Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The R.A.M. - Relationship Attachment Model

I am learning about the R.A.M. in my Marriage Prep course this semester. Is it silly that I'm taking a marriage preperation class when I've already been married for almost 14 years? No. It's really helpful for me to identify ways that I can be a better spouse to this amazing guy.
Which in turn will help me be an even better person when it comes to the people I love. 
John Van Epp, Ph. D., describes the R.A.M. like a sound system equalizer with five sliders. The slider on the far left represents the extent that you really know someone. As you get to know them better and the slider goes up your relationship gets richer. The next represents the trust you have for that person. The higher the bar, the deeper the trust. Next is how much you rely on this person. The higher the bar the greater ways you depend on them to meet your significant needs. The fourth is the level of commitment you have established with this person. Lastly, sexual touch. Elevating this slider obviously shows the level of sexual contact with your partner (pgs 22-23).
When all five sliders are at the same level you are in a healthy relationship. When even on is low attachment is weakened.

Here is what Epp labels one of the most important keys to building a healthy relationship:
  "Keep a balance among the five relationship dynamics."

He goes on to say, "...When you keep these five dynamics in balance with each other so that you are not moving further ahead in one area than in any of the others, then you are securely planted in the safe zone" (pg 24).

Thus far the most important paragraph I have read is this one:

"There is one basic rule for guarding the safe zone: never go further in one bonding area than you have gone in the previous. This rule is based on the view that the five bonding dynamics have a specific order and logic to them: what  you know about a person determines the degree you should trust him or her; this trust directs you in choosing what personal needs you can rely on him or her to meet; you should become committed only to the extent that you know, trust, and depend on that person; and finally, any degree of sexual involvement is safest when it matches the context of the overall intimacy reflected in the levels of the other four dynamics.

Slipping out of the safe zone explains the most common mistake people make in relationships" (pg 25). 

In summary, relationships should be established according to these five sliders, and they should go in order from left to right. Know them before you trust them. Trust them before you rely on them. Rely on them and then commit. Have a serious commitment before you have any sexual involvement. 

Everything I quoted today was from my awesome text book, "How To Avoid Falling In Love With A Jerk: The Foolproof Way to Follow Your Heart Without Losing Your Mind" by John Van Epp, Ph.D.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

The Marriage Triangle

I am taking an awesome class on the family so I thought I'd share some things I am learning. What I'm about to share with you is from one of my favorite articles, but first a reminder of what I'm talking about.
The talk I am taking Elder Bednar's words from can be found here.

Disclaimer: I made my own images for this so they might be a bit silly...

Imagine that marriage is a triangle.

At the bottom you will have your husband and your wife. And at the top you will find God.
 Here is where the advice comes in. Put God first. Simple, right? But why should we put God first? Isn't our spouse supposed to be number one?

As we begin to put the Lord first we move closer to him on the triangle...

As we move closer to God we also move closer to our spouse!

Here is what Elder Bednar says,

The Lord Jesus Christ is the focal point in a covenant marriage relationship. Please notice how the Savior is positioned at the apex of this triangle, with a woman at the base of one corner and a man at the base of the other corner. Now consider what happens in the relationship between the man and the woman as they individually and steadily “come unto Christ” and strive to be “perfected in Him” (Moro. 10:32). Because of and through the Redeemer, the man and the woman come closer together.

And this is the important part:

As a husband and wife are each drawn to the Lord (see 3 Ne. 27:14), as they learn to serve and cherish one another, as they share life experiences and grow together and become one, and as they are blessed through the uniting of their distinctive natures, they begin to realize the fulfillment that our Heavenly Father desires for His children. Ultimate happiness, which is the very object of the Father’s plan, is received through the making and honoring of eternal marriage covenants.
 So, there you have it. Marital advice from your favorite Marriage and Family Studies student and and an Apostle of God!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Warriors of Peace: Part 9

Warriors of Peace
Talk given on Feb. 28, 2016
by Bill Peavoy

Part 9: A Call to Action

Our prophet, Thomas S. Monson, quoted Edmond Burke when he said, ““All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men [or women] do nothing.”

The family proclamation is a blatant call to action.  We are encouraged to fight this fight in any way we feel prompted by the spirit.  Apostles have recently encouraged us to get involved in social media, to create blogs, to write letters to our political leaders, to volunteer on committees, to run for office, among a host of other options to choose from.  In this war for the Family, they do not expect us to do everything, but they do expect us to be doing something.  Will you be a Lion or a Lamb?

