Thursday, April 5, 2018
Newlyweds are sometimes on a different planet. They're so in love that they live above everyone else. Unfortunately, often it is the couple's parents that rip them down off cloud nine. With problems like "Well, who's house are you going to for Christmas dinner? Ours or theirs?" And "Whose egg salad is better? Mine or hers?" A couple can find themselves in quite a predicament.
Add to this that each spouse is bringing their own parents beliefs into the marriage and it begins to pile up. Bernard Poduska says this, "As you begin your transition from single life to married life with children, be assured you will have to overcome difficulties. Many of these difficulties may originate in something else you brought with you to your marriage: your separate sets of 'family rules'.... Some of these [rules] will create conflict within the individual, and some will create conflict between the individuals. (Poduska, p. 26).
Even if both sets of parents stay out of a marriage, and let the couple grow into each other, their beliefs are shaping the way the marriage will unfold. It is important for couples to figure out which rules work for them from their earlier lives and which rules don't. There should be compromise and understanding in building new family rules and traditions.
Genesis 2:24 tells us "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife." We should be devoted to our spouses. This means we need to put our trust into each other and work together to make our new "marital identities". This is where they figure out what is important to them and share it. They figure out new values, rules, and traditions. As they begin to branch out from the life they knew as kids their parents should be understanding and helpful.
Often times, this is not the case. It is hard for parents to let go of their children. After all, they raised them,  scrubbed their laundry, changed their diapers, named them, kissed their boo boos, and made them who they are today (or at least shaped who they are today). In the cases where spouses to do not get along with their in laws it may help to remember that they did create the spouse that they love, so there must be something great in them. The authors of "Helping and Healing our Families" offers, "If a married couple finds a parent... to be disruptive... to their marriage, they can approach the problem together" (Harper, et al, p. 332). It is important for couples to do just that, solve problems together. If couples let their problems separate and isolate them from each other instead of using those times to find ways to grow closer their marriages will suffer. It is important to set up boundaries with people outside of the marriage to help create a happy and healthy marriage.
I have been blessed with a mother-in-law who is nothing but grateful to me for loving her son. She is lovely and loving. My parents love to spend time with our little family and show love and support in the best ways they know how. With a little work, some compromise, and appropriate boundaries a couple can have a great relationship amongst themselves and with other family members.
My side of the family. Love these inlaws!
Harper, J. M., and Olsen, S. F., (2005). "Helping and Healing our Families: Principles and practices inspired by "the family: a proclamation tot he world"". School of Family Life. Brigham Young University. Deseret Book Company. 
Poduska, B. E., (2000). "Till Debt Do Us Part: Balancing finances, feelings, and family". Shadow Mountain. Salt Lake City, Utah.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Gospel Based Parenting

Cardston Temple, May 2017
The proclamation gives a fantastic and substantial list of principles and way parents should seek to establish a happy and successful family. It suggests that significant teaching is necessary to bring about the positive outcomes that each parent desires for their children. The gospel helps us to find the behaviors we want to teach and shares how to teach them.

While kids can and will be very influenced by their peers, they can be even more influenced by their parents. An example of this is that when parents teach their kids to avoid drugs they are less likely to use drugs, even when their best friends abuse drugs! The text book, “Successful Marriages and Families: Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives” teaches that better parenting by mothers alone leads to a reduction in deviant behavior in their sons. This boost actually leads to better relationships between mom and son.

The book “Hold on to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More than Peers” by Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Mate is recommended reading for parents who want a to have a better relationship with their kids than their children's peers have with them.

As parents we should heed Brigham Young's counsel to "study our children's dispositions and temperament, and deal with them accordingly" (Hawkins, et al). We have the opportunity to help our kids develop the positive traits we desire for them and to help them overcome undesirable tendencies. In doing this we can teach our children to fly.

Flying Lessons 2017
When we are close to each of our children the Lord will bless us with "a spiritual early warning system" (Hawkins et al) which helps us as parents sense problems that may be emerging. When this happens, we need to prayerfully ask for help and use deliberate intervention methods.

In Richard B. Miller’s address to at the BYU Conference on Family Life he states, “In healthy, well-functioning families, there is a clear hierarchy between parents and children… Parents should not be harsh, domineering or dictatorial, but they are the leaders of the family, and the children need to follow that leadership” (Miller, 2008).

