Saturday, January 28, 2012

Marriage: To Infinity and Beyond

Women's Conference Class by President & Sister Hornibrook (Mark & Ane)

Celestial Marriage is Essential

Marriage is perhaps the most vital of all the decisions and has the most far-reaching effects, for it has to do not only with immediate happiness, but also with eternal joys.”

“While marriage is difficult, and discordant and frustrated marriages are common, yet real, lasting happiness is possible, and marriage can be, more an exultant ecstasy than the human mind can conceive.”

“Soul Mates’ are fiction and an illusion; and while every young man and young woman will seek with all diligence and prayerfulness to with whom life can be most compatible and beautiful, yet it is certain that almost any good man and any good woman can have happiness and a successful marriage if both are willing to pay the price.” President Spencer W. Kimball, Oneness in Marriage

Keys to Celestial Marriage:
* Let the Lord Lead
* Love your Spouse
* Think Only Good Thoughts
* Communicate
* Keep the Courtship Alive
* Manage Your Finances Together
* Partner in Family Responsibilities

Let the Lord Lead
· Obey Him and He is bound
“I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.” (D&C 82:10)

· We become One by letting Him lead
“Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good” (Alma 37:37)

· Invite His Help by Praying for:
–Your Spouse
–Your Marriage
–The Gift of Charity

“Whatever Jesus lays his hands upon lives. If Jesus lays his hands upon a marriage, it lives. If he is allowed to lay his hands on the family, it lives.”
Howard W. Hunter Ensign November 1979, p.64

The treasure house of happiness may be unlocked and remain open to those who use the following Keys. You must live the gospel of Jesus Christ in its purity and simplicity – not a half-hearted compliance, but hewing to the line, and this means an all-out devoted consecration to the great program of salvation and exaltation in an orthodox manner. President Kimball, “Marriage”, p10.

"You must forget yourself and love your companion more than yourself.”
President Kimball, “Marriage”, p10.

Do Daily Discipleship
Twice daily personal and family prayer and daily couple prayer
Daily personal and family scripture study
Diligently seek the guidance of the spirit and follow its every whispering
Love Your Spouse

“Thou shalt live together in love…” ( D&C 42:45)

“The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign Nov 1982, p77

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” (Ephesians 5:25)

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)

“Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else.” (D&C 42:22)

Love is a Verb
Exercise Great unselfishness – President Kimball
It is about you improving–not about them (you are the only person you have control over)
Often a person needs the most love when they are the least loveable – as you love them they will become more loveable
60/40 Rule (give 60% and expect 40%, then work to giving 100%)
Welcome each other home warmly
Be aware of changes and adapt
Be supportive of each other

“I pay tribute to Sister Nelson, this magnificent wife and mother who has always been supportive. When people have asked her how she managed with 10 children with so little time available from her husband, she has responded with a twinkle in her eye, saying, ‘When I married him, I didn’t expect much, so I was never disappointed.’ You young women can learn much from Sister Nelson’s example. Sustain your husband in their important work, and don’t be selfish in your expectations. Let your husband return to a home of affection, not contention.” Elder Russell M. Nelson, Identity, Priority & Blessings

“Do not smother each other with excessive restrictions. A loving wife of many years shared with me one of the secrets of her beautiful marriage. She told me, “It is my duty to maintain an atmosphere in our home in which my husband can reach his full potential. And you know, he is a busy father, bishop, and businessman. In turn, he helps me reach my potential.” Hugh W. Pinnock, "Making a Marriage Work” Ensign, Sep 1981,33

The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands –if you do these things they will slay dragons for you” Laura Schlessinger

Show Your Spouse Love - the way they want it… “Love Languages”
Wives – How do you want to be shown that you are loved?
Husbands – How do you want to be shown that you are loved?
Find out and do it. (See handout at the end “Caring Days”

Don’t Even Think of Anyone Else
Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else.
And he that looketh upon a woman to lust after her shall deny the faith, and shall not have the Spirit” (D&C 42:22-23)
this includes pornography.

***Mental Illness and Abuse (temporary and long-term)
· If it is dangerous – get out, seek help of Bishop, counselor, family or friends
· Fortunately medications and counseling can help and even work miracles

Think ONLY Good Thoughts

“My disciples, in days of old, sought occasion against one another and forgave not one another in their hearts; and for this evil they were afflicted and sorely chastened. Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin. I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.” (D&C 64:8 - 10)

· Forgive your spouse now. Don’t suffer another moment of pain
· If you dwell on one bad thought you reduce your happiness
· Replace that bad thought with a good one or a wonderful one
· Tell them about the good thought
· They will become your good thoughts

What can make a marriage work is surprisingly simple. Happily married couples aren’t smarter, richer or more psychologically astute than others. But in their day-to-day lives, they have hit upon a dynamic that keeps their negative thoughts and feelings about each other (which all couples have) from overwhelming their positive ones. They have what I Call an emotionally intelligent marriage. “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work” John M. Gottman 1999 P.3

Communicate, Communicate, …

v Daily – 30 to 60 minutes
v Weekly date night with talk time
Ø Dates with other couples don’t count
v It takes time to get to the important issues
v Listen, Listen, Listen
v Have fun and laugh

Communicate With Love and edify…
“Long-suffering, gentleness, meekness, love unfeigned, kindness, and pure knowledge” (D&C 121:41-42)

Ask “How are you doing?” then listen to understand and empathize not to problem solve and fix.

