Saturday, December 10, 2016

I'm sorry!!!! I forgive you!!!!

Noise from boys room: WHACK! SLAM! BIFF! POW!
Some poor unfortunate child that lives here: "WHAAAAAAAAA!"
Me: "Say sorry, RIGHT NOW!"

In case you can't tell, the one on the left is the unrelenting, unapologizing one. The one on the right is the unfortunate one (insert winky face here) This was our attempt at at the forgiveness shirt. 

Worthington, a noted researcher on forgiveness wrote, "Forgiveness does not occur in a relationship. It occurs within the forgiver" (p. 201). As you can see from our forgiveness shirt, this is true. Forcing someone to apologize does not make the problem better. Forcing someone to forgive is ridiculous. Yes, we should forgive right away, but sometimes the wound is still fresh, sometimes the person who needs to be forgiven is still pinching you (as Ezra pointed out is happening in the forgiveness shirt picture), and sometimes you just need time to truly forgive. 

Don't worry, they actually do really love each other.

Have you ever been hurt by someone who decided not to apologize, but just went on living life as if nothing ever happened? I have. In those cases I just forgive (although this is much easier said than done) and move on as well. I hate confrontation. So, if this works, why should we forgive and apologize anyway?

Well, for starters mental health experts believe that it is not possible "to address emotional and physical well-being without considering the relevance of repentance and forgiveness" (p. 202). Even King Benjamin said "Salvation cometh to none . . . except it be through repentance and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ" (Mosiah 3:12). David O. McKay said that nothing is more essential to salvation than the principle of repentance and Dallin H. Oaks defined repentance as transformation. Jesus himself taught that we will forgive and we must forgive others to be forgiven.

Battle and Miller said that people who forgive have better emotional and physical health. In contrast, bottling your forgiveness in can lead to emotional stress and other health risks (p. 202).

Also, "apologies facilitate forgiveness, and forgiveness motivates repentance. In families, repentance and forgiveness blend into an interactive process that is strengthened by family members commitment to each other" (p. 201).

So, what's the best way to apologize? Lazare (2004) said that successful apologies include:
a) an accurate acknowledgment of the offense
b) an appropriate expression of regret, remorse,or sorrow
c) a suitable offer of repayment or restitution, and
d) a pledge for behavior reform to ensure that the offense is not repeated (p. 204).

While the offended will feel better with a genuine apology they may still feel better with an inadequate apology than none (p. 204).

When we are the ones who need to apologize what can we do? In the Gospel Principles manual of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints there is an effective repentance process outlined:
1. Recognize the sin (admit wrong doing)
2. Feel sorrow for the sin.
3. Forsake the sin (stop committing it and promise to never do it again)
4. Confess (to the Lord and when appropriate to the Bishop of our ward) and
5. Make restitution (p. 205).

Also, the offender must forgive him or herself, which is often harder than being forgiven by the victim.

Just as truly feeling remorse and effectively apologizing is important, "Genuine forgiveness is a process, not a product" (p. 205). It's hard. It takes time. It needs to be voluntary and should give "meaning to the wound a free the injured person from bitterness and resentment" (p. 205).

Repentance and forgiveness are gifts from God and are made possible because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

Ideas and quotes were enhanced by the text book Successful Marriages and Families: Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives. Edited by Alan J. Hawkins, David C. Dollahite, and Thomas W. Draper. I really recommend that everyone purchase and READ this book. It's so great.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Gracefully Growing in Marriage

This was the 60th reunion of my Grandma and Grandpa 4 years ago. In this picture Rosena is just a bun in the oven and Jedi is watching from Heaven. Also missing are Crystal's husband, Darren and my other nephew Dallas.

Years ago I read "Tuesday's with Morrie" a story about a man who spend some quality time with an older gentleman. One of their topics is marriage and here is something I loved from that:

Morrie says, If you don't respect the other person [in marriage] you're gonna have a lot of trouble. If you don't know how to compromise, you're gonna have a lot of trouble. If you can't talk openly about what does on between you, you're gonna have a lot of trouble. And if you don't have a common set of values in life, you're gonna have a lot of trouble. Your values must be alike. And the vest on of those values? Your belief in the importance of your marriage" (Albom, 1997, 149, italics in original).

