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

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Lesson 10
Gottman and Goddard
(I really liked Goddard's book because it refers to the changes of one's heart which is most significant in a marriage relationship.)
I have just finished reading John Gottman’s book, “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work” and H. Wallace Goddard’s “Drawing Heaven Into Our Marriage”. I still think that it all boils down to repentance and forgiveness. In Gottman we learn about gridlock, which really is just pride and selfishness. His steps that help us out of that you could say are also the process of repentance. I like the exercise of talking about each other’s dreams and being respectful. That is exactly what happens when we are repentant and both of us come together to make things right. Our hearts turn outward to each other instead of inward. If I am proud I say they need to change; if I’m humble I say I need to change – even if they are wrong. That, in essence is sacrifice. It really is just sacrificing my pride.  
         I would say the central message of Gottman’s book is there are tools to help almost any couple make a marriage better. Goddard has another wonderful message for changing your heart and thus making any person or marriage better. The more charity I have the less time and energy I spend trying to fix things and people. The more faith I have in the Savior the more I am able to change and rely on Him. These truths bring a peace in my own heart and life regardless of other’s actions.
         Another point I feel is really important that Goddard brought up but Gottman didn’t dwell on too much. The thoughts we have going into marriage. When my dad heard I might “marry this boy, he told “this boy” that if he was going to marry one of his daughters he needed to know a few things, namely, that we did not believe in divorce! I was mortified! “This boy” and I had not yet discussed marriage. My dad was a rough cowboy so he wasn’t always tactful in the way he said things. He just said them! Well, whether people believe in divorce or not, sometimes it happens. But I believe that starting out in a marriage with the idea that “we do not believe in divorce” helped us realize the importance of what we were doing. Marriage is for the long haul. And if it is for the long haul then it is worth all our work, humility, prayer, and repentance that we need to put into it. I believe the NEED for divorce with rare exceptions - always comes because of broken covenants. Even when covenants have been broken there are many cases when staying together and working through the process of repentance has made a wonderful marriage in the end.
I’m so grateful for the tools we have been given to work through issues that can make a bad or struggling marriage into a thriving marriage. I am even more grateful for the knowledge of the reality of Jesus Christ, “His matchless life and infinite virtue of His great atoning sacrifice” (The Living Christ). That makes all difference.

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