Enduring to the End, Together

“Thee lift me and I’ll lift thee, and we’ll ascend together” (Quaker proverb).

Many hard times will come, many families will experience many different trails together. The most important thing is having faith in family life. Families but create a bond of unity through religious faith. Praying morning and night together, reading scriptures, having family counsels, and  attending church together. Teaching our children family practices and gospel truths, and with that studying them ourselves. Fathers and mothers should explain important principles taught my Jesus Christ and those who speak for him. While hard times will still come for each family, with united faith in Jesus Christ you can better stand the storm.

Prayer is an important part of family life, in marriage and family. Couples should stress the importance of prayer individually and together as a family. It is important to teach our children that they are able to speak to their Heavenly Father both in good and bad times, and we must seek strength from Prayer.There is a quote I saw saying; “If you only pray when you’re in trouble, then you’re in trouble.”

Repentance and Forgiveness is made possible through the atonement of Jesus Christ. We much remember the importance of loving one another and not judging others. It is our responsibility to forgive all men. With our families, forgiveness and repentance will allow us to maintain family unity in order to better withstand struggles that life brings us, and better stand strong in our faith and with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Working together. Family work is important, each family member should pitch in and also work towards an eternal family goal. It will be different for each family, but working together by cleaning, yard work, and projects will allow family members to become better united when working toward a common goal. This teachers many lessons for family life.

Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.

 

Mother and Father Roles (FAML 100 Topic #7 & #8)

I decided to put two topics in one in order to save space on my blogs and because they go so well together.

The Mother’s Role

In The Family: A proclamation to the world, they state this about mothers.

Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children.

I find it so interesting that this is the only sentence that describes the role of a mother, everything else describes both a mother and a fathers role together. Like we talked about in marriage being an equal partnership, we much remember that mothers and fathers have an equal partnership of parenting.

Now with that aside, I want to be clear that different responsibilities, talents, attributes and so on does not mean we are not equal. In order to build a house we need different tools, a hammer, saw, nails, wrench, screw driver, ect. If we have a tool box full of hammers, nothing will get done. Mothers and fathers are different, and that is what makes building our families in the gospel possible.

Mothers are nurtures, they care for their children and teach them in the gospel of Jesus Christ. I was raised by a single mom, I was 16 when my dad left. My mom was left alone to care for 4 children, one which had special needs. She was an immigrant from Brazil, no education and she had no idea how she would support us. She was the selfless person I know, she worked nights while going to school and still made it to all of our school activities. Motherhood is thinking about others than yourself, motherhood is the most selfless act anyone can make next to the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

The Father’s Role

In the Family Proclamation it states;

By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families.

My father left our family when I was 16. I did not have a priesthood holder in my home, and I didn’t have a father figure. It wasn’t until I met my husband then I knew what a true, faithful, loving, father was. A father’s role is different than a mother’s role, and they work together in order to provide the best environment for their children. Fathers sometimes believe they need to be stern, tough and strict in order to fully achieve their goals as fathers. It is important to understand the truth that fathers who are loving, gentle, and kind achieve their fatherly goals better.

My husband and I have a special needs son. He was born with a very rare birth defect that makes him developmentally delayed, and in need of many complex doctors and specialists. He requires surguries, procedures, and vast medical attention. When our son was in the hospital, one of the many times, our son’s nurse approached me one day. She said; “when you look at Ben, you think he is a small guy. Small, shy, very nice. But then you get him in a room full of doctors and he is the biggest guy in the room.” She was telling me this because Ben took on his role as father and made sure to educate, ask questions, and guide our family in a time of uncertainty.  Husbands should show love, compassion, and respect to their wives in order to better teach their children.

In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed.

Parenting (FAML 100 Topic #6)

Along with my last blog post where I talked about the importance of including the Lord in the decision making of when to start your family. The next important step is that once you have children, you partner together with your spouse to have important parenting values.

Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.

The first part of this quote I would like to focus on says; “Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Life can get really complicated, we can get caught up in a lot of different things and loose track of those simple teachings that Jesus Christ ahas given us. When parenting our children, we must go back to those simple teachings in the New Testament. Loving one another, serving others, loving God, and many more. I always think of the things and songs we teach in primary, and I think those are the things we should base our parenting on. Now, the way we parent is going to be different for each children, and for each family. Many time spouses will not agree on parenting techniques and will need to discuss how they will parent their children. Talking together, getting creative, and keeping the teachings close to Jesus Christ  will keep us safely on track with our parenting goals. Many times we will find ourselves going back to the way our parents parented us, we won’t agree with our spouse on things, and we will compare ourselves to other parents. This is when things will get more complicated, and its good to take a step back and go back to those basic teachings of Jesus Christ.

The second part of the quote I want to talk about is; “Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.” This is something I want to focus on because it is important especially for married couples to show love, compassion, forgiveness, respect ect for one another. In order to parent together spouses need to trust and love each other, so they ca work toward a common goal and help each other. I was raised by a single mom, she did a wonderful job, but she always tells me that it would have bee better if she didn’t have to do it o her own.

