FAML300

W06 Cherishing Your Spouse

Dear Readers,

My apologies that I am running a bit behind this week.  This past Saturday was my birthday and as a surprise for the big 4-0, my mother and my two sons flew in from out of state and were here for four days.  My birthday was wonderful and the excitement has dwindled down, but I am behind my usual point for school work, housework, and life in general.  I am working diligently to get to where I need to be, but feel like I’m barely treading water at the moment.  Hang on while I go switch a load of laundry and I’ll be right back to write some more.

Okay, where was I?  Anyway, chores are going and here I am writing about cherishing my spouse, which I really don’t feel like doing at the moment.  You see, he and I don’t always see eye to eye, but isn’t that they way with every marriage?  We had a little spat this morning and he left for work angry and I got left at the house to stew about his bad attitude.  That’s just how life goes every once in a while.  And that is okay.  We have since apologized to one another, because that is how it goes.

As I was reading the assigned text for this week’s work one chapter in Drawing Heaven Into Your Marriage by Dr. H. Wallace Goddard and two chapters in The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by Dr. John M. Gottman I realized something… I realized how much I do cherish my husband.  He is my best friend and I would do anything for him – yep, anything. I take care of him when he has a migraine, I listen to him when he’s had a bad day at work, I listen to him when he had a good day at work, I kiss him good night, I hold his hand at the dinner table during prayer, I go to the store and get him everything he needs for working around our property, and I love him with all of my heart.  If Heavenly Father loves me half as much as I love my husband, I am a blessed girl.

Even though I love him, we have those spats every now and then.  My husband isn’t much of a talker and many times I am left guessing how he is feeling or what he is thinking when he isn’t very happy.  I promise you, Heavenly Father did not provide me with the crystal ball that I need, but we manage.  When things start to go sideways, I let him know that it’s time that he tells me what’s going on in that brain of his so that I’m not lost and confused – and most of the time he does.

In the reading material, there were lists upon lists with games to play and questions to ask your spouse.  As I read through the first several lists that essentially provided a score to let you know how you and your spouse are doing, I was pretty impressed that I “passed” the tests.  There were questions that saddened me too.  I read some of them, like “I can list my partner’s three favorite movies” and “I can tell you the most stressful thing that happened to my partner as a child,” these made tears well in my eyes.  I wish I knew the answers, but I simply don’t.  Some of you may wonder – how can you not know these things?  The answer is simple – I don’t watch many movies, so we haven’t talked about movies very much and my husband is pretty closed up about his childhood – every once in a while I get a glimpse into his youth.  I just discovered a couple of weeks ago that one of our daughter’s friends is the daughter of his high school girlfriend – the girl he went to prom with.  I didn’t even know that he went to his senior prom until then. The bright side to all of this though, is that starting this week, he and I will begin going on date night each week and I will bring my handy dandy books with me and I will get to open it up to all of those pages that I stuck colorful flags on and I can just ask him.

Today is going to be a rough day – it started out with a spat and as I sit here and write, I have tears running down my cheeks as I think of all the little intricacies about my husband that I don’t know, but that I am blessed to be able to ask him.  I want to know these things, tearsI want to continue to care for him when he has bad days or migraines, and I know that he prides himself in the work that he does to provide for our little (or not so little) family. He and I work well, we mesh, we just fit.  He and I love each other, and I know that for both of us our biggest fear is losing one another – having to go on in this life without our best friend to have each and every day.

If you are in a position that you don’t have these little spats now and then, a bad day which you can bounce back from – it’s time to rejuvinate, revitalize, and get excited about loving your spouse.  You married him/her for a reason, relight that candle and get moving.  A great place to start and for pretty cheap is to get yourself a copy of Dr. Gottman’s book.  IT IS WONDERFUL!  I dare you… do it!

With love,

Samantha

PS (this is dedicated to Maryann) How did it turn out?  Well …. I was home and he was at work.  Each day when he arrives at his job for the morning, he sends me three text messages that read: “I’m here.” “Yes,Ma’am.” “I love you today.”  And in reply, I send him three text messages back: “Safe and sound” “Good” “I love you today too.”  Before these messages ever took place yesterday (because he had such a long drive) I had typed out a lengthy text message explaining my frustration and apologizing for what was most likely construed as accusatory.  He then chose to take the high ground (one of his great qualities) and told me thank you for making his lunch and he then apologized for being cranky and rude.  We proceeded with our day and regular routine.  Last night was perhaps a little sweeter than usual snuggling at bed time.  We both realized that we were wrong and we both apologized to one another. . . being married to your best friend is practically perfect in every way.

