Monday, November 29, 2010

How to "cleave unto" your spouse

I am taking a class on the Doctrine and Covenants this semester. My teacher requires that we read, from the student manual, the articles that go along with the sections or verses we are assigned for each class period. Doing so has blessed my life, because almost every time, I find quotes like this gem (the rest is straight from the manual, which can be accessed by the link above):
“Marriage Presupposes Total Allegiance and Fidelity”
D&C 42:22–23

Only two commandments in all the scriptures require us to love with all our heart. We are commanded to love God with all our heart (see Deuteronomy 6:5; Matthew 22:37), and we are commanded to love our spouse with all our heart. Elder Spencer W. Kimball explained the all-encompassing nature of this commandment:

“When the Lord says all thy heart, it allows for no sharing nor dividing nor depriving. And, to the woman it is paraphrased: ‘Thou shalt love thy husband with all thy heart and shalt cleave unto him and none else.’

“The words none else eliminate everyone and everything. The spouse then becomes preeminent in the life of the husband or wife, and neither social life nor occupational life nor political life nor any other interest nor person nor thing shall ever take precedence over the companion spouse. We sometimes find women who absorb and hover over the children at the expense of the husband, sometimes even estranging them from him.

“The Lord says to them: ‘Thou shalt cleave unto him and none else.’

Marriage presupposes total allegiance and total fidelity. Each spouse takes the partner with the understanding that he or she gives totally to the spouse all the heart, strength, loyalty, honor, and affection, with all dignity. Any divergence is sin; any sharing of the heart is transgression. As we should have ‘an eye single to the glory of God,’ so should we have an eye, an ear, a heart single to the marriage and the spouse and family.” (Faith Precedes the Miracle, pp. 142–43.)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

An experiment upon the word

I recently checked out a book from the library called Behind Every Good Man by John Bytheway, an LDS speaker/author whose works I've long enjoyed. The subtitle of this book is what sparked my interest in it: "Helping your husband take the spiritual lead at home."

I love my husband. He is everything I have always wanted in a companion. I do not want to change him. But it has been difficult for us to establish a pattern of holding family home evenings in our first six months of marriage, and this has been frustrating for me.

Bytheway writes about how wives are sometimes overwhelmingly critical of their husbands without even realizing it. He quotes Patricia Love and Steven Stosny on ways wives "shame a man without trying:"
  • Excluding him from important decisions
  • Correcting what he said
  • Questioning his judgment
  • Ignoring his advice
  • Implying inadequacy
  • Making unrealistic demands of his time and energy
  • Valuing others' needs over his
  • Belittling his work
  • Ignoring his needs
  • Showing little or no interest in his interests
  • Criticizing his family
  • Expecting him to make me happy
This list made me realize I am often critical of my beloved husband without meaning to be. How sad, to think that I may have been hurting him when that has been far from my intentions!

My "experiment upon the word" has been on Bytheway's suggestion to correct this behavior, found in 4 Nephi 1:15:
"And it came to pass that there was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people."
Bytheway claims that charity, the love of God, can change our homes and our relationships. Indeed, this is a principle taught in the gospel! Bytheway expounds on this concept a little : "What exactly does 'the love of God' mean? it could have meaning in three dimensions : love for God (our love for Him), love from God (His love for us), and love like God's (a quality of love)."

Less than a week of this experiment has improved an already great marriage. I am consciously staying my tongue, avoiding "correcting" unimportant (and really not even wrong) things, and complimenting my sweetheart.

Try it out!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

More about my theme

To better understand my theme here, I feel it is important to talk about "proclamations."

To proclaim means: "to announce or declare in an open or ostentatious way, to indicate or make known publicly or openly. To extol or praise publicly."

On this blog, I hope to "publicly praise and extol" the institution of the family in a way that is in harmony with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I want to share things I've learned by experience, by the Holy Spirit, in classes; anything that might help strengthen families.

I feel that it is important to speak boldly about this topic. In light of the many challenges and problems families and familial relationships face, I want to make note of and encourage the positive. Our families can be strong and full of love! We can make it.