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.

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. 

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. 


Saturday, March 9, 2019

It's Not About The Nail

This week we are talking about conflict. Each marriage has two different types of problems: solvable and perpetual. The majority of them are perpetual, meaning that they aren’t going to be solved and the couple will need to figure out a compromise in order for them not to fester and cause disgust which will eventually rot the relationship. I don’t know about you, but I usually prefer to avoid conflict. Then other times, I’m feeling froggy...sometimes, I’m just in the mood to fight. It’s not good, I know. At those times, it’s usually over a perpetual problem that has been festering. Thankfully Dr. John Gottman shared some ways to successfully navigate conflict and advice on how to make repairs in order to lower the tension from said conflicts.

The underlying key to successfully address conflict according to Dr. Gottman is "Communicating basic acceptance of your partner’s personality. Human nature dictates that it is virtually impossible to accept advice from someone unless you feel that that person understands you. So the bottom-line rule is that, before you ask your partner to change the way he or she drives, eats, or makes love, you must make your partner feel that you are understanding.” I also think that we need to remember another important lesson that I learned from Dr. Gottman, “in all arguments, both solvable and perpetual, no one is ever right. There is no absolute reality in marital conflict, only two subjective realities.” This was something that really shook me. I have always had such black and white thinking when it comes to marriage and conflict.

I wanted to share a youtube video that makes me laugh every time I watch it because it’s so true and applies to most conflicts between husbands and wives and backs up the quote I shared above about addressing conflict by Dr. Gottman. I think it would do all of us well to remember that it’s not about the nail.


Saturday, March 2, 2019

We Can Do It!

For this week’s topic in my marriage course we are learning about Pride and how it can and often is detrimental in a marriage, but what is Pride? President Ezra Taft Benson said that, “Most of us think of pride as self-centeredness, conceit, boastfulness, arrogance, or haughtiness. All of these are elements of the sin, but the heart, or core, is still missing.

The central feature of pride is enmity—enmity toward God and enmity toward our fellowmen. Enmity means “hatred toward, hostility to, or a state of opposition.”
I found it so interesting that we have so much focus on the elements of the sin, but at the heart of it, pride is so much deeper. Pride destroys marriages because in our hearts there is hatred, hostility, or a state of opposite. Those aren’t exactly the feelings that we promised to have when we chose the person to love and to cherish for all eternity, or for some, at least until death do you part. With pride, it is likely you will be parting a lot sooner.
So what can we do about it? How can we fix it? President Benson thankfully shared that answer as well when he stated, “The antidote for pride is humility—meekness, submissiveness. It is the broken heart and contrite spirit.”

How can we be humble? He shared wise council on that as well:
·       “We can choose to humble ourselves by conquering enmity toward our brothers and sisters, esteeming them as ourselves, and lifting them as high or higher than we are.”
·       “We can choose to humble ourselves by receiving counsel and chastisement. We can choose to humble ourselves by forgiving those who have offended us.”
·       “We can choose to humble ourselves by rendering selfless service.”
·       “We can choose to humble ourselves by going on missions and preaching the word that can humble others.”
·       “We can choose to humble ourselves by getting to the temple more frequently.”
·       “We can choose to humble ourselves by confessing and forsaking our sins and being born of God.”
·       “We can choose to humble ourselves by loving God, submitting our will to His, and putting Him first in our lives.”
Let us choose to be humble. We can do it. I know we can.”
Just as President Benson knows that we can choose to be humble, I know that we can too. It’s hard, but it is so worth it when it comes to forming lasting, eternal relationships with those whom we love. They are worth it, and so are we.