From the time they are little we say you need to get baptized, go on your mission, remain chaste, find a missionary, and then get married in the temple. We teach them up to there. With no other teachings their teaching comes through romance novels and they create unreal expectations in married and unmarried women. Hallmark movies are always “happily ever after”. Or they have you as a role model. They leave saying ours is going to be different.
Part of teaching them to work and do service and gratitude…this is teaching them real life. We are raising our children with unreal expectations.
My guess is that within the first 3 years marriage was a shocking experience for you. Somewhere along the line there was a moment of discovery that you said, “This isn’t what I thought this was going to be.” Most couples within the first 5 years say, “This isn’t what I expected or wanted.” This doesn’t mean that you are wanting to get a divorce or leave. It’s interesting what you do in that discovery.
When you first start dating the person you are going to marry you are exclusive. You know this is the person you want to be with. This is the ‘infatuation’ period. When you are engaged or just barely married. You came to discover there is a lot of really good people out there that are a 10, but maybe not your 10. They aren’t bad people. They just aren’t your 10. When you find what fits you look at that person and you see that there is 80% of that person that you adore and you can’t live without. The other 20% are their irritants. You think those are ‘no big deal’. Usually it’s about an 80-20.
You get married and you are in the “Infatuation” period. You don’t need anything. You can live on soup. Then you click into the busyness, school, kids, work, and they are now in a different box as you get down the road a little bit. By the end of 5 years that’s when you figure out what love is. When you are in infatuation that is not love, you don’t have to think about them. When you are growing out of that into ‘real life’ usually around 3-5 years they are so busy you say, there isn’t time for us. How come I don’t feel Hallmark love at the end of the movie when I wake up now. Sometimes we start to think we are falling out of love. That’s not true.
Lynn Robbins was the sealer in my nephew’s marriage. He said, “You don’t fall out of love. Do you fall out of kindness? To fall out of kindness means you quit doing kind things. If you fall out of love you have quit doing loving things”
Pg 100 Syllabus Quote
It’s not that you just suddenly fall out of love. Things have been happening slowly along the way that are not up to your unreal expectations so you start sliding out of the feelings of love.
It’s to examine yourself. You cannot listen today for your spouse only listen about yourself. Then we compare what we have to our unread expectations and we become disillusioned. We start to blame and criticize. Part of this problem is from the fact that no where in your life have you seen in a role model a relationship of equals. You don’t know how to be a relationship of equals.
When you are a child you have a parent-child relationship. The parent tells you what to do to be better. If you go into the work field you have a boss-employee relationship. The boss has the right to tell you what to do. If you go into a relationship of marriage that is a relationship of equals, but you haven’t experienced that before. The reason friendships flow more smoothly is because there are no expectations. We get into a marriage and we are bringing in expectations. They may be unreal, but we are bringing them in. We revert back to what we know…we fall back to the ‘parent’ role and help them be a better them….consciously or unconsciously we start telling them what to do.
“You just need to spend more time with the kids. Could you watch less TV? Could you wear better clothes?” Then we go after them with little picks, “Do we have to have the TV on again? Are you watching TV again?” You have taken on the “parent” role for righteous reasons to help them be better.
When you come to a relationship as an equal you just accept who they are and what they are. You accept them where they are and then negotiate what you still want. We don’t live parallel lives. You are living in the same house and side by side, but no longer intertwined. He is involved in his calling and work. You are involved in your calling and children. This is the norm! This is what happens. Your life stays parallel until the children leave home and then they get divorced. They aren’t connected anymore.
What causes that and how can I prevent that?
Women are given the spiritual gifts to maintain the balance of the marriage. That is part of the commandment that you are given to ‘nurture’ in the Proclamation. You are to nurture you marriage as well as your children. Satan doesn’t want us to succeed. If he can break down the mother/wife/woman and make you miserable he is going to take the gifts Heavenly Father has given you is to use them on yourself.
We tend to focus on their flaws. We are forever doing this little pin prick. It isn’t always verbal. If it’s mental it’s affecting how you feel.
Keeping score. How come you ‘babysit’ and I just have to do kids all the time? How come I’m the one that has to call the babysitter? Why do I have to call everyone to family prayer? Why do I always prepare the FHE lesson? Have you ever felt those thoughts? If you are equals and you are giving emotional gifts you don’t keep score. You give them freely.
Silent treatment….this is an adult temper tantrum. You don’t want to argue you just quit talking. You can’t resolve problems if no one is talking.
Separate activities, blaming, workaholic, too tied to parents (more with newly weds). The scriptures say, “Leave and cleave”. How many of us emotionally cleave to our spouse? Is your loyalty and commitment 100% to your spouse and not to someone else?
You have to let your spouse be where they are. Then what? How do you do this?
President Uchtdorf, “Lord is it I?”
Larry Lawrence “What lack I yet?”
Before we condemn our spouse we need to look at ourselves and see where we are at. We need to expect a great deal of ourselves and accept who we married. We only get to set goals for ourselves. You are frustrated because they aren’t meeting the goal you have set for them. You need to present it without it being an unreal expectation.
Men are different than women. They think different, act different, feel different. We cripple them and set them up for failure because of how we treat them. We expect them to act like we are then we condemn them when they don’t act like us. Women you have to get out of self pity. You have to take responsibility for making your marriage work.
