f9eb0ee0945ec3cc819168f32a2aeda9

Staying TRUE to your SPOUSE

I think it’s common to think of infidelity within your marriage as having relationships that lead to sexual behavior outside of the marriage. I think it’s very important to note that “many times infidelity is committed within the mind or heart of a married individual with no other participating party.” (Gardner, Greiner, 2016, p. 60)

We learn that there are several types of infidelity including fantasy, visual, romantic, and sexual. I don’t think a lot of people realize that your thoughts can be a form of infidelity and are clearly the beginning of something more damaging to your relationship.

This ties in perfectly with the scripture in Proverbs, chapter 23, verse 7, “For as [a man] thinketh in his heart, so is he.”

I think anything that weakens your commitment to your spouse can be a form of infidelity. In Chapter 6 of Successful Marriages and Families, it emphasizes that, “Infidelity is easier to prevent than to remedy. In addition to working to strengthen our marriages, we can prevent affairs by being on guard and being fiercely loyal.” (p. 63)

Something that my husband and I do that has been very successful for us is to not hang out with someone of the opposite sex alone. Since I moved to Chicago, which is where my husband was born and raised, we have more friends that are “his” friends and we have become a big group that gets together with married couples and single friends of both sexes. This group even includes really great women who used to date my husband, so it can get tricky if we let it, but I have absolute trust in my husband, and we never find ourselves in precarious situations because we respect the rule that we can’t be alone with the opposite sex. I know other couples who also do not have any private messages on social media with the opposite sex and that proves successful for them.

The Family: A Proclamation to the World reminds us that, “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.”

In my opinion, if you are constantly making an effort to date your spouse and you are working on identifying and meeting the needs of your spouse, then there can’t possibly be time to have extra-marital relationships. It is usually an unmet need that drives the attention of one or both partners to meet those needs outside of marriage.

References:
Gardner, S., Greiner, C. (2016). Successful Marriages and Families: Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives. BYU Bookstore Publishing Services.

The Family: A Proclamation to the World. (n.d). https://www.lds.org/topics/family-proclamation

Image:
https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/media/image/sunrise-flowers-fcc6488?lang=eng&collectionId=a2afde622a5c44ab9db658065a378385

Is it worth the work?

Marriage can be incredibly hard. I know of no couple who can say that for the entirety of their time together, it has been nothing but sunshine and butterflies, free of trials and challenges.

Speaking on a concept I referenced in a previous post of when our relationship seems to have gotten a flat tire, the most logical thing to do is fix the flat ourselves or take it to a mechanic trained for just such a situation. Does it make a lot of sense to send the marriage straight to the salvage yard, with a perfectly working engine and three other tires full and ready for the road?

Chicago Illinois Temple

Sadly, I know quite a few people who have been so blinded by one flat tire, that it appears to be a total to them, with no hope of repair. For some, a flat tire could represent infidelity or another breach of trust, but for others, this could be a minor conflict. I want to emphasize that it is totally NORMAL to disagree with your partner. It would be incredibly weird and boring if you agreed about everything.

We learn from Chapter 8 that “some research suggests that many who divorce have
regrets about the divorce later.” We also learn that “a handful of surveys from various states in the United States estimate that perhaps half of individuals wished they had worked harder to try to overcome their differences” (Hawkins, Fackrell, 2016, p. 82)

It’s always worth it to put the time and energy into addressing and fixing the flat tires in your marriage and doing whatever you can to try and resolve them. Even deep hurts and betrayals can be overcome, especially when you recommit to covenants and utilize the healing power of the Atonement.

In my opinion, I have always appreciated and cherished things that I have worked hard to get, and a long-lasting covenant marriage is no exception. There are so many resources out there to help heal and fix that flat tire before we haul it off to the salvage yard, including marriage counseling and working alongside your bishop to resolve conflicts.

For my marriage, couples counseling has done a world of good and I highly recommend that to anyone. There is no shame in admitting that you have a flat tire or even a wonky engine, it is NORMAL and there are people out there who would love to help you.

References:
Hawkins, A., Fackrell, T.A. (2016). Successful Marriages and Families: Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives. BYU Bookstore Publishing Services.

Image:
https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/media/image/chicago-temple-lds-a0667a1?lang=eng&collectionId=20cbd6bde76f435b9b05f4bcc31cb880

Parenting with LOVE

In The Family: A Proclamation to the World, we learn that “The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force.”

In our course we have learned about the parenting styles and what that looks like in its application. Authoritarian, Permissive, and Authoritative parenting all yield different results and while Authoritative parenting seems to offer the best outcomes, it’s important to keep in mind what President James E. Faust said in our textbook. “Child rearing is so individualistic. Every child is different and unique. What works with one may not work with another.” (Hart, Newell, Haup, 2016, p. 104).

This leads me to believe that although you wouldn’t completely change your parenting style with each child, you can and should borrow from each style to meet the needs of your child.

We also learn from The Family: A Proclamation to the World that, “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.”