“Compliment each other sincerely and often. A middle-aged wife once told me, “Somebody has to keep my husband humble. He gets so much attention from others that he needs to be brought down a peg or two. He gets too big for his britches.” How sad! Every husband needs a wife who will build him up. Every wife needs a husband who honors and respects her. Building each other with sincere compliments is never a sign of weakness; it is the right thing to do. Anyone who can kneel before a sacred altar with a partner and exchange vows for eternity surely can see enough good in that partner to emphasize the good when talking with others.” Hugh W. Pinnock, “Making a Marriage Work” Ensign, Sep 1981, 33

No negative communication

“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying”
Ephesians 4:29

Avoid “ceaseless pinpricking.” Don’t be too critical of each other’s faults. Recognize that none of us is perfect. We all have a long way to go to become as Christ like as our leaders have urged us to become. “Ceaseless pinpricking’ (as President Kimball called it), can deflate almost any marriage. Generally, each of us is painfully aware of our weaknesses, and we don’t need frequent reminders. Few people have ever changed for the better as a result of constant criticism or nagging. If we are not careful, some of what we offer as ‘constructive’ criticism is actually destructive.

“Never make your mate the object of jokes either in private or in public. Partners who poke fun at their mates may think of it as good-natured humor. It is not. It is degrading and dangerous to the relationship. The one so ridiculed will be hurt deeply. To make a joke about private things a husband or wife did at home reveals either a lack of sensitivity or hidden malice and anger created by frustration or hurt feelings. Couples who respect each other do not resort to such degradation.

If You Have an Argument…
You are at least part of the problem, focus on fixing your part first
–They may be too, but that is not your issue
–Remember you are to Forgive everyone

“But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause* shall be in danger of the judgment”
Matthew 5:22 *Joseph Smith Translation - leaves out “without a cause” 3 Nephi 11: 29-30

· Pray hard for help (you will likely need it – go to bathroom to calm down)
· With heaven aided reflection and humility you will usually discover YOUR error
· Then apologize, makeup and show an increase of love

“Be quick to say, I’m sorry’ As hard as it is to form the words, be swift to say, ‘I apologize, and please forgive me,’ even though you are not the one who is totally at fault. True love is developed by those who are willing to readily admit personal mistakes and offenses. When differences do arise, being able to discuss and resolve them is important, but there are instances when it is best to take a time-out. Biting your tongue and counting to ten or even a hundred is important. And occasionally, even letting the sun go down on your wrath can help bring you back to the problem in the morning more rested, calm and with a better chance for resolution.” Elder Joe Christensen, “Marriage and the Great Plan of Happiness”

· Forgive your spouse ASAP

“Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin. 10 I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.” (D&C 64:9-10)

· Do not just forget about it; work it out as soon as you both can

"We can respond to irritation with a smile instead of scowl, or by giving warm praise instead of icy indifference. By our being understanding instead of abrupt, others, in turn, may decide to hold on a little longer rather than to give way. Love, patience, and meekness can be just as contagious as rudeness and crudeness."
Neal A. Maxwell, "The Tugs and Pulls of the World," Ensign, Nov. 2000, 36

Keep the Courtship Alive
· Say it, mean it, do it
· Get way together (date nights and getaways)

“Make time to do things togetherjust the two of you. As important as it is to be with the children as a family, you need regular weekly time alone together. Scheduling it will let your children know that you feel that your marriage is so important that you need to nurture it. That takes commitment, planning, and scheduling. It doesn’t need to be costly. The time together is the most important element.” Elder Joe Christensen, “Marriage and the Great Plan of Happiness”

For ideas on inexpensive dating for young couples with children see “Dating at Home” by Geok Lee Thong at under Gospel topics: communication, courtship, love marriage

· Intimacy and affection (should be great, if not talk kindly about it and get counsel if needed)
· Trust, Conversation and then Romance
· Only those activities that you are both comfortable with – love is giving of self – Enjoy

“Love is like a flower, and like the body, it needs constant feeding, the mortal body would soon be emaciated and die if there were not frequent feedings. The tender flower would wither and die without food and water. And so love, also, cannot be expected to last forever unless it is continually fed with portions of love, the manifestation of esteem and admiration, the expressions of gratitude, and the consideration of unselfishness.”

