A Welcome Message

It's a great big world we live in. And yet-it's a small world (after all). There are so many different cultures and opinions and theories and beliefs, but there is one thing that exists among them all, and that is FAMILY.

I firmly believe that "the family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children" (The Family: A Proclamation to the World).

On this blog, I'll share information from my classes, experiences from my own life, thoughts and feelings from my heart-all on the subject of FAMILY.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Zero Population - NOT the answer, my friends!

There's an old song from Saturday's Warrior that argues the world is getting smaller and zero population is the answer to saving the world's resources. Many of the trends that we see in families today suggest that society at large agrees-even though there is good research that proves otherwise. Even if not for the same reasons as those listed in the song, values and patterns pertaining to the family are not what they used to be.

In the last 40-50 years:
premarital sex       has gone UP
unwed pregnancy  has gone UP
cohabitation          has gone UP
delayed marriage  has gone UP
delayed parenting  has gone UP
people living alone has gone UP
divorce rates        have gone UP
number of employed mothers (with children 6 and under) has gone DOWN
household size has gone DOWN

See any correlations between any of these?

What do these trends say to you?
In my opinion, they all stem from a characteristic that has (again-in my opinion) become all too common among people today. It's a characteristic that we're not proud to own up to, which is perhaps why so many people don't own up to it or take the responsibility of changing it in themselves.
And justification for our selfishness.
Do you disagree? If so, that's okay. We can agree to disagree. But I have President Spencer W. Kimball backing me up. "It all comes back to one word, doesn't it: Selfishness" (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, 313). :)  I can think of an example for every one of the above trends and how it stems from selfishness on the part of one or both persons involved in the relationship and I'll bet you can too if you think about it.

Here's one example: Premarital sex and Cohabitation. I'm going to lump these two together for a moment. I remember someone asking my brother and his then-fiancé when she found out they weren't living together and they were waiting until after they were married to have sex, "but how do you know it's going to work?" She had a point. I mean, what if my brother was one to leave the shower curtain open, or his soon-to-be-wife hogged all the blankets? And what about the sex?? Everyone knows that's a very important part of the marriage relationship, what if two people have different likes and dislikes? See where the justification sneaks in? It almost seems irresponsible and illogical to NOT live and sleep together first. But here's something to think about... which of these things can't be remedied with a little communication and selflessness? How hard is it to say, "Sweetie, if it doesn't matter to you, could you try to remember to close the shower curtain when you're done? It looks nicer and it won't get so mildewy." It's not so hard to say and shouldn't be too hard to forgive when he forgets. Better yet, it only takes a second to pull it closed yourself the next time you're in the bathroom. Now, you might say, "yeah, but the intimacy thing is pretty important." And you're absolutely right. There are issues that are important. Many of them should even be addressed before marriage, such as attitudes towards finances and religions and expectations of how the couple will work together as equal partners while fulfilling their individual roles. A good foundation for all of those issues can be worked out before marriage with good communication, except the intimacy one. To address this issue, I will turn to my friends Lamb and Brinley, whom I don't actually know at all-but I've read their book. It's called Between Husband & Wife and it's a great resource on the subject of marital intimacy. (Anyone else always look at the word 'marital' and initially think of 'martial' as in 'martial arts,' or is that just me? Anyway.) It says, "One of the great challenges surrounding the sexual experience relates to the fact that husbands and wives often have very different perspectives about sex... but [these problems] can be overcome as the husband and wife work together to find the ways to provide a positive and fulfilling experience for one another." They give more advise and wisdom on the subject later in their book, but I'll let you read it.

I would like to point out, too, that love and "making it work" comes down to our choices. We choose to love someone. We choose to marry them. We choose to stay with them. We choose to make their happiness our priority. All choices have consequences. The consequence of putting our spouse and family first is a happy family life. I choose that because my family is the only thing that will bring me eternal joy and happiness.
{Side note: I really like Sara Bareilles' song, 'I Choose You'. Have you heard it?}

Amazing things happen when you prayerfully go and do. You know? There I was, "anxiously engaged," looking for something worthwhile to share with you, and I hit the jackpot. So here it is. President Spencer W. Kimball gave an address called Oneness in Marriage. He shares the "never-failing formula which will guarantee to every couple a happy and eternal marriage."

"The formula is simple.
First there must be the proper approach toward marriage...
Second, there must be a great unselfishness... [See! I was right. I told you!]
Third, there must be continued courting and expressions of affection, kindness, and consideration to keep love alive and growing.
Fourth, the commandments of the Lord... must be lived completely.
With these ingredients properly mixed and continually kept functioning, it is quite impossible for unhappiness to come, misunderstandings to continue, or breaks to occur."

Read the full address. It can be applied to all areas of family life. President Kimball's words make sense not only to my head (logically) but to my heart and soul as well. This post has not at all been about what I initially planned on writing, but I hope it has become what the Lord wanted me to write and what He wanted me to gain from this week's class. I know that Satan is trying his darndest to thwart the unity and happiness of the family. He's had some victories, but I also know that he won't win in the end. "Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and the family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children" (The Family: A Proclamation to the World). I will quote that phrase a lot because I believe it with every ounce of myself. Heavenly Father cares about our relationships, especially our families. He will not allow Satan to win in the end. So will you and your family be on the winning side? I hope so.

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