Together Through The Years

The other day I was reading an article online that discussed the importance of parents continuing to have time together after having children come into their lives. I guess every night after 9 PM the parents would send their kids upstairs for at least an hour so that they could continue to have time together and develop their personal relationship. I thought this was interesting because you would imagine that parents spend a lot of time together throughout the day but how often do they get to spend quality time together just talking about their day? I would say that it isn’t often they get to sit down and talk about how they’re doing and the things going on in their lives.

The reason I thought it was interesting was because when people are dating, they often times spend so much time getting to know each other and spend time together and falling in love. However it is a very normal thing that once children come into their lives or some other type of time consuming activity occurs (job, church callings, etc) that they quit spending time together developing their relationship.

Which brings me to what I wanted to talk about this week. Why people need to continue to build their relationship through the years and not just during that time dating before they get married. I was reminded of a movie that I had the opportunity to watch during my sophomore year of High School. We had been discussing mental illnesses and this movie in particular showed the effects that depression and suicide can have on a family. Towards the end of the movie it shows the parents discussing their relationship after their daughter had passed away and they both decided that they were going to get divorced because once their daughter was gone they just felt like they didn’t have anything in common anymore. That for so many years their main reason for being together had been because their daughter was in their lives and that once she was gone they felt like they didn’t know each other and no longer had a reason to go through life together.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t want this to seem like I am discouraging parents from having kids. I know that having kids within the means of marriage are a huge blessing and they can strengthen families. I just know that if couples don’t continue to build their relationship once they’re married then the marriage is going to struggle and in extreme cases it can end in divorce.

There are always going to be things that come up and distract or pull marriages apart. That is just part of the world that we live in today. That is why it is so important for us to continue to develop those sacred relationships as we grow old and go through the struggles of life together. It reminds me of this quote by Russel M. Nelson.

“Meanwhile, mortal misunderstandings can make mischief in marriage. In fact, each marriage starts with two built-in handicaps. It involves two imperfect people. Happiness can come to them only through their earnest effort. Just as harmony comes from an orchestra only when its members make a concentrated effort, so harmony in marriage also requires a concerted effort. That effort will succeed in each partner will minimize personal demands and maximize actions of loving selflessness.”

I know that as people continue to develop their relationships throughout the challenges of life that they will be able to have successful marriages and happy families. It just takes a little bit more effort than you may have been expecting. The Lord expects our marriages to work out but He also knows how much work those successful and happy marriages take. Lets make sure we are doing everything we can to either continue building our marriages or preparing ourselves for the marriages that await us.

 

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Preparing for the M-Word… Marriage

Marriage marriage marriage… Seems to be on everybody’s minds these days! Just the other day I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and I noticed what a unique time in my life this was. Gone are the days of Facebook when I would scroll through and see friends from High School just hanging out and enjoying summer. These days my news feed is dominated by posts of happy couples who have recently gotten engaged or married. A few of them have even announced pregnancies.

Overall it is a very happy time for my friends and myself included! It has been great seeing childhood friends meet the person they want to spend the rest of their lives with and attending their weddings. Last summer was great because two of my best friends got married to their best friends and have spent the past year adjusting to life as married couples. It has been good to watch them and learn but more importantly I was able to watch them and see what they did to prepare for their respective marriages.

It brought my thought process to what I need to be doing in order to prepare for marriage. I had a couple questions run through my head as I was pondering this. What makes some people more prepared for marriage than others? What were those people doing to be more prepared? What can I do to be preparing myself for whenever I get married? This is what I decided upon.

In the many different weddings I had the opportunity of attending last year I noticed a similar thing in every sealing that I was attending. The sealer would look at the happy couple and he would say “I want you both to kneel down tonight and pray together. The happiest marriages are the ones that start with God and include Him in every aspect of their lives.” As I heard this from each sealer, I realized that all of my friends getting married had prepared themselves spiritually and had done so diligently. They had often times started long before they were engaged in reading the scriptures together and praying together.

This brought me back to another experience that I had had during my time in the MTC. I was sitting in one of my classes and our instructor looked at us and told us that in order for converts to truly be converted that they needed to be well taught but more importantly they needed to develop a relationship with their Heavenly Father. She then continued to tell us that it is similar to a triangle and that God should be the top point of that triangle. I think that applies in marriages as well. When you start to date somebody seriously and it begins to lead towards marriage then Heavenly Father needs to be that main point between the two of you. Just as it was between myself and the people I taught the gospel.

In conclusion I think this is how people can best prepare themselves for marriage. There just seems to be a trend that when couples grow close together while involving God then He is going to look down upon them and bless them in every aspect of their marriage. It starts today though, I think every person needs to prepare themselves spiritually. Then when you meet that person you want to spend the rest of your life with, you integrate them into your relationship with God and in doing so your relationship with that person will be even stronger because you already have a strong relationship with your Heavenly Father.