Advertisements
Standard
FAML300, Uncategorized

W05 Behaviors that Negatively Affect Marriage

Affect … effect … I will probably never ever learn how to tell these two words apart.  I have tried over and over again across my almost 40 years to learn the difference and it never makes sense to me.  So, if any of my readers out there have a good idea on how to actually help me learn this… please leave me a comment at the end of the blog!

So, what behaviors negatively affect marriage?  That’s what this week’s material is all about.  I have read five chapters in books, watched a clip from The Great Commandment given by Elder Wirthlin while he had a flare up of Parkinson’s disease, and watched several clips from the movie Fireproof staring Kirk Cameron (for those of you as old as me, that was a little treat) all of which made my allergies flare up.  Okay, really, my eyes were filled with tears at many of these intersections as I studied the material for this week.  Is it because it’s almost my birthday and I’m feeling sentimental?  Is it because yesterday was the Sabbath and I am feeling closer to the Spirit as I write on Monday instead of Tuesday or Wednesday?  Or is it because the lessons and messages that I read and viewed this week touched my heart and ring true on some level for me as an individual, a wife, a mother, and a disciple of Jesus Christ?

For those of you that know me, I’m a list maker.  I love to make lists.  There are eleven lists sitting in from of me as I type.  Each of them on a sticky note.  There are nine more as sticky notes on my desktop and at least three more in the planner that I use each day.  I love lists; so for the love of lists, here is my list for you on behaviors that negatively affect marriage:

  • Criticism
  • Contempt
  • Defensiveness
  • Stonewalling
  • Emotional flooding
  • Rejection
  • Bad memories put to current day events
  • Loneliness
  • Selfishness
  • Lack of charity, compassion, and empathy

While the list is short, relatively, it’s not like the grocery list… these are the particular items that were brought to my attention during my studies this week.  The list is made up from topics covered in Dr. John Gottman’s book The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work and from Dr. H. Wallace Goddard’s book Drawing Heaven into your Marriage.  If you’re committed, who doesn’t want to make their marriage work?  If you’re committed, who doesn’t want a slice of heaven in their marriage?  I say, even if you’re not so sure that you want to make your marriage work, or maybe you don’t believe in heaven…. Well, I say you’re pretty silly; what have you got to lose, other than your eternal happiness? If you’re willing to bet the future of your eternity – throw in the towel, if not please keep reading:

Clearly, I am not an expert on marriage, I have been divorced for goodness sake.  I can only say that I want to be an expert on family and home.  I want to be an expert in my own marriage.  I want to be an expert wife and mom; so I study and I read and I let it all soak in.  Hopefully there is a morsel for you to relate to.

Criticism

This doesn’t mean “your hair is a bit frizzy today” or “I’m not sure that shirt looks good on you.”  This means “why don’t you ever brush your hair, you always go about looking like you just got out of bed” or “that shirt looks terrible on you, how did you make it 36 years in life and never learn how to dress yourself, you can’t go in public like that!”  Can you see the difference there?  The always and never statements, the harshness of the second two statements.  It is one thing to file a complaint, it is another to criticize your partner with harshness and certainly with always and never statements.  Yes, I do have frizzy hair – the humidity makes it even worse, but I do brush it every day and I don’t ALWAYS go about looking like I just got out of bed.  That shirt may not look great on my husband, but telling him it looks terrible just isn’t kind and in his 36 years, 30 before he ever even met me, he managed never to go out into public naked – he’s fared well enough.  Does this make sense?

While I don’t recommend filing complaints every day about every little thing, that can pile up and become overwhelming, but when you truly feel like you need to file a complaint with your spouse, do it with kindness.  Leave those always and never statements at the door, lock them outside – none of us ALWAYS or NEVER behave in a specific fashion.

Contempt

Eye rolling, scoffing, sarcasm, and skepticism are all contemptuous.  What this really boils down to is respect.  When one behaves in manners like this toward their loved ones, you are displaying disrespect for them.  If we aren’t kind and respectful of our spouses, what is it that our relationship is built out of?  Do we love them? Think on that…

Defensiveness

When he tells me about that frizzy hair, even if he does so kindly, do I grumble back at him and say “I can’t help my hair, why are you so mean?”  Does he shout back at me when I complain about his shirt “I’ve been able to dress myself for 36 years without you, I am not a complete idiot.”  These are examples of being defensive.  Think about the defensive line on a football team, their job is to shut the opposing team down, to not let them score. Are you on the same team as your spouse, or are you just trying to make sure they don’t score any points?

