All posts by russtw8

About russtw8

My Name is Russell. I am a Marriage and Family Studies Major. The purpose of this blog is to educate others about the blessings that come through preparing and maintaining a happy marriage.

CREATING HEALTHY TIES WITH IN-LAWS AND EXTENDED FAMLIES

Genesis 2:24 “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” This is a basic principle, but one that can be easily overlooked. Throughout the recent years of my life I have known many individuals especially friends whose marital relationship suffered which led to divorce because this principle was not applied early in their marriage.
When couple are married its a commandment that, they began to start their own proper family. In the article, “CREATING HEALTHY TIES WITH IN-LAWS AND EXTENDED FAMILY” we are counseled on two important principles. First, “married children should confide in and counsel with their spouses. Second, if possible, they should establish their own household, separate from their parents. Finally, any counsel from outside sources should be considered prayerfully by both spouses together.”
Another important principle is, getting along with our extended family. When you marry your spouse their family becomes yours, therefore, being able to get along with them is essential. My older brother and his wife are a perfect example of this. One thing I admire about them is the balance they maintain between both families. They take turns visiting each others families on holidays. They are really good at making sure, negative and controlling influences do not enter their relationship.
Many times the influence of parents in a couples marriage and be overwhelming. Elder Richard G Scott has states, “Your Heavenly Father does not want you to be held captive by unrighteous influence, by threats of reprisal or by fear of repercussion to the family member who abuses you. In these cases, it is appropriate for spouses to counsel together and decide together and decide together how much contact, if any, to have with an extended family member who continues to be abusive.” Council with your spouse is the best way to grow your relationship and to protect it from harm.
May we always remember the importance of family and counsel wisely with our spouses in a spirit of unity and love.

The Power of Unity in Marriage

Marriage is central to the plan of our Heavenly Father. In order for marriage to be successful, couples are needing to work together in unity. Back in 2010 while serving my mission in Chile, I was associated with a family where the father and mother worked in unity and raised eight children. The Father would leave early in the morning for work, so he provide food and financial stability for his family. The wife took care of the kids and did the house chores. The father served in the bishop brick for 17 years and had to be to church early in the morning. The mother would prepare the eight kids, and they would make the 16 mile journey to church every Sunday on a small village bus. The mother also served in many leadership callings in the church. I remember the father getting injured and the mother fulfilling his work duties as well. Through many sacrifices, this family was very blessed. All eight kids served missions and the family is filled with love and unity.
In the article “Who Is The Boss? Power Relationships In Families” Miller teaches the importance of unity. He states, ” In the marriage companionship there is neither inferiority nor superiority. The women does not walk ahead of the man; neither does the man ahead of the women. They walk side by side as a son and daughter of God on an eternal journey.” Throughout my life I have heard the phrase, “I am the man of the house, she needs to listen to me.”
Sometimes in life, an individual may feel superior and feel entitled to take charge. When couples neglect the importance of working together, the relationship suffers. When couples are humble they can work together in a spirit of love and unity.
In the talk “That We May Be One” from president Eyring teaches, Satan knows Heavenly Fathers plan and he will tear us from our loved ones. He continues to instruct us, if we keep the commandments we will have the spirit of the Lord and that “the spirit of God never generates contention.” If we keep the commandments, we will invite the spirit and our families will be blessed.
May we always remember to be humble and treat our spouse as an equal partner.

Fidelity in Marriage

I once heard a quote from a friend that said, If they are missing something in their relationship they will go find it somewhere else. While serving in the last area of my mission in 2010, there was a family that used to be very strong in the gospel. Both parents were returned missionaries and were sealed in the temple. One day my missionary companion and I heard that these parents were getting a divorce. Eventually we came to find out that both parents were developing relationships with other people. The mother found another relationship through the internet online and the husband found himself another girlfriend. I remember hearing how its affected the kids. The mom was very prideful and the situation was a mess.
Now days we are warned of the danger that comes though excessive use of the internet. In the article “The state of the nation report: Fractured families ” we learn that, 68% of divorces happen meeting another love on line. 56% of divorces happen with obsessed interest in pornographic websites. 47% of divorces happen with the amount of time spent on the computer. 33% of divorces happen with chat rooms. If couples are not careful on the internet it can lead to addictive behaviors such as, pornography. With all of these dangers, it can create false expectations for our spouse and will destroy the relationship.
In the article “Fidelity in marriage: Its more than you think” https://www.lds.org/search?lang=eng&query=fidelity+in+marriage+its+more+than+you+think. We learn of experiences on how to catch ourselves when fidelity becomes a question. In this article, a certain women began to seek for advise from her friend in regards to her marital weaknesses. Eventually little by little she was spending more time with her friend rather than her husband. When someone said something she began to realize that she was being unfaithful. Eventually she took the steps necessary to make things right and she gained trust with her spouse once again.
Though infidelity is a very serious thing. We can overcome anything through the gospel of Jesus Christ. In addition to the first story I shared, there was some light at the end of the tunnel. I remember before coming home on my mission. She started coming back to church on a daily basis to repent. The other day as I was quickly reading my messages on Facebook I saw her son received his mission call. After three years of I visited my mission and saw the mother still coming to church which was exciting to see.
May we always remember to be true to our spouse. and only cleave unto them as it states in D&C 44:22, “Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else.”

