Tag Archives: marriage

“We Will!”

Lapis Lazuli ring o' love

Lapis Lazuli ring of love

I am a proponent of having friends and family of all ages, faiths and “worthiness-es” join to support and celebrate marriages on the wedding day. There is something moving and profound in answering “We will!” when an officiator asks the gathered crowd, “Will all of you witnessing these vows do all in your power to support these two and their marriage?” Regardless of what you send the couple off their registry, this communal commitment to support and sustain their marriage with them is the best wedding present of all.

That feels absolutely right to me.

A recent article in the Salt Lake Tribune mentioned the prospect that soon LDS couples in North America may not have to wait a year between having a civil wedding and their temple sealing. This is standard in most other areas of the international church.

Hallelujah, I say. This adds a dimension of honor to the couple’s promises for this life – and their covenants beyond time.

So with all this joy, hope and love in the air, I offer you a little literary frolic. It’s a non-rhyming poetic puzzle which provides the answer to the question:

 When Did Vincent Finally Commit?

Vincent vanished into the vault, vowing to return with valuables.
Amanda, annoyed at his absence, altered her attitude when, at
Last, laden with lapis lazuli, he lavishly locked lip to lip with her.
Encircling his enamorata with embraces, he exclaimed while
Nestling a nice nugget over her knuckle, “En-
Twine with me th’eternal tendrils of your timelessness,
In integrity, ingenuity and imagination – both in illness and inoculation – in perpetuity
Never to nick off to nether lands, nor nag nor niggle nor canoodle with another.
Ever.

Sighing, she said,

“Darling, I DO!”
And
“Yes! Yes! Yes!”

Breaking Up

soil_stock_sm1-630x298

“Well, the break up takes place in parts. The brain, the heart, the body, mutual things, shared things. The mind leaves but the heart is still there. The heart has left but the body wants to stay. The body leaves but the things are still at the apartment. You must come back. You move everything out of the apartment. You must come back. You move everything out of the apartment but the mind stays behind. Memory lingers in the place. Seven years later, perhaps seven years later, it doesn’t matter anymore. Perhaps it takes longer. Perhaps it never ends.”

 - Paula from Fefu and her Friends by Maria Irene Fornes

 One of the most interesting plays I ever performed in was Fefu and her Friends. It’s a feminist play that’s pretty prickly around the edges. The characters (all female) muse on different topics: relationships, evil, genitals, charity skits, etc. I found it confusing, yet exhilarating at the same time, with poetic passages that have stuck with me long after the performance.

The quote above is given by the character, Paula, speaking of human connections and the process of breaking up. It’s a convoluted monologue, but the statements resonate. I’ve never had a clean break up—the separation occurs in stages, often erratically, with one part of the psyche alternately hanging on, and then letting go when another part kicks in. Continue reading

A New Beginning

Bonnie 2010Today’s guest post comes from Bonnie, a working mom of five kids who just celebrated her 15th anniversary with her soul mate.  You will always find a book nearby and at least two on her night stand.  She loves discussing all life has to offer with her book club friends, and staying up to all hours in the morning playing games with as many of her seven brothers as possible.  Her current goal is to achieve balance spiritually and temporally.

I love new beginnings.  To the point, that I create them even when not necessary.  It drives my husband mad!  But there is one new beginning that I share often because it was so powerful and so……defining.

The one that stands out to me is after the birth of our fifth child, a girl.  We had a hard time accepting that we were pregnant, yet again.  The timing was all wrong and we were just starting to get our feet under us.  Our job situation was bleak – working opposite shifts and four boys under age six to keep us busy.  We never saw each other.  Our marriage was on the rocks, our activity in the church was almost nil, and our home was ripped up because we thought we could remodel during this time.  Then to find out we were bringing another child into this chaotic life.

During this pregnancy, after several nights of crying, and lots of thoughts of “how in the world are we going to do this”, I had a quiet moment of peace.  And the Spirit whispered to me, “When this child comes, she will touch your lives and they will change for the better.”  Such a sweet peace came over me and allowed me to continue my pregnancy without fear and worry about the effect a fifth child will have on our lives.  Continue reading

By Their Fruits…

“We believe the bible to be the word of God, as far as it is translated correctly.” Article of Faith 8

“If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report, or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.” Article of Faith 13

As members of the church, I think we sometimes believe this in theory, but, at least when it comes to religion, we avoid the seeking part, unless it’s through “official” LDS channels.

Which is unfortunate. Because the fact is, we do not have the market cornered on truth. Nor is our culture a perfect fit for everyone. Sometimes you can hear the same message from two different people, and one of them will really reach you, while the other barely catches your notice.