In closing, allow me to read from the chorus of one of our greatest Battle Hymns…
“Fear not, though the enemy deride
Courage, for the Lord is on our side
We will heed not what the wicked may say
But the Lord, alone we will obey.”

in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Warriors of Peace: Part 8

Warriors of Peace
Talk given on Feb. 28, 2016
by Bill Peavoy

Part 8: We are to be Warriors in this Battle

There are countless talks about our role as warriors in this battle.  Durrel Woolsey of the seventy gave a talk titled “A Strategy for War” wherein he said, “Some of you may say, “I don’t have the time.” Then he said very seriously, “Brothers and Sisters, you simply cannot afford not to take the time.”   

The timing of my talk today is no coincidence.  I read in the church news yesterday that this very Sunday, across Utah, as has been done in other election years, Bishops are reading a letter over the pulpit from the first presidency encouraging the saints to get active and participate in the political process.   This particular first presidency letter is dated Feb 17 and one paragraph says…

“We are concerned that citizen participation rates in Utah are among the lowest in the nation, and we urge greater involvement by members of the church in the 2016 election cycle.”  Bishops and Stake Leaders have been asked to not plan any church related meetings or activities on the day that Utah will hold its party caucus meetings.  Obviously the church isn’t directing the saints on which party to support, only that they should get involved and make their voice heard. 

What I find interesting in their letter is that they point out that Utah currently has some of the lowest political participation in the United States.  Having lived there I can assure you that this hasn’t always been the case.  Utah has been known historically for its high voter turnout and impressive citizen involvement.  Why is participation diminishing?  I have many good and faithful friends that are getting tired in this battle.  Even though they know who wins in the end, they are sensing that the battle is not going well.  Consequently they are swinging the sword of truth less and less.  Perhaps they are sitting back, and waiting for the Lord to come and fix things.

The brethren have been very clear about whether we should just sit around and wait for the Lord to fix all our problems, or wait to be commanded in all things what we should do.  They recently released a series of talks about Getting Politically Informed and Involved.   To read them simply go to LDS.org and search for the words informed and involved.  The talk answers questions such as, How to Stay Informed? Why Should I Care? And most importantly, What Can I Do?

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Warriors of Peace: Part 7

Warriors of Peace
Talk given on Feb. 28, 2016
by Bill Peavoy

Part 7: Defenders of the Family Proclamation

As I mentioned earlier, the tools of this war are words and these days, not a general conference goes by without at least one talk covering our duties and responsibilities as warriors in this battle.  Back in 2012, Jeffrey R. Holland gave an incredible talk entitled “Israel Israel God is calling” where he referenced how in every previous dispensation, “when things got too sinful, or there was too much secularization in society, or life with the Gentiles was destroying the moral code and commandments God had given, the children of the covenant would be sent fleeing into the wilderness to re-establish Zion and start all over.”

He mentioned Abraham fleeing Babylon to seek Canaan.  Moses bringing Isreal out of Egypt.  Lehi leaving the wicked Jerusalem, and only a few years later, Nephi having to flee with the righteous members of his family, separating themselves from those who wouldn’t hearken to the counsel of God.  The brother of Jared fleeing Babylon.  He made special mention of the pilgrims who fled the spiritual tyranny of Europe and colonized early America in order to worship as they wished.  Then the early saints were hounded through the states of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Missouri and finally Illinois until they were eventually forced to flee the borders of the United States into the mountains of Utah.  When the United States territory eventually caught up with them there, some fled again settling communities outside US borders which includes the unique and special history of Cardston, founded because of a government’s attack on the family.

Elder Holland pointed out that “for more than 4,000 years of covenantal history, this has been the pattern of the righteous: Flee and seek. Run and settle. Escape Babylon. Build Zion’s protective walls.”  But he went on to declare that we will run no longer.  We are done running.  Today, we will stay and fight. In that talk he encourages us to “Never Check Our Religion at the Door” and later he teaches how we are to “Use Gospel Values to Benefit our Communities and Countries.”

In Last April’s conference, Sister Oscarson gave a talk titled, Defenders of the Family Proclamation.  In it she concludes, “Let us help build the kingdom of God by standing up boldly and being defenders of marriage, parenthood, and the home. The Lord needs us to be brave, steadfast, and immovable warriors who will defend His plan and teach the upcoming generations His truths.”

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Warriors of Peace: Part 6

Warriors of Peace
Talk given on Feb. 28, 2016
by Bill Peavoy

Part 6: The Family Proclamation Continued

But have you read the proclamation lately?  This document is over 20 years old and it is more relevant today than it has ever been.  Have you ever stopped to wonder what this document really is?  Most people would say it is simply an explanation of our beliefs about the importance of the family.  But I reread the whole thing this week and I now believe it is much more than that.  

