You get married and in the beginning when you were dating do you remember how you would go on a date and talk all night and never stop talking and then go home and call each other on the phone. At 6am you wake each other up, then meet on campus, then go to jobs, then talk that night. You are thinking about each other all the time. If I’m not with you I’m thinking about what I want to do when I’m with you again. If you lived the rest of your life like that you would be exhausted. It brings people together to get married, but then there is a life cycle that kind of happens in a marriage.
In 5 years you are just getting out of school and life doesn’t really change, but now you have 3 kids and Mom is really busy. Dad is starting to feel pushed aside because they are just taking care of the kids. The responsibility of a man to provide is very heavy. I didn’t realize this until my sons got married. They came to me 2-3 days before and they were scared. They said, “I know we can make it, but what about when you are the only one providing.” It’s a heavy thing. They don’t complain about it. They are concerned about getting to where they can provide. Then add to that Mom a little bit crabby. Do you see how that increases pressure? This is the beginning of parallel lives.
Women will look at their marriage and say ‘this isn’t as fun as they told me it would be.” Those of you who have been married 5 years and haven’t had children there is a depression that goes with that.
Stories end when they get married. In the movies they don’t do dishes and laundry. They have babies, but they don’t have to take care of them. So our children and us grew up with the idea that life will be ‘happily ever after.’ It was hard to be married. It’s an 80/20 thing. Dating you think “I love them they are perfect”. You know they have flaws because everyone does. You look at the 80% you love. Then you get married and you start looking at the 20% of the flaws and start focusing on that. If I’m a really good wife I will help you overcome that 20%. We start nagging them. We start parenting them. That comes with parenting children.
About 10 years…many of us are into parallel living. You are in parallel lives. He takes care of his things and you take care of your things…church, school, children. You pass through the home together. Your personal lives cease to intertwine. You have ceased having just conversations with each other. It becomes a big deal now to discuss what kind of movies we watch. You never talked about children or finances when you were dating and now that’s all you talk about. The bonding is parallel you are not intertwined like you used to be.
If you had to say what is their favorite book, movie, candy, what are they working on as a goal? We cease to be involved in their heart. If you want to light the fire you have to go back to developing heart relationships. Some of you that is hard. You have so come to parallel lives and because from time to time you have gone to your spouse and started to express something that was meaningful when that happens oft times she becomes impatient and wants to parent. We don’t listen to them. It happens the other way around. Men come to discuss things or situations that happen. Women go to them to discuss feelings. They just want to fix it for you too.
Jimmy just wouldn’t behave. Women need to say it in 3 paragraphs. He says, “Let me tell you how to fix Jimmy.” Both of you feel like they don’t care. You just shut me down. You don’t really care how I feel. Women say you don’t care. Men say you don’t understand, but it’s the same thing. I know you love me, but I don’t feel like you are in love with me because you would care about what I’m thinking and what’s inside me.
We cease to go share.
They start to share and we shut them down.
When dating the communication is high, but as we start living our responsibilities in our lives we are too busy. When you become empty nesters they don’t even know who you are. This emotional separation doesn’t happen in an event You slowly slide on a downward slope from the relationship.
I was in a temple sealing in SLC. He was being married by Elder Robbins. He sat on the committee that would cancel temple blessings. He said that most of the requests for temple cancellations came not because of infidelity, but they came because we have fallen out of love. He said, “Do you fall out of kindness?” He said, “I know that sounds foolish to you. You don’t fall out of kindness you stop doing kind things. You don’t fall out of love you quit doing loving things.” The way you rekindle the fire is to start doing loving things then you have loving feelings.
Alma 32: 37-39
37 And behold, as the tree marriage beginneth to grow, ye will say: Let us nourish it with great care, that it may get root, that it may grow up, and bring forth fruit love unto us. And now behold, if ye nourish it with much care it will get root, and grow up, and bring forth fruit love.
38 But if ye neglect the tree marriage, and take no thought for its nourishment, behold it will not get any root; and when the heat of the sun cometh (children, schedules, work, trials, financial burdens) and scorcheth it, because it hath no root it withers away, and ye pluck it up and cast it out.
39 Now, this is not because the seed marriage was not good, neither is it because the fruit love thereof would not be desirable; but it is because your ground heart is barren, and ye will not nourish the tree marriage, therefore ye cannot have the fruit love thereof.
We pluck up the equal partnership when we parent our spouse. Satan uses the silent treatment in marriage. We are mad because they can’t read our mind. As women we do that.
Stop keeping score and start serving!
Class member: You have the loops and you have to do that and then the Lord will put it together like knitting.
Ponder: What would it be like to be married to you?
Stop thinking about what it’s like to be married to them. What is it like to be married to you? Smile! Just be happy. They want you to be excited when they come home from work. Likewise a woman wants a man to make her feel like she is still the most important person in his life.