Stonewalling

This is pretty much shut-down from my perspective.  I’m talking to my husband about his shirt and he’s not making any eye contact or even giving any cues to me that he’s listening.  He has shut down and shut me out.  Do you ever just keep talking when your spouse is non-responsive?  Take a step back and see what he or she looks like, what is their body language telling you?  Have you over stepped your bounds?  Have you helped them to give up hope in communicating with you?  If you find this happening, you have got to get some help!  You need to take a step back, apologize to your spouse and find a way to open that line of communication again – this is an urgent need.

Emotional Flooding

Why did he shut down when I talked to him about his shirt? Because he is flooding emotionally.  I have criticized too much, he is so used to be run over by me, that in order to preserve his dignity and to not blow up at me, he simply shuts down to avoid the confrontation.  When he finally does start to talk to me about his shirt, I then talked over the top of him complaining more that he wasn’t talking to me when I was talking to him, he shuts down again.  Flooding… and too much of this circular pattern simply leads to divorce.  It has to stop.  The pattern must be broken.

Rejection

I’ve noticed that I have totally messed up here.  My husband does know how to dress himself!  I come to his side as he’s lying in bed reading a book.  I sit on the edge of the bed and lightly touch his arm.  He looks at me but says nothing.  I then say to him “I am so sorry that I was critical of your shirt and how you dress yourself, that wasn’t kind of me.  Will you forgive me?”  He looks up again and continues to read his book.  Rejection.  Don’t do this people!! When your spouse offers you a genuine, heartfelt apology, make the time to listen.  I’m not saying you have to forgive immediately, but listen and respond appropriately.  Put yourself in the being rejected shoes, no one likes being there, don’t put the one person that you should be able to count on every day for the rest of forever in those shoes intentionally.

Bad memories put to current day events

We have all had bad days, and most of us bad fights.  Those bad days and bad fights need to stay right where they were left.  Sure, there may be some unresolved issues from those days or those fights, but bring them to the table for resolution without the horrible day along with it.  I mean, it’s okay to talk about and discuss overspending on clothes for the month, but we don’t need to bring up “that one day when you spent $300 dollars at the mall and took no thought to the remainder of the budget and we stood in the kitchen yelling at each other.”  What good does this do?  Instead try “Is there a way that I can help you keep within the allotted budget for clothing?”  Leave those horrible fights where they were, there is no point digging up old fights and bad memories to serve the current moment and help cultivate a great relationship.

Loneliness

From all of those topics mentioned above, when these tactics are employed in a relationship, loneliness is the result.  Do you go to bed each night wondering who is that lying next to me? Do you wonder where that (wo)man you married is at, when they are sitting opposite you at the dinner table?  Being lonely within a marriage is a direct result from lack of good communication.  The spirit of any person gets to a breaking point when constantly barraged with overwhelming feelings of incompetence.  When I am told over and over again that I am a horrible housekeeper, I begin to really feel this way.  If my husband then begins to tell me that I am a deplorable cook (this might be true) I may begin to believe it.  When we are constantly under attack from our loved ones, how can we preserve ourselves, by being defensive, stonewalling, and shutting down.  Henceforth, we become lonely.  I certainly don’t want to be in bed each night lying next to my husband in a state such as this, do you?

Selfishness

I’m going to dig a little on this one and throw myself under the proverbial bus.  I am generous.  I give to my husband, I give to my children, I give to those that I visit teach, I give to those in our ward, I give to the community, I pay a full tithe, I sincerely put forth effort to give of myself to others.  So, I am not entirely selfish, but… I certainly have areas of my life where I am.  I am selfish with the budgeted money for clothing.  Do I really need to spend it all each month?  Certainly not, but I almost always do.  I believe that we can each improve in this area to focus on becoming more Christ like.  Never a moment in his mortal life did he take time to please himself before helping another or doing the Father’s will.  Jesus Christ should be our example, not only in being selfless, but in each and every aspect of our relationships that I have written about.  With words on the Savior, this leads me to the last point for this really long blog post:

Lack of charity, compassion, and empathy

“What lack I yet?”  Do you lack charity, compassion, or empathy for your spouse?  Do you think “well, that’s what you get!”?  When your spouse is in bed sick, do you make a tray of food and go sit by their side or do you ignore that they aren’t well?  Do you have a pang of sadness when you know your loved one is having a rough day at work, or do you brush their bad day off to deal with your own?

