When I got married I had no idea of how marriage was really going to be like. The only expectation I had was the classic fairy tale dream of having a happily ever after marriage, and as member of the church, I had the dream of having an Eternal family.
Sometimes we come to marriages with many expectations, ideas of how our spouse should be like, act like or treat us like. It is good to have expectations; it is good to have an ideal of how we want thinks to work and how we want our relationship to be like. What is not good is to think that love and marriage is like the fairy tale stories we watch on TV. Bernard Poduska in his book, Till Death Do Us Part says, “Unfortunately, many newlyweds tend to bring to their marriages a fairy-tale belief in living happily ever after, a belief seemingly base on this supposition: “We have been good. Therefore, only good things will happen to us.””
Marriage is wonderful and magical, don’t get me wrong, but it is very important that we come prepare for what Elder Wirthlin has tell us , “Come What May, and Love It.” Some of the things my now sweetheart, fiancé back then, and I hardly discuss before getting marry were:
♥ Who is going to pay the bills? (Including tithing, and fast offerings.)
♥ Who is going to make sure we have FHE?
♥ At what time should we have couples scripture study?
♥ Who is going to drive when we are both in the car?
♥ Are we going to share the house choirs?
♥ Are we going to go grocery shopping together?
♥Where are we going to spend the holydays, with your family or with my family?
All of this and probably others you can think of, where some things I hardly ever thought about when I got marry almost 16 years ago.
Something very interesting that I learned in my first year of marriage is that each one of us comes to this wonderful union of matrimony carrying our very own backpack. In this backpack we carry all the traditions we learned in our own family, the rules we follow, the way we treat each other and the way in which we follow the teachings of the Gospel. And in my case, I was also carrying a different culture; I spoke a different language, that’s because I am from Mexico. And this is where the beauty of marriage takes place, when two imperfect individuals, with so many differences, and backgrounds, come together in the gospel and for a perfect union.
According to Harper and Frost, when a marriage takes place, the newlyweds need to star working in creating their very own “Marital Identity.” This process happens when the newly couple starts to “think of themselves as existing together inside an invisible fence. They share information and behavior with each other inside that fence, and that information and behavior is not meant to be shared with others outside the fence…”
In other words, now it is your turn to create your own family traditions. It is obvious that everything you do in your marriage will be inevitable influence by whatever you carry in your backpack, and what your sweetheart carries on his/her backpack. It is time to start your own adventure, to learn from one another, to accept each other and be willing to compromise. Things will be hard ar times, some times even harder, but as we keep our focus in our eternal goals, and we let the Savior guide, we will be moving in the right direction.
President David O. McKay said, “No other success can compensate for failure in the home. The poorest shack in which love prevails over a united family is of far greater value to God and future humanity than any other riches. In such a home God can work miracles and will work miracles”
“Our most important and powerful assignments are in the family. They are important because the family has the opportunity at the start of a child’s life to put feet firmly on the path home.” Henry B. Eyring
Near the end of his life, one father looked back on how he had spent his time on earth. An acclaimed, respected author of numerous scholarly works, he said, ‘I wish I had written one less book and taken my children fishing more often.’ Time passes quickly. Many parents say that it seems like yesterday that their children were born. Now those children are grown, perhaps with children of their own. ‘Where did the years go?’ they ask. We cannot call back time that is past, we cannot stop time that now is, and we cannot experience the future in our present state. Time is a gift, a treasure not to be put aside for the future but to be used wisely in the present.” Thomas S. Monson
Feeling the security and constancy of love from a spouse, a parent, or a child is a rich blessing. Such love nurtures and sustains faith in God. Such love is a source of strength and casts out fear (see 1 John 4:18). Such love is the desire of every human soul.” David A. Bednar
♥Every time I hear someone say that they have a perfect marriage, I can only but say inside of me, yeah right. It is not possible to have a perfect marriage, right? Because even when we try our best every day, every second, it seemsthat disagreements always find its way through the cracks.
♥So how then can we pretend to come close to perfection, is it even possible? In order to answer that question we first need to understand what makes a marriage not perfect, an dyes you have the right answer, it is disagreements, fights, conflict and anger. When I think what would make my marriage perfect, I would promptly respond that having a conflict free marriage. Well, it is sad to say that conflict will always be part of marriage, and of our daily lives, even Christ like individuals will have conflict in their lives.
♥But conflict doesn’t mean disaster, or unsolved problems. I think that as humans we have a hard time distinguishing the difference between conflict and contention, because we talk about those two concepts as if they were synonymous, but they are not. conflict is an event we face that needs to be solve, kind like a problems or a situation. When we are not able to solve the conflict, and we let anger, stress, defensiveness and pride take over us, then that conflict turns personal, and then it becomes contention.
♥According to Goddard, conflict can be a blessing in disguise. When we face a conflict in our marriage, it is an opportunity to develop the talent of good communications and problem solving skills. Let say that your husbands forgets to change the air filters every month, and every time you remind him about it, but he keeps forgetting. This is a conflict you need to face every month. You have two options, to bring the situation to your husband attention, talk about what you can do to help him remember about the air filters. Or you can opt to get mad at your hubby, to feel irritated about it every time you receive the reminder email about changing the air filters. Then you get defensive with him, calling him names, and going of for his forgetfulness. Was that worth it? I will say no, nothing is worth a fight with your sweet heart, nothing.
♥SO how can we make thing work then? It is easy, but difficult to actually do it, they key is to learn to solve conflict without turning it into contention. Remember how much you love the person you chose to marry, remember the butterflies you felt in your stomach when you first kiss, must most important of all, remember that you made a covenant to love one another, to support one another, and that with God all things are possible.