Spencer W. Kimball said, “Discipline is probably one of the most important elements in which a mother and father can lead and guide and direct their children… Setting limits to what a child can do means to that child that you love him and respect him. IF you permit the child to do all the things he would like to do without any limits, that means to him that you do not care much about him” (Kimball).
Latter Day prophets have counseled against the use of physical punishment with children. It is suggested that "infrequent, non abusive spanking, in the context of an otherwise warm and responsive relationship, may not cause lasting harm, but it is not likely to be a teaching moment" (Hawkins, et al). I have spanked my children in the past and have found this to be true. It really doesn't seem to be effective in anything except straining the relationship of myself and my child. I went to a class on parenting boys that advised that they need to be spanked to learn. The teacher suggested that girls learn differently and don't need spankings, but boys need that pain to remember lessons. Well, they remember that mom spanked them, but the bad behavior seems to be repeated. With my boys I find that explaining why it's not an appropriate behavior and coming up with different ways to deal with it are better at deterring the bad behavior in the future.

About a year ago we took our kids to an indoor children's festival where Rosena fell in love with a Thomas the Train bouncy house. We decided to move on to the next section and failed to notice when Rosena left our little group to return to her beloved Thomas. In a moment of panic we put the big kids in charge of the little kids and I went to contact security. Bill went back to retrace our steps and returned shortly with Rosena in his arms. This was a fantastic teaching moment on why it's important to follow guidance from your parents in order to be safe. There were not spankings or harsh words spoken. We all embraced her and told her that we loved her. She has not disappeared like that since.
This was before she went missing.
If we counsel with our spouses and our children regularly and invite the Holy Spirit into our homes we will see success in our parenting efforts and in our family relationships.

Hawkins, A. J., Dollahite, D. C., and Draper, T. W. “Successful Marriages and Families: Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives.

Kimball, S. W. TSWK pp. 340, 341.

Miller, R. B. (2008). “Who Is the Boss? Power Relationships in Families”. BYU. Provo, UT.

Friday, March 23, 2018

A few years back, a friend confided in me that she was falling out of love with her husband. He wasn't the same man anymore. He didn't tell her everything/anything. He was a good man and he was a great father but she just didn't love him the same way. She told me about how she knew she couldn't leave him because she covenanted with God that she would marry him and stay with him. She couldn't break her covenants. She felt lost and alone. She didn't know what to do.

Fast forward to 6 months later. She had been praying and fasting. She asked the Lord what she should do. One day a friend came to her door and told her she had bought her a flight to go spend time with her husband (who was going to school far away, somewhere warm). Her words: "The day of my flight arrived. I headed out the door for my 2.5 hour drive to the airport, excited and anxious. I listened to some podcasts on marriage as I drove. Then I prayed. “Heavenly Father? I’m exhausted. I’m working on being willing to stay in this marriage, but I am so tired. Help me get both feet in this. I need a miracle this weekend. Please help me. I can’t do this on my own…” Later she found him in the airport, "and then we embraced. I use the word embrace because that hug was no ordinary hug. We had been less than affectionate to each other for quite some time. There was love in that embrace. “That was strange.” Was the first thing he said. The rest of our weekend together was simply incredible. It was healing. We were submerged in forgiveness and found understanding for each other.
It hasn’t worn off. Hurray! Our love for each other was rekindled and we are keeping the flame alive. Neither of us are na├»ve to the fact that we have a life long of challenges ahead of us. But, I have learned and experienced that forgiveness can be found and love can be rekindled and burn deeper than one could ever imagine." (Shared from my friend's blog with permission.)

Fast forward to 2 years later. They have a new baby, they're still in love. She has had a complete change of heart. She now sees him as God does and they couldn't be happier. It was only through the grace of God and her willingness to submit to it that she was able to overcome her thoughts, overcome her weaknesses, and learn to love him with all her heart again.