Charity is the pure love of Christ (you saw that coming, right?).  When we have charity for 3 Nephi 16others, compassion and empathy are right alongside.  Is this aspect of your life missing?  You have got to put up a lost and found poster immediately!  There is no time to waste, stop reading and go.

Just this morning, my husband was in bed with a migraine.  While this is frustrating because it’s going to be a missed day of work and no income, I went to my husband’s side and asked what kind of medication he needs?  I got the medication, I got a glass of water.  I made sure the kids were staying quiet, I got a cool rag for his forehead because I know he likes it when he has a migraine.  Charity, compassion, empathy.  Each of these is a must in every marriage across the planet.  If you are lacking in this department, I’d like for you to get some help.  I implore you to get help.  Your marriage is worth it, your spouse is worth it, and more importantly, you are worth it.  Each of us is a child of God, and He wants you to return to live with him.  He wants you to have these qualities in your life that you once had.  You deserve to have them, and if you have lost your way, you have lost these precious gems from your pocket, you have got to go and find them.  Open your scriptures, open your heart, repent, ask for forgiveness from those you have harmed and work to better yourself each day.  Charity is indeed the pure love of Christ, and without charity, we can in nowise inherit the kingdom which He has planned for us.

And while after writing this super long blog, I still don’t know the difference between effect and affect, I have a sense of peace that has washed over my being.  I feel those tears welling up in my eyes.  Tears of gratitude for a loving Heavenly Father who sent His only Begotten Son to atone for my sins.  I am able to be forgiven for those snarky comments and overspending.  I am able to be loved by Him and am able to move forward trying each day to be better while I work on perfecting the love, charity, compassion, and empathy that I hold and distribute to those that are in need … my family.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Standard
FAML300

W04: Doctrine of Eternal Marriage: Try, try, try

This week I found that I appreciate a couple of prompt questions that were provided for us in our Marriage course.  I appreciate the simplicity of them, and that they motivate me in regards to my marriage.  I pray that they can enlighten you a bit as well.

What things in particular are you going to implement into your life to ensure that your marriage is a covenant marriage and not a contractual marriage?

Well, first things first…. My marriage is indeed a contractual marriage at this time.  My husband is not a Melchizedek Priesthood holder, but we’re working toward that elder-bednarand I know in my heart that someday this will happen.  With that being said, I live my life and my “half” of our marriage as if my husband is my companion from eternity to eternity.  I read a talk for this week’s reading material from Elder David A Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles titled “Marriage Is Essential to His Eternal Plan.”  In this talk, I was reminded of several things, but most importantly his reminder that we need to treat our marriages for what they are – sacred.  Am I doing this?  What do I need to change?

I try to treat my marriage as if it is sacred.  My marriage is the most valuable thing that I have outside of my relationship with our Savior Jesus Christ.  BUT, I am not caring for my marriage as I should.  I do not make time each day, each week, or sometimes even each month to spend one on one time with my husband growing together, laughing together, or enjoying one another’s company.  I intend to fix this immediately.

I will say that I had a little heads up from a classmate that took Marriage last semester that we would be able to start having weekly dates with our spouses as part of our course work.  This excited me.  I haven’t had time to have a date, or really I haven’t made it a priority.  My husband and I are both guilty.  When I shared with him the idea, he participated with me in making a list of places we’d like to go together and restaurants we’d like to eat at – by ourselves, no kids!  I don’t want to rekindle what I have, we have a little fire going, but I’d love to see our affection for one another grow as we spend time with one another.  I want to have a great big bon fire.  Isn’t that the idea?  I don’t simply want to grow old on this earth with my husband, I want to grow old and be feisty and love one another like no other husband and wife ever have…. Isn’t that what we should all be striving for?  We are reaching for the temple so that we can have all of the earthly enjoyment of being eternal companions.  I like him that much – in all of his stubbornness, in all of his kindness, in all of his sweet caring ways – I like him just enough to want to be by his side each and every single day for all of the eternities. So, I’m going to start dating him.  This week!  I am so excited!  Thoughts on where we should go first?  Please feel free to share.

