Thursday, February 16, 2017

FAML 300 Week 7: Staying Emotionally Connected

A view of a part of the earth from space, with the moon seen in the distance.

We came to earth to grow and learn. I have a son who would love to quit school and spend all day and every day in the imaginary world in his bedroom. In fact he is so consistent with his dream that he has spent years telling us almost on a daily basis that he quits school “end of story.” Seriously, he has been on this rant for years, saying the same thing almost daily. I have to give him credit for being persistent. Yet, I cannot give into his demands because we are here on earth to grow and make something of our lives. We can’t just sit in the back room of life full of dreams and no action.

By the time I was a senior in high school, I thought I had this life thing figured out. In my mind I had reached the pinnacle of understanding physically, mentally, and spiritually. I felt like if the Savior’s second coming came then, I was ready to meet Him. Then real life started. I moved to my own apartment, met my future husband, and before my sophomore year of college was done I was married. Even then, life seemed almost perfect with a few stretching times. We were truly tested when we had our children.

Gone were the perfectly controlled days
 In the book I referenced last time, “Drawing Heaven into your Marriage,” Goddard said, "Marriage is God's graduate school for advanced training in Christian character" (p. 8). There is so much that can test and try us. We experience irritations as I noted last week, there are disagreements, also the strains and stresses that are constantly pulling the marriage and family away from each other. 

Take time for each other
This week our focus is on staying connected emotionally with our spouse by turning toward each other. The scriptures teach us to “be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great" (Doctrine and Covenants 64:33). We can lay this foundation of good by focusing on the good and turn toward each other through those many small acts that create meaning and build a strong relationship. It could be as simple as a wink or a smile, a text to say “I miss you,” a phone-call on your break at work. Doing these kinds of things helps your spouse to know that they are important to you and that you love them.

 A conceptual photograph showing a young man standing on a large rock surrounded by stacks of boulders, paired with the words “Rock Solid.”

As we practice turning toward our spouse to stay emotionally connected we will build a foundation that can withstand the strains and stresses that come into the family. God is training us and teaching us the lessons that will bring us closer to Heaven. Just as my son wishes he didn’t have to put forth the energy it takes to learn his spelling, cursive, math, reading; we may not wish to put forth the effort to overcome the trials, irritations and disagreements. “Irritation [and I would add any trial] is an invitation to better thinking and acting. … It is a matter of replacing irritation with compassion and charity; replacing accusation with humility; replacing frustration with invitation” (p. 57). Goddard continues to say, “Every time we are inclined to drop out of a life commitment, God is inviting us to solve the unpleasant chafing by becoming more like Him” (p. 57).

 A green striped background, combined with a quote by Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "Let us be true to our covenants."

I hope to wear the cap, gown, and honor cords of graduation when this life is over. I know it won’t be easy, but in the end it the trials will end up making eternal graduation worth it. Lastly, Goddard has taught me “Having faith does not make everything easy. Rather, faith makes life and its challenges both bearable and meaning-filled.”

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