This topic is not one that I have a lot of knowledge about. I wasn’t sure how I would be able to contribute to the discussion or what I would be able to learn, but I actually learned a lot. Even if I may never be divorced myself, we can all learn to be more considerate, compassionate, understanding, and judgement free when meeting someone who has been divorced or is dealing with the emotions that come with family or friends that have been divorced. It is true that we can probably all think of someone in our lives that have be divorced or remarried. It is a touchy subject because you don’t always know what to ask, how to ask, how to be supportive, but the truth is there is no right or wrong answer. Some things that I learned that I think will be valuable in my life are some guidelines to remember for blended families. Whether you are sharing these with someone else to help them or implementing them in your own life, they are important. The first guideline to remember is that it takes a minimum of two years to reach “normalcy”, second, birth parents need to do all the heavy discipline, and third, step parents should be like a really awesome aunt or uncle to their step children. The new spouses should also counsel together daily to make sure they are always on the same page as to avoid any unnecessary contention. I’m sure we can all use these and help change lives of children and families.
Can I just say I loved this weeks discussion on parenting not only because I am a parent, but because it opened my eyes to a whole other side, a new perspective on parenting. Parenting is NOT just about the children. In fact, I would say parenting helps the parents themselves more than the children. Seems strange when you think about it, right?? But, think about it….. parents are able to understand and relate to God more, see and love differently and more deeply, feel God’s love for us more directly, more willing to work and work hard, have greater empathy, we have more time to grow and learn, build Christlike attributes, realign our lives, and most importantly grow and lean along with our children. We aren’t just teaching them, we are teaching ourselves and learning so much about ourselves each and every day. What an amazing opportunity that is. Children benefit by seeing us as parents grow and learn, make mistakes, be compassionate and forgiving and so much more. I feel so privileged to be raising my boys. I am in no way perfect, but that is something I can strive for in this life and I’ve learned to lean on my Heavenly Father more because of it. I love this calling and love that we were able to cover this topic more in depth because I needed to realign my life and purpose. My children will be so blessed because of this additional knowledge that I have learned and will continue to learn about.
For how important communication is, it sure is hard to talk about and improve! I feel like it is a touchy subject, especially in marriage, because no one wants to feel blamed or inadequate. The other thing about marriage and communication is that it is ever changing and needs to be reevaluated regularly. What used to work may not anymore and you won’t know what will work in the future. Each person communicates differently which poses the challenge of differing opinions and miscommunication. I’m not perfect, my husband isn’t perfect, but we’re working on our communication and trying our hardest to understand each other in order to effectively get things done, draw closer together, make decisions together and reach together. Key word is TOGETHER. Communication is not a one sided, one person thing. We need to communicate in order to communicate. Make sense?!
I wrote this letter to my dad not only to show him how much I love and appreciate him, but also to show him the importance of how he raised me and how that positively affected my life.
I want to take this time to share with you how important you are in my life and how your positive influence has shaped me into the person I am today. You have always been a great role model to me, you have always pushed me to pursue anything I wanted, supported me through the good and bad times and helped me make big and small decisions.
I have the best memories with you growing up. You were always there for us, played with us, involved us in what you were doing, and came to our sporting and school events. Because of your presence, I was more comfortable exploring my environment and I felt emotionally secure. You always pushed me to have friends that were a good influence and I know that that really helped me stay out of trouble and want to be honest with you. I always knew I could go to you for anything.
I specifically remember you sitting down with me to talk about colleges and majors and the importance of applying your talents and interests to make that decision. I really appreciate the time and patience it took to go through all of that with me especially as I changed my mind about one hundred times. Your knowledge and wisdom has helped me through many decisions in my life. I know I can trust and rely on all that you know. If you didn’t know something, you were always willing to figure it out and get back to me. I’ve learned so much from you and continue to all the time. You are always learning something new and I love that you share that with all of us. We have the most meaningful conversations.
You have always been so kind and patient and make sure to make me feel special, loved and beautiful. I’m sure raising a daughter had its challenges, but in my opinion you have done an excellent job and am I forever grateful for that. You have always treated mom with respect, made sure she felt appreciated and beautiful as well and seeing your marriage has helped to want that for myself. Your influence has obviously made a difference and you should be proud of the great dad that you were and continue to be.
Trials, stresses, family crisis… all inevitable things in each of our lives. We will all have completely different experiences, some harder than others, some perceived to be harder. No matter what it is, we can all learn how to cope better and how to help other more effectively. For me, the most important thing is to have an eternal perspective. We are on this earth to learn and these trials help us learn and teach others. When teaching others, we too can learn. I can’t say that I lived through any huge crisis in my life thus far and I may not be able to help someone dealing with a huge crisis, but I do know that I can be a judgement free listening ear. I love the idea of coming together as a family in a counsel to discuss these trials. This is something I definitely plan to implement into my family. I challenge everyone to do the same. While it may be hard to talk about some topics, it will draw your family closer together, help you see another perspective, and give you the opportunity to support someone. As family members, we can lift each other up and get through anything.
The topic of fidelity and the metaphors we discussed intrigued me. When we first hear the word “fidelity” you know that in a marital sense it means faithfulness, loyalty, consistency.. all things you want in a spouse and in your marriage. I loved a definition someone said though that fidelity is “true to what is, not what you want it to be”. That means imperfection! Not that that means to expect unfaithfulness, no loyalty or inconsistency, but that no one is perfect and that equals trials and hardships in marriage. Marriage is hard work, but it’s worth it. It is so sad to me how normalized many types of infidelity are in our society. Infidelity can be fantasy, visual, romantic, sexual, and emotional. Many of these things are very common whether it’s a movie, book, online relationships through hobbies such as video games. Our society embraces these things and normalizes them to the point that people think they are totally okay and aren’t adding to the marital unhappiness. If only we could all see that these things are pulling us apart and completely adding to our trials. Our marriages are worth so much more. They should be cherished and we should cleave to our spouses. I know I want that for my marriage.
Discussing marriage and planning for marriage really helped me reevaluate my own marriage and appreciate what we have and most importantly that we have an eternal marriage. For the most part, I feel like the church teaches us how to pick an eternal companion and plan for your marriage rather than plan for a wedding, but obviously not everyone gets the right education. The importance of courtship is way deeper than I ever thought about. You should be taking the engagement time to really dig deeper, learn about each other and your habits, goals, future plans, etc. This is the time you have to know for sure if the relationship is right, I’ve had a few friends that felt like once they got engaged they were locked in and it was too late to back out. PLEASE don’t be too embarrassed to change your mind. It is not too late and it will be so worth it for your future if you back out if you know it isn’t right. Marriage should be forever and although marriage is hard, you want to be happy and know that you will want to work it out when times get hard. Make a plan together, use engagement to practice not just have fun because it is so important and will help you ease your way into marriage.