It’s also unfortunate because as members, in conjunction with our traditional study methods, we have the Holy Ghost available to help guide us. He will let us know the truth of all things, so we don’t actually need to worry about being led astray if we seek with our hearts attuned to the spirit. When ideas don’t resonate; if they have a hollow sound and do not ring true, we will know they are of little value, and ultimately our learning will be directed toward truth, as described in D&C 93.

It’s with this in mind that I share thoughts about one area today.

A few weeks ago I was in Georgia visiting friends. They are Christians, and I had the opportunity to attend their church services while there.

It was my first time ever going to a “mega church”. And by mega, I mean many thousands of people. Between the seven different locations in the area, they have over 25,000 attendees each week. It’s a seriously fine-tuned operation.

It was a vastly different experience culturally, and I’m grateful for the renewed exposure it gave me into how many of our friends and neighbors experience religion and worship. It increased my appreciation for their goodness and faithfulness.  A reminder of just how many truly good, humble, earnest people there are.

Services started with an (optional) live concert. Professional musicians performed while the whole thing was projected onto three huge screens. The audience was on it’s feet singing along when we arrived.

After the music, an excellent sermon was projected via satellite onto the huge screens. The pastor was quite engaging; his message was based on verses in 1 Corinthians. Every word he said rang true with my beliefs. It was part of a series of talks on the topic, and I thought it would be interesting to hear the others, so when I got home I went looking for them online.  While searching, I found several excellent series that I’ve enjoyed listening to, as have my kids.

It is because I know everyone wrestles at some point with relationship issues that I share the following. For some time now I’ve been studying, fasting and praying for direction and answers. I knew I needed divine guidance about our situation, but it never occurred to me that perhaps the truths I sought would be presented by a Christian pastor on the internet. Yet perhaps this four-part series I stumbled upon, Staying In Love, is the missing link not only for us, but also some of you, fair readers.

Even though he no longer believes in any religion, my husband and I have watched all four parts together (they’re about 40 minutes each). Not only did we both enjoy them, they’ve inspired some very good discussions.  Every word of these talks rang true to me, and I’ve gained insights I haven’t had before about the Savior and relationships.  I don’t know what will happen with us, but either way I am grateful for the insights I gained.

Whether you are single or married, happy as clams or barely hanging on, I can’t imagine any couple not benefitting from these messages. And remember, you don’t have to worry about being misled. Just apply 1 Thessalonians 5:21 and Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Our lives can only be richer as we incorporate truth from any source into them.

Have you ever found truth in unexpected places?  Does the thought of attending another church make you uncomfortable? How could being more open to learning about other faiths or belief traditions build bridges and foster community with others? I know style matters, and these may not be to your liking, but if you’ve watched the talks I’ve linked to, what do you think? Did you feel the spirit while listening?

Marriage: effort or consequence?

With a recent family wedding under my belt, several friends’ recent engagements and my own wedding anniversary on Monday — I’ve got love on the brain.

When I went on my first date with my now husband, Nathaniel, I wasn’t thinking about marriage. In fact, I wasn’t even initially sure it was a date. To say the least, things went so well that Friday night that we were out again the next night. A kiss followed on Sunday and by Monday, we were talking about marriage.

As insane as I found it myself, a few months later we were engaged. Everyone that knew us personally was supportive and even thrilled. From strangers we heard almost constant “You’re so young!” or of course, the strained, forced “congratulations.”

We were warned almost constantly about how difficult the first year of marriage was. But for us, marriage was easier than being engaged.

We often joke that if our first year was the worst year, we’re set for life. Of course, when we share that with others they tell us it’s because “we’re in the honeymoon stage.”

Now after two years, if I’m talking positively about my marriage  — mind you, my marriage is not perfect — it’s not unusual for someone to tell me to “just wait.” As in, when you’ve been married for x-amount of years, or when you’re in x-situation with your spouse, you’ll see how much you don’t get along.

Obviously, these conversations are the exception and not the rule.

But every time these exchanges happen, I wonder why someone would give a discouraging comment about a marital relationship. Is it because they honestly believe all relationships are the same? Is it because they’re really trying to give helpful advice? Are they frustrated with their own relationship?

I’m not saying my marriage is a fairytale or exceptionally romantic — or anything like that. We’re best friends, though. Which means sometimes we get along perfectly and other times we drive each other crazy. And of course, our relationship does take effort, work and compromise.

But it’s wonderful and beautiful and endlessly fulfilling. And it’s not an accident. It’s not because we’ve only been married two years or because we’ve never been in the right situation that foreshadows a doomed relationship.

So in the future, I’ll vow to always encourage others’ healthy relationships —  no husband-bashing, no comparing relationship horror stories. Because what does that do except focus on the bad in relationships? And when having a healthy, successful marriage takes so much work — every relationship needs all the support it can get.

What do you think? Is a healthy marriage the result of consequence or effort? What will you do to focus on the good in your own relationship? What will you do to help others focus on the good in their relationships?