Spencer W. Kimball said, "There are those married people who permit their eyes to wander and their hearts to become vagrant, who think it is not improper to flirt a little, to share their hearts and have desire for someone other than the wife or the husband. The Lord says in no uncertain terms: “Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else” (D&C 42:22). And, when the Lord says all thy heart, it allows for no sharing nor dividing nor depriving. And, to the woman it is paraphrased: “Thou shalt love thy husband with all thy heart and shalt cleave unto him and none else.” The words none else eliminate everyone and everything. The spouse then becomes preeminent in the life of the husband or wife, and neither social life nor occupational life nor political life nor any other interest nor person nor thing shall ever take precedence over the companion spouse." (Kimball, 1972).
Whatever relationships we choose to foster will flourish. Whomever we spend time with will benefit and grow from our presence. It is important to choose our eternal companion over others. My friend did. It took her some time, but some would say now that they have one of the best relationships they have ever seen.

Dr. Goddard tells us that we shouldn't even allow these thoughts any time in our heads. He says, "Do not entertain mental fantasies of romance or passion" (Goddard, p. 94). Matthew 5:28 tells us the same thing:

"But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart."

Dr. Goddard gives 10 tips to stay out of trouble:

1. Do not allow the seeds of lust to germinate.
2. Never make excuses to spend time alone with a person of the opposite sex who is not your spouse.
3. Do  not be flirty with anyone but your spouse.
4. Do not allow your heart to dwell on anyone.
5. If you find yourself making excuses for continuing the relationship, you are addicted. Get help.
6. Spend more enjoyable time with your spouse.
7. Renew your spiritual efforts.
8. Don't set yourself up for failure.
9. Keep your soul free of the soul-numbing barrenness of pornography.
10. Celebrate the sweet gift of companionship. (Goddard, p. 94-95).

If we put up a fight for our marriages, and really nurture and protect them we will be blessed throughout eternity where we will find that our spouses are truly more noble and godly then we ever thought they could be.

Goddard, H. (2009). “Drawing Heaven into Your Marriage: Eternal Doctrines that Change Relationships”. Joymap Publishing. 3933 W. 9850 N Ceder Hills, Utah, USA.

Spencer W. Kimball, Faith Precedes the Miracle (1972), 142–43.

See Hannah's story here: 

Saturday, March 17, 2018

As someone who wants to be a marriage counselor, I have been doing some research. I have dragged my husband to see different marriage counselors, to some marriage retreats, and to several marriage seminars. Each one preaches effective communication and as part of that, active listening.
Active listening is when one member of a partnership says something, and then their companion repeats it, either word for word, or in their own words. For example, if you were to practice active listening with me and this blog post, you would either repeat back "So your saying, Active listening is when someone says something and their partner repeats it back", or "From what I understand, active listening is repeating back what your partner says when they are finished to check understanding". Whatever feels more natural is recommended, although to start out it is often easier to just repeat back as best as you can.
This skill can be very helpful if you and your spouse have a hard time listening to each other or communicating effectively. Dr. Goddard however points out that a potato salad that has been left out in the heat for a week cannot be fixed by spreading a fresh layer of egg slices on top. It will still be rotten underneath. He says, "A soul is like potato salad. When our souls are permeated with accusation and demands, there is no skill that can cover our malice and meanness" (Goddard, p. 132). He quotes a friend who says, "Much of the emotional pain that we have does not come from the love that we were not given in the past, but from the love we ourselves are not giving in the present" (Goddard, p. 133).
I have examples of this from my own marriage. There have been times that I have been so angry at my (dear sweet) husband that I could just scream, or kick a door in. In those times, I find that if I just humbled myself and get down on my knees (especially when they refuse to bend) that the Lord can heal my heart and help me to heal the hurt that I think is directed at me, but in reality is often being aimed right at the accused.
Seriously, who could be mad at this face?
Dr. Gottman says, "It takes courage to be less critical of an unresponsive mate, and it takes courage to turn toward a partner who's always harping on your flaws. But both changes are necessary to end the cycle." This take more humility and a dose of charity as well. If we can be charitable to our spouses we are allowing the Lord to be a partner in our marriage.

