Thursday, February 2, 2012


At the deepest level, each of us desires someone to love and someone we can love in return -- someone with whom we can share laughter, friendship, work, caring, and support through the good times as well ass the hard times in life.  People deeply desire this kind of relationship, but we also know that a great many couples don't achieve it.

Now, I'm not writing as an expert of perfect relationships.  I am writing as a wife and a mother who desires to have perfect marriage.  I am willing to fight for my marriage and to make it better.    As a result, I have read a lot of literature.  I have purchased secular books on family relationships; intimacy and continued dating; communication; etc.  I have also sought after guidance and inspiration from the scriptures and church leaders.  There are some basics that I have embraced to improve my relationship with my husband and children:

1.  Be safe at home.
2.  Open the doors to intimacy.
3.  Do your part and be responsible.
4.  Nurture security in your future together.

Everyone wants to be honored and treated nicely -- especially by loved ones and especially by a mate.  The simple reality is that most of us are the least honoring of those we love the most.  We get frustrated, angry, or disappointed, and off we go, talking to this person we love the most in ways that don't seem very loving at all.  Instead of sharing honor and respect, we become mired in painful conflicts that tear at the heart of our relationships.  In order for us to be safe at home, we need to find ways to speak kindly to one another even when we have differences of opinions or major disagreements.  My mother used to quote Thumper's mother:  "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all."

I have spent the past couple weeks thinking about what I say before I say it.  I have been successful some of the time.  It takes practice.

The other good advise that I have taken to heart is:  "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."  Be nice.  This will make everyone feel safe at home.

We all know that conflicts are inevitable and need to be handled, but people do not get and stay married to handle conflict together "till death do us part."  We all want to be married for all the great things relationships offer:  deep friendship, companionship, spiritual meaning, fun, passion, parenting, and connection with the core values of life.

The positive side of relationships is often mysterious - delightfully so - but there is little mystery to us about the ways in which the forces of attraction (love, fun, passion, friendship) can be destroyed by damaging types of conflict.

I once read:  "these mysterious forces are like alpine flowers that are beautiful and awe inspiring but also vulnerable to being stepped on and crushed through carelessness and thoughtlessness.  You must nurture these most wonderful aspects of relating if they are to bloom into their full glory."

It is important to make a commitment to keep fun and friendship alive and thriving.  One of my goals for this year is to schedule time for me, time with my husband, and time with my family.  So far, I have been successful with this goal and have spent time participating in activities that cultivate love, fun, passion and friendship.

Another part of working towards a successful marriage is devoting time and responsibility to work as a team.  We each need to contribute to the marriage and should focus on what part we contribute to the relationship rather than what we get out of it.  It is really easy to focus on what we expect from our spouse.  It takes effort and thought to focus on our part.  Some ideas:

1)  Do something nice, selfless, or thoughtful.  You know what to do to please him or her.  So, do it.

2)  Decide to let negative or annoying comments bounce off of you.  This can be difficult if you have a habit of "coming back".  Try extending patience and understanding.  It is liberating.

3)  Be the best person you can be in your relationship.  Take responsibility for your own issues, personal growth, awareness, and mental and physical health.  Have you ever noticed how much better looking some people become after they go through a divorce?  Many people put all kinds of effort into personal improvements when they're "out on the market."  Yes, this is a crass way to say it, but it's the truth.  Why not give that kind of effort to taking good care of yourself now?

Lastly, I want my marriage to last forever.  Do you remember when you first fell in love?  It was amazing!  Some of us have experience love at first sight or knew our forever companion when we first met.  When I saw Victor the first time I remarked to my friend:  "That is my husband."  She replied:  "You don't even know him."  I stated:  "Then I better find a way to get to know him."

These types of experiences are magical and wonderful.  It is like a bit of Heaven.  But even when your love feels like Heaven, you still have to learn to live together on earth.  If you are committed to a forever relationship you need to learn to respect one another and to work together to achieve that goal - no matter what - even in the face of conflict.

Deeply knowing that you can count on your partner brings another very important kind of safety to your relationship.

"Couples can not resolve in any healthy way the universal issues of marriage:  dependency and independence, dominance and submission, freedom and fidelity, for example, without the security of knowing that the act of struggling over these issues will not destroy the relationship" - M Scott Peck, in The Road Less Traveled (1985, p. 141).

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