Friday, April 5, 2019

In Laws

At the time that I am writing out this post, we are 22 days away from celebrating our 10-year wedding anniversary. 10 years. A lot has happened in that time and I am grateful for the lessons I’ve learned, the relationships that have been strengthened and the family that I’ve gained.

Unfortunately, it took me a while to realize just how much I love my in-laws and I find myself wondering if I hadn’t been so insecure in my standing with them at the beginning if we would be closer than what we are right now. I feel like I am trying to play catch up and make up for time when I may have been cold or unfriendly when really, I was just young and insecure.

I wanted to share a quote from President Russell M. Nelson that he shared when he was an Elder. He stated, “Above all, don’t be selfish! Generate a spirit of selflessness and generosity. Celebrate and commemorate each day together as a treasured gift from Heaven.” I know that this is advice given to couples, but it can be related to all relationships with others. When we are generating selflessness and generosity, we are more likely to give each other the benefit of the doubt and charity.

I know that not all in law relationships are ideal, and that not all in laws are easy to get along with, but I do know that we are promised that as we treasure our families and we keep our promises that we will be blessed to spend eternity with them. That includes our parents, siblings, children, and extended family. Eternity is an awful long time to spend with people you don’t get along with. If it’s possible, learn from my mistakes and start now at building those happy relationships now, it is so worth it and awesome to gain more family. 

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Saturday, March 30, 2019

Family Councils

Have you ever heard of a family council? If so, have you ever held one? What do you do as a family to facilitate them?
If you are new to the concept of a family council, I will tell you what it is! It is no strange concept that the family is central to Heavenly Father’s plan and to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It is our ultimate goal to be with them for all eternity. The adversary knows this and is launching a full-blown war against the family.
Elder M. Russell Ballard presented an excellent way for families to touch base with each other. See how the members of the family are doing, and figure out what is going right, what’s going wrong, and what can either be continued or fixed. He recommends that families hold a weekly family council.
I’ve attached a cheat sheet that can be found here (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.that effectively breaks down what should be covered in family councils.
There are four different types of family councils that should take place. The first is a full family council consisting of all members of the family. This should be held weekly. The next is an executive family council. This should take place between husband and wife. This should also be held weekly. The third is a limited family council. This is between both parents and an individual child, this should be held monthly for each child in the family. The last is a one-on-one family council between an individual parent and individual child. This also should be held monthly. The cheat sheet I’ve attached gives a great guideline for effective questions to ask to get the conversation going.
Elder Ballard stated, “Children desperately need parents willing to listen to them, and the family council can provide a time during which family members can learn to understand and love one another.” Family councils can provide protection to both families and couples as we seek to fortify ourselves against Satan’s attacks to break down our family.

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Saturday, March 23, 2019

Let's talk about fasting...

Recently a dear friend and I were talking about our kids and how you go about discussing sexual relations with them and why we wait for marriage. She brilliantly told me that with her children she tells them that like abstaining from food while fasting, even though it is delicious and we love it, we are choosing to fast to show Heavenly Father the willingness of our hearts and that we love him, it is the same with saving sexual relations for marriage. Sexual intimacy is good, and wonderful but we must choose to wait to show Heavenly Father the willingness of our hearts and that we love him. 
I was incredibly impressed with how she worded it. Instead of stating that it is a sin, or bad which can lead to Inhibition. Sean Brotherson explains Inhibition in this sense that it "refers specifically to an avoidance of dealing with one's thoughts, feelings, desires, or behaviors related to sexual functioning in marriage. Many husbands and wives who have an adequate understanding of sexual matters in marriage still struggle to overcome negative thoughts or feelings associated with the expression of sexual love." He went on to state, "The happy news is that the vast majority of challenges that couples may encounter in their sexual relationship are usually able to be resolved by a combination of patience, effort, knowledge, skills and motivation. Yet there must first be a willingness to address issues together, particularly if there are challenges with inhibition or avoidance of dealing with feelings or specific issues." 
I know that when the time comes, and it is coming sooner than later. It is going to be key to have an open dialogue regarding sexual intimacy with my children so that they don't come to incorrect conclusions regarding sex. I will teach them the fasting analogy. Heavenly Father blessed us with this incredible expression of love to our spouses, and though it may seem old fashioned, I know that saving it for marriage and between spouses can bring us closer together as couples and closer to eternity. 

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Saturday, March 16, 2019

The Most Important Lesson

I can’t believe that I’ve finished the book I’ve been reading for my marriage course, “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work” by Dr. John M. Gottman. It was amazing, and eye opening. I am not over exaggerating when I say that I think that everyone should read it. If you’re like me though, and are incredibly short on extra time at the moment I wanted to share the most important lesson that I learned from this book. With 91% accuracy and after observing a couple for fifteen minutes Dr. Gottman could predict whether or not your marriage will work. What it comes down to is friendship.

Dr. Gottman shared some good news when he says, “Partners don’t have to achieve a perfect relationship to succeed at love. The key is learning how to better attune to each other and make friendship a top priority.” A question that Dr. Gottman shared to ask yourself is if your partner makes a mistake are you as quick to forgive it as you are a guest who just spilled red wine on your white carpet. That really gave me pause because I have to admit, that I’m not! Sometimes I want my pound of flesh. Instead of responding how I would respond to a guest, which is akin to saying “no big deal”. I want amends made, apologies uttered, chocolates delivered etc. This thought process is completely skewed and I need to take the example of Lumiere from Beauty and the Beast when he invited Belle to “Be Our Guest.”

Another lesson that I learned from my study of this book is that it is by the small and ordinary acts, our day to day that we can really nourish and build our relationships with our spouses. I was never one to carve out a weekly date with my husband, now that we have I feel closer to him. I enjoy the time we spend together. Even if it's just perusing the aisles of Walmart trying to remember our kid's shoe sizes. It's how we spend time in the ordinary that makes our marriages extraordinary. 

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