 

Next, I want to talk about some big bad wolves.  You know the story of the three pigs and the big bad wolf.  Well, according to Elder Bruce C Hafen, there are really three big big-bad-wolf-at-the-doorbad wolves.  And they are:

  • The wolf of natural adversity
  • The wolf of our own imperfections
  • The wolf of excessive individualism

These wolves are horrible.  We can’t really avoid the first wolf, as it tests our marriage, we have to get on our knees and pray and have our Savior yoke with us so that we can overcome the trials that are put before us in this life.  We all have trials to overcome, and we must.  Remember that no trial that we are given is too much for us to endure.

The world of our own imperfections, however, we can avoid this one.  Elder Hafen tells of a woman who was so belittled by her spouse that she felt invaluable and worthless.  This is unacceptable on two levels.  First, no human deserves to be treated in this manner, and I am confident that her spouse will be dealt with justly on judgement day.  Secondly, and even more importantly, each and every one of us are a child of God.  He made us in His image.  We are made just how we are supposed to be.  Sure we can learn to do more things, we can expand our skills and our knowledge.  We can learn to control our patience level and learn to love deeper, and we should do all of these things that are praiseworthy and of good report.  We have got to remember that are made in His image and we His children.  Each one of us has great value in his eyes.  If you aren’t a parent yet, you maybe don’t quite understand this… but sometime in the natural progression of attempting to be the best parent you can, one learns that there is nothing you wouldn’t do for the benefit of your child.  I mean, just this morning, my daughter was begging me to pay $45 to send her on a field trip.  $45 are you kidding me?  I mean, I don’t normally mind $5 or $10, but $45?  That’s not a field trip, that’s an expense line for the budget.  Nope, she’s not going.  I’m certain it would be beneficial for her, I’m sure she’d learn some great things, and yes, she will be the only one from her class period not in attendance, but I am not paying $45 for a field trip.  I want her to be able to go, I want her to have the benefit of the cultural experience she has been promised from this outing, but I simply can’t afford it right now.  There are a lot of things in life that I want for my children that I can’t provide, but it doesn’t mean I don’t want what’s best for them.  Heavenly Father wants what is best for us, and that is a covenant marriage and a strong family.  We have got to remember the value that we hold in His eyes and never let anyone strip us of this.

Lastly, the wolf of excessive individualism.  I used to know this wolf.  We were even intimate.  He and I may as well have been conjoined twins.  After my divorce, I went searching for me.  I thought I found me, and boy was I wrong.  I went several years with putting my career in front of my children.  I worked hard to provide for them, and I was successful in doing so.  But I had too much time to myself making me who I was – the provider, and not enough time being mom and loving on my kiddos.  I have since remarried and am now blessed with being a stay-at-home mom.  I wish I could turn back the clock and stay a struggling single mom instead of a financially set single mom. I am saddened by the field trips, snotty noses, owies, and meal times that I missed working overtime because I thought that I needed money in order to give my children what they needed.  I was wrong, and here I am now, blessed beyond belief to stay home and finish watching some of them grow into beautiful young adults.  I get to drive them to school, pack their lunches, and attend every single event that they are involved in – because that’s what moms are for – at least this mom.

So, what am I going to do?  I’m going to beat these wolves away.  I’m going to teach my nice-big-bad-wolfchildren of their worth in the eyes of God and I’m going to always strive to be the mom that I was meant to be – divinely appointed to be.  I am going to kiss scraped knees and hug girls with broken hearts and I am going to go to the marching band practices for the next four and a half years.  I am going to love with all of my heart and focus on the gifts and blessings that I have been given from above.  And I pray whole heartedly that you find a way to fight those wolves that are at your door – pray them away.  Yoke with Him.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Standard
FAML300, The Eternal Family

Week 3: Threats to Marriage: Defender of Marriage

I wrote a discussion board post earlier a couple of days ago for my class, and I want to share it with you in its entirety.  I want each of you readers to know, that without any doubt in my mind that you are a child of God.  The topic for this week is same-sex marriage and with that, I will stand in defense of traditional marriage, because that is what I believe God planned for each of His children.  He has also given us agency, and each of us get to choose for ourselves everything from what pair of socks to wear today to whom to marry and even if we will accept that Jesus is the Christ.  Agency is part of the Plan of Salvation and as such, I respect the fact that we can each exercise it according to our own decisions. Here is my discussion board post:

“It took a lot for me to get through the reading material this week.  With 14 credits, three children in the house, dogs, chickens, and a husband … 100+ pages of reading material for one course in a week makes for a challenging week for me.  But I did it!  I finally escaped and went to get a pedicure and during that fabulous 90 minutes with no children, I got through the rest of the Supreme Court ruling and all of Chief Justice Roberts‘ dissent.

