Saturday, October 15, 2016

Should you get married?

Last week I gave you some awesome foundational information on how to have a rocking marriage. This week I want to share some cool stats and facts with you.

(If you have not seen Kid History #4... it's a must see. )

Married adults are healthier than their non-married counterparts.
Married adults have lower rates of morbidity and mortality.
Married adults health benefits persist regardless of race, income, and health status prior to marriage.
Marital status at age 48 can predict chances of surviving to age 65.
Older married people are significantly healthier and have fewer physical limitations in life than their non-married friends.
Married people recover better from illness and surgery.
Married people are generally happier.
Married people have greater life satisfaction.
Married people have lower risk for depression.
Married people have greater economic stability.
Married people have better mental health.
When young adults married they experience an immediate decrease in depressive symptoms.
Marriage reduces the risk of mental disorders.
Married men have lower risks of depression and panic disorder.
Married women have a lower risk of substance abuse.
Married people have higher levels of social integration and emotional support.
Kids who grow up in a healthy marriage will also grow to be healthy. 

By the way, I am not posting here the reference for all these stats but I have them if you want. Let me know.

So, why did I share all these facts? As I mentioned before Satan is trying to tear down marriage. He wants to chew it up and spit it out. He ruined his chances of every getting married or reproducing and it just makes him so angry that we get to do that. So, he attacks the family. Media makes families look wasteful. Media makes marriages look like GAME OVER. Here's an example of what people find funny and share on their Facebook walls.

Marriage does not have to be this way! Clearly, as stated above, it isn't this way. You can make your marriage whatever you want it to be. Plus, according to Dr. Gottman,

"Comical as it may sound, romance actually grows when a couple are in a supermarket and the wife says, 'are we out of bleach?' and the husband says, 'I don't know. Let me go get some just in case,' instead of shrugging apathetically."

So husbands, take you wives grocery shopping and help out! Make your wives swoon!

(shared from Twitter)

So here's a question: Does marriage in and of itself actually cause these good things mentioned above or do people who are already healthy mentally and physically tend to get married more than others?

Answer: Both. While happier and healthier people are more likely to get and stay married they also increase in their health and happiness after marriage. Those who are married eventually drop addictions and take on healthier behavior to benefit their marriages.

(Here's us on our 14th wedding anniversary at WEM with the kids)

So, for those of you considering whether or not you want to deal with "a ball and chain" or "baggage" or "someone else's problems", the truth is, marriage is only that if you make it. If you go into it with the right attitude and the will to work through the rough stuff your marriage can actually be bliss. Bliss, pure happiness, what's better?

Friday, October 7, 2016

Want an enduring, healthy marriage?

Bill and I have been married for 14 years now, we just had our anniversary on September 16th. We are best friends, we love and respect each other. We love our marriage and we even love other people's marriages. Does that mean our marriage is perfect? No. We have things we need to work on just like anyone else. Just a hint: we have 7 kids with 1 more on the way, she's due January 16th, so we have to make our marriage work with a lot of extra bodies and sometimes divided focus.

When I decided to attend BYU-Idaho I chose the major of Marriage and Family studies because I feel it is an area that needs extra support and attention in today's world where Satan is striving so hard to attack and tear apart the family. Not just "the family", but YOUR family, MY family. It's personal. He's trying to destroy us. He wants to keep you out of your Heavenly Fathers presence. He wants to keep your spouse out as well and he is definitely after your kids.

I just read an awesome chapter of "Successful Marriage and Families: Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives" which talks about "Foundational Processes for an Enduring, Healthy Marriage". Doesn't that sound awesome? Someone has laid out foundational processes to help our marriages endure and be healthy. I bet you want to hear some of them. I know I did.

In the Proclamation to the World we are told that "Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other." (1)

President Spencer W. Kimball tell us, "While marriage is difficult, and discordant and frustrated marriages are common, yet real, lasting happiness is possible, and marriage can be more an exultant ecstasy than the human mind can conceive. This is within the reach of every couple, every person." (2)

So, how can we get there? How can we make our marriage a "more exultant ecstasy than the human mind can conceive? These foundational processes that I am about to share  are things that couples can do in  their marriage to help their marriage flourish. Let's jump in!

Foundational Process #1 is Personal Commitment to the Marriage Covenant. 

