"...Behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise" --Alma 37:6

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Newly Weds: Trusting Each Other

In my Family Relations class this last week, we've discussed selecting a life partner, and all that newlyweds go through in the first weeks. Specifically we discussed all that newlyweds should or shouldn't do, what they could do, and so on. I noticed a recurring theme in our class discussions that really touched a chord in my heart.

Trust. Trust was the core that held all that newlyweds did together. Trust in God, in each other, and in themselves. For many this seems like a simple thing. I say now something that is very personal but that I feel I must say. I trust no one. I have a hard time trusting anybody, least of all myself. I am afraid of what I might do if I don't keep myself to a strict lifestyle. I fear what others may or may not do to me, or against me. I trust God, at times. That is sad to say, but a great deal of the time I try and accomplish things myself before I place trust in the Lord to help me.

I have had experiences in my past that have affected how quickly, or easily I trust others. I want to say to all that read this here and now: Trust. Don't trust too easily but trust that the Lord will help you and stay with you. Trust that your friends will have your best interests at heart. Trust that your family will always stand behind you. Trust that all will happen in the way that it should.

Do not lack in trust like me. I learned in class that a lack of trust is not good. Not that I thought it was good, but I never thought about it's affect on those around me, and my future husband. Trust in those around you that care about you to be there when you need them. Realize that not everybody is out to get you or your money.

Trust is key to a marriage. Without trust a marriage cannot survive. Trust requires a leap of faith and can be extremely scary. But with trust, a relationship can grow and true intimacy can be acquired. This post isn't as scholarly in nature as my previous posts, but this is how I feel right now and it has been weighing heavily on my mind throughout this last week.

The very idea of having someone get that close to me, to make myself that vulnerable to another person is the scariest thing I could ever do. I hate to be seen vulnerable and I build walls specifically for the purpose of hiding my vulnerability. I hide behind sarcasm, "I'm fine"'s and "Oh, it's okay"'s.

As I said I have been seriously pondering this all week. I had a long discussion with my mother, and my best friend. They both told me they had known what I had just realized: I don't trust well. They also told me that it's definitely something I am going to have work on.

Do you gain trust for others overnight? I wish, but it's simply not that easy. It takes a great deal of time. It's interesting how losing trust for others can happen in a single day, but earning that trust back takes years.

Each day, look at what your friends have done for you, and just say out loud, or to yourself, "I trust them". If you say it often enough it will become true. Just as a person's testimony is strengthened each time they bear it.

I hope my small message about trust is well received and understood. Thank you for reading.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Cohabitation VS Marriage

Cohabiting, or living together,...is it really better than marriage? Is it really any different? I have friends in both situations. In my personal experience, those who were married were a great deal happier than those who were simply living together with no plans to get married.

Do all who live together not intend to get married? No, there are those who live together as a precursor to marriage, with the intention of getting married to the one they are living with. Coresidential daters simply are tired of living alone and figure since they are dating it would be more convenient to live together. They are unsure of the outcome of the relationship, but simply don't want to live alone.

Trial cohabitors are committed to marriage, but not necessarily to the person they are currently living with. The final grouping of cohabitors are those living together as an alternative to marriage. In this situation, they are more committed to their partner than to marriage. They want a long-term relationship, but don't want to get married. So of all these, are any of them a good idea? Is cohabiting better than marriage?

No, it's not. Extensive research has yet to prove that cohabiting with a romantic partner for any reason is a good idea. Several research articles have found definite differences between the two experiences. For one, married couples have reported more sex and more satisfying sex. Married couples also have a better-quality relationship than do cohabiting couples. Most interesting was that married couples reported greater happiness, less depression, higher levels of commitment to the relationship, and better relationships with parents.

