Wednesday, October 26, 2011

What is Love?

          This last week in class we talked about preparing for marriage. I really loved this topic as this is something I have been trying to do for along time as I am not yet married. Marriage is something that I value greatly and once I am married it will be the greatest blessing of my life. I think there is nothing more important- next to your relationship with Heavenly Father- than finding an eternal companion. I learned a lot of things this last week that I feel has really helped me in many ways. We talked about expectations in dating and expectations in marriage and how we can prepare for it and we talked about love. I feel like in the world today most people find it hard to understand or define love. Many people misinterpret love or think they know or are giving love when they aren’t. We talked about a few different types of love that can help us understand the different aspects or kinds of love. I had never heard them before but Brother Williams listed some of these and we talked about what each of them stood for. They were Eros, Storge, Phileo, acape. Each touched on the many different facets of love, romance and sexual attraction, friendship, spirituality, unconditional, parent to child, etc. Brother Williams then asked us what percentage of each of these kinds of love we wanted to exist in our marriage. I Think love is all encompassing and it grows as we develop in every areas of our lives with another person. Intimacy increases romance and companionship, friendship increases intimacy and unity and unconditional love. Spirituality increases unity. I feel all these different kinds of love build off one another and are not limited to fostering one things alone but each foster the same things that make a marriage fulfilling and successful. All of these factors of friendship, unconditional love, spirituality, intimacy and romance are essential. For me, I know my marriage isn’t going to be perfect but I feel like love isn’t just one way or consists of one thing. I want my husband to be my best friend, my lover, my companion, someone who I can share in all my emotions, hardships, faults, sorrows and joys. I want a marriage of unconditional love, passionate love, romantic love, spiritual love, and growing love. So I feel in my marriage I want to work towards a balance in all of them.
    Brother Willaims also asked us what we would want more predominant in our marriage: companionship or passion. Again, although I feel like companionship is more important than passion as I feel it entails unity and two people who are working together in the same direction as a team, However, I do feel that there can be a balance. You can create a companionship relationship and still have a balance of a great sense of passion within it. I feel that passion is very important. It doesn’t just have to do with things of a sexual nation but we can be passionate about our spouse, who they are, what they do and just about life in general. I am a very passionate person and its what drives me to succeed and to try to be better. In a relationship if you are passionate about it, it can drive you do and motivate you to always do better and be better. I do believe we can have a passionate companionship in our marriages. I loved a quote in the introduction to this last week that attempted to define what love really is and I feel it does so beautifully "Love is the will to extend oneself for the purpose of nurturing ones own or another’s spiritual growth."

Friday, October 14, 2011

differences, roles, and compassion

Ive really enjoyed this week in our discussions on gender differences, our roles and responsibilites within the family and same gender-attraction. WHen it comes to gender differences I found it very interesting to learn that although we may think that there are many differences between men and woman there are actually more similarities than differences. Men have the ability to feel as woman do, they have the same needs as woman do and they desire and long for many of the same things woman do. I feel like really the big differences is how we respond and express our feelings, needs, etc. I have also always wondered why things to me seem to be so much harder for woman emotionally and I was able to learn more about how our brains our wired differently, the woman has the ability to think and link about several things simutainously where as men have the ability to focus at one things at a time. It almost seems unfair :) but Heavenly Father always has his reasons and purposes. It was interesting to then relate those differences to the roles and responsibilites we are given as men and woman and regonzie how those differences actually help us to fulfill those roles and responsiblities. I loved that! Its amazing to be able to reconginze and see more of Heavenly Fathers hand in His plan for us to help us grow and function in our families. Woman are naturally more caring, intuitive, tender, loving and service oriented and have the ability to do a number of things at a time which helps them to be able to be a nurturer and to be able to care for a raise children in the home and serve as we have the responsiblities in the church and in the world to do. Men are naturally more firm, leading, providing, physically strong and more inclined to protect, they are able to focus on one thing at a time which helps them in the working world and in leadership roles they are called to fill within the family, world and in the church.  I also loved our talk about same gender attraction. I feel like i gained such a greater level of compassion for those who struggle with it. It helped me to understand them better as well and gave me a greater insight to possibly reach out to those I may come intact with in the future who are struggling to figure this out. I have always heard and thought that people are born with same-gender attraction and htat it is a biological or genetic issue. I learned that a number of studies actually have evidence to refute this idea. It isnt genetic at all and people are not born this way. It really is a choice. But that choice is often based according to studies from confusion, a lack of understanding of who they are or hteir experiences. I found it very interesting but also sad that studies also show that a large number of those who have issues with same-gender attraction were at one point molested in their lives. All people need is understanding, anyone who struggles needs help to understand themselves better and their feelings. I hope that more of this light will come to those who are struggling or living with same-gender attraction and also the world so that we can help one another and know the real causes of it. Understanding this has really made me want to find for the preservation of traditional marriage . It is truly central to our happiness and plan in life. We need to be more aware and loving towards those who may not completely understand this or are struggling with confusion about how they feel about how marriage should be. A light the shines in the darkness cannot be hid.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Value of Marriage

I have been finding it so interesting as I learn more in class about the studies on the family, how things we are taught in the gospel relate to the studies taken from families of the world. Heavenly Father truly does know what will make us happy and what we need to do to have successful families. Marriage/family is central to His plan. It seems from what we see in the world today, marriage is not something that is as highly valued as it used to be and as a result the family is breaking down in society. I feel we are greatly affected by the cultures of our society as we talked about in class. It seems that the new norm is to have kids first then get married later, if at all. Studies show that those who get have children first and get married later vs. those who do it the proper way are more likely to get divorces and it ultimately creates a vicious cycle of a lack of value on marriage and more people getting divorced, which then begins to affect our society in a number of ways. As we talked about economic classes as well and how that can affect our families I also thought about how more focus seems to be on getting an education, making more money and establishing ourselves finacially vs. on the family. I feel many people fall into this because of the way our society is and it is the very reason my parents ended up in divorce. They wanted the nice cars, beautiful large home and to be able to go