So with those two ideas in mind, coming up with a way to parent is up to the child, and the married couple. There are many parenting books, seminars, experts out there that have wonderful ideas that cater more to one family than another. While searching for our type of parenting remember to keep it focused on Jesus Christ, and maintain love and respect for one another.

Children & New Parents (FAML 100 Topic #6)

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. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.

As members of the church, we are commanded to have children. This is a wonderful and sacred opportunity that husbands and wives can share together. This gives a child a body and the chance to experience life and gain earthly experience in order to progress and become like our Father in Heaven. We understand from prophets, apostles, scriptures, and other church leaders that having children is an important part of our earthly life, and as husband and wife, it is a commandment to bear children. So when is it a good time to start your family?

Ben and I both grew up in very different families, Ben was the youngest of 8 and I was the oldest of 4. His siblings all had around 3-5 children, and they all wanted big families. I didn’t, I was already dreading the idea of 3, and I didn’t want children right away either. This was something that Ben’s mom really pressured on us, she would send us conference talks, and hint at how we needed to have children because it was a commandment. This is why I want to focus my blog post today on the importance of having the Lord be a part of your marriage, in order to make these decisions as big as adding children to your family. For every couple, it will be different.

When a couple is married in the temple, they are also sealed to the Lord, which makes the Lord part of the marriage, and part of the decision making.  It is important to pray, express fears and feeling to one another and express goals and dreams one another has for the family and for your children. With that being said, children should always be apart of the plan. In the book; Successful Marriages and Families; is states;

The transition to parenthood is considered to be a normative stage in marriage. Foregoing that stage may affect the stability and satisfaction of the marriage.

Different stages of life provide different opportunities for growth. The way God has set up this life and marriage is for the betterment of ourselves. The world wants to change that and skip stages, or add stages, but when we are going to become like God, we need to follow his commandments.

Lastly, I want to emphasize the importance of not judging others. Each couple has their own stages, and experiences that they are going through, and choosing to have children is a personal decision that only the couple and the Lord should be apart of. It is not kind of us to judge and criticize others. Depend on the Lord, and his guidance when starting a family, express your fears, dreams, and hopes to your spouse and work together as you progress to Eternal Life.

 

Marital Vows and Fidelity (FAML 100 Topic #4)

The most important thing to understand about the law of chastity is that it still needs to be kept even after marriage and that the law of chastity doesn’t just mean to have sex with someone who isn’t your spouse. There is physical infidelity, and emotional infidelity which is more common. The Family:A Proclamation to The World says this about chastity;

WE WARN that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God.

the importance of keeping fidelity in marriage is said right in our covenants that we make in the temple. We need to stay committed to our spouse. In the world today cheating, not keeping marital vows is a normal thing and happens often, and they even make the consequences of those actions not true to real life. When we are not faithful to our spouse, that not only put the marriage at risk, but the children as well.

Emotional infidelity is more common than physical. Many will get caught in the idea of move romance, or think highly of someone else and then replace their husband. In one of my marriage classes we discussed a story of  a young newly married woman. She dated another guy right before he went on his mission, and then while he was on his mission she met and married her now husband. When her ex came back from his mission she ran into him while at college, the first meeting was harmless just two friends catching up, but she found herself thinking about him, taking special routes around campus to run into him, and even putting off her husband to meet up with her ex. She found that her attention went from her husband to this ex boyfriend. He was a nice guy, he wasn’t trying to seduce her, or break up her marriage, they didn’t do anything physical, but emotionally she was invested in someone else other than her husband which is what emotional infidelity is. This is more common, you might hear someone say; “well, we are just friends.” This is dangerous, emotional infidelity usually leads to physical infidelity.

Many of us may feel that our marriage isn’t the same as when we were first married. It is important to work on your marriage instead, instead of putting the effort into someone who isn’t your spouse. In order to help your marriage it is important to continue dating. Dates once a week with your spouse is important, you don’t need to spend money either, watching a movie after the kids are in bed, cooking dinner at home and having dinner together. It is important to have time away in order to be together and create memories. Going to the temple often to remember your wedding vows, something that I love doing with my husband is sealings, it remind me of our wedding day and our covenants that we made to each other and the Lord. It will take a lot of work to keep a marriage going, and to keep the focus on each other, but it is possible and worth it.

 

Husband and Wife: An Equal Partnership (FAML 100 Topic #3)

With a lot of different opinions in the world today, I wanted to touch on the subject of husbands and wives having an equal partnership. Many believe husband and wives are not equal because of their different responsibilities to the family, but what is important to note is that just because responsibilities are different does not make them equally important. The Family: A proclamation to the world says this;

HUSBAND AND WIFE have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children…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. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.

