Saturday, June 16, 2012

Thoughts on Marriage: A Tribute to My Fabulous Husband

 I've been quite remiss in my General Conference and Sunday School studies...I need to do better!  And so, I shall.  

I have just read Elder Boyd K. Packers talk from the past Saturday morning session of General Conference and, while I very much enjoy the whole talk, I would like to talk about the opening quote because it really struck me.

Elder Packer says, " Husbands and wives should understand that their first calling—from which they will never be released—is to one another and then to their children."

The part I want to focus on from that quote is the truth that husbands' and wives' first calling is to one another.  I am blessed to be in a very loving marriage.  I know this is largely due to my DH who is constantly willing to sacrifice for me and our family.  I've decided to make a printable using this quote, and I'd like to share it with you.

Here it is~

We have been unable to have children in our 8 years of marriage, we have experienced things that should have torn us apart.  The reason that they didn't?  We believe in the power of the marriage and sealing covenants that we made in the temple.

 Let me tell you a few tales from our precious 8 years that have effected me to my soul.  I am hoping that by writing a few of these experiences that someone else will be helped and not make the same mistakes I've made.  I'm thinking these thoughts have come to mind because one of my younger sisters is getting married at the beginning of August.  I think I'll tell her to read this... ;D

When we were first married, my DH didn't ever bring me flowers or chocolates.  I was a bit appalled.  Why wasn't he concerned about showing me how much he loved me?  As you guessed, this was my selfish feelings getting the better of me.  As I prayed to know that my husband, shy by nature and incredibly quiet, really did love me, I came to know him better through the Holy Ghost.  My Father in Heaven is also the Father of my DH.  He taught me things about my husband that I was unable to see with my limited view of romance and love.  I realized that my husband loved me more than I could ever know.  He showed his love not by bringing me flowers and chocolates, but by serving me.

"And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God." Mosiah 2:17

I was too naive to realize at the time that the best husband to have was one that put God first.  As my DH served me each day by helping with housework and listening and talking to me, he was putting God first by serving his wife.  How wonderful I felt when I realized that the love my husband had for me would be truly lasting and would not fade with time!  It wasn't based on looks or the thrill of gift giving.  My DH wanted our marriage to be based on service to one another and ultimately to God.  I am eternally grateful for my DH's willingness to serve.  He serves not only me, but anyone around him that is need of service.  Because of his example, I have come to find even greater joy in serving those around me.  And we are happy serving together!

Lessons learned: Service is the greatest form of love that we can show one towards another--especially in a marriage.  The world's view of romance is not lasting--the only love that lasts is love given from God.  We find this love through service.

I'm free!
 I tend to be incredibly strong willed.  That's a nice way of saying stubborn.  I like to make my own choices and to do what I like to do.  Since I am the oldest of 9 children, I did learn from living with 11 people in one home to work with others and to share, etc. for which I am eternally grateful.  I have no idea what I would be like if I didn't have parents who taught me these principles.  Seriously.  It would be B-A-D.

Anyway, I was sooooo excited to get married and leave home because it would mean more time doing what I wanted to do!  Right? WRONG.  I learned very s-l-o-w-l-y the importance of spending quality time with my DH.  I started out our marriage still spending a lot of time with my friends.  I didn't want to be one of "those" people who ignored their lives when they were first married.  I used my personal day off of work to not go on a date with my husband of less than a year, but to go and spend time with my friends.  I felt that since we were the only 2 in our family, we didn't need to have family home evening and I could still go to Single's Ward activities with my single friends on Monday nights.

"Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." Genesis 2:24

Now, should you have NO friends when you are married?  Of course not!  But I realize now looking back that I spent too much time with friends, leaving my DH at home to do all the housework, because I felt like I was entitled to this since I was working full time and going to school part time while my husband was working only part time...forgetting that he was going to school full time and therefore working just as hard, if not harder, than myself. My DH never complained--he has always supported me in what I want to do and let me come to my own realizations about how to spend my time, even when I know that he really wanted to spend time with me.  This was a commandment from God.  I was making it very hard for him to keep this commandment.  He has taught me so much about compromising and the importance of spending TIME in a marriage together.

Lessons learned: Spending time with family should trump spending time with friends.  Both partners in a marriage should be considered and have a say when one of them would like to do something and a compromise should take place. Quality time is essential in a marriage--if you don't see each other, what is the point of being married?!  This is a commandment from God.

Nagging is NOT helpful...