C.S Lewis said this on the topic of charity, "When I come to my evening prayers and try to reckon up the sins of the day, nine times out of ten the most obvious one is some sin against charity; I have sulked or snapped or sneered or snubbed or stormed. And the excuse that immediately springs to my mind is that the provocation was so sudden and unexpected: I was caught off my guard." It's easy to be a victim. It's easy to harbor resentment towards those that hurt us. It's heroic, it's brave, it's Christlike to forgive in humility, to repent of our part, and to respond in charitable ways.

Goddard, H. (2009). “Drawing Heaven into Your Marriage: Eternal Doctrines that Change Relationships”. Joymap Publishing. 3933 W. 9850 N Ceder Hills, Utah, USA.

Gottman, J., and Silver, N. (1995, 2015). The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country’s Foremost Relationship Expert. Harmony Books Penguin Random House Company, New York.

Lewis, C.S. (1960). "Mere Christianity". New York: Macmillan, 164-165.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Consecration in Commitment
I have talked about "covenant marriage" many times, but today I learned about "consecration in commitment". It's very similar, in that a couple who share in giving 50/50 will not do as well as one whose individuals each give 100%. Dr. Goddard however takes this even a step further and states:

"There is nothing in God's work I will ever do that will be more important than blessing my covenant partner."

Wow. Can you imagine if you thought that about your spouse and he/she thought that about you? That would be the marriage of all marriages. Goddard himself is not perfect though. For example, he's a bit OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). He loves clean counters and is very precise in how he squeezes his toothpaste, no thumb dents in the middle of the tube for him, but his wife, she's like me! She's a thumb denter! This makes Goddard's eye twitch. He describes it as this, "When Nancy grabs the tube in the middle and thoughtlessly squeezes, a shudder runs through my soul. She seems like a good person . . . how could she act in such a reckless way?" This does not end in screaming matches though, he just bought a clip for the end of his paste so that "none of the toothpaste can retreat and hide" (Goddard, p. 104). As for me and my spouse, we have our own tubes!

Dr. Goddard and Dr. Gottman share some common ground when they talk about making requests. They both recommend a "soft start up" (Gottman's words). For example, a mom who is exhausted at the end of the day could have a harsh start up and say, "I am so sick of putting these kids to bed! You never do it! Why don't you get your lazy butt up and put them to bed for once in our marriage!?" To which the husband would probably reply with defense and contempt of his own. Instead she could use this approach, "I'm so tired tonight. I would love your help putting the kids to bed. Is that something you could help me with?" or "I'm feeling a little overwhelmed by putting the kids to bed tonight you can do it tonight?" I like to imagine I'm starting up as softly as this cute kitty would.
 Dr. Gottman says this, "I can't emphasize enough how important it is to the fate of your marriage to soften up... If you're angry with your spouse, it's worth taking a deep breath and thinking through how to broach the subject" (Gottman, p. 167).

So here's my issue: I'm a volcanoer. What's that? Well, I hate confrontation, so instead of taking my issues to my husband in a tenderly upfront kind of way with a soft start up, I push that issue down inside my volcano and leave it be. For about 10 years of my marriage I thought I was doing us both a favor but during my "Communications" class I learned that I was doing the opposite. We had to complete and activity where we would bring up an issue with our spouse that hadn't been resolved, follow the steps of good communication, and solve it. Well, I pulled out a piece of burning lava and we started to talk about it. Well, when you pull up a bit of lava the rest wants to follow and this resulted in a volcanic eruption of every little thing that had gone wrong in my entire life. My poor husband was covered in volcanic ash, magma, lava, and the horror of it all.
It's been a long road but we are working on not building volcanoes anymore. I try to bring things up as soon as they happen, but I really need to work on the soft start up. Thanks to "The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work" I am starting to get those tools.

Benson, E. T. (1989). "Beware of Pride". Ensign, May 1989, 4.

Goddard, H. (2009). “Drawing Heaven into Your Marriage: Eternal Doctrines that Change Relationships”. Joymap Publishing. 3933 W. 9850 N Ceder Hills, Utah, USA.

Gottman, J., and Silver, N. (1995, 2015). The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country’s Foremost Relationship Expert. Harmony Books Penguin Random House Company, New York.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Pride in Marriage

Did you know that according to scientific research and countless hours of studies John Gottman has found that "when a man is not willing to share power with his partner there is an 81 percent chance that his marriage will self-destruct"?(Gottman, p. 116).
That is extremely high, don't you think?