“Happy conflict solving days!!”
When we get marry we cannot expect to love everything about our spouse, but we should expect to respect them, to enjoy their joys, and to support each other in what is important for each one of us.
Marriage is not about “I” or “me”, marriage is about “us” and “we”.
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
♥Sometimes we say that we are willing to die for our sweet hearts, that our lives would have no sense without them. Now, close your eyes and ask yourself, would you be willing to live for your sweetheart? Are you willing to find sense in the struggles you will face in your marriage?
♥We can say whatever we want regarding all the things we are willing to do in order to have a happy marriage, but if they are only that, thoughts then it won’t matter how good they are. We need action, we need to do, only doers accomplish something in life, only doers will reach their dreams.
♥One big proof of our true desire to help our marriages be as wonderful and beautiful as the ones in fairytales, is by completely and entirely giving our all to it. This concept is call consecration, and according to president Benson it means that we are willing to “consecrate our time, talent, strength, property, and money for the upbuilding of the kingdom of God on this earth and the establishment of Zion.”
♥So you may ask, why are you talking about consecration and marriage? This is why, because according to Wallace Goddard if we want our marriage to work, to make it stronger and stronger each day then we must be willing to :
“I am willing to give away all my perry preferences in order to know the godliness in my spouse.”
“We are willing to love a failing partner. “
“It is acting to redeem our partner and our covenants with everything we have and everything we may draw from Heaven.”
♥So you tell me, what does consecration had to do with marriage? I will say, it has everything to do with marriage:
“…We are invited to dedicate our lives, our talents, our weekend, and our weakness to the sacred entries of sanctifying our marriages and ultimately perfecting our souls.” (Goddard, 2007)
♥ Marriage is all about sacrifice, all about love, all about giving all of yourself in order to make it work. So don’t be afraid, you won’t loose yourself, you will find yourself, happier in a loving and lasting marriage.
♥So what do we do when facing this struggles in marriage? What can help us not crumble when crumbling is all we want to do.
♥What if I tell you that washing dishes as a couple, that going grocery shopping together, doing errands or playing board games can help you have a long happy marriage. Would you believe me? I hope you will, and I also hope that you are already enjoying doing this kind of activities as a couple. And this is why those “mundane activities” (as Gottman calls them) can predict a happy marriages:
“When couples engage in lots of chitchat … I can be pretty sure that they will stay happily married,” and that is because “husband and wife are connecting-they are tuning toward each other. ” “Real life romance It is kept alive each time you let your spouse know he or she is valued during the grind of every day life.”
♥If all of this small activities we do for each other every day can really determine our future happiness, how can we make sure we are doing them with the right heart set? It is simple, if you don’t like sports but your spouse does, make the choice to show a little of interest, not in sports, but in spending time with your suppose doing something they like to do. As couples do this, they will be investing, in what Gottman calls, Emotional bak accounts:
“Partners who characteristically turn toward each other rather than away, are putting money in the bank. They are building up emotional savings that can serve as a cushion when times get rough, when they are faced with major life stresses or conflict. Because they have stored up all of this goodwill, they are better to make allowances for each other when conflict arises.”
♥ So start today to pay more attention to the little things that can mean big things for a happy marriage. Start cooking together, play games together, clean the house together, stay up talking about how each other’s day went. You don’t like sports, but you love your hubby and want to be closer to him, and give him a heart attack of joy? Then spend some time with him when he is watching sports, or going to sports. Yo probably won’t like the sport after that, but for sure your husband will like you, love you and appreciate you more.
If I aske you a few questions abut your sweet heart, would you know the answers? Lets see…
♥What is your better half favorite color?
♥What’s his/her favorite restaurant?
♥What is your sweetheart’s dream job?
♥And I can go on and on. This are simple questions right? So how well did you do? Where you right about the answers to this questions? Most couples may think that this are simple and silly questions, that it does have anything to do with their relationship to know or not know this information. But according to John B. Gottman says that there is a big difference between knowing your spouse’s “joys, likes, dislikes, fears and stresses,” and having an intimate knowledge of each other’s world.
♥To truly love someone, Gottman says, we need to know them, because if we don’t know them, how can we truly love them? So how can we get to the point of truly knowing our spouses, it is simple, we need to make them our priority in our lives. As we strive to get to know them better, we will start to feel a stronger connection, our feelings of love and admiration will increase, and positivity will become a strong element in our relationship. As you start building you library of knowledge about your one true love, you will start build what Gottman calls Love Maps. The more you know about each other, the stronger the Love Map, and the stronger the love map, greater possibilities of having a happy, long lasting marriage. And this is possible because the more we know about our spouse, we will understand them better, we will be able to do the things we know make them happy, we will strive to do everything in our power to fill their lives with joy.
Marriage is a sacred and delicate union, and as such it needs to be nourish to keep it alive. Gottman says that,
“If a couple still has functioning fondness and admiration system, their marriage is salvageable… Fondness and Admiration are two of the most crucial elements in a rewarding and long lasting romance. When this sense is completely missing from a marriage, the relationship cannot be revived.”
♥So what is fondness and admiration you may ask, and I will tell you that the answer is simple, it is the mutual respect you have for each other, and the capacity to think positively about each other, even when facing trials and struggles. If this elements are ever missing in a marriage, then that marriage will be in trouble.
So, start right now, write a list of simple question that you may want to ask your better half in order to know them better. Together remember great moment you have shared in your lives. AS simple as it seems, filling your heart with the sweet, simple and joyful moments of the past, can fill your present with hopes, and it will reflect in a promising happily ever after future!!