Thursday, June 30, 2016

Faml300-03To Know

         Here is a topic that is so awkward to talk about. We avoid it at pretty much any cost. As a "Mormon" it is definitely something that I avoid talking about. We don't think it is appropriate to talk about, to the point that we most often avoid discussing it within marriage. Physical intimacy is that topic. I have heard it said that before marriage all you get on the topic is, "no, no, no!" Then you get married and all of a sudden it is, "go, go, go!". The thing is with the no's is that it makes people feel like intimacy is wrong. It is not wrong; it is beautiful and important---in the right setting.
        I think that a good way of explaining this is just like not anyone can go in an LDS temple, not even all members. You have certain steps leading to that. You have to get a temple recommend. For sexual relations you must first be married. Because of this so many people think that sexuality is just inappropriate and must be endured just to have children. I have heard that a lot of people have a really hard time with intimacy within marriage, because they feel guilty. They feel like they are going against what they were taught all their lives. So what can be done once already married?

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        My husband and I try really hard to have open conversation on this topic. Yes, it can be awkward, but the more that we are open with each other and allow it to be a no judgement topic, things just work out so much better. We should be comfortable sharing with our spouse if we are uncomfortable and then be able to discuss what will help the issue. In the scriptures the term "to know" is used when discussing marriages/intimacy. It is much more than a mere physical act. It is one way in which we can become "one flesh", which is also a scriptural term.
       This is something that has to be worked on all the time; most things in marriage are ongoing, improving, learning experiences. I am working on being more patient, loving, and understanding with my husband in all areas of our relationship and intimacy is definitely one of those things that needs to be continually worked on--it will greatly enhance marital satisfaction.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Fml300-03 Hidden Dreams and Gridlock

       There are many times in which I find myself "butting heads" with my husband on different topics. Mostly it is just out of making good conversation; I being the devil's advocate. There are some issues that we seem to just not understand each other on and this causes gridlock, a term used by Dr. John Gottman. Gridlock is when I and my husband just cannot hardly talk about a certain subject without us being frustrated, having no affection towards each other, and it just gets worse and harder to talk about.
      I have an example of this. Rybot and I have opposing views on education. We both agree that being educated is very important, but for him, formal education is "unnecessary" and is just not the way for him. I was raised to want to go far in my formal education. I like the structure and I love accomplishing things; seeing things through to the end. My continuing education has been a topic throughout our 2 1/2 years of marriage. It was really a tough topic and has become something that we don't talk about a ton; at least I don't get much of a response from him when I bring up my school related struggles. Principle 6 of Dr. Gottman's book, "The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work" is called overcoming gridlock. The reason that is given for gridlock is hidden dreams. The issue is not really should I continue going to school, but Rybot and I each have underlying dreams or opinions, deeply rooted in who we are, concerning education.
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       There are definitely things that we agree on about education, but our personal educational journeys have been different. Rybot was homeschooled some and went to school some, but is a great self-learner. He doesn't think that one should be defined just for what degree they hold, which I also agree with. There are some people who know how to go through the hoops of school and get a degree, but may not really understand what they need for their chosen field.
        I love having the structure that is found in formal education; it helps me to stay focused and gives me direction. I want to continue and finish what I have started. My family has helped me and pushed me along the way.
       Rybot and I do not have to agree on all of this, but we do need to find a way to make this difference work for us. We have to work out a compromise of some sort on how we will direct our children educationally, thus it needs to be something that we can discuss. This week as I learned about hidden dreams I brought this topic up with Rybot and that is how I got to a deeper meaning for each of our opinions on this subject. We have a clearer path on how we can make our differences work. Though Rybot doesn't really understand why I keep doing school even though it seems to be the cause of most of my stress, he has decided to try to be a better support and be more empathetic when that is what I need.
       Dr. Gottman wrote, The difference is that the happy couples are aware of each other's dreams and consider helping each other realize them to be one of the goals of marriage." Rybot has been doing a great job about letting me go to school and not telling me I shouldn't, but as we talked about the deeper meaning of our dreams, we are both going to work harder at helping each other with our dreams.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Faml300-03 Where Are Your Manners?

I was reminded of something this week in my online marriage course. We are our worst selves to those we are closest to or those we love the most. At least for me, my manners seem to have completely vanished. An example is given in John Gottman’s book, “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work”, but even one of my own is practically the same. Whilst in an argument with my husband, I was telling him how frustrating it is that he never does the dishes. Honestly, I was tearing into it pretty hard. Then, my phone rings. I see that it is my sister. I answer with an upbeat, “What up my sista?!” Us girls go on to have a pleasant conversation. Getting off the phone I see that my husband is doing some dishes. I go to interrogate further by saying, “Wow, isn’t it easy to do dishes?” I changed my mood quickly when someone else was asking for my attention, so I obviously was choosing to be upset and rude.
In the book it examples having guests over and if they break something, we would tell them it is alright and clean it up. When someone in our family or our spouse does likewise, I think most of us have a different reaction. Yes, mine is quite volatile and impatient. This is crazy! If my husband is ever the same way to me, which also sets me off. I seem to have no tolerance for his impatience or if he does not give me respect. Wo, wo, wo. Hold on. Simple thing we all learn when we are young; if we want someone to be kind to us, we need to first be kind to them. I think it would do me some good to review the primary song, “Kindness Begins With Me”.
So, for those on going annoyances or arguments, simply put forth kindness. Manners may need to be dusted off. Over the past few days I have tried to notice how often I am genuinely kind to my husband, using my manners by saying please and thank you. It is embarrassing that I rarely use these simple, but powerful phrases. If there is any sort of tension in your marriage or other relationships, just try to treat that person as an acquaintance. We are kind to most acquaintances, I hope. Bring out the manners and I really think this is a good, simple thing to focus on. It can ease the tension in all the problems we have in relationships. Thank you for reading my post. Please, come again! ;)

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Faml300-03 Is Pride or Love Winning?