All of this points to the fact that there is not much positive said about cohabiting. I believe very strongly in marriage. I stand behind The Family: A Proclamation to the World 100%. I am listing some sources and articles for those who wish to read further:

Whitehead,B.D., and D. Popenoe.2001. The State of our Unions: The Social Health of Marriage
In America. The National Marriage Project Web Site

Brown, S.L., and A. Booth.1996. "Cohabitation versus Marriage: A Comparison of Relationship Quality." Journal of Marriage and the Family 58:668-78

Dush, C.M.K., C.L. Cohan, and P.R. Amato. 2008. "The Relationship Between Cohabitation and Marital Quality and Stability." Journal of Marriage and the Family 65:539-49

The Four Kinds of Love

In my Family Relations class we discussed love. The main discussion question: What is love? That is a question I do not yet have an answer for. I have to experience love, romantic love anyway. But I learned this week about four very powerful Greek words: Storge, Philia, Eros, and Agape. These four words describe four different kinds of love that we as humans experience.

Storge (pronounced store-gay) is, "the kind of love found in the affection between parents and their children...It is the least discriminating kind of love, because 'almost anyone can become an object of affection: the ugly, the stupid, even the exasperating.'"

Philia (fill-ee-ah) is, "The kind of love that exists between friends...It is the intense sharing between two people who have similar perspectives on life."

Eros (air-os) is "love between men and women...Aristotle said that eros makes people long to bei in each other's presence. In other words, eros is more than lust. It is more than a desire for sex. It is desire for sex with a particular person. In eros, one is preoccupied with thoughts about the person and longing to be with the person."

Agape (a-gah-pay) is, "a love that is independent of one's feelings for another. To practice agape is to act on behalf of the well-being of someone else, whether you like that person or not...it is a love in which we will to act beneficially toward another."

(Marriage & Family, Lauer pg. 128-129)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Gender Roles

I am now going to discuss a very sensitive topic. There will be those that disagree with what I say, and may have strong opinions about it. I respect your opinions and what you believe. I ask, very simply and respectfully, that you keep that opinion to yourself. You may have an opinion contrary to mine, but I do not wish to debate over who is right, and who is wrong. This site is very simply to give my opinion, and provide sources for my opinion. If you have a contrary opinion, please post it on your own blog. Do not post on mine.

Now to my topic.

In my Family Relations course, we discussed gender roles and homosexuality. As some of my readers probably already know, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints does not condone homosexual relationships. The Church gave out a statement following the trial regarding Prop 8 in California. Prop 8 Response : here's the link. Simply put we believe that marriage between a man and a woman to be divinely appointed by God. The Family: A Proclamation to the World gives the Church's first official statement on marriage and family and its great divinity.

I have no eloquence with words, nor can my words persuade many. Gratefully, there are others whose words and voices are stronger than mine that speak truth. First I am providing a link for an article that is a transcription of an interview with an apostle of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Elder Dallin H. Oaks and a member of the Seventy Elder Lance B. Wickman: Same-Gender Attraction. Hopefully this article/interview gives you, my readers, some insight.

Yet another article I am providing a link for is a research article done by A. Dean Byrd. He has a Ph.d and several other qualifications. This is his research article discussing the idea that people are born homosexual: "Born That Way". I agree with his findings that homosexuality is not something people are born with. Homosexuality is a choice. That is all I have to say.

I am going to provide another link to an article by Elder Dallin H. Oaks, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, also entitled, "Same-Gender Attraction".

My official statement on this topic is that homosexuality is a choice. One can the attraction, but not act on it. To act on the attraction is a personal choice.

For those wishing to do more research I am leaving a list of links here at the end of this blog:

Family & Culture

Families, in their traditions and habits, differ from greatly. A family in Arizona, for example, has very different habits, traditions, and rituals than a family in Nebraska. Main events may remain the same, but what the individual family does for the event can be very different. Is this a bad thing? No, there is nothing wrong with two families celebrating Christmas, or Halloween in different fashions from each other.

In the March 1986 issue of the Ensign, a magazine distributed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, there was an article titled, "Traditions Worth Keeping". I would like to place an excerpt here for you to read:

"Family traditions are like spiritual and emotional cement in the foundation of a happy home. They create fond memories, and these memories bond us together as nothing else can.

