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.

Friday, July 15, 2016

FAML300 Week #13 - Transitions in Marriage

Finances in Marriage
Image result for pic of finances  
One of the highest causes of divorce is troubles with finances.  This can be a great strain on a marriage if a couple isn’t sure how to handle their money or if they don’t see eye to eye regarding the family money.  It was interesting to learn about all of the different factors that play a part in the way we choose to handle our money in our marriage.  The first factor is the way that we were raised.  We each bring to marriage our own set of “family rules” that we learned either because they were spoken or they were unspoken rules that were followed in the family.  For example I came into my marriage with the belief that credit cards were a perfectly acceptable alternative method of paying for items as long as you managed them wisely and payed off balances.  My husbands family believed that credit cards were not a good thing and they paid everything in cash or money order.  This was a source of struggle for us in the beginning but we soon learned how to compromise and figured out our own way of handling the bills.  In my family my father took care of the money/bills and we didn’t hear much about it but in my husband’s family his mother primarily took care of the bills and she was extremely vocal and open about their finances.  These “rules” we come into marriage with are important to be aware of. 
Another factor that plays a part in the way we handle our finances is our birth order. 
Image result for birth order pic brady bunch  This was especially interesting to me as I would have never thought that this had anything to do with money.  For example first born children often are very responsible with their money, they like to be in control and they generally make a good living.  Last born children are often used to getting what they want and tend to spend a lot for the things they want, have higher credit balances and debt-to-income ratios.  Its important to be aware of these issues we bring to our marriage as well when discussing finances with our spouse. 
If we want to be successful in managing our money we must first be willing to follow wise counsel from our Prophet who teaches us to save, be prepared for emergencies, pay our tithes and offerings and to avoid unnecessary debt.  We can also work to develop some other character traits that will helps in our money management.  Some of these traits include:  Self-reliance, accurate perception of reality, flexibility, active appreciation, imagination, appreciation of emotional costs, (ie. Emotional strain on family due to increased debt, etc.) and charity.  If we can work to develop some of these traits we will be better able not only manage our money but also work together with our spouse to achieve great success and financial security. 
Of course the greatest factor in managing our finances is always turning to the Lord in all our affairs and decisions that we make.  If we seek Him and put Him first then we will always have what we need.   

Monday, July 4, 2016

FAML 300 - WEEK #11 - Fidelity and Physical Intimacy

Intimacy in Marriage
I believe that intimacy in marriage is so important for so many reasons to our marriages here on earth and also throughout the rest of eternity.  Because of its importance and significance it is perhaps the aspect of marriage that is under the greatest attack by the adversary.  He has devised so many means whereby he has been able to destroy, belittle, degrade, distort and break this sacred and most natural and special bond that husbands and wives share.  His use of pornography (Link - Affects of Pornography on Families) in all its forms both directed towards men and women have almost destroyed our real, clear and true understanding and expectations of true intimacy and love in marriage.   Goddard said this about pornography, “keep your soul free of the soul numbing barrenness of pornography.  The greatest sin of pornography may be that it reduces the sacrament of intimacy to a random and wanton act of self-gratification.”  In spite of the messages and images that flood our media, homes, stores, computers, phones, etc. we must guard ourselves diligently against the distorted truth about what intimacy should be.  True, natural and simple affection and true charity – putting each other’s needs above our own - must be the most important aspect of our relationships and the guiding principle for everything we do in marriage.  Happy couple holding hands walking through a meadow Royalty Free Stock Photo
I believe that the physical act of joining a man and woman together serves as a great symbol for unity within a marriage and also unity with God.  It is meant to serve as a reminder of the “sealing” and binding power of our covenants with each other and our covenant with God that we will love Him first and our spouses above all else.  Pres. Spencer W. Kimball said this:
“There are those married people who permit their eyes to wander and their hearts to become vagrant, who think it is not improper to flirt a little, to share their hearts and have desire for someone else other than the wife or husband.  The Lord says in no uncertain terms: ‘Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else’ (D&C 42:22)
And when the Lord says all thy heart, it allows for no sharing nor dividing nor depriving… The words none else eliminate everyone and everything.  The spouse then becomes preeminent in the life of the husband or wife, and neither social life nor occupational life nor political life nor any other interest nor person nor thing shall ever take precedence over the companion spouse…”
It is pretty clear how the Lord feels about intimacy in marriage. 
Physical intimacy in marriage is also meant as an expression of our love and devotion for each other and is the means by which we are given the amazing blessing to become co-creators with God in bringing souls to this earth and giving them a body and a mortal experience.  The power that we each possess is so big and so real it is no wonder that Satan hates us for it and desires nothing more than to destroy it. 
It is worth every moment of time and effort that we can spend learning and growing and changing in this area of our lives.  I am including below some links to some amazing resources on this topic:

Matheson, K.W. Fidelity in marriage: It's more than you think. Ensign, Sept. 2009, 13-16.

Barlow, B. A. "They Twain Shall Be One : Thoughts on intimacy in marriage", Ensign, Sept 1986, 49.