This is supported by a quote from Gordon B. Hinckley that reads, “Every child is entitled to grow up in a home where there is warm and secure companionship, where there is love in the family relationship, where appreciation one for another is taught and exemplified, and where God is acknowledged, and His peace and blessings invoked before the family altar.” (Hart, Newell, Haup, 2016, p. 128)

There is also some really good news here in the gospel as it relates to parenting. Even if you grew up in a somewhat shaky household or if your childhood was full-on chaotic, the gospel doctrine is filled with resources to help you raise a family with the Spirit in your home and love unconditionally, like our Savior.

Parenting is hard, no matter how you approach it or whatever style works for you and your family, but something that has been beneficial to my little family is for my husband and I to identify things that didn’t work for us growing up and also habits that our parents had or lessons that we want to continue and pass down.

I’m not going to say that a lot of parenting isn’t trial and error, and some things you just can’t prepare for and will learn a long the way, but getting a foundation for the kind of parent you want to be saves you from figuring that out on the fly or worse, not figuring that out at all.

References:
Hart, C. H., Newell, L. D., Haup, J. H. (2016). Successful Marriages and Families: Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives. BYU Bookstore Publishing Services.

The Family: A Proclamation to the World. (n.d). https://www.lds.org/topics/family-proclamation

Image:
https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/media/image/parents-daughter-walking-8ef3633?lang=eng&collectionId=efe9fd41a25145e3bae0d2502d7e31eb

Repentance and Forgiveness

In any relationship between two people, there are going to be mistakes made. I believe this is the human condition and the purpose of this life, to fully understanding the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

In The Family: A Proclamation to the World, its states that, “Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.”

From Successful Marriages and Families, we learn of a quote by Elder Dallin that states: “The gospel of Jesus Christ challenges us to change. . . . Repenting means giving up all of our practices—personal, family, ethnic, and national—that are contrary to the commandments of God. The purpose of the gospel is to transform common creatures into celestial citizens, and that requires change.” He also said that the instruction to repent was the gospel’s “most frequent message.” (Walton, Hendricks, 2016 p. 202)

In addition to the importance that is repenting, forgiveness goes hand in hand with repentance. From the scriptures, we are reminded, “And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses” (Mark 11:25–26)

On a personal level, I feel that I am constantly apologizing and asking for understanding from my husband and I am also constantly forgiving him. I adore him, but sometimes he drives me crazy. I think we are continually giving each other grace and that’s a good thing and always offering forgiveness if we hurt each other, even in small ways.

My grandmother gave us sage advice when we got married and that was to “never go to bed angry” and we haven’t yet. That takes these principles to be successful and it’s been working for us after 15 years together.

References:

The Family: A Proclamation to the World. (n.d). https://www.lds.org/topics/family-proclamation

Walton, E., Hendricks, H. M. (2016). Successful Marriages and Families: Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives. BYU Bookstore Publishing Services.

Image:
https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/media/image/girl-scriptures-flowers-167eecd?lang=eng&collectionId=2a1207a53361e9dc22df1ddf0f05767cff9e9d74

Enduring to the End

President Henry B. Eyring stated, “Eternal life means to become like the Father and to live in families in happiness and joy forever” (Judd, 2016, p. 346). It’s obvious from this statement that our Heavenly Father sees the family unit as not only an essential part of His plan, but also a way for us to learn and grow inside that unit.

Have you ever wondered why we don’t just come down here to experience life on Earth as individuals? Why are we all born into a unit, for better or worse, instead of given all the knowledge and maturity needed to exist on our own? We need our families to help us with this very thing, to learn and gain knowledge, and grow to maturity. It’s part of Heavenly Father’s plan for us that we embrace the family unit that we are in and learn whatever is necessary for us also to create our own families.

This is supported by a quote from Elder M. Russell Ballard that reads, ““The family is where the foundation of personal, spiritual growth is built and nurtured; the Church, then, is the scaffolding that helps support and strengthen the family” (Judd, 2016, p. 346)

Elder Hugh B. Brown stated: “The family concept is one of the major and most important of the whole theological doctrine. In fact, our very concept of heaven itself is the projection of the home into eternity. Salvation, then, is essentially a family affair, and full participation in the plan of salvation can be had only in family units.” (Judd, 2016, p. 349).

To come full circle with my blog posts, my first one spoke of the feeling I had when I looked over and they carried my son into the sealing room, dressed in his darling white clothes and his big brown eyes wide as ever. It was a feeling of pure joy and exactly how I imagine my eternal life to feel like. I’m so grateful when I look at my now 5-year-old boy with those same brown eyes and brown curls to match and know that I will always have him with me.

Seeing my son come into the sealing room of the temple was one that was so overwhelming and beautiful for me, and I hope that one day, when I have done all that I could in this life, that I will enter into a room with my Savior and feel those same feelings. Feeling that I’m home, and that I will always have Him with me.

The Family: A Proclamation to the World tells us that, “The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.”

The first post of this blog was about temple marriage and it’s that principle that all the other things I have mentioned here need to be built upon. Making those sacred covenants before the Lord in His holy temple is the first step in creating that eternal family that will literally last forever, a concept too incredible for me to understand completely.

References:
Judd, D. K. (2016). Successful Marriages and Families: Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives. BYU Bookstore Publishing Services.

The Family: A Proclamation to the World. (n.d). https://www.lds.org/topics/family-proclamation

Image:
https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/media/image/jesus-christ-74e791b?lang=eng&collectionId=3cbf78e787498a07417814a31656063f9227b4c6