This morning (it’s Tuesday) my mom called.  As I read somewhere as a reminder this photobooth_0533week that we have to keep the human element in mind… my mother lives with her same-sex partner and lives in a state that same-sex marriage was allowed prior to the Supreme Court ruling.

I am always very mindful of topics such as same-sex marriage and I have once walked out (maybe stormed out) of a Sunday School class in which the teacher was insisting that we treat those that live homosexual lives as second class citizens.  I have not, nor will I ever. “A person is a person no matter how small” is my favorite Dr. Seuss quote.  I learned this when I was small, and I have practiced it my entire life.  Unless our Prophet stands up and tells me that is what God wants, then I’m not ever going to treat another human as if they are of lesser value in the eye of God than I am.  I am a sinner, my mother is a sinner, and so is each person reading this.  We should not judge one another because we sin differently than our neighbor.

With that rant, I had a great conversation with my mom today.  We talked at length about Moroni 60the Constitution.  We talked about my belief (which she already knew) that leading a homosexual lifestyle isn’t acceptable in the eyes of God.  We talked about what liberties we are given by the Constitution of the United States.  We talked about the snow that has fallen in the Portland Metro Area.  We talked as mother and daughter talk, we each learned some.  I taught my mom about what liberty means, as intended by our Founding Fathers, and she taught me that even though she lives a homosexual life, she isn’t sure that the Supreme Court had the authority to make same-sex marriage a constitutional right.  She believes as I do, that this right belongs to the people as intended by the founders of this nation.

Samantha”

I truly believe that marriage is intended by God to be between a man and a woman.  This is how we create families biologically – which was his intent from Adam and Eve down to Samantha and Aaron.  We read in The Family: A Proclamation to the World issued by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on September 23, 1995 that “The family is ordained of God.  Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. ”  This is fundamental.

As I was reading other classmates discussion board posts, I read in one that marriage is second to family as a foundational unit of society.  I would like to address that here, as I did when I replied to her post.  Please, feel free to write me back and post here what your thoughts are….  If we were building a house and we put family down first (as suggested by data collected by society) and then we stood marriage on top of that, what was this family founded upon?  The sand, I say.

On the other hand, if you have a marriage that is solid and then you create a family, you have built your house upon a rock.  A church magazine article written by Adam C. Olson titled Built on the Rock can remind us really what it means to build upon the rock of our salvation, Jesus Christ.  Take a minute to read the story and have a little reminder of how truly important it is that we live by the precepts taught by our Savior and through his word by way of the leaders of His church today.

“Whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.” –D & C 1:38

Remember that we all sin differently, and never forget the golden rule.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Standard
FAML300, Winter 2017

Week 2: Marriage Trends; Divorce: Make marriage work 

For this semester, I have an assignment to write each week about marriage. I wish that I could say that I could write more than once a week, but as you can see from the lack of recent posts, school is taking up most of my free time.  “Hey, I’m a busy lady,” is my current motto and frequently comes out of my mouth when I have dropped the ball on something menial at home.  I think my husband has heard that at least once each day this week.  I feel horrible for dropping balls, forgetting a soda in a lunch kit or not going above and beyond by doing one of the kids’ chore for them because they have a busy schedule too.  But what I don’t feel bad about is that I’m so busy because I am trying to make sure that our little family has a great future. My husband and all of the kids but the youngest fully support and try their best to understand when I simply can’t do everything that I can when I’m not going to school.

My family is pretty awesome.

I would like to take a moment or two and do some quick introductions and some background on myself so you can perhaps understand some of my posts and perspectives a bit.

My name is Samantha (in the plaid) and I will be 40 years old in just about three weeks.  I was married when I was 18 years old and had four wonderful children in this marriage.  Our marriage photobooth_0277ended in divorce after 13 years.  The kids’ father moved out of state which made visitations very difficult and then he stopped contacting the children completely.  It was a long while that we didn’t hear from him.  I was remarried (to a great guy) almost four years after the divorce was finalized.  At the time I remarried, the kids were 16, 11, 10, and 8.  My husband and I then had a little girl about a year after we were married.

