Week 6: Cherishing Your Spouse

This week we learned all about marriage and how we can help our marriages succeed. One of my favourite tools we learned about this week are love maps.

Dear married friends and family members,

You need to get on this! Love maps are amazing! These should be mandatory for all married couples, or even engaged couples. Love maps allow you to dig deep and learn not only about your partner but about yourself as well.

With love: Your favourite single friend or family member

So you are probably wondering what a love map is. It is a series of questions that both of your answer. After you answer them, you are to score them to see how well you did (though there are no correct or wrong answers). Once you have your score you are able to see the areas in which you need to improve on. The more you know about each other the more you are able to weather the storms of marriage.

As I was reading about love maps, I could not understand why people don’t do this. Love mapping has opened up my eyes, to this new wonderful thing that not only allows you to reconnect with your spouse, but also allows you to learn new things about them, yourself and your relationship. Just as Dr. Gottman said “From knowledge springs not only love but the fortitude to weather marital storms. Couples who have detailed love maps of each other’s world are fare better prepared to cope with stressful events and conflict.” (Gottman, 1999 p.54)

With love maps you must stay on top of them in order for them to work. Putting aside set time every few months I think would be ideal for these. I think that if a couple were able to do a love map every 4-6, just to make sure that their relationship is on track would be great. I understand for some that is would be a challenge but making sure you put forth a good effort into the maps will make sure that you are prepared for the storms that are to come.

Love mapping is something that both people need to be willing to do and be willing to be open and honest about. I think that if you are able to be honest while answering the questions then you will be able to get the most out of the love maps.

I know that when I get married, and even before then I will speak to my spouse and implement the love maps into your lives. I think I would make love mapping a great date night; I could see my husband and I ordering in our favourite food and just spend some time eating and answering our questions. I feel that having the love maps in a relationship is a great tool to help not only whether the storms that come, but also to also make sure that we are growing together on the same page.

Here are some examples of Love Map questions:

  • What is one of my greatest fears or disaster scenarios?
  • What is my favorite way to spend an evening?
  • What is one of my favorite ways to be soothed?
  • What is my favorite getaway place?
  • What are some of the important events coming up in my life? How do I feel about them?
  • What are some of my favourite ways to work out?

 

References

G. (2016). The Sound Relationship House: Build Love Maps – The Gottman Institute. Retrieved October 26, 2016, from https://www.gottman.com/blog/the-sound-relationship-house-build-love-maps/

Gottman, J. M., & Silver, N. (1999). The seven principles for making marriage work. New York: Crown.

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Week 5: Behaviors that Negatively Affect Marriage

As I sit here thinking about marriage (because that is what you do when you are chronically single and in your late 20s), I was mostly thinking about all the marriages that have happened around me and what percentage of them will end in a ball of flames. I certainly hope that it is none, but I know that between my friends and families members that are married, a few of them will end in tragedy. After reading a few chapters of John M. Gottman’s book, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, it got me thinking about the marriages around me and what I like about them, or how they will inspire my future marriage. The one big thing that I have noticed is that all the marriages around me are based on friendship, not the girl’s night gossip about your significant other kind of friendship, but something deeper than that.

Dr. Gottman’s book is based around the idea that marriage is rooted in friendship. I think that friendship in a marriage is so important. Dr. Gottman states “Friendship fuels the flames of romance because it offers the best protection against feeling adversarial towards your spouse”(Gottman & Silver, 1999, p. 22). However, friendship in a marriage is completely different then my relationship I have with my best friend. I think when Dr. Gottman is referring to friendship in a marriage, he means that you need to have the openness, trust worthiness, compatibility, but also the willingness to learn and adapt. While your relationship with your girlfriends (or guy friends) is one where they accept you for you and don’t try to change you. In marriage though you do not want the other person to change you, you need to be able to learn and grow with them, while in a friendship this does not need to happen

Friendship is so important to a marriage. I believe that all marriages should be based off of friendship because why would you want to marry someone you are not friends with. When I look at the significant marriages that surround or influence my life, I can see that they all started off as friendship before they became relationships that grew into marriage. Now some of these friendships started off rocky, but as the friendships grew so did the relationships. When I look at my mom and stepdad for instance they have been friends since elementary school, while my oldest brother and his wife were friends for two years before they started dating. I think that when you start off as friends it is easier to get to know the person. They are more comfortable around you and you are able to see their true self. When you jump into a relationship (and the friendship comes after) sometimes you are blinded and unable to see their true self (this is a lesson what one of my best friends had to learn the hard way). Being able to start off as friends I believe allows you to start off on the right foot.

