Every family has problems and challenges. But successful families try to work together toward solutions instead of resorting to criticism and contention. They pray for each other, discuss, and give encouragement. Ezra Taft Benson

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Lesson 13
Family Rules
Learning about family rules was very interesting. I could see clearly how these underlying rules could cause conflict early on in a marriage. It was true in my case. I had only met my in-laws one time before we got married. There were things right from the start that was strange to me, and my husband said the same thing. It was so difficult to move away from my family and move next to my new husband’s family. I didn’t know how to be a good daughter-in-law and there were so many differences I was afraid I would never be one of them. However, because of the influence of my dear mother and her example of excepting and loving people, I was able to look past those things and accept my in-laws. I tried to be respectful even though we disagreed with things (mostly about children).
Though it was a little awkward at first, I called them “Dad” and “Mom” so that I could see them and respect them as parents. They were converts to the church and have always lived in Ohio. I was from the West and had pioneer ancestors. I brought some odd ideas into the family that was hard for my in-laws to understand. As I got to know my in-law parents and heard of their lives and struggles, my respect for them grew by leaps and bounds.  They were amazing. We all adjusted and we are all family and friends now. We are grateful for each other, strengthen each other, and love each other as if we were blood-related.

“Closeness...is different from enmeshment…Married children can be emotionally close without always having to be present.” ( Harper, J. M. & Olsen, S. F. (2005). "Creating Healthy Ties With In-Laws and Extended Families.")  This explains what I felt for my parents who lived 1,200 miles away and for my in-laws now that only live 15 minutes away. It did take time, patience, repentance and forgiveness.

The readings this week were a little scary. I don’t have any of my children old enough to marry yet and I didn’t realize how hard it can be to have in-laws and to do family finances. I have children all over the spectrum so it sounds like all of them could struggle in any area. I look back on my marriage and feel the Atonement of Jesus Christ just made it alright for all of us. I had to forgive and humble myself many times. It was good for me. I feel so very blessed that I did some things right that I didn’t even know I was doing. I feel so grateful for in-laws that eventually came to accept me and let me into their hearts and lives. These earthly relationships can be so rewarding!

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Lesson 12
How wonderful to be taught of counsels and how a marriage can be a partnership. I have seen this to be an important and meaningful part of my parents’ marriage and my own. My mother was a meek and I would say submissive wife. She wishes now that she would have spoken up more because it couldn’t have saved some stressful moves and other things from happening. If my dad made a decision she supported him but now they both feel things would have been better if they would have listened to each other before and during making decisions. Decisions like when and where to move are at the top of the list.

I really like the article “Who’s the Boss” by Richard Miller. There were many good points, one of which was, “In healthy, well-functioning families, there is a clear hierarchy between parents and children. Parents are the “executive committee” and the “board of directors” of a family. As with any other leadership position, parents should not be harsh, domineering, or dictatorial, but they are the leaders of the family, and the children need to follow that leadership.

Discipline is probably one of the most important elements in which a mother and father can lead and guide and direct their children…. Setting limits to what a child can do means to that child that you love him and respect him. If you permit the child to do all the things he would like to do without any limits, that means to him that you do not care much about him (Spencer W. Kimball, TSWK pp. 340, 341).

Isn’t is so refreshing to hear again that we are allowed to be parents? I feel so often society is teaching that everything is all about the child without thinking about when the child grows up. The best thing for children is to have real parents who take seriously their roles. Who is to help the children learn the facts of life and work ethic if they are never to be disciplined and taught that all choices have consequences.

When parents are united they are unstoppable it seems. One key is to be united and one key is to be united in the right thing. Talking with a General Authority recently, he said when the Twelve Apostles get together there is no politics or what is conservative and what is liberal. The question always boils down to what is right. I love what Elder Ballard said,

“I have noticed that each of the Brethren is not so much concerned with expressing his own point of view as he is with listening to the point of view of others and striving to create a proper climate in the Council meetings. They are sensitive to one another’s thoughts and rarely interrupt one another during their conversations. During discussion they do not push their own ideas but try to determine from the discussion what would be best for the kingdom” (M. Russell Ballard (1997) Counseling With Your Councils).”

These men are well educated and very successful in the world’s terms. And yet they can set their pride, their confidence, their opinions aside and humbly petition the Lord for His will. I want to be that way. I want to be at one with my husband as we share this sacred role as parents. The consequences are eternal.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Lesson 11
Fidelity in Marriage
In speaking of fidelity in marriage I am one of those that appreciates the positive side of the coin. Of course, all kinds of heartache and pain come with infidelity, but we don’t want to tamper with poison. So my question is can we stay away from the temptation so that it is not a temptation? I really liked what Goddard said in his book. Mentioning 10 step of staying safe from temptations, it was number eight that I thought was so perfect “Don't set yourself up for failure. Don't allow yourself to spend time alone with the person. Avoiding is better than resisting. Make your spouse a partner in all of your efforts to help a person of the opposite sex.” I believe that is being a guardian over ourselves and our marriage. Don’t go looking for trouble.

I don’t want to be tempted. I also really enjoy the steps to stay faithful! I like dates and praying with my spouse. I like talking through things with him. I love just being with him. I feel it is dangerous for me to compare him to anyone or how he should be. I feel what I read, watch, and listen to all make an impact on how I feel about my husband.

My husband was a Bishop for six years and said he learned both from study and experience that often the problem of pornography came into a marriage because the wife was being selfish and proud and so the husband was weak and vulnerable. Of course, you cannot blame the wife for her husband’s poor choices- but what if she could have strengthened him and kept him safe if she would have been more thoughtful, kind, and humble. My husband said I have kept all other temptations from him.

The wonderful closeness in a marriage is not available to many, so what about them? I appreciate Bro Goddard who said, “Sometimes He requires us to bear discomfort. But He always blesses those who obey eternal laws. And the blessings are in incredible disproportion to the price we have paid.” Isn’t that true for every commandment? I am grateful for President Kimball’s reminder “The words none else eliminate everyone and everything. The spouse then becomes preeminent in the life of the husband or wife, and neither social life nor occupational life nor political life nor any other interest nor person nor thing shall ever take precedence over the companion spouse.” 
Some marriages can be healed in this life but some will not. My heart goes out to family members and friends however I hope they take courage. "To those who claim their love is dead, let them return home with all their loyalty, fidelity, honor, and cleanness, and the love that has become but embers will flare up with scintillating flame again. If love wanes or dies, it is often infidelity of thought or act that gave the lethal potion."
Our job is to keep our covenants and do all we can to learn and serve and bless our spouse and make it possible for them to live happily ever after with us.