I’d like to focus on this passage, mostly because it talks about the responsibility both parents have for their children. Many families may achieve these responsibilities and goals in different ways depending on their own family situation, although the Family proclamation states the mother and father’s role int the family, it is important for both husband and wife to focus on the overall goal that the Proclamation states; “…have solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and their children.” The traditional family would state the mother should stay home, and nurture for the children while the husband works and focuses on his career in order to support the family. This is a wonderful way to have a family, and in this traditional family setting the roles are different, but still equal. I know many families where both the husband and wife work, where the husband works but the wife goes to school, or even the wife works while the husband goes to school. I know of a family where the husband stays home and the wife works, each family has a different dynamic, but the important part about this dynamic is focusing on raising the children and focusing on the teachings of the Lord, Jesus Christ.

When we look at a football game and focus on the different players, each player is important to the game and has special talents and abilities that allows their team to win  and progress. Each player has a different role, a different play through, and a different responsibility but still equal. It is the same in a family, and the same in a marriage. As we have our own families and meet other families we must not be quick to judge each marriage and family but focus on how we can better ourselves.

How husbands and wives can have an equal partnership, is by establishing goals they have for their families together. once goals are established together, then a husband and wife can both help to nourish those goals. Another suggestion in helping maintain an equal relationship is to have constant communication on ways where none or the other may feel the relationship is not equal. When having good communication where both husband and wife are heard then both can have say in the relationship and both can contribute. While having goo communication and keeping goals in mind, husband and wife can maintain an equal relationship where both can use their different talents and personalities to build and work toward one overall goal.

Dating & Marriage (FAML 100 Topic #2)

For the topic this week I thought I would talk about the journey of dating, and the wonderful end result of marriage.

In Hawkins’ book, Successful Marriages and Families he talks about the different steps that lead to marriage: The Awareness and Acquaintance Phase, Transition from Acquaintance to Buildup, The Buildup Phase, and lastly, Commitment and Continuation. I want to use Ben and I’s relationship and love story as an example for transitions between these steps.

The Awareness and Acquaintance Phase
What is the first thing we look at when spotting a potential partner? Looks. I know that sounds shallow, but its true, and there isn’t anything wrong with looking for someone who is physically attractive. This is a necessary part of attraction, but not the most important part. When I first met Ben, we were in the same Family Home-evening Group at BYU-Idaho. He introduced himself, and I thought he was cute. He was shy and didn’t talk much so we didn’t get to know each other very well. It wasn’t until later in the semester when I really got to know Ben when I found him more attractive. When we date we are trying to find someone who we want to spend eternity with, that person needs to have a lot more qualities than being attractive, and there are many things that each of us desire in a eternal companion. One thing that was important to me, was humor. I wanted someone who was funny and could make me laugh. It is important for me to laugh especially in hard times, and that was one of the first things that attracted me to Ben, he was funny.

Transition from Acquaintance to Buildup
In Hawkins’ book be describes the difficulty many couples and individuals have when transitioning to a relationship from friends. Ben and I didn’t have a problem of moving our relationship forward, but I had many roommates and friends who did. Since so many are different in their own transitions the communication to wanting to move forward in a new relationship can be hard. The best way to go about this is to go on a date, in a group or by yourselves. This gives the couple a time to get to know each other, and doing something fun takes stress of the new potential relationship.

The Buildup Phase
There are two process that happen in this phase, as Hawkins’ suggests. Developing mature love, and seeking mutual influence. When people seek mutual influence they are seeking equality in their relationship in which both people contribute equally to the relationship, what was interesting to read about was that Hawkins found relationships that started out physical were less likely to have a mutual influence. The best equality in a relationship was when it started out as a friendship. Mature love is what leads to success in marriage and family life. Mature love can be seen as someone who allows room for growth, someone who is willing to commit, or sacrifice for the other person. While immature love is when someone is making excuses, not committing, and seeking lust rather than love.

Commitment and Continuation
For many, the decision of marriage is hard and a long process. As members of the church a really important part of deciding marriage is a spiritual confirmation. Since this decision is very important for members of the church, they take spiritual confirmation very seriously. When I prayed to know if Ben and I should get married, the answer came to me as a peaceful feeling. I didn’t get an overwhelming feeling, just a calm feeling, which is exactly what I needed. It was important to me that the man I married was dedicated to not just the gospel, but to God and Jesus Christ. However he chose to be committed was his choice, but I wanted to see that and the love he had for them. Many times in our relationship Ben and proven to me multiple times that he would commit to me and our family because of the commitment he had to the Lord. He looked for the same thing in me, and that is what gives out marriage mature love and commitment.

Getting Married
Ben and I were married for time and all eternity in the LDS Dallas, Texas temple. Our wedding was not fancy, not big, and not what I dreamed my wedding would be like. But I still loved it, because it was the start of all our adventures together with our new family. As I was dating I pictured my wedding in a certain way, I wanted my dress, the food, the reception to be a certain way. It wasn’t until after I was married, when Ben and I had our first trial when I knew that the wedding stuff didn’t matter, it was the stuff before that. The building a relationship, developing mature love and mutual influence that was what made our relationship strong and made us better and withstanding trials when they came our way.

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