As we learn from amazing statements in the Proclamation, marriage divinely created by God. He loves your marriage, he wants it to succeed. He is on your side!

In a covenant marriage couples work through their problems together. They marry each other in the temple and commit to help each other grow, to serve their partner, they are bound by covenants to each other and to God. Covenant couples give 100%, not 50% expecting their partner to pull the rest of the weight.

You may remember a previous post where I shared Elder Bednar's "MCovenant Marriage Relationship". If not you can see it here. And here's a little reminder...
In a marriage if each partner strives to get closer to God they will also be pulled closer to their spouse. 

Processes that nurture your covenant marriage:
Here's a great one; intentional personal dedication to your spouse. This means you have to work for it. Hard. Blaine Fowers said "One of the basic ways for a person to have a good marriage is to be a good person." You may have to change bad habits, sacrifice some vices, learn to communicate better (that's what I'm working on), or any other things.

Also, exclusive cleaving and unity. Henry B. Eyring stated plainly "Heavenly Father wants our hearts to be knit together. That union in love is not simply an ideal. It is a necessity." (3)

Practice spiritual patterns. These would include prayer, going to church, serving in a church calling, Family Home Evening, and all the other seminary answers. Studies have shown that "couples who practice their faith together generally have less conflict." (Lambert & Dollahite, 2006).

Foundational Process #2 is Love and Friendship

In D&C 42:22 we are commanded to love our spouses with all of hears. President Benson pointed out that the only other thing in the scriptures we are commanded to love with all of our hearts is God himself! Ways we can strengthen our friendship with our spouses are by figuring out what their love preferences are, talking as friends, responding to bids for connection, and setting regular goals for couple interaction. A summary given of these things comes from my text book:

  1. Respond to bids for attention, affection, humor, or support. An announcement of "I'e had a rotten day" can be met with an acknowledgement of feelings ("I'm sorry to hear that"), a hug, and an invitation to talk more about it.
  2. Make an effort to do everyday activities together, such as reading the mail or making the bed.
  3. Have a stress-reducing conversation at the end of the day. This involves reuniting at the end of a busy day to see how things went, and listening to and validating one another.
  4. Do something special every day to communicate affection and appreciation.
  5. Keep track of how well you are connecting emotionally with each other, and make enhancements when necessary.
Foundational Process #3 is Positive Interaction

One of my favorite quotes comes from Jay Trachman, 

"The formula for a happy marriage? It's the same as the formula for living in California: when you find a fault, don't dwell on it."

Couples in positive marriages have at least five positive interactions to every one negative. On the flip side, couples headed for divorce have a ratio of only 0.8 positive to 1 negative. 

Foundational Process #4 is accepting influence from one's spouse.

Simply put, sharing the decision making process counts as accepting influence. Do this in family affairs. Turn to your spouse for advice, be open to their ideas, listen to and learn from your spouse.

Foundational Process #5 is respectfully handling differences and solving problems.

Disagreements occur even in the best marriages. It is possible however to solve these disagreements without having a full on argument occur. Skills that can smooth over these differences include prevention, getting rid of destructive patterns, staying clam, keeping discussions soft, gentle, and private (Bill and I call this being "tenderly upfront" and it is something I am working on), making and accepting apologies, soothing each other and one's self, and reach a consensus. 

The last Foundational Process which is #6 is continuing courtship through the years. 

Date your spouse! This is where wholesome recreational activities come in to play. The beginning of your marriage should not be the end of your dating, it should be the beginning of your greatest dating!

Also, it is recommended that a couple spends at least five hours a week strengthening their relationship. Four things should be accomplished in those five hours:

  1. Learn one thing that happened in your spouse's life each day.
  2. have a stress-reducing conversation at the end of each day (hmmm, this was mentioned earlier... that must mean that it's pretty important).
  3. Do something special every day to show affection and appreciation (this was mentioned too).
  4. Have a weekly date.
In closing, Elder F. Burton Howard stated,

"If you want something to last forever, you treat it differently. You shield it and protect it. You never abuse it. You don’t expose it to the elements. You don’t make it common or ordinary. If it ever becomes tarnished, you lovingly polish it until it gleams like new. It becomes special because you have made it so, and it grows more beautiful and precious as time goes by.
Eternal marriage is just like that. We need to treat it just that way." (4)

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 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.