The purpose of this blog is to create a place to provide resources that may help to strengthen marriages and families and to record and share my thoughts, impressions, feelings and knowledge about a broad spectrum of family topics and in exploring and learning more about family functions and the influence family life has on individuals and society. Topics include family relationships, family dynamics, gender, family science research, intimacy in marriage, same sex attraction, parenting, etc. I am excited to share what I am learning about the family and hope that readers will feel free to share as well that together we might strengthen, protect and defend the family as the fundamental unit of our society. ** Please look for the FHE Ideas at the end of certain posts to use as a resource for your families.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Preparing for Marriage

It is so important in today's world to teach our children how to prepare for marriage.  Because we know that marriage is so important and families are the foundation of our society and "central to the creators plan" then there is no greater work or decision we make than that of who we will marry.  "Since 1950, the median age at first marriage in the U.S. has increased and is currently at a historic high of 26 years for women and 28 years for men."  This pattern of delayed marriage is affecting the characteristics of the current dating and courtship culture.  "As a result of these changes, a number of pitfalls exist in our current and dating culture including (a) a growing pessimism about marriage and a focus on personal independence before and after marriage, (b) a primary focus on personal financial independence for both men and women, (c) widespread sexual permissiveness, and (d) high rates of couples living together before marriage. (Hawkins, p.4).   In order for our young people to avoid these pitfalls and truly be prepared for marriage there are several approaches and resources we can help them use.  Elder Bednar said  "...You are not on a shopping spree looking for the greatest value with a series of characteristics.  You become what you hope your spouse will be and you'll have a greater likelihood of finding that person.  Perhaps the best way to help way is to guide our young people in becoming something more than the world offers them.  Helping them become true disciples of Jesus Christ with a true testimony of His divine mission and Atoning sacrifice.  This will prepare them for marriage more than anything else.  Elder Holland said, "Do you want capability, safety, and security in dating and romance, in married life and eternity? Be a true disciple of Jesus.  Be a genuine, committed, word and deed Latter-day Saint.  Believe that your faith has everything to do with your romance, because it does.  You separate dating from discipleship at your peril." This will help them to have the ability to love and the ability to communicate.  These two important skills will help them succeed in their dating relationships and in their marriages.  In order to help young people understand the difference between just hanging out (which is a very common practice among young adults today) and actual dating and courtship, Elder Dallin H. Oaks says that in order for an activity to be considered a date it must included the following guidelines: 1. Planned, 2. Paid for and 3. Paired off.  Interestingly enough these 3 guidelines align perfectly with the three responsibilities of males according to the Proclamation which are to: Preside, Provide and Protect.  Dating is an important time in which young men and women get to practice and prepare to fill their divine roles and responsibilities.  And if this important step is not taken and replaced with "hanging out" or cohabitation where there is no real commitment then their marriage relationships will be very difficult or non existent.

FHE Ideas:
Read the following talks from leaders of the Church and discuss some of the important points and guidelines with your family:
Elder Dallin H. Oaks talk
Elder Lance Wickman
Dating advice from prophets and apostles:

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Building a Family of Faith

Faith in our family begins with trusting our Heavenly Father and His promises. We press forward despite challenges, never giving up on ourselves or our children. We teach our family to have faith in Christ by living what we know to be true. Our children learn their most powerful lessons from our faithfulness.

Joseph Smith defined faith "not only as a belief but as 'the principle of action in all intelligent beings' He further emphasized in the fourth article of faith that the first principle of the gospel is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  In the Family Proclomation faith (as a principle of action and power) leads the list of nine foundational principles upon which 'successful marriages and families are established and maintained'  (Hawkins, p185).

Social science research has found strong correlations between faith/religious beliefs and practice and marriage and family relationships.  One study concluded that "based on the evidence of the research we have cited, it may be that [religious involvement] provides that strongest force available to reverse the powerful trends that are breaking fathers and children apart." (Hawkins, p.188)  Another qualitative study by Butler and collegues (1998) produced several findings that included 217 religious participants statements of belief that prayer in their marriage enhanced experiences of emotional validation; promoted accountability toward deity; de-escalated negative interactions, contempt, hostility, and emotional reactivity; enhanced relationship behavior; facilitated partner empathy; increased self-change focus; encouraged reconciliation adn problem-solving; and promoted a sense of guidance from God (Butler et al., 2002), (hawkins, p.189).

Quantitative research has also shown "connections between religious belief and involvement and higher marital satisfaction, stability, duration, and increased commitment and fidelity - as well as greater likelihood of future marital happiness" (Hawkins, p 192).  It further describes that "multi-demensional resources of faith seem to serve as valuable coping resources that help familie of faith to navigate the challenges that inevitably find us all."  (Hawkins p.192)

FHE Ideas:
Scripture:  Alma 44:4  Now ye see that this is the true faith of God; yea, ye see that God will support, and keep, and preserve us, so long as we are faithful unto him, and unto our faith, and our religion; and never will the Lord suffer that we shall be destroyed except we should fall into transgression and deny our faith.
Take time exploring and reading through and watching the videos on this link on 
Discuss with your family ways in which your family can strengthen their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ together.

The Proclamation to the Family: A Guide and a Banner to the nations

"Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of Jesus Christ."  In 1995, Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley said "With so much of sophistry that is passed off as truth, with so much of deception concerning standards and values, with so much of allurement and enticement to take on the slow stain of the world, we have felt to warn and forewarn. In furtherance of this we of the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles now issue a proclamation to the Church and to the world as a declaration and reaffirmation of standards, doctrines, and practices relative to the family which the prophets, seers, and revelators of this church have repeatedly stated throughout its history."
Consider with your family these thoughts:  Who was the Proclamation written for?  Why was it written?  What is the warning that is given?

Elder Merrill J. Bateman stated "The Proclamation serves not only as a handbook for family living but also as a compass for family research and advocacy."  The Proclamation calls upon "responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society."  We have an obligation and a responsibility to share this information and these declarations with the world.  We also have a responsibility to teach our children this most precious and important doctrine of eternal families.  

Here is a link to the "The Family: A Proclamation to the World:

Listen to Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley as he reads the Proclamation:

FHE Ideas:  
Song: "Families can be Together Forever"
Watch video (link above) of Pres. Hinckley reading the Proclamation for the first time to the world.
Discuss with your family these questions:
Who is the Proclamation written for?  Why was written?  What is the warning that the Lord gives us?
Challenge members of the family to memorize the Proclamation.