I was born into a family and was raised to believe that having religion in one’s life is a crutch.  Believing or having faith in something other than yourself and your family would make you a co-dependent person, and we were to be independent young ladies and we didn’t NEED to have anyone in our lives, we could do it on our own.  And so we can, but none of us are truly independent, are we?

God made Eve so that Adam would have a help meet, an eternal companion.  He would not be alone.  We are not meant to be alone, but we are meant to have eternal companions, as Adam did.  We are to cleave unto our spouses, we are to be married and create a relationship between one another as we work together to grow closer to God, and become one. Here’s a little clip that talks about the importance of eternal marriage given by a leader of the Latter-day Saint Church in April 2003.  The institute of marriage hasn’t changed in God’s eyes since Adam, so they certainly haven’t changed since he spoke almost 14 years ago.

This week in my class, simply titled “Marriage,” we read a lot of statistics and information regarding the family as the basic unit of society and the ways that it is falling apart.  We are paying a disservice to our heritage by continuing to live in cohabitation arrangements and not committing to marriage prior to having children.  While I know that this is not the popular viewpoint (note: I don’t really care), we need to make this a priority in our culture, in our towns, cities, counties, states, nation, continent, and planet.

Simply put, children thrive when they grow up with a father and a mother that are married to one another in the same house for the entirety of their youth.  This means from birth to at least 18, and preferably for time and all eternity.

Families are the foundational unit for society.  Families that are built upon the solid marriage of a man and a woman who are committed to one another.  They should love each other and teach their children to love.  The dynamics of an individual family are simply too much for one blog post, so I will part with this thought on marriage: a marriage is celebrated by the communities where they are held.  Weddings are grand and celebrated worldwide.  If marriages were not the beginning of a new foundation with promise of solidarity and future family, then what foundation do we stand upon, other than the foundation of our Savior? He made families, He is of a heavenly family, and he had an earthly family while he was here.  If families were not important, He could have just existed here upon the earth without one.  But as He told John as from upon the cross in Calvary “Behold thy mother!”  Family was so important that as His lungs were aching from the position that he held, that he called upon someone to care for his earthly family.

 

Family is forever. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

and forever.families-are-forever

Standard
Uncategorized, Winter 2017

New Year, new goals, new me…

Oh my, once again I have gone without writing in my blog.  But here I am, that counts, right?   I am going to say that it counts.

I worked hard on my blog last school year and then let it go over the summer break.  When I left the Pathway program and matriculated over to BYU-Idaho to take 15 credits in Fall semester, I really just simply let this blog fall off of my plate and onto the floor.  Winter term starts tomorrow, and my online courses opened on 12/31 for access, and I am here to say that I am taking 14 credits this semester and one of them needs me to blog…. say what? Blog?  I can blog, if I remember to blog.  I actually love blogging!  So we’re going to take a little turn, but it isn’t a big one.

I think I posted before, somewhere, that I am majoring in Marriage and Family Studies.  I am currently a junior and am beginning to take my advanced courses for my major.  This semester promises to be full and challenging, with this little quiet blog of mine to be one of those challenges.  With the turn, I will move from being focused on different aspects of scripture study to marriage.  Why do I say that this isn’t a big turn?  Well, because family is central to God’s plan, and without marriage – between a man and a woman – the family will cease to exist.  So this semester, beginning right now, we shall focus on posts that relate to marriage.

I pray that each of you are well, and that this post reaches all 8 of you. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Samantha

Standard
The Eternal Family

One Right Decision

Because no one that lives in this house actually reads what I write here, I am going to share with you my final essay for my English course this term.  I just turned it in to my instructor, so who knows what kind of grade I will get on it, but here it is.  I have spent a few hours writing, and editing this and I do hope that you enjoy it.

One Right Decision

            I was all of 18 years old when I became a mother and a wife. During this marriage I was blessed with four wonderful children and one wandering husband.  Twelve years later, I was a single mother living in a home that I could not afford on my own in a world that I no longer understood.  Forging my way ahead, I took some turns in the wrong direction and with discovery and blessing, I learned that my Heavenly Father values me.  Four years after my divorce, I met a wonderful man and he lived 2,600 miles away.  I flew there. He flew here. There is only so much flying a new relationship can handle.  He moved.  He moved from his home town, from his property, from living next door to his aging father, to be with me and my four children.  We quickly married and my children adored him.  They thrived having a father figure in the home and only months later, he became “Dad” to them.  Eleven short months after our wedding, I gave birth to our daughter.  A daddy in his own right and happy as could be, almost.  My husband hated my career and he hated the weather in my home town.  My home would never be home to him.  He was miserable, but he would never admit to it. I just knew, as one does when something isn’t quite right with their spouse.