Why did they call it a Proclamation to the World?  I looked up the definition… a proclamation is a public and official announcement dealing with a matter of great importance.  Synonyms include announcement, declaration and notification.  So what are we declaring to the world, who are we notifying?  Brothers and Sisters this document is simultaneously a declaration of war and a call to arms for those willing to fight in it.  It is filled with bold and strong language that many people today are finding more and more offensive.  Each powerful sentence drops a bomb on the heresy of Babylon.  In fact, people are now leaving the church over these “controversial” doctrines.

With this declaration, our generals have drawn a very clear line in the sand and then have asked, like Joshua of old, Who will stand on the Lord’s side?  The true intent of this proclamation is summarized in its last two sentences which I have felt prompted to focus on this morning.  Please let me read them to you…

WE WARN (notice that those 2 words are purposely written in ALL CAPS I would argue that that was intentional and strategic).  WE WARN that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.  WE CALL UPON (again those 3 words are written in ALL CAPS, they are calling upon someone, I would argue that they are calling upon you and I).  WE CALL UPON responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society. They don’t hide the fact that this is a very political document. 

Monday, March 14, 2016

Warriors of Peace: Part 5

Warriors of Peace
Talk given on Feb. 28, 2016
by Bill Peavoy

Part 5: The Family Proclamation:

So by now you are probably wondering, what does all this have to do with the Family Proclamation? 

Brothers and Sisters we are at war.  There is currently a very real spiritual and political war being waged against the family.  The tools of this war are words.  We have all lived long enough to see the adversary successfully take the definition of marriage and turn it completely upside down. 

Our children are being targeted and indoctrinated with the philosophies of men and anyone who speaks in opposition are quickly and venomously labeled as bigoted, homophobic or any number of other words used by today’s clever media to discredit truth.  There are court cases going on right now where same-gender couples are fighting for, not just equal rights to adopt, but for preferential treatment similar to affirmative action, because their adoption requests have been overlooked for so long.  A couple of years ago, the country of France banned the words Mother and Father from all future legal documents, including birth certificates, because those words are now considered offensive.  This past September, the Province of Ontario voted to do the same thing stating, and I quote “the words mother and father are no longer a proper reflection of today’s Ontario families and more appropriate terminology ought to be used.” 

Brothers and Sisters, please don’t mistake me as being partisan from the pulpit.  This has nothing to do with political parties.  When Ontario voted to ban the words Mother and Father, the vote in the legislature was unanimous.  Unbelievably it was supported by every member of every party holding a seat.  Make no mistake about it, we are at war and in some ways it is easy to believe that we are losing.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Warriors of Peace: Part 4

Warriors of Peace
Talk given on Feb. 28, 2016
by Bill Peavoy

Part 4: We should be a paradox too

Admittedly, this paradox is difficult to fully understand, but it is critical that we do, because we are commanded to be like Him.  The scriptures are full of references that we are to be peaceful, “blessed are the peacemakers,” “blessed are the meek,” we are supposed to be full of patience, humility, gentleness and charity.  We are supposed to be soft spoken, loving, kind and forgiving.

But there are also references that we are to be warriors.  We are to fight against wickedness as defenders of the gospel.  The scriptures don’t refer to wielding the rose pedals of truth, but rather we are to put on the whole Armor of God, fearlessly brandishing truth as a sword.  We are to boldly open our mouths and cry repentance with courage and a loud voice.  There is enough evidence in the scriptures for us to conclude that, like the Savior we strive to emulate, we also are to be both a Lion and a Lamb.    

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Warriors of Peace: Part 3

Warriors of Peace
Talk given on Feb. 28, 2016
by Bill Peavoy

Part 3: The Paradox of Jesus Continued

Within hours Jesus was dead.  Offered as a sacrifice like a Lamb.  And what about the Mighty Kingdom?  What about the utter destruction of all the wicked?  Where was the prophesied wrath and vengeance?

Today, most Christians on the earth teach that Jesus is exclusively a God of love and peace and forgiveness.  Many who anticipate his second coming will be looking for the gentle Jesus. Someone who will come to them with a warm embrace and full acceptance and tolerance and they will likely expect him to be very politically correct and understanding.  They may be surprised, because when he comes this next time he will come not as the Lamb, but as the Lion.  The wicked will run away from him in terror and the whole earth will be burned in his righteous wrath as foretold.

Brothers and Sisters, like our Hymn book, Jesus is a powerful paradox.  He is both the Humble Servant and the Warrior King.  He is both the Lamb and the Lion.  At the judgment bar of God, He will be our advocate and defense attorney, but he will also be our prosecutor, our judge and our punisher.