I know that when I find the person who is to be my eternal companion, that I will want them to be my friend first. I know from the marriages around me that when you start off as friends, you are able to build a better foundation for your relationship. I know that when you have a solid foundation, you are able to build a sturdy relationship upon it, which hopefully will last for eternity. I also know that by having a friendship first you are able to learn the little quirks, and little tricks to help fight against the storms that will come up in marriage. I know that when I find my eternal companion that I will want him to be my husband AND my friend.

Reference:

Gottman, J. M., & Silver, N. (1999). The seven principles for making marriage work. New York: Crown.

Week 4: Doctrine of Eternal Marriage

With all the reading on marriage this week, it got this 20 something single women thinking. I know that marriage is not for everyone on this earth and some will be blessed with it in the next life. I hope that one day I will be able to find my eternal companion and have a great marriage for all eternity. For those who are reading this that are not members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, we believe that we do not just marry until death due us part, we believe that we are married for time and all eternity.

My parents divorced when I was very young, I was so young that I have no memory of the ever being married, and however I have their wedding album, and so I know that they were. I have been very blessed with two amazing stepparents, who have loved me as if I was there own child. Having two sets of parents has allowed me to see different sides of marriages throughout my life. I have been able to see the good, bad and ugly. Now that all my siblings are adults, both my brothers are married to amazing women. Having these marriages in my life has been able to show me what I want and do not want in my marriage.

Though I am the only member of the church in my family, I also feel that I have learned even more about marriage then the rest of my family knows. I know that when I get married, I would love to be married in the Holy Temple. Visiting the Temple should be a priority in all marriages. Couples should strive to go to the Temple as much as possible. Along with the visiting the Temple, couples should make prayer a priority. Being able to pray together, not only allows you to speak personally to Heavenly Father, but it allows you to hear what your partner is talking to Him about too. Prayer allows a married couple to be intimate in a very different way; it allows them to hear some of their best thoughts and worries.

Being able to have a strong covenant marriage, starts at home. If we treat our home, like a Temple, we will be able to keep the evil of temptation out of it. When we make sure that we treat our homes like a Temple, we are able to keep the Spirit strong in our marriages. When we are able to keep the Spirit strong in our marriages, we are able to deal with the temptations of the world. When we are able to have the Spirit with us we are able to stay on the boat while Satan is trying to knock us off of it.

I know that when I find my eternal companion, that if I do the above mentioned I will be able to have a great covenant marriage and not just a great contractual marriage. Marry is a very sacred convenient, that I hope one day I will be able to enjoy. For now I will continue my journey looking for the man that will become my eternal companion.

Week 3: Defender of Marriage

As I sit here thinking about same-sex marriage, I never really understood how much actually went into this passing in government. In Canada, I went to bed one day with marriage being man/women, when I woke up marriage was between man/women, man/man and women/women. It was never as big of a deal as it was in the United States. From what I remember there was never any voting in our individual provinces, or really any news coverage about it, once it was done, that was it, anyone could get married. When this vote went through I was attending a Catholic high school and I remember many of my friends being very vocal about their unhappiness about the new law. For me I was not really sure how I felt about the law, I was confused on why same-sex couples wanted it to be called marriage, when I was taught that marriage was between a man and women. I understood why same-sex couples wanted the same rights as a married man and women, I mean who wouldn’t want those rights. Know that I understand Heavenly Father’s plan, I understand why same-sex marriage is not the proper way. Though I still feel that same-sex couples should have all the rights to be married and to all the same rights as a marriage between a man and woman.

After reading the Supreme Court document in Obergefell v. Hodges (2015) paper, I have a better understanding on why it took so long for this law to pass. I understand that there is so much to take into account. While going through this Justices Roberts spoke about how if the Government was to pass this law, what would stop those who practise polygamy, or people who want to marry animals, or those who want to marry their siblings from fighting to pass marriage laws for them. Justice Roberts made it clear that he did not want this to happen, as it would further hinder what marriage means. Justice Roberts also spoke about his concern about why this concern was coming to the Supreme Court. Justice Roberts states “But this Court is not a legislature. Whether same-sex marriage is a good idea should be of no concern to us. Under the Constitution, judges have power to say what the law is, not what it should be.” He understands that people want the law to chance but he does not think it should be left up to the judges of the Supreme Court to make this law. He also voices his concern that nowhere in the American Constitution does it state what marriage is; it is only in the bible that Heavenly Father states marriage is between a man and women.