“Certainly the foods most vital for love are consideration, kindness, thoughtfulness, concern expressions of affection, embraces of appreciation, admiration, pride, companionship, confidence, faith, partnership, equality, and interdependence.” President Kimball – Oneness in Marriage

Manage Your Finances Together
· Pay honest tithes
· Keep a budget
· Talk about it
· Pray about it
–For help
–To know what is right
See Elder Ashton’s One for the Money in the clerks or Bishop’s office

True Partnership in Family Responsibilities
Husbands and wives share in making a Celestial home.
–Personal and family Prayer
–Personal and family Scripture Study
–Family Home Evening and Family Counsels
–Frequent Temple attendance
–Taking care of a home

Remember –
“The greatest thing you will ever have in this life is the companionship of your beloved wife.” President Gordon B. Hinckley

“For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; and they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder". Jesus Christ as quoted by Mark 10: 7-9

Chart on Christ-Like Attributes – prayerfully consider how you can improve
(“Agency and Love in Marriage” Lynn G. Robbins, Engisn, Oct. 2000, pg 16)

“Find time to study the scriptures together, and follow this sound counsel from President Kimball: “When a husband and wife go together frequently to the holy temple, kneel in prayer together in their home with their family, go hand in hand to their religious meetings, keep their lives wholly chaste, mentally and physically, … and both are working together for the upbuilding of the kingdom of God, then happiness is at its pinnacle” (Marriage and Divorce, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1976, p. 24).

“My… suggestion is to contemplate. This word has deep meaning. It comes from Latin roots: con, meaning “with,” and templum, meaning “a space or place to meditate.” It is the root from which the word temple comes. If couples contemplate often—with each other in the temple—sacred covenants will be better remembered and kept. Frequent participation in temple service and regular family scripture study nourish a marriage and strengthen faith within a family. Contemplation allows one to anticipate and to resonate (or be in tune) with each other and with the Lord. Contemplation will nurture both a marriage and God’s kingdom. The Master said, “Seek not the things of this world but seek ye first to build up the kingdom of God, and to establish his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” Russell M. Nelson, “Nurturing Marriage”, Ensign May 2006.

Resources: under “Menu”, then under “Study” select “Study by Topic” select “M” and the first topic is Marriage.
Lynn G. Robbins, “Agency and Love in Marriage,” Ensign, Oct. 2000, 16
Joe J. Christensen, “Marriage and the Great Plan of Happiness,” Ensign, May 1995, 64
“Putting Our Marriage Back Together,” Ensign, Apr. 1998, 54
Spencer W. Kimball, “Oneness in Marriage,” Ensign, Mar. 1977, 3
Marvin J. Ashton, “Guide to Family Finance,” Liahona, Apr. 2000, 42
Strengthening Our Families, David C. Dollahite, 2000
The Seven Principles of Marking Marriage Work, John M. Gottman, PH.D. 1999.
Marriage, Spencer W. Kimball, 1978 Official LDS site for great help on managing resources & family guidance
There is usually an article on marriage in each issue of the Ensign

Happiness is to love your spouse with all your heart, mind and strength for eternity and beyond…

Note: more to follow -- CHART: Agency and Love in Marriage (link to follow)

by therapist Richard Stuart (has been clinically shown to strengthen marriages).

First, sit down with our spouse and select, discuss, and agree on 18 behaviors or actions (nine each) that you find loving and would like to receive from him or her. These actions must be:
1. Specific (such as “Tell me you love me at least once a day”)
2. Positive (not “Don’t do this” or “Stop doing that”)
3. Small enough to be done on a daily basis (such as “Call me at work during lunch, just to see how I’m doing”) and
4. Not the subject of any recent conflict!

Second, agree to do five of the actions on the Caring Days list each day, regardless of whether or not your spouse follows through. Even if your spouse doesn’t follow through right away, be patient and persist in doing the actions.

Third, put the list of actions in a conspicuous place, such as on the refrigerator door. The actions will be listed in the middle column, with your name and your spouse’s name listed at the top of the left and right columns. When you receive a requested action from your spouse, place the date next to the specific action. This visual reminder helps reinforce the actions. Some couples have listed actions like “Take me on a date each Friday night.” “Hold my hand when we sit together,” Tell me you love me at last once each day,” and “Give me at least three hugs each day.”

Persist in doing five actions per day for two weeks, so that sending these messages of love begins to become a habit. At the end of two weeks, evaluate how your relationship has changed because of the activity.

(“Strengthening Our Families – An In-Depth Look at the Proclamation on the Family”, School of Family Life, Brigham Young University, pg. 297)