In a recent blog post I shared a summary of key processes that underlie successful marriage, you can review here. As human beings, the attachment theory believes, that we are hardwired with a driving force to seek contact and connect with others (p. 89). As older people progress through life they have made these connections. Because of their potential for loss and unresolved conflict they may be more "vulnerable to isolation, distance, and long-standing wounds in their marital relationships" (p. 89). BUT, older coupes who have safe and secure marital relationships will adapt better to the challenges of later life and will learn to thrive through old age.

These healthfully attached relationships are able to endure the trials of loss, aging bodies, loss of energy, and other ails than those who may be alone or in unhealthy marriages.

Here are some things I love about my Grandparents:

  • They are still living life, they join us for Canada Day Parades, sometimes they are even on the floats, and they have an awesome BBQ in their backyard every year.
  • They love to visit with us and share fun stories. Grandma often makes up stories about ducks that have morals and Grandpa tells stories of his own experiences in life.
  • They try to make it to every baptism and baby blessing of each of my children (they used to have to travel to Arizona and Nevada but now we live close enough that the drives are shorter).
  • They love each other, support each other, and even smooch for the camera!
  • They love their kids and grand kids and try to support them in ways that they can.
  • They are funny.
  • They ask for help when they need it.

Grandma and Grandpa, thanks for being such good examples in my life and in your children's, grand children's, and great grand children's. Love you so much!

Edited: 12/10/2016 - Ideas and quotes were enhanced by the text book Successful Marriages and Families: Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives. Edited by Alan J. Hawkins, David C. Dollahite, and Thomas W. Draper. I really recommend that everyone purchase and READ this book. It's so great.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Adoption Appreciation

In my recent studies I came across a chapter in my text book about Adoption. I am someone who was personally adopted and my parents adopted two other sibling sets so I have not only been adopted but I have seen adoption. I have also seen the other side of adoption. The hard time where the biological or birth mother "may wonder what would be best for herself and for the baby; whom she should tell about her situation and when; and whether she should choose to keep the child and rear it herself, [or] place the child for adoption" (p. 162).

Adoption is probably one of the hardest choices a mother would ever have to make. Pregnancy is not easy, it comes with aches and pains, but it also comes with beauty and grace. When I'm pregnant I know that there will be a beautiful baby for me to cuddle with when it's all over. I can't imagine having to hand that precious baby over at the end of the pregnancy, or carrying the baby the whole time knowing that I would essentially give them to someone else to love. Adoption is such an unselfish decision, full of love and life, that blesses more people than you can imagine; the biological parents, the baby, the adoptive parents, and extended family and friends all around.* 

Here I want to share with you something personal, and I hope my own biological mother will forgive me for exposing her. I was blessed with a biological mother who wanted her baby to be healthy even though she knew that she was giving her away. She abstained from anything that might harm her baby and sought to eat healthy and be healthy.

Now, Arlene and I, although we don't share the same religion, we have the same faith in God. She must have prayed to him to know what to do, because I ended up exactly where I needed to be. Because of her faith and diligence I was given the life I had and I have been blessed with my own family.

Arlene and I are now in contact and we are blessed to share many special occasions together. God has blessed us both, and so many others, because of her loving, selfless decision.

Here's some things that you may not know about teenage birth mothers who choose to place their babies for adoption; they are more likely to graduate from high school, they tend to enjoy better employment income and "many become advocates of adoption" or "help other women through this important decision making process" (p. 164).

Arlene, I am so grateful for you and the sacrifices you made and kept on making for me and for my parents. We will always be grateful for your courage and love. I KNOW it wasn't an easy decision, but you knew it was the right one, and it was. Arlene, you are my angel. You brought me from heaven and delivered me to the angels who would raise me. You are forever in my heart.

Edited: 12/10/2016 - Ideas and quotes were enhanced by the text book Successful Marriages and Families: Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives. Edited by Alan J. Hawkins, David C. Dollahite, and Thomas W. Draper. I really recommend that everyone purchase and READ this book. It's so great.