Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Divorce and Blended Families

This week we have been talking about divorce, some predictors of divorce, and blended families. It was encouraging to hear in class that over 70% of people will never get a divorce! But we did talk about a few different predictors that could possibly lead to divorce. To just name a few; non-religious, less education, parents divorced, married very young, dual earner home, prior divorce, culture, and finances. There are many different reasons that the qualifications on this list could lead to divorce. If the couple has parents who have been divorced before then divorce is normal in the family. They have already experienced it through their parents and they know more about it than other couples whose parents are still married. Those who marry under the age of 18 have a higher chance of getting divorced just because they haven't really had a chance to make real decisions for themselves. This is probably the first big decision they have ever made and it should probably be thought about for a bit longer. I thought that having a dual income home was really interesting how it can lead to divorce. It makes sense though because it causes so much stress on the family like we have talked about before. Another interesting fact Brother Williams told us was that 70% of divorced people two years later said that they could have and should have saved the marriage. Divorce is a very serious thing and should be thoroughly thought through and prayed about.

Some guidelines Brother Williams gave us today for blended families really stood out to me. I think these are definitely crucial to consider and think about before deciding to marry with a blended family.

1) It will take a minimum of two years to reach a form of normalcy within a blended family
2) The biological parent needs to take on most of the discipline
        - There is no basis for authority for the new parent
3) The step parent should come in and start to play the role of an aunt or an uncle. They will still support the rules and respect the other parent.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Trends with Parenting

I grew up with a family of four kids. My husband grew up with the same. I had friends in school who had no siblings and some who had seven. I love big families and I definitely want to have a big family with my husband. It was so sad in class when we were talking about some of the trends in parenting and the reasons for them. Married couples are waiting longer to have children, and we can see this in the church as well. Couples are choosing to have fewer or no children. Parents have more of a permissive parenting style and they just want to be their kids best friend because they don't spend very much time with them. And couples are also finding replacements for children such as pets. I think this is so sad and there could be many contributing factors to this rapid decline. In the 1970's there was a major decline in the number of births. That was the year that the women's rights really started and women began entering the workforce. Birth control pills and abortion started to become popular. There was a scare of overpopulation and people started purposefully limiting their family size because of it. And this was also the time period where divorce rates were the highest. Some other reasons people chose to not have kids were the fact that they were expensive. The statistics show that raising children can be very pricey, but in class we felt like the numbers were very blown out of proportion. It depends on the part of the country you are living in, your lifestyle, if you are self sustaining and many other factors. Couples are also choosing not to have kids because it limits their freedom and they have less flexibility. They like the convenience of being able to get up and go any time they please. They think they won't be able to have fun when they are a parent and they won't have time to do things they want to do. It is true that children are very time consuming, but they should be your primary focus here on earth. It doesn't matter if we make a lot of money or we are famous. We can't take those things with us after we die. We should be focusing on the relationships with those in our lives who we really love and those who matter most to us. Families are a divine unit and they are so important.

Monday, November 21, 2011

One for the Money

Many people may not realize, but financial issues are one of the biggest reasons couples get a divorce. Money has something to do with everything. I love the guide to family finance "One for the Money" by Elder Marvin J. Ashton. He has so many true principles that will help you and your family financially. The first principle we talked about in class was paying tithing. We all know that we will receive blessings if we pay our tithing and we know that it is the right thing to do. But do we know how it will affect our family system? Paying tithing as a couple can help bring them closer together and toward the Lord. It can help strengthen your marriage so much and really bring the spirit into your lives. By paying tithing you are proving to yourself and to the Lord that you are disciplined enough to budget and you have self control over what you spend your money on. 
Another principle we talked about in class was learning to manage our money before it manages you. In a couple it is so crucial to be on the same page and clarify your values between each other. Elder Hales told a story at conference about how he wanted to buy his wife a really nice coat and he said the four most loving words were "we can't afford it". I love this story and it shows that we need to discern between our wants and our  needs. We need to trust in our spouses. One point that came up that I thought was really interesting was the fact that if we are in debt we are losing our agency. Literally we are tied down to something that we can never walk away from. This just proves again that we should try as hard as we can to stay out of debt and really try to manage our money wisely.
My husband and I have been using a budget lately and has really put things into perspective for me. It helps us to realize at the beginning of each month how much money we have coming in and how much we can have going out. It is hard to look back at past months and realize how much money we spent on things we really didn't need. Working on a budget together really helps us both to be aware of our finances and to communicate about things. If there is something we don't like that we are doing, then we can change it together. I also think it is so important to teach your children to manage their money wisely. I really liked the example in class of the parents popping tons of popcorn and having it represent money that the family earns each month. Then they separate it out into different things they have to pay for each month and they are left with the spending money. Doing this will help the children realize how much money is left to last for the whole month. I really believe that if we follow the counsel from leaders of our church that we will be blessed. They give us this counsel for a reason, and it is because it will truly help us in our lives. 

Monday, November 14, 2011


This week is all about communication and I am so excited to learn more about it. Today we talked about the different ways we communicate to each other. I thought it was so interesting that around 50% of the communicating we do is non-verbally. We use different codes to get messages across to each other. For example, my husband will squeeze my hand three times if he wants to tell me he loves me. There are so many little ways that we communicate to each other that we don't even realize. We have protocols or rules that happen when we see someone in particular. For example, we may greet some of our family members with a front hug and we may greet some with a side hug. Some people are not comfortable with that much physical touch so we may greet them with a handshake instead. There are different ways we communicate with everyone we know.