You get married because, “They make you happy.” After you are married you feel responsible to “make them good.” Our responsibility is to make them happy and make us good. It’s not their responsibility to make you happy. We set them up for failure if we hold them accountable for something that is not their responsibility.
President Hinckley said, “Marriage is an anxious concern for the comfort and well being of one’s companion.”
What does ‘anxious’ mean? It is committed, deep, serious, always, constantly.
If you are anxious about one of your children do you ever not think about them? Are you doing that about your spouse? You are focused on their well being and comfort. It causes us frustration when they don’t focus on our well being and comfort. That isn’t part of the equation.
When does someone care about me? Did that thought cross your mind? Do you see how we just turned it back around to us? When it’s focused in you will get sad. When you focus out your bucket will get filled as a bi-product of enriching the marriage. When you go at it like the focus on the marriage you won’t get it. You will get it if you go at it by being focused on them.
Syllabus---Pg 103 Things to Perk Up Your Marriage….
Lives need to be intertwined, but equal. These are things you can do.
- Remember what you did when you were dating….and play the ‘remember game’ with them. You have fun memories. Recall them. Share them. Bring them back. As you recall and talk about them those feelings come back to you. That is a recall of how you felt in that moment. It helps when you share those back. You can do this at the dinner table. They need to know that you love each other. You are doing it because you want to bring back a happy memory. If they don’t come up with another one…no big deal.
- Do not take offense where none is intended. Men speak to facts. They don’t talk to emotions. You have to stay in it long enough to make it work. President Uchtdorf’s story about the crocheted doily. She had chosen not to take offense. That is the key. They may say something that is offensive. Men sometimes just don’t understand feelings. Our responsibility is to help them understand those feelings.
- Live within your means. Avoid debt. “Fix it up. Wear it out. Make it do. Or do without.” When we complain it makes them feel inadequate.
- Maintain complete fidelity and trust. This means media. Don’t give big hugs to the opposite sex. Chats online with the opposite sex. There should never be any doubt in your spouses mind about your fidelity. They need to know where you are going, who you will be with.
- Live the gospel. It’s your responsibility to make you good. If he isn’t reading his scriptures you read yours. You need to build you. Have good personal prayers. Reading the Ensign. Go to the temple. Make your husband happy because that’s charity and the gospel.
- Daily look for the good in your spouse. This is living in gratitude daily. Take the white board and put it up for your spouse. Every day write something that you appreciate about them. Some little thing. It does lift them. It is to help you break the habit of thinking negatively about them every day. Look to validate them in the little things you do. The more you do this the softer your heart becomes.
Class member: One year we were going through a very difficult time for our family. I wrote in a notebook and gave it to him for Christmas.
- Spend time together. No electronics. Go for a walk together. Just spend time reconnecting together. Regularly spend time together. Weekly date night is a good idea!!! Make this a principle of your marriage. It doesn’t have to be spending money. It means you have time to be together and reconnect. When you were dating you never ran out of things to talk about. You didn’t talk about children or marriage or bills or the honey-do-list. What should we talk about? Read a book, read an article, learn something, talk about ideas, dreams, missions. We forget how to just to happy talk. Our talks now are logistics and correction. Remember how to laugh together! You used to have fun. Go bowling. Go miniature golf. You weren’t afraid to have fun. Have fun!
- Learn your spouse’s Love Language. Words of Affirmation, Quality Gifts, Act of Service, Physical Touch. Usually you give what you want. You need to know what your love language is and you have to know what theirs is. Help each other discover each others. The second part is…together you have to come to an agreement of when enough is enough. We have to talk about things. If my love language is ‘acts of service’ and I want him to help me clean out the garage. Men need an entrance and an exit. “Could you give me 3 hours Saturday morning?” He will be more likely to say yes. At noon if the garage isn’t done it has to be enough. If he chooses to go in and watch TV the rest of the afternoon it’s ok. He kept his part. You have to say what you want. We think…”If you love me you would….” It’s not a guessing game. “It was a hard day. Could you just hold me for a minute?” If you are asking for talk time you need to have something ready to start the conversation. If we don’t say what we want or what we mean offense can be taken.
- Meet and greet at the crossroads.
- Be kind. Tell your face you are happy you married him. Sing occasionally. Let them know you are happy to be in this home. Have a happy spirit and let them see that.
- Take responsibility for your own emotional well being. Women need to talk more than men do. Women need to have a good friend and spend time with happy people other than their spouse. They need to have a hobby and have happy outlets. You need to be responsible for your own happiness. They cannot make them feel anyway. Don’t hold them accountable for your happiness. It’s a mental pinging that we are doing.
- This is an eternal relationship. We need to tell them how grateful we are to be sealed to them. Attend the temple with them. Express the gratitude that the family is sealed, that they have the priesthood, and that you are grateful in their home.
- I want you to go 24 hours without criticizing. No thoughts or words. If you immediately change your thought that’s ok. If you criticize you have to start over. No critical thought for 24 hours. How long does it take you to be able to go 24 hours with no criticism.
- Read Lynn Robbins October 2000 Ensign “Agency and Love In Marriage”
- Every morning I want you to ask yourself concerning your spouse…. “What can I do to make your day better?” Ask your spouse verbally.