I think this can go the other way too, us women can be a little prideful too. Here's an example, you say something stupid, the Hubby calls you on it, you puff up your chest and walk away. OR, your hubby says something stupid, you call him on it, and when he apologizes you "harumph!" and walk away.
Now, this doesn't mean that we should keep everything to ourselves either because as Gottman points out, "trying to suppress negative feelings in your spouse's presence wouldn't be good for your marriage or your blood pressure" (Gottman, p. 120).
There are ways to express feelings in humble ways. Humbly expressing truth in a tenderly upfront kind of way is best, although at times difficult... there's that pride creeping in again!
Dr. Goddard points out that if we want to have more spiritual power and eliminate pride it must be done in the spirit of total humility. He gave examples of Alma who did a complete turnaround, but only because he "cried within [his] heart: O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me, who am in the gall of bitterness, and am encircled about by the everlasting chains of death" (Alma 36:18). Other scriptural examples of men who were changed by repentance include the Publican in Luke 18:13 who said, "God be merciful to me, a sinner", King Benjamin's people in Mosiah 4:2 who cried out, "O have mercy, and apply the atoning blood of Christ", and the Brother of Jared in Ether 3:3 who pleaded, "Thou has been merciful unto us. O Lord, look upon me in pity (Goddard, p. 78).
The Lord offers a chance for us to forsake our sins and our pride through His Infinite Atonement. President Ezra Taft Benson reminds us that "Pride is the universal sin, the great vice... Think of the repentance that could take place with lives changed, marriages preserved, and homes strengthened, if pride did not keep us from confessing our sins and forsaking them" (Benson, 1989).
I pray that we can overcome pride in our own marriages by seeking to harness the strength that the Lord offers us. It takes humility to become strong. It takes a broken heart to heal the pain caused by pride.

Benson, E. T. (1989). "Beware of Pride". Ensign, May 1989, 4.

Goddard, H. (2009). “Drawing Heaven into Your Marriage: Eternal Doctrines that Change Relationships”. Joymap Publishing. 3933 W. 9850 N Ceder Hills, Utah, USA.

Gottman, J., and Silver, N. (1995, 2015). The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country’s Foremost Relationship Expert. Harmony Books Penguin Random House Company, New York.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Turn Towards that Bid

 He grumbled something as I hurriedly handed off the diaper for our toddler, and then there was more grumbling under his breath. We were both in the middle of something, he was feeding the kids, I was trying to get an assignment for school in on time. As the comment came out of his mouth my first thought was to fight back, but then I remembered this statement I had read only moments before, "Before you reply defensively to your partner, pause for a moment and search for a bid underneath your partner's harsh words. Then focus on the bid, not the delivery." John Gottman goes on to say, "If you find it difficult not to react defensively, first take five really deep breaths, counting slowly from one to six as you inhale and then slowly from seven to fifteen as you exhale. Then say to your partner, 'I want to respond to you positively, so can you please tell me what you need right now from me? I really want to know.'" (Gottman, p. 92). So I did. I only needed on deep breath to calm down. When I tried to repeat the sentence I tripped up and started laughing at myself, then I grabbed the diaper and changed the bum. No harm done. Good mood returned.
Most of our conversations don't go like this, Bill rarely grumbles, but this time I'm happy it happened in a moment of stress because it allowed me to practice new skills. This week I've actually been more in love with him than ever. I've been secretly trying something new. It's called "turning towards". I try to recognize bids for attention and fill those bids with love and service. John Gottman says, "In marriage, couples are always making what I call "bids" for each other's attention, affection, humor, or support. Bids can be as minor as asking for a backrub or as significant as seeking help in carrying the burden when an aging parent is ill" (Gottman, 2015). Here's the amazing thing. I thought that I was already awesome at this. I genuinely want my husband to be happy. I actually thought I was better at this than anyone in the family. My secret experiment has proven me wrong!
Play Date

It turns out that my husband is WAY better at this than me! He has been holding my hand all week, physically and emotionally. We went to a movie, and I let him pick as a way to "turn toward" his wants and needs. But, on the way there he read my (super boring) text book to me, helped me figure out the hard to understand parts, and bought me clothes! What husband likes to sit around while his wife tries on shirt after shirt!? Today my husband asked if I was interested in seeing the budget he was working on, of course I was. Later he returned the favor by helping me plan out my next semester and my future career goals! Tonight I turned towards him by putting my text book down to help him make dinner, but he was the one who picked the meal and instigated dinner. My love tank has never been more full, and I'm the one trying to fill his tank!

