Sunday, June 14, 2015

Intimacy in Marriage

As we have had our discussions this week, I have really seen the importance of a male and female in a marriage. One point that a student in my class made was how man and woman are physically made to complete each other. I had never really thought of it this way until we talked about other ways that man and woman complete each other. From the physical needs and desires of males and females to the way they think, man and wife are made for each other.

One thing that we talked about in our class was how important it is to be aware of your spouse's needs. I think that being selfless is something that is key to an important marriage. We learn that in order to be more like Christ, we need to be selfless and love unconditionally which is exactly what we should be doing in a marriage. Being aware of how you can help to love, care for, appreciate and validate your spouse's feelings will not only make your partner happier, but it will increase their love for you also.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Transitions in Marriage

Weddings are something that girls (and some guys) look forward to for years and years. Girls know exactly what kind of dress, ring and flower they want for that day. They already have planned out the place, the music, the food and probably have some perfect "Ken doll" husband in mind when they think about their wedding. But do they think about the days  or years after that day? Are they thinking about the adjustments, the hardships, the fights and the responsibilities of marriage?

When I was younger I will full-heartedly admit I didn't give one thought to that. I figured every day would be magical when I am with the one I love. Not to say that everyday can't be magical after I'm married but I am a realist and I know for a fact that there are days in life that are FAR from magical, especially when in a relationship. Being up here at a LDS college where getting engaged over the weekend is just as typical as a trip to McDonalds with friends, I have seen so many couples go from dating one week, to being engaged and then married the next (slight exaggeration, but kind of not really). Couples will sit and plan every detail of their wedding, but what of their marriage? My teacher asked us this week, "Are you planning for a wedding or a marriage?". I love that idea.

Now, I really do feel like I have no room to lecture on the transitions in marriage considering I am the farthest from having a ring on my finger, but I do know about relationships and working with people and have seen a lot of couples go through this. At church, and in life, we aren't taught about how which flower we use in our wedding  is going to make our marriage a success, we are taught about proper communication and love and how practicing those things can make us successful. We are taught about the principles of the gospel and how if we follow them we can be perfected through Christ. From what I can see, the same goes for marriage. A successful marriage is one that is between you, your significant other and God. 

I know it is easy to sit and think about now, I can only imagine how hard it might be to actually implicate that between me and my future husband. However, it is something that I want to do and look forward to doing with my husband. I know it will be hard to adjust to marriage and I know that there will be hard times with my husband, but I also know that if I keep God in mind throughout my marriage I will be able to be better in every way for my husband. We are taught that through God all things are possible, so through knowing this I want to be the best I can be and in return have the most loving, fun, and supportive marriage I can have with my husband.

Preparing for Marriage

“Be friends first and sweethearts second. Lowell Bennion once said that relationships between young men and young women should be built like a pyramid. The base of the pyramid is friendship. And the ascending layers are built of things like time, understanding, respect, and restraint. Right at the top of the pyramid is a glittering little mystery called romance. And when weary travelers in the desert see that glitter on top of the pyramid from far off, they don’t see what underlies the jewel to give it such prominence and hold it so high”
-Bruce C. Hafen

I love this quote because of its plain truth and the beautiful image it leaves in my mind. Love is a hard thing and it gets even harder when you are trying to find someone to spend eternity with. As we have talked about the importance of preparing for marriage I have seen how the suggestions and guidelines our church has put out regarding marriage play into a successful and eternal marriage.

In our church we are told at the age of 16 to date only in groups, not steady. I was always confused (and slightly against) this suggestion because I was under the impression that I was mature enough to be in a steady relationship at that age. So I went ahead and had my first steady boyfriend at the age of 17. It was great with him and fun, but months in I began to wonder what the point was. I certainly wasn't going to marry him. So eventually we broke up, I had my first heartbreak and I didn't steady date anyone until my first semester of college.

Looking back now, I can clearly see the reasoning behind the standards we have in our church. We are told the steps to marriage are dating, courting (steady dating), engagement and then marriage. It is so important to have those steps leading up into marriage because it not only defines what the goals are with the couple, but it can help them keep their priorities straight. 

With each step we learn more about the other person, begin to discuss the different responsibilities and in return grow closer together. Through reading through different research in my class, it has been scientifically proven that these steps are the way to a successful marriage. It has brought to light the importance of following the ways of the Lord and the gospel because He always has a plan and knows what is best for us.

Because of following these steps in my relationship, my significant other is my best friend. We know so much about each other and look forward to the things we can learn about each other as we take on these next steps in our relationship.

Gender Roles

This week I have been thinking about a lot about the different roles of the genders. We can gather ideas of what gender roles are from media, people, books, religions and so forth. I have been asking myself where my definition of "gender roles" came from. My first thought was my religion. We, the women, are so loved in my church. We get to take on roles that no man can ever take and because of that, we are loved, watched over and cared for by the leaders and other members of our church. Men in our church are also given responsibilities that we as woman also respect and treat with great importance. Now, if you switch over to how the media portrays men and women, which one is treated with more respect and love? Men or women? Are either?

From the day to day shows that I watch I see how sometimes women are shown as the stronger sex, that women don't need men to get along because they are insensitive, careless and hold us back from our true potential. I see men who think that they are the stronger sex in the sense that they are more driven, successful and that life is better going from woman to woman every night. Although some would agree that this could be true, I disagree. Men and woman are given the qualities that they have to complete each other. In the eyes of God no man or woman is less or more important, we are all loved for who we are and the roles we play on this Earth. When someone can accept that idea, they will see that we can actually learn so much from the other gender, most importantly how to love and appreciate the other.

Having been in a relationship for the past couple years, I have seen the importance of respecting the other gender's roles. I have learned that the more I support my significant other in his responsibilities, both inside and outside the church, the closer we become as a couple. There is always something that he can teach me and there is always something that he can learn from me. The longer we have been  together the more I have realized ways I can improve myself and support him more fully through communication, service and love.

My Family System

This week we have been talking about the roles and systems of families which has opened my eyes to just how important and complex the family can be. My family is a huge part of my life, they are all my best friends, but I have never realized until this week just how much of a part they are of defining who I am. I have learned how to interact with other people, express my feelings, listen to others, have fun and love other deeply because of my family. It has been so interesting taking a step back and looking at who plays who in each role in my family. It has really proven to me that God gave us the characteristics we have so we could each bring something special to the family.

 Learning about the different types of theories in family, it has been hard to place my family in one. We definitely do not live by the exchange theory (the "you owe me one" theory) because when we give service to each other, we usually don't expect anything in return which is a valuable lesson we learned from our mother. Through the symbolic interactions theory we can look at the family in a "whole is greater than the sum of its parts" perspective which is a theory that can relate to every family. When we are together as a family, we help each other grow through support, laughter and love. 

I have had my eyes open to not only the importance of the family but to how much the idea of a family is trying to be construed and placed into a worldly definition instead of the Godly definition. God has the idea of families for a reason and it has worked wonderfully over the past decades since, so ask yourself why change it now?