Yes.  I used to nag my DH at times.  It was never all the time, but when I had asked him to do something once, I felt that nagging was justified.  I had asked him once, right?  He is a grown adult that should KNOW what to do!  This took place quite a bit in the first few months of our marriage.

Side note--I just realized I should ask my DH if I could post this...he asked exactly what I was writing about and I told him.  He wants me to tell you that I am not a nagging wife.  Isn't he precious?! ;)  He really is the best husband...

" A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger." Proverbs 15:1

Okay, back to my nagging!  It really bothered me that my husband wasn't doing what I asked him (okay, told him) to do!  What was wrong with him?!  NOT.  What was wrong with ME.  I prayed about what to do about my less than patient attitude towards my DH.  You know what God told me?  I needed to realize that I was the problem.  My DH and I grew up in completely different families and learned how to do things in different ways.  Also, men and women are different.  THEY ARE.  We think differently and react differently to situations.  I decided to lighten up.

You know what happened?  I became A LOT happier!  I saw that if I asked my DH to do something for me, he would.  It might not happen right away, but it got done!  If I didn't watch him clean the bathroom, I didn't have to worry about HOW it got clean.  And it was still clean after he finished--probably cleaner than when I did it!

Lessons learned: Allow people to use their agency!  It's too hard to worry about someone else AND yourself when it comes to daily tasks when all involved are adults.  YES.  Men are adults.  They are not like women and react to things differently.  Allow them to have their differences and embrace them!  They even us out. 

And the last one...

Accepting Help & Staying Positive

As I stated before, I am stubborn.  Along with being stubborn, I tend to feel that when one thing goes wrong, everything is going to be horrendous.  WRONG.

My DH told me that when he asked permission from my parents to marry me (he really did) that my father told him that I needed help in this area.  My DH did not tell me this until just a few years ago.  Good thing!  I think I would've been livid and/or depressed that I couldn't be positive, lol!

I realize now looking back to the beginning of our marriage that I brought a lot of stress into our relationship by being incredibly stressed out by every day situations.  Things happen in life--I don't like it when things don't happen according to my plan.  Luckily, my DH continually has shown me a good example of staying calm and finding the good in the situation.  He also will say things like, "At least {this} didn't happen!  This could've been much worse!"  As I stated before, my husband is by nature very shy and quiet.  He would NEVER force anyone to do anything--even if he felt it was in their best interest.  He is a perfect example of gentleness and meekness when persuading others to do right.

"No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned..." Doctrine & Covenants 121:41

Because my DH doesn't force me to do things he thinks are right for me, I was able to see his example and to eventually soften to counsel that I would seek from him.  This really helped when we went to the doctor and were informed that we may not be able to ever have children.  My first thought after being told this was, "At least we have each other."  A few year prior to this, I would never have thought this.  My life would've been over.  I will always be grateful to my DH for his long suffering attitude towards helping me.  He continues to do this and I cannot express enough gratitude for this.

Lessons learned: Be willing to take righteous counsel from your righteous spouse.  Recognize that LIFE happens and that it's not the end of the world.  You can overcome all obstacles as marriage partners fully converted and dedicated to living the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Hopefully these stories will help other young women to realize their roles in their marriage and encourage them to strengthen their relationships with their husbands.  Nothing can bring as much happiness as a righteous marriage built upon gospel principles.  This is our first and most important calling in life!  Being married ROCKS, y'all! :)


A Joyful Noise said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on Marriage at Tell Me a Story. You have a great husband who loves and understands you. It is good that you are also understanding him. Not all men were taught by their mothers to give flowers or candy. Mine does not give gifts of even cards to me, but he shows his love in many other ways. We as women must understand that men are different than us and they are more private than we are. We like to gush and fuss and be romantic. You are most fortunate to have a husband who will talk to you and help out with the housework.

Karen Letchworth said...

Hi Mynnette: You have some very good thoughts here. Many women get SO wrapped up in their children that they tend to forget their first love, and their marriage suffers. I believe that God knows best, and perhaps He caused you not to have children so that your focus would remain on your DH and so that you could help others in the same situation to understand these things you have just shared. God brings us through trials for a reason. Now, you need to "leave a well in the valley" so that when other women walk through that same valley in the future, they will be able to drink from the well of knowledge you've left behind and receive the joy that God gave you through sharing it. Thanks, Mynnette. Always a blessing to have you share with us at Word Art Wednesday, and just in general. I pray that God will make you a blessing to someone who needs this.
Praising God,
Karen L
Word Art Wednesday