Unfaithfulness

Unfaithfulness can destroy families, relationships, an put our own covenants in jeopardy. It’s important to remember that we can be unfaithful to a relationships without being physically intimate.  It’s important to analyze our relationships around us with others and make sure we are not crossing any lines that we shouldn’t be.  This weeks learnings taught the progression of unfaithfulness from “Drawing Heaven Into Your Marriage” by Goddard H. Wallace Ph.D.  The steps include:
-Behaviors that seem innocent
-Affection grows that claims part of one’s heart
– Extramarital flirting. Justification= “No Harm Intended”
-Relationship declared as special
-Opportunites created to see “Special friend”
-Excuses made, lies told to cover up time and resources spent.
-Spouse is displaced. Emotional intimacy exchanged with “special friend”.
-Faultfinding with spouse
-Fantasies about other person
-Physical affection
-Sexual relations.
                  It is important to understand the beginning stages of unfaithfulness as we can avoid them altogether.  Many may unknowingly already be flirting with the first stages of unfaithfulness and not realize it.  It is important to do the things to nourish our own relationships so that we may not stray from our partner.  To place the blame on our wife or husband and start faultfinding them is a mistake on our own end.  As Goddard stated we should monitor our behavior and feelings closely.
               For those that have been caught up in a trap by Satan, we are fortunate enough to have the ability to begin repenting and utilize the Atonement of Jesus Christ to bring us back to the Lord and hopefully help repair any damage done to others.  As society continually changes in some ways further from the Gospel, it is more vital to remember our covenants.  Remember the little things that make a huge difference such as scripture and prayer.
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Anger

This week’s studies made me think about conflict within marriage and relationships.  There are many times in my life where I may get into conflict with others including those that are close to me. 3 Nephi 29 tells us that contention is not of God, “For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of  the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.”  I think there are many factors that contribute to contention in my own experience.  For me I feel like the biggest contributor is pride.
In “Agency and Anger” by Elder Lynn G. Robbins of the Seventy, he points out that being angry is a conscious decision.  In the article Elder Robbins points out that nobody can make us mad.  We can make the choice to not become angry.  Elder Robbins states, “A cunning part of his strategy is to dissociate anger from agency, making us believe that we are victims of an emotion that we cannot control “.
 It’s interesting when we look at anger as an emotion that we are in control of.  The choice to make a decision as to whether or not we allow ourselves to become angry is always there for us. Elder Robbins states “Anger is an uncivil attempt to make another feel guilty or a cruel way of trying to correct them. It is often mislabeled as discipline but is almost always counterproductive”.  This quote about anger made me realize that most of my moments of anger are motivated by the wrong reasons and attempting to serve the wrong purpose.
We all can benefit by not allowing anger to control our emotions and dictate how interactions go in our relationships.  It’s important to remember that how hard it may be at times we have a choice to make in becoming angry and allowing something to push us to that point.  By controlling anger we can have better interactions without others, be less stressed, and better our communication.

Pride

 I enjoyed many of the points that President Ezra Taft Benson makes in his talk “Beware of Pride”.  For most of my life I have considered myself a humble person.  However this weeks learning’s have made me recognize those moments when I am not so humble and may exhibit prideful actions or feelings.  Prideful moments in my own life have been desires to achieve certain things in which I may not necessarily need them.  I have purchased fancy cars, nice homes, and have realized that those decisions were motivated by pride in their own ways. Can we have nice things without being prideful? I think we can.  I think as we earn more money or achieve more materialistic things in this life we need to give and remember those that have less.

It was interesting to me to read about the many manifestations of pride.  Ezra Taft Benson defines these manifestations as: faultfinding, gossiping, backbiting, murmuring, living beyond our means, envying, coveting, withholding gratitude and praise, and being unforgiving and jealous of others. I thought that living beyond our means was an interesting manifestation.  I think that pride and wanting to have more than others can cause many to live beyond their means. Benson quotes C.S. Lewis where he stated, “Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man. … It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition has gone, pride has gone.” Pride influences us to want the latest and greatest, the biggest house, luxurious car, and the fancy clothing.  The more I read the quote by C.S. Lewis the more I recognize I need to be careful as to the motives behind the way I am living my life.

I can see pride in my own life during arguments and disagreements. The desire to be right has always been strong in those instances.  I think it is important to learn to pick your battles and realize that it does not matter who is right most of the time.

It’s wise to ask ourselves how many issues in our lives may be influenced by pride.  What can we do to eliminate pride in our lives and become more humble?

Benson, Ezra Taft. Beware of Pride. Retrieved from https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1989/04/beware-of-pride?lang=eng

Shared Meaning

“The Four Pillars of Shared Meaning” were interesting principles to read about.  Pillar one was rituals of connection where a couples shares an activity or event together.  It’s mentioned it is good to create new rituals together as a couple as it furthers your identity as a family.  I found this interesting as I can remember rituals my own family had as a child and they are some of my fondest memories of my childhood, holidays, and special occasions.  I look forward to creating rituals of connections with my family and providing the same enjoyment to my children as I was given from the rituals that I grew up with.
The second pillar was support for each other’s roles.  Having similar expectations of each other and your roles in the family will help marriage feel more profound.  The third pillar was shared goals which I felt was important.  Sharing our deepest objectives and not necessarily our superficial goals will enrich our marriages.  I feel this advice is good as it will increase the intimacy of our marriages.  As we strive to achieve our goals we can grow closer together and learn more about each other.
The fourth pillar was shared values and symbols.  Sharing values and perspectives on how to conduct our lives increases our meaning in a marriage.  Symbols can be physical items, or abstract such as a home itself and family stories.
I think it would be interesting to see couples establish the four pillars of shared meaning within their relationships and to see the affect it has on them.  In Chapter 12 Gottman mentions that the difference between couples who had a positive change from their workshops was they were devoting an extra 6 hours to their marriage.  This reminds me that many of us want results, but do not want to put in the work to obtain these results.
We should ask ourselves what we can change, one step at a time, even minor things, to increase the value and relationship between our husband or wife

Relationships require work

I thought the story from smartmarriages.com was touching this week. It was regarding a woman who was complaining about her   I wonder how much thinking of and identifying the positive aspects of a relationship would help it get through the trial some times. The women in the story had a very long list of positive things her husband does and had done for her.  I feel like there are times that we can forget many positive things and become ungrateful if we do not keep ourselves grounded doing the things we need to do to remain humble, grateful, and nurturing towards our relationships.

Another principle that stood out to me this week was in “Drawing Heaven into Your Marriage” when Goddard speaks about most us wanting the prize without paying the price for it. We are required to make sacrifices here on earth in order to have a successful marriage. That means giving up things that we may hold dear to us in order to focus more on our marriage. We cannot want something but do nothing to work towards achieving it and expect a change toward the direction of our want.  If we want a happy marriage we have to work for a happy marriage and do what needs to be done to nurture that relationship.

As Goddard states “In every relationship there is an inevitable tension…. In part because we share so much-money, time, food, space- even our own bodies”.  He identifies the main enemy to this as our natural man which is an enemy to God, and has been since the fall of Adam, and will be forever.  I agree with Goddard in that every day there is a choice to choose whether we will follow the Lord or the natural man.  This choice affects not only affects our marriage, but relationships with others, and our lives in general.

It’s important to learn to work through our problems, our pet peeves, and things that may annoy us with our partners. As time goes on we will become better at this or “experts” in dealing with the set of things that may negatively affect us in marriage. Goddard quotes a marriage therapist who stated “Each potential relationship has its own particular set of inescapable recurring problems”. We can either move on to another partner, who in turn will have their own set of problems to deal with, or we can deal with the current problems at hand if not abusive and destructive.

I felt I learned a great deal that I can apply and take into consideration in my own life. When choosing a partner for marriage and when I am married. It’s interesting to read about the realities of marriage as it is not always sunshine and rainbows for most.  It takes work and dedication centered on the Savior.  I think we can all ask ourselves, “What are we doing to be grateful for our relationships and to nurture them?”. Another student this week stated that, “Sometimes we treat strangers better than those that are closest to us and it’s not right”. I think sometimes this may be true, and it is definitely not right.

Supreme Court Justice’s Dissent

I enjoyed reading through Obregefell V. Hodges this lesson.  It was interesting to read the Justices who dissented and their reasoning behind doing so. I may not agree with same sex marriage but I still respect those that lead different lifestyles than what I consider appropriate.  I liked the quote from Elder Nelson from an assignment this week that read, “Moreover, as taught by Elder Nelson, those who are true disciples of Jesus Christ are defenders of marriage. We must stand up for the truth regarding the sacred nature of marriage between a man and a woman. As stated, “the day is gone when you can be a quiet and comfortable Christian”. I think at times it is easy to look the other direction and remain in our own world so to say.  However, it is our responsibility to stand for the beliefs we believe to be right and true. This week’s lesson was a good reminder of the importance of marriage and still standing for what we believe in.

One argument that stood out to me was from Roberts C.J. who stated that our Constitution does not enact any one theory of marriage. That states are free to expand marriage to include same-sex couples, or to retain the historic definition.  Robert C.J. states “The people of the state are free to expand marriage to include same sex-couples, or to keep the historic definition”.  The argument is also made that historically marriage has been between a man and women, that procreation is necessary for the survival of the human race.  Roberts argues that marriage defined as being between a man and woman are so fundamental that it rarely requires articulation.  When a man and woman conceive a child it is stated that the child’s prospects are generally better if the mother and father stay together.  Society defines this committed bond as marriage.  Within this bond comes a respected status, material benefits, in which society encourages men and women to conduct sexual relations within marriage rather than out of marriage.  Roberts quotes J.Q. Wilson, ““Marriage is a socially arranged solution for the problem of getting people to stay together and care for children that the mere desire for children, and the sex that makes children possible, does not solve.”

Chief Justice Roberts sums up his dissent by stating, “If you are among the many Americans—of whatever sexual orientation—who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today’s decision. Celebrate the achievement of a desired goal. Celebrate the opportunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. Celebrate the availability of new benefits. But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it. I respectfully dissent.”

Chief Justice Roberts argues that five justices should not change the definition of the institution of marriage which has existed for millennia. He argues their role is to enforce the law and not their own vision and preferences. I agree with many of the arguments Roberts makes in his dissent.