My oldest child began his senior year in high school just weeks before our daughter was born, and the next oldest was just starting junior high.  Scared and with trembling words, I approached my husband to discuss his misery. “Do you want to move back home?” I asked.  His clear blue eyes welled with tears, and he just nodded his head.  I drew in a shaky breath and told him that if he could just wait until the school year ended, we would start the plans and go in the summer.  I don’t believe that I had ever seen him so relieved.  I advised my supervisor at work that I would be leaving in the summer and moving across the country.  I told my family, we told the children and we began to plan.  It honestly took the entire school year to get ready to go, but when June rolled around we were ready.  My notice had been given to my supervisor at the appropriate time, I had said goodbye to my friends and my twelve year career.  The moving van arrived and we loaded up.  For once, I finally felt as if I had made the right decision.  I had finally decided after being a mom for eighteen years, that I was going to be a wife and a mom before I was anything else.

The decision to be a wife and a mother shouldn’t be as hard as it was.  I loved my husband and I loved each of my children as fiercely as humanly possible.  Why was it so horribly difficult to move away from my hometown? Why was it so hard to do what God intended for me to do?  As we trekked across the country with a dog, several fish, and children in the weighed down car towing some of our belongings, there was nothing but time to ponder.  I sat in the passenger seat for six very long days holding a map and providing directions to my dedicated husband along the route.  We made it to his hometown and with great relief stretched our legs and found a rental home.  As the days turned into weeks and the weeks into months, I hadn’t found a job yet.  Finally at the six month mark, I was offered a position in my previous field of work and when I told my husband, he simply asked me why I had applied and stated in a matter of fact manner that he didn’t want me to go back to work.

I can’t say that I was completely shocked by my husband’s words, but I was confused, disappointed, and felt utterly lost.  I had always worked.  I had worked for twenty years and the time I had just spent finding a job was pointless.   It was then that I remembered that I had decided before we moved that I was going to be a wife and a mother before anything else.  Feeling a door slam in my face was the reminder that I needed.  Slowly, the days crawled by as I felt overwhelmed with my new duties of wife and mom.  I continued to drive the kids to school for drop off and pick up.  I continued to make my husband’s lunch each morning, but it was out of duty not of love.

Seven months after our arrival in my new town, we began to build our family home on the property that my sweet husband owned.  Every day, every step of the way, the money that I had set aside for retirement was building the home that I was to live in for the rest of my life.  While I was excited at the home building process and the idea of finally owning a home, I was terrified that I would be stuck in this horrible state of self-misery that I once saw in my husband.  We moved into our newly built home with fresh paint and brand new cabinetry one year after our family arrived in my husband’s home town.  As the days crept by, I realized that I was missing something in my life.  I was missing a piece of me – a really big piece.

I found my local church building and rediscovered my Savior, Jesus Christ.  I started attending my Sunday meetings, I began to pray, and I opened my scriptures again for the first time in what seemed like forever.  I accepted a calling to be a Primary teacher and I learned from seven year olds, the love that I have for my Savior could grow exponentially.  Taking my small child to church wasn’t easy, taking my teenage son to church wasn’t easy, but my older daughters were a breeze.  We attended as a family. We grew together in Christ as a family.  While our family isn’t perfect, the love that our Savior has for us is and it is that love which has taught me.  His love has taught me that being a wife and a mom is enough.  Not only is it enough, it is perfect for me.  I slowly crawled out of the darkness that I had allowed myself to wallow in and have flourished.  I now get up in the morning to the alarm clock and happily pack my husband’s lunch, wash dishes, cut grass, do laundry, and all the other mundane things that come with being a mom and a wife.  I love my family, and I love the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The one right decision for me was moving across the country and leaving the comfort of my family and hometown.  It was this choice that lead me back to my Savior.  I have grown into a loving, happy wife.  I have grown into loving the carpool and weekly grocery shopping trips.  I have learned to love the playground with my toddler, story time, bed time, and all the in between times.  The decision to put my husband in front of me, a costly decision at the time, was the one decision that I know for certain was the right one in my life.

 

Well, there it is… I am so nervous to post this, but I suppose a click won’t hurt.  Thank you for reading my essay, and I pray that as you did, that you had a moment of clarity about parenthood or marriage.  God bless you.

Samantha

 

Standard