         I am guilty, guilty, guilty!  I often find myself having little annoyances over the things that others do, things that my husband does. When I have these annoyances I dwell on them, nitpick about them, and allow them to steal and suck the joy out of my relationship with my husband. Former president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Ezra Taft Benson, gave an address entitled, "Beware of Pride". He taught of how The Book of Mormon has a main point for us to pick up on. Pride is what will destroy all of our relationships. It destroys our relationships with friends, family, and with the Lord.
        He told how pride is competitive. Pride is very concerned with being above others and assuming a fight position. There is absolutely no love for our neighbor when we are prideful. I can change the way that I view the things that bother me. If I pause and think about the things that bug me and think about how I love my husband, I no longer want to say anything. Honestly, I am letting Satan rule my feelings when I want to point out random little things that bug me. In the book, "Drawing Heaven into Your Marriage" by, H. Wallace Goddard, PhD. there is an example of a young wife who has read that it is a good idea to sit down and share the little things that bother you about your spouse and let them give back similar information. They tried it in their home and she began by telling her husband that the way he eats grapefruit is wrong, annoying, and she just won't be able to stand it forever. He needed to change. Then, it was his turn. He told her there was nothing he wanted to present to her that was bothering him.

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         She felt so horrible and silly. I feel that same way as I have reviewed the things that I have dwelt on and tried to change in Rybot. He is not doing anything wrong. I am being prideful, trying to control things around me when all I need to do is repent. In Goddard's book he says, "In fact, any time we feel irritated with our spouses, that irritation is not an invitation to call our spouses to repentance but an invitation to call ourselves to repent. We are irritated because of our own lack of faith and humility" (p. 77).
       So, I can repent when I feel irritated, I can humble myself, I can focus on the love I have for my spouse and for others. Goddard continued, "when I do feel loving, irritations roll off my soul like water on a duck's back" (p. 83). Through love and continual repentance I can be innocent, innocent, innocent! I can focus on loving Rybot. Love wins and pride loses. Every time.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Fml300-03 Creating a Culture

               In John M. Gottman's book, "The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work", Principle 7 is to Create shared meaning. As individuals we all have our own likes and dislikes. Some things we may share with our spouse, while some are important to us and unimportant to our spouse. One way to be bonded to your spouse and as a family, ultimately, is to create a culture.

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              There are different things that make up cultures. A culture is built on specific events, holidays, traditions, foods, language, activities, and many other things. There are "Four Pillars" that Dr. Gottman has found to be important in this shared meaning or creating a culture. The first is that of rituals of connection. This would be traditions that we have within our families. They can come from what either spouse had while growing up or things that they want to implement in their marriage or family. 
              My husband and I talk a lot about the traditions we want in our home, with our family. There are many things that we think are very important to happen in our family, but they don't always seem to occur. Some rituals or traditions that we have or strive to have are: a weekly family night, a date night, camping, dutch oven cooking, praying together, hiking, reading good books together, attending the Temple to do work for ancestors. Even though we think that some of these are important, they don't always happen. We need to work on being very intentional with our time. One other thing that we both had growing up, but have fallen short on is eating dinner together as a family, at the table. Being newly married and no kids it was so easy to just sit down on the couch and watch a movie during dinner. Now that we have a daughter I am recognizing that we are going to have to be very intentional about making a habit of a proper family dinner each night. 
            The second pillar that is presented is supporting each other's roles. There are many different ideas among couples and individuals of the roles of husband and wife. This has to do with work and home life and how it should be balanced. Dr. Gottman does not point out any way that is more correct than another, but that it is important for spouses to agree on this or to work with one another depending on each person's desires. I believe that my duty or calling is to be a mother and I want to be fully engaged in that. At this time in my life I don't feel that is right for me to be in the work force, though it would be so helpful in our financial situation. Luckily, my husband supports my wishes and agrees. He wants me to be able to be with our daughter, teaching and loving her. We make sacrifices of not having all the things that other people have and try to live frugally. He is the provider and accepts and desires that role. 

            Shared Goals is the third pillar. These can and should be goals for the marriage, for family, individual, and all that those core topics include. Having goals and using those as how to move forward and work together is so beneficial. Shared goals can and should be worked towards together, while personal goals should be cheered on. I personally am striving to graduate college as soon as possible, which is probably every college student's goal, but Rybot is not doing school. He cheers me on because he recognizes that it is important to be, thus he enables me to accomplish it and encourages me when I want to give up on my goal. This part of our culture I see as us have perseverance, stamina, drive, etc. Goals help us to keep focus and to be productive. 

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               The final pillar is shared values and symbols. Rybot and I share our core beliefs and values, these being deeply rooted in our testimonies in our living Savior, Jesus Christ. We strive to be like Him each day, though we most often fall short. We work towards bettering ourselves and just being as Christlike as possible. We try to do what is right and be humble, helpful, and charitable. Another major thing in our culture is expressing love. I think that expressing love is so important. I have told many people that I think that hugs are so important. They lift my spirits and I feel much happier the more hugs I have. I am not saying I want strangers hugging me all the time, but I think that families should express their love vocally and physically. 

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          As I learned about building a culture to improve and strengthen my marriage I thought about how important this is. There are traditions and aspects of culture that can live on for generations. I want to have those things within my marriage and family that I just can't live without and that my children want to take with them into their marriages and families some day. I encourage anyone and everyone to build their own specific culture. As I think about the culture that has started in my own marriage, that is what holds us together and bonds us even though we have our differences.