Women want to feel cherished not be cherished. You need to ooh and ahh over them a little. They need you to listen to them. We need to feel like we are the most important part of your life.
Men need to feel admired and appreciated.
Look at the Proclamation in the Family.
Men need to Provide, Preside, Protect---Women need to Appreciate and Admire.
They need to feel like they are coming home to their castle.
Marion G. Romney—Concerned about his wives hearing…(story in syllabus)
When we are assessing a problem in our marriage is it “I”?
President Hinckley said, “I am satisfied, that a happy marriage is not so much a matter of romance. A happy marriage is an anxious concern for the comfort and wellbeing of ones companion.” (quote in syllabus)
Most of us will say, “I’m unhappy in my marriage because he’s not helping with the kids, he’s not paying attention to me. He never takes out the trash. He never reads to the kids.” You are saying they have the power to make me happy or unhappy. You are saying we they behave to the degree I have set then I will be happy. It has everything to do for what you are doing for them and not keeping score at all. When you are focused on serving and making someone happy
There were no conditions when you made the sealing covenant with the Lord.
I planned the last date if you don’t plan the next one I guess we don’t go on one.
Example: We had been married about 3 years. We were having a ‘Marriage’ game. The question was ‘What does your wife do that irritates you?’ Mike he truly is a non-critical person. Here I am trying to figure out an answer to that question? I said, “I don’t know what bugs him.” Mike what bugs you most, “He said what bugs me is that when I put my socks in the wash she won’t turn them right side out and fold them.” I thought..why don’t you turn your socks right side out. I quit folding his socks. For 20 years I just let him get his own socks out of the basket. He never complained or said what’s wrong with you? I finally repented.
President Uchtdorf: Couple been married 60 years….pg 103 in syllabus.
What can we do in the relationship to relight that fire to bring the spark back? I don’t think any of you want out of your marriage. Most of you feel like your marriage isn’t exactly like you would want it to be.
Class member: This past Friday when my husband got home from work he brought me flowers. He always brought me no reason flowers before kids. My first thought was what has he done that he is feeling guilty about. He said you hair really looks nice. I really appreciate how you dress nicely and take care of yourself. Man, he is really feeling guilty about something. It took me a couple of days to get into the mode of the fact that he really was just being nice.
What do you want? What do you want to do? What trip do you want to take? We have to be careful. When we haven’t been nourishing the relationship this is what you think about.
Write down….What was it about your spouse that attracted you? Why did you choose that person over everyone else? Why did they win? What is it that you used to do that was so fun (before marriage) when you didn’t have any money?
1. Go back and look at your wedding pictures. Look at love letters you kept. Pull them out this week and look at them. If you have children, don’t read letters to them, but sit down with the pictures. Tell them why you adored your spouse?
2. Have a “remember when…” conversation with your spouse.
Syllabus…pg 103—Things you can do to re-light the fire
Class member: It was my husband’s 30th birthday. I decided I would write down 30 reasons I love him and hide them around the house. It took awhile to come up with them and it was really hard at first to see it. After I got started I could keep going and going though.
All that means is that you forget ‘why’ you love them. We stop focusing on those things. You have to refocus on being anxiously engaged about their happiness. In the beginning you didn’t have to think about those things. They were just there.
When it takes no effort that is not ‘real love’, when you are choosing to do loving things that is ‘real love’. That is my choice to give you that gift. That is where we kind of ‘fall’ out of it.
Live within your means….don’t go into debt. Financial debt creates stress in the best marriage. Part of a woman’s responsibility is to budget and not spend more than is in the budget. Always pay your tithes and offerings first.
Class member: One thing my husband and I have always done is that we always say we are paying our credit card off each month. We made a limit if we are spending more than $50 then we have to get the approval of our spouse.
Money can be a very dividing issue in a relationship. Talk about it as an item and take your emotions out of it. Don’t take offense. Choose to forgive them so you don’t nurture negative feelings. It’s a choice you make.
Maintain complete fidelity and trust. Most of you won’t go out and have an affair. You can be disloyal by the things you do…online chats with someone of the opposite sex, getting too close in relationships with someone of the opposite sex in your ward or work. Women…be careful about reading too many romance novels. They set an unreal expectation that makes you discontent with what you have. Anything that gets you going anywhere, but your spouse is infidelity. This includes gossiping. Don’t go home to Mom and say I’m so mad at my husband today. Men don’t go to work and complain about your wife.
Class member: Moving away from family was the best thing on their marriage. We had to talk to each other and work it out together.
With electronic media as it is be mindful of what you are saying in those talks. Watch the innuendos. Be loyal in your thoughts and in your actions.
Live the gospel personally. Women get this feeling that we need to make our husband good and it’s our husbands responsibility to make us happy. We have our “I would be happy if….” list. Your job is to make them happy, not to have a barometer to see if they are making you happy. Stop confessing their sins and start repenting of yours. Don’t set spirit goals for your spouse, they get to set them for themselves. You make sure you are living the gospel. Part of that is not to judge.