These principles really work! I am more in love with my husband today than I was yesterday. The love just grows and grows. President Howard W. Hunger is quoted in Dr. Goddard's book, he says, "Whatever Jesus lays his hands upon lives. If Jesus lays his hands upon a marriage, it lives. If he is allowed to lay his hands on the family, it lives." I believe that turning towards our spouses is a way of fostering the love that Jesus is trying to push into our marriages. If you want to learn more pick up Dr. Gottman's book on Amazon!

Goddard, H. (2009). “Drawing Heaven into Your Marriage: Eternal Doctrines that Change Relationships”. Joymap Publishing. 3933 W. 9850 N Ceder Hills, Utah, USA.

Gottman, J., and Silver, N. (1995, 2015). The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country’s Foremost Relationship Expert. Harmony Books Penguin Random House Company, New York.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Dream-Like Marriage

Is your marriage a dream…
Or a nightmare?
Often times we shape what our marriage will be through how we view past events. Sometimes we get bogged down by negative sentiment over-ride. All of our memories become negative and heavy. It’s hard to see the light when the dark is so overpowering.
If this is happening in your marriage I challenge you to do this:
  1. Write down why you fell in love with your spouse. Make it detailed. Not “because he was funny”, but tell the story of how he initiated a bubble gum blowing contest with his niece and nephew and you in the car to keep them from boredom on a long car trip, or whatever your story may be.
  2. Write down at least five positive things about your spouse. Everything good he/she does right now.
  3. Pray for your spouse, not that they will change, but that they will be blessed and that you will see them as God sees them.
  4. Share these good memories and things with your spouse.
Fighting negative sentiment over-ride will take a lot of positivity and you have to start somewhere. Why not here? Dr. Gottman says, “The key to reinvigorating fondness and admiration is to get in the habit of scanning for qualities and actions that you can appreciate. And then, let your partner know what you’ve observed and a grateful for… Catch your partner doing some little thing right and then offer a genuine appreciation like “I love the way you _________”.” (Gottman, 2015).
We can learn a lot from Adam and Eve on this topic. According to Dr. Goddard, "Adam and Eve had every reason to be gloomy about life in this world. They had lived in serene and peaceful abundance. Then they were evicted and sent to the slums. [But this] was a step toward eternal accomplishment... Through our labors and struggles, we will... know good from evil... We can learn to choose and cherish the good" (Goddard, 2009).

Bill and I had the opportunity this week to talk about our own first memories. The beginning of our marriage, our first year of marriage, our dating and courting period (which as you may recall was only 2 months long, first date to wedding date). It was lovely to reminisce together about times past and hear each others different perspectives. Hopefully you too will take the time to bring a bit of Heaven into your marriage.

Goddard, H. (2009). “Drawing Heaven into Your Marriage: Eternal Doctrines that Change Relationships”. Joymap Publishing. 3933 W. 9850 N Ceder Hills, Utah, USA.

Gottman, J., and Silver, N. (1995, 2015). The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country’s Foremost Relationship Expert. Harmony Books Penguin Random House Company, New York.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Godly Individuals can Create Godly Marriages

Dr. H. Wallas Goddard, in his book “Drawing Heaven Into Your Marriage” tells us that While most people assume that all marriages have discontent and must be processed and dealt with in non-destructive ways for the relationship to work, he believes “that the key to a healthy relationship is being a healthy, saintly, God-seeking person – to be born again – to be a new creature in Christ.” He continues, “When we are more godly, fewer things bother us. And when we run into problems, we are more likely to process them in helpful ways” (Goddard, 2009).
To me this means bringing God into your marriage. Striving to be more godly we should have charity towards our partners. Instead of being accusative and frustrated we can choose to reconcile our differences with kindness. Instead of saying “Why would you do that! What’s wrong with you!” We can say “That is a different choice that I would make in that situation. Can you tell me your thought process in making that decision?” Of course, this needs to be said humbly with real interest because any comment can be perceived as criticism if it is given with bad body language and the wrong tones of voice.
Another thing Dr. Goddard points out is that there is a “quirk” in human thinking. This quirk is that we interpret the behavior of others based on their character or what we know of them. We fail to think about the circumstances of the choice. Yet, when we interpret our own behavior, we allow for the circumstances and our own thought processes to justify our behaviors. That is why it is important to seek to understand before we judge or give criticism.