Traditions influence the way we live and the way we look at life. They may be practices or beliefs handed down from generation to generation, or new habits or patterns we establish in our own families. Some will be based on commandments and righteous principles, others may evolve from our cultural or national heritage."

As the above excerpt says, family traditions are quite influential. They help shape who become later in life. Every person looks back on their family's traditions constantly. We may not realize it, but some of the traditions become habits and before we realize it, we are doing it without even thinking about it. The ensign article goes on to discuss cultural traditions:

"Cultural traditions can enrich family life too. Some families inherit unique national traditions and customs from their parents or grandparents. Other families adopt customs because of an interest in other cultures of the world. On May Day in France, for example, it is traditional to exchange flowers—lilies of the valley—as a symbol of friendship. In Mexico, the breaking of the pinata—a decorated container filled with gifts and candies—is a highlight of family fun on special occasions. Colorful traditions like these are to be found in all cultures."

Cultural traditions are not to dismissed or looked down upon. Cultural traditions can help a person define who they are what is important for, or to, them. By following family, cultural traditions, descendants are creating invisible bonds, or connections with their fathers who came before them. A part of our ancestry, or history, comes alive within us and tells us who we are, and who we can be.

Above all remember this: Family is the most important tradition of all to pass on. We must teach our children the importance of family and make sure they understand the "Family Proclamation" and all that is discussed therein.

Monday, October 3, 2011

‘Til 2013 do us part? Mexico mulls 2-year marriage

This is an article I found about a proposed new marriage contract in Mexico City. I found similar articles on ABC News, BBC News, Time Magazine Online, Fox News, and CNN Online. I want to hear your thoughts. What do you think of this proposed bill? I personally think that the Catholic church is right on this one, "It's absurd!". Anyway, please comment! Let's get this story out there and make people aware of what the world is coming to.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Family Systems Theory

In my Family Relations class we have been discussing the family systems theory. This theory views family as one unit. The individuals actions affect this unit. It's easier explained as a car. Each component in the car is necessary to make it run. If just one component is broken or operating incorrectly, the entire system is thrown off. This is how the family systems theory works.

I thought about this and to me it makes sense. Just one person in a family can change the entire attitude or function of the family. A family, as previously defined on this blog, consists of a mother and father, married, and their children. when that basic definition is changed the family is no longer a family, but is turned or warped into something that people try to pass off as a family.

(I realize my comments may offend some, but this is how I feel. If you do not agree,...tell me why and maybe we can have a more civilized discussion versus lewd comments.)

The family unit, once altered, is warped, and the components do not function as they are supposed to. To continue with the car analogy, if the car components are not functioning correctly, how long can the car run before it desperately needs repair. Not long. Sometimes, more often than not, the car just shuts down and refuses to go any further. Smokes emerges from the hood, and you're stuck on the side of the road, watching all the other cars pass you by.

Recently, as I've driven on the interstate, and local freeways, I've noticed the amount of abandoned broken down cars has greatly increased. I mention this because, continuing the analogy, the family is being warped and distorted at a more frequent rate, and just as it is changing, so are the components breaking down and the entire unit abandoned through divorce, or other form of legal separation.

Many say that the family is in the best place ever. That society being so accepting of other family forms is the best thing for everybody. Is it? Is changing the core of life really a good thing. We cannot abandon the family structure so easily. The family unit, or structure, did not fail. The components within the structure did. We need to focus on the components and how to put our best into repairing them so that we can get back on the freeway and to our final destination. For the journey is where we become the leaders of tomorrow, parents of tomorrow, and the saviors of the world.

I bear my solemn testimony of the family. I know with all my heart that the family is crucial. I know that through righteousness and temple work, families can be together forever. My heart rejoices at that thought! The idea of being with all of my family, every single person is so wonderful. I thank my Heavenly Father a thousand times over for this wonderful blessing. I pray that all may receive this wonderful blessing. Amen