I really liked how we talked about the fact that we need to communicate so that we aren't misunderstood. Brother Williams said today that sarcasm is one of the most dangerous forms of communication and I believe it. You are sending two messages. The one you verbally say is the one you often times don't mean. It can be very hurtful and confusing for some if you are sarcastic with them. President Gordon B. Hinckley had some advice on this topic.

"My plea is that we stop seeking out the storms and enjoy more fully the sunlight...I am asking that we look a little deeper for the good, that we still our voices of insult and sarcasm, that we more generously compliment and endorse virtue and effort."

With this counsel we can try to focus on being more genuine with our communications with others. We need to be authentic and clear so that others can understand the messages we are sending. Communication is a huge part to marriage and it is definitely something you want to have a good base of before you get married. My husband and I would spend hours talking on our dates and I am so grateful that we have a good way of communicate to each other and that we can understand what we are both trying to say.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Family Crisis

This week in class we have been talking about different stresses that families go through and crises. I have never really thought a lot about this topic before and how it can play into family relations. As I was reflecting back on my childhood and different struggles that my family went through I noticed a pattern in a few of the crises. I realized that the ones that I thought were the hardest, seemed to benefit me the most. I really do appreciate everything that my parents have done for me and the fact that they try to help pull our family through the struggles. I noticed that our family usually gets closer as we go through hard times because we have to rely more on each other for support systems. I really liked today when someone said that crises can be planned and intentional. We can mean to do what we are doing. If we have a plan in mind for something that could possibly happen, it will help us to be more prepared for that crises. For example, some cancers run in my family so when my Grandpa was diagnosed with it, we kind of knew it was coming. It was still a hard trial and definitely something that our family had to deal with, it was better because we were somewhat prepared for this crisis to happen. I also think having a gospel perspective helps so much. If someone dies, it is so devastating but we know that they are in a better place and that we will see them again. It was so inspiring to watch the video in class today about the boy who was born with trisomy 18 and he only lived for 99 days. It brought his parents so much closer together and they realized that they could get through anything. I really am grateful that I grew up in the gospel and that I have the knowledge I do about the plan of salvation and that I know families can be together forever.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Friends, Facebook, and Fidelity

I loved our discussion in class today! We were talking about affair prevention and things that go along with it. One thing I really loved that we talked about was the fact that if something isn't bringing up or edifying your marriage, then you could/should probably cut it out. For instance, talking to someone of the opposite sex is not necessary. Ask yourself, why am I continuing this relationship after I am married? I came to earth to find an eternal companion and I will be spending forever with them. I should be focused on that relationship more than any other relationship I have. I loved when we talked about Facebook and it is crazy to see the statistics of how many divorces come from a married man or woman finding an old high school fling through Facebook. It is so sad to me to see couples being torn apart through social networkings. If anyone is considering combining Facebooks when they get married, I would highly recommend it. My husband and I made a joint account a couple weeks before we got married and we only have friends on there who we both know and I think it has definitely helped our relationship a lot. I don't have to worry about who he might be talking to, because I can see it all. We also share passwords for pretty much everything we have. I think it has definitely helped us to trust one another more and just cut out one huge part of marriage that can drive spouses apart.
I really enjoyed the reading from Brother Gardner this week about the different forms of affairs. I have never really though about a lot of the points he brought up and how the affair can be physical or emotional and attached or detached. It really made a lot of sense to me though and it made me realize that those things that he described such as fantasizing over others is considered an affair as well. If it does not uplift or edify your marriage, cut it out.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Marriage, Love and Weddings!!

Yesterday in class we were talking about things to establish in a marriage and essentials for a wedding. It made me sick when I heard that the national average cost of a wedding was 20,000-30,000! That is literally insane. I think it is kind of sad when people put all of that time and effort into planning their wedding but they don't put any thought into planning their marriage. They don't have clear expectations going into the marriage so its not what they were hoping for or wanting which is extremely sad. My husband and I went over a huge list of questions that his bishop gave us before we even got engaged. They were questions that you would want to know about the person you were dating or engaged to, but you never really wanted to just randomly ask. There were different categories such as spiritual, family, finance, expectations, relationships, and love, intimacy and communication. This really helped us to get an understanding of what the other person was expecting and what their standards and values are. For me, it was just another confirmation that my husband a great man for me to marry :]
In class when we were talking about the essentials for the wedding I was thinking back to my wedding day and what I thought was essential. For me obviously the first thing we planned was the temple sealing. This was the only thing that was crucial. The next important for me was having the people that I loved there. When we got sealed we were surrounded by all the people who loved us and who mattered most. It was the happiest moment of my life! All the other things are fun for sure, but definitely not necessary. It doesn't matter if you have your reception in the church house or if it is in the most expensive resort or hotel. I think for me having a photographer was pretty important. I love pictures and I love looking back at my wedding day and seeing how happy we looked and how everyone was there to support us. Another thing that was really important was the fact that we were prepared to go to the temple. It is such a sacred ceremony and it is something that you will cherish your whole life. It is something you will not want to settle on.