Just like Justice Roberts I do not understand why people would want to change the definition of marriage. Marriage was given to Adam and Eve so that they could procreate and help replenish the Earth. Heavenly Father also gave Adam and Eve marriage so that they could help finish His Plan of Happiness. The Plan of Happiness allows marriage between a man and women to be sealed in the Temple and allows them to be sealed to their children, so that they may life in the eternities together with Heavenly Father.

As I continued to read through the Supreme Court papers my eyes were opened to how much went into passing this law, and how much was taken into account. The Supreme Court looked at all they could, though some where not very happy with the decision as they saw it as taking advantage of the Supreme Court, they do not think that it is proper for them to tell the entire nation what to believe. They thought it should be up to each individual state. Though I agree with this, that every state should have their own say on whether they want to allow same-sex marriage, though many people would have problems with this, I think it might have been the best way for America to go.

As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I hope that one day, people will be able to understand why marriage is important and why it should be between a man and women. I hope that people will be able to see that marriage is a powerful tool to help bring salvation to the world. Allowing nations to change the definition of marriage to help them fight into the world is not want Heavenly Father wants. As we continue to fight for what we believe in, we will continue to have people pushing back, we need to make sure that we stand a firm ground and hold on to our beliefs.

Week 2: Marriage Trends and Divorce

This is the post excerpt.

 

As I have looked over the past week and all the things I have learned, it is no wonder that Satan is after such an important and amazing life goal that we have. Marriage is so sacred to our Heavenly Father’s plan, that Satan will do anything he can to destroy it. Satan has made it his power to do what he can to make sure that we do not have the happiness that Heavenly Father wants us to have. In Doctrine and Covenants 49: 15 it states, “And again, verily I say unto you, that whoso forbiddeth to marry is not ordained of God, for marriage is ordained of God unto man.” This quote allows us to see that Satan is at work here on the earth. He is making sure that more and more people are not interested in marriage as he dangles other “better” things in front of our faces. Satan says, “hey why not just cohabitate, nothing will go wrong” or “why not have a child out of wedlock, trust me it is for the best”. These are just a few of the things that Satan wants you to think are good things, however they are not. According to the 2012 State of the Unions Address between 1960 and 2011, cohabitation has risen seven fold and the number of children being born into cohabitating families is now over 40 percent. With stats like these it is shows how hard and fast Satan is working.

It is no wonder that the millennials are less focused on marriage then any age before. The youth of today (myself included) have had the worst generation to look up to when it come to marriage. With divorce rates at a staggering 40-50 percent, it is no wonder that youth today do not want to get married. It seems that there is no hope for those who are looking forward to marriage. During the 1980s divorce was at an all time high for the United States, it has since been declining, but still not enough people are willing to fight the battles to make sure that their marriage lasts. Fear not young millennials there is hope in our future! According to the 2010 State of the Union Address there are social factors that will help determine if your marriage will end up in divorce in the first 10 years or not.

Factors Percent Decrease in Risk of Divorce
Annual income over $50,000 (vs. under $25,000) -30
Having a baby seven months or more after marriage

(vs. before marriage)

 

-24
Marrying over 25 years of age (vs. under 18) -24
Family of origin intact (vs. divorced parents) -14
Religious affiliation (vs. none) -14
College (vs. high school dropout) -25

As you can see by this table if you fall into these categories, your chances for a divorce in your first 10 years of marriage is decreased.

I think that as millennials, we need to look to the sacred part of marriage and not just how convenient marriage can be (I have heard there are good tax breaks for those who are married). We must look at what Heavenly Father wants from us in a marriage. We need to remember that when entering a marriage, it is not just two people coming together as one, but we need to always remember that a marriage is 3 people (Husband, Wife and Heavenly Father). It is a husband willing to give 100 percent all the time and a wife willing to give 100 percent all the time. Marriage is not a 50/50 thing; it is each person giving there all to the other in times of good and bad.

I think that as a twenty something young women who is single, I am always looking for couples who show me what a marriage should be like or I am constantly looking for advice for my future family. There are two couples that I great admire for their marriage skills, they seem to have the 3 person (husband, wife and Heavenly Father) marriage down and they understand that marriage is 100% from both sides. These couples are my brothers and their wives. They have shown me what it is like to be a solid christian couple and they are not afraid to show their flaws. They fight, they argue but they love each other unconditionally for who they are, not for who they wish they were. I think that more people need to find couples like these to see how marriage is not always happiness and butterflies, sometimes there is garbage lying around, or a house that needs to be cleaned, or an argument about money and those stinky socks that missed the 3 pointer laundry basket toss by a mile, but it is in these times that you need to know that the person you are pared with, will love you for all eternity.

References

State of the Union Address (2012). Retrieved September 19, 2016 from http://www.stateofourunions.org/2012/SOOU2012.pdf