To do this, Goddard suggests switching our mindset from questions like:
  • Why are you doing this to me?
  • What’s wrong with you?
  • Why can’t you get why this is important to me?
To questions like:
  • How can I understand why this is important to my partner?
  • What is my partner really trying to tell me?
  • How can I understand her/his pain?
  • Can God help me think past my own self so that I can better understand my spouse?
  • How does God see my partner?
John Gottman says, "The key to reinvigorating fondness and admiration is to get in the habit of scanning for qualities and actions that you can appreciate. And then, let your partner know what you've observed and are grateful for" (Gottman, 2015).

God has the power to do anything He wants and we can ask for his assistance in making our own lives and marriages better.

Goddard, H. (2009). “Drawing Heaven into Your Marriage: Eternal Doctrines that Change Relationships”. Joymap Publishing. 3933 W. 9850 N Ceder Hills, Utah, USA.

Gottman, J., and Silver, N. (1995, 2015). The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country’s Foremost Relationship Expert. Harmony Books Penguin Random House Company, New York.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Covenant Marriage
 President Joseph Fielding Smith prayed that we might have the spirit of love and peace in our homes, and he prayed that fathers and sons would work together in love and in the priesthood (Smith, 1970).

The spirit of love and peace can be in our homes, our homes can be like the holy temples that are placed into our lives, if we seek the Lord’s guidance and strive to follow our temple covenants.  To find this love and peace we must be willing to have covenant marriages, in which each spouse gives 100%, unlike contractual marriages where each spouse is expected to give 50% (Hafen, 1996).
Elder Bruce C. Hafen talks about “wolves” that attempt to attack our marriage. He names three: natural adversity, an individual’s own imperfections, and excessive individualism.
Natural adversity comes from life, it includes things like not being able to have children, miscarriage, loss of jobs, loss of health, being poor, and more. The imperfections each of us have can allow us to beat ourselves up if we are not perfect, they can also cause us to beat up our spouses (mentally) for their imperfections. Finally, excessive individualism is a tool that Satan is using today to make people feel like they don’t need anyone else and that they don’t need to please anyone except for themselves. These are things we must fight against. We can lean on our own spouses, church leaders, the words of the prophets, scripture, and the Lord Himself for help in beating these wolves.
If we can successfully over come the adversities of marriage and keep our temple covenants we will be given the chance to enter the Celestial Kingdom. A place where we can prepare for this is in the temples mentioned earlier. President Ezra Taft Benson shares some amazing things we can gain from attending the temple regularly, the following are his words:

  • You will receive the spirit of Elijah, which will turn your hearts to your spouse, to your children, and to your forebears.
  • You will love your family with a deeper love than you have loved before.
  • Your hearts will be turned to your fathers and theirs to you.
  • You will be endowed with power from on high as the Lord has promised.
  • You will receive the key of the knowledge of God. (See D&C 84:19.) You will learn how you can be like Him.
  • Even the power of godliness will be manifest to you. (See D&C 84:20.)
  • You will be doing a great service to those who have passed to the other side of the veil in order that they might be “judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.” (D&C 138:34.)

Such are the blessings of the temple and the blessings of frequently attending the temple” (Benson, 1986).
I pray that I will find the time in my life to experience these blessings, and I hope that you will too.


Benson, E. (1986). What I Hope You Would Teach Your Children About The Temple. Liahona, April, 1986.

Hafen, B. (1996). Covenant Marriage. Ensign, Nov 1996, p. 26.

Smith, J. (June, 1970). The Fulness of the Priesthood. Improvement Era, p. 65-66, or Conference Report, April 1970, pp. 58-60.