Daily look for the good and write it down. Put a white board up and write on it that you love about your spouse. The object is to help you start looking for the positive. Focus on it every single day. Your gratitude gets greater and greater every day.
I’m really upset. I have written on the white board every day, but she hasn’t written it once. The minute you keep score you lose. Love is your gift. It is an agency where you use your gift.
Class member: I want you to keep track of all the things you do. I was keeping track of when I do dishes. She was having us keep track of everything we are doing. I started falling into that. I stopped it about 2 weeks into that. Your thoughts create your feelings.
Be quick to say you are sorry…especially if you are not wrong. You can say with all sincerity and honest that ‘I’m sorry’. It’s not about being right or wrong. I am sorry because there is a rift in the relationship. There is no right or wrong and if there is a rift you better be sorry. It’s not about right or wrong.
Spend time together (non-electronic). Take walks, bake cookies, fix the car, bake bread, yard work. Quality vs. quantity time….relationships require time. Spend time every day together. Both of you need to focus on each other. It needs to retain it’s strength.
Learn your spouses love language. We don’t all feel ‘I love you’ the same. We tend to give it in our own love language. He may not receive it because it won’t go in. It is your responsibility to figure out what you love language is and then teach your spouse what it is.
I thought….what is my love language? 9 children under 9 is crazy. I felt overwhelmed all the time. My love language is positive affirmations. Mike was raised with 9 brothers and not in a genteel environment. I made 3x5 cards and wrote the dumbest things I could think of… “I would walk barefoot across the desert to be with you.” I showed him these cards. When I’m down and discouraged I need you to give me a 3x5. I need you to life me up and tell me something positive. Right now just put them in your drawer. He came home and I’m bawling. He came in and said, “How are you?” Your first things is to say, “Can’t you see?” I said, I need a 3x5. He came out and handed me a stack of 3x5 cards. You have to read them and say them and you have to hold me. He takes the deck of 3x5s and starts reading them to me. I could teach him what I needed without it being offensive. I’m trying to help him learn.
He came up to the door in the back he held up a sign that said things that should only be said to married couples. No one could see it but me. I was so embarrassed. He held it up and smiled and me and then left.
You want to give in the love language you have.
Meet at the crossroads of the day. It makes a huge difference. Both him and hers when you come and go you walk to the door and say “hi” and “goodbye” to each other. You meet greet and touch at the crossroads of the day.
Be kind. We are really kind to other people. We speak in soft tones and to our loved ones we get nasty. Say please and thank you. Express appreciation. Most of you need to tell your face that you are happy. Every once in awhile be silly….particularly with your spouse.
Take responsibility for your own happiness. You need to track your cycle. You need to know when it’s that time of the month.
Class member: It goes daily too…if you are eating and sleeping correctly.
You take responsibility for your emotional well-being.
Avoid unreal expectations. I know that there were some of you that thought ‘My husband never does that’. Be careful about entertaining unreal expectations. A good/terrific marriage has rough times.
President Hinckley says, “There is a great deal of mutual tolerance in marriage.”
Learn to listen to your partner’s heart. The only way you can listen is if you stop talking. Communication is let me know how you feel. Therefore I need to ask you questions to verify that I am understanding it. When he is telling you something hard is going on at work and you know how to fix it? Ask questions and listen to answers. They feel loved and validated if they think you care how they feel. Men if you could learn the 3 question rule women would kiss your feet. Ask 3 questions before you give your input.
The bottom line is a celestial marriage takes a lot of work. It takes daily nourishment. It takes working on it every day now. Love is a commitment to doing loving things. If you love your spouse you are committed to doing loving things for that person. You are not keeping score to see if they are doing loving things for you.
Put on your job list everyday, “What can I do today to show my spouse that I love them?” It can be validating them. It can be calling them in the middle of the day. It doesn’t haven’t to be major. It’s not a cruise. It’s the little things. It’s taking a walk and talking while you go. It’s sharing. Some of you have been in parallel lives so long that you find it challenging to share because that person is no longer your best friend. It’s time to start risking. There is nothing that brings people closer together faster than sharing challenges together and seeking to lift one another.
That picture of the wedding rings is the possibility to have a celestial marriage. You are blessed on the stipulation that you live righteously. You are blessed to ‘become’. The Lord will walk beside you and help you do it. I have a picture of my parents hands…2 months before she passed away of cancer. It’s their hands together. That is the picture of a celestial marriage. When we wear our lives out in the service of each other not keeping score then we are entitled to exaltation. When we go through life looking only at ourselves we are not a candidate for those celestial blessings.
Story of Sister Tanner’s parents….
When our desire is such that we too, would bend to wash the feet of our spouse then we know what celestial love is. Heaven wants you to have it and will enable you to have it if you seek to serve your spouse.