Cultivating Charity in Your Marriage

Growing up one of the biggest examples of charity I saw came from a  good friend and former boss of mine. Long ago early in  this friends marriage he, made the decision to follow the example of Jesus Christ especially in his family life. This friend spends all of his free time serving those around him and cultivating charity especially with his family members.  I remember at the end of the day this friend would greet his wife with a kiss and kind phrase such as, princess or dear. The wife of this friend has gotten severely sick on many occasions and my friend was always at her side to help and bless her according to her physical and spiritual needs. They have been married for almost forty years and they are so happy.

In the book “DRAWING HEAVEN Into Your MARRIAGE” Goddard teaches the importance of charity he states, “ Charity does not flaw automatically from having an extraordinary spouse. It is primarily the result of the way we choose to see each other.” on page 107 Goddard continues to teach, “charity can be the lens through which we see each other.” Charity is like exercising, it takes time to get results and requires a constant effort.

When marriages forget to apply the principle of charity it becomes weakened because the focus will be on the negative and not the positive.  Goddard Pg, 115, continues to teach, “When we see the weaknesses in our partner its easy to be annoyed” he further states, “We will continue to be annoyed by our spouses unless we are humbled enough by our own limitations to call on heavens grace.”

This friend is now a bishop in my mothers ward. This past weekend I had the blessing of visiting my families ward in Ogden Utah. I remember sitting in a gospel doctrine class. During the lesson the principle and charity and service was mentioned. My friends name was brought up as we talked about this subject. The instructor asked my friends wife how he was able to cultivate charity in his life. The wife mentioned it took a process then she got emotional and said, “When he made the decision to be happy that is when he truly started to serve and he always invites others to follow as well.” Many have been blessed because of my friend especially, his wife.

As we make it a priority to cultivate charity in our lives not only are we blessed personally but our families will be blessed as well.

Beware of Pride

Through out my life, I have seen the destructive power that comes from pride, especially in the family. July of 2010, I was serving in the last area of my mission. There was a family in particular that we absolutely loved. They gave their hearts and souls to the gospel. It seemed like they were a happy family but, the mother and daughter suffered from a very prideful father. The father was a good man, but pride took control of his life. Twenty one years ago this father stopped going to church because he was offended by another church member. Eventually, his pride interfered with his family’s relationship, and he spends as much time as possible away from home. He avoids seeking any feedback or advice from the family. To this day, the father has not changed and it continues to be a trial on the family.

President Ezra Taft Benson in the Ensign 1989 article “Beware of Pride”, explains some of stumbling blocks that are involved with pride. First, “Our enmity toward God takes on many labels, such as, rebellion, hard-heartedness, stiff neckedness, unrepentant, puffed up, easily to offend, and sign seekers.The proud wish God would agree with them. They aren’t interested in changing their opinions to agree with God’s.” Though pride is a serious issue that many deal with, it can be overcome through the gospel of Jesus Christ.

President Benson continues by teaching us the antidote of pride, which is humility. He instructs, “We can choose to humble ourselves by forgiving those who offend us. Render selfless service.” Most of all, we can repent and feel the power of the Atonement. In the book “DRAWING HEAVEN Into Your MARRIAGE”, Goddman teaches If an individual is selfish they are unable to grow. True love is selfless. W are selfless by putting the welfare of others above your own.

May we always be humble and partake of the advice and  love of our family members.

Turning Toward Each Other Instead of Away

As I think about the topic of love, some of my greatest lessons come from my grandparents. My grandparents have been married for 62 years and they are so happy. Some very important principles I learned from my grandparents are, actively using words of endearment and service. My grandparents always addressed each other by using the word dear. They constantly told each other I love you. They always had something positive to say about each other. For service, I remember my grandmother assisting to my grandfather needs after a long days work on the ranch. Even though today my grandmother is 82 years old and my grandfather is close to 90 they, still keep those same Christlike attributes.

In the book “THE SEVEN PRINCIPLES OF MAKING MARRIAGE WORK” Gottman Pg;. 83) teaches about love being a money bank. Gottman states, “Keeping an account in your head how much you’re connecting with your spouse  in little ways can benefit your marriage.” On Pg;. 84 Gottman further teaches the, importance of reuniting with your spouse at the end of the day to talk. Companionship inventory will lead to a successful marriage. Marriages require work. By communicating, couples will be able to effectively serve each other.

Gottman continues to teach about the importance of emotional support. A key aspect is, lending an ear and take a sincere interest in what your spouse is saying when they need someone to talk to. Also we are counseled to provide insights and ways to improve on what your spouse is explaining to you. Marriage is selfless. therefore, by putting the welfare of your spouse before your own, it will, bring happiness that words can not explain. If there is selfishness in a marriage it, is guaranteed to fail. I know families are ordained of God and His purpose is for us to return to him with our families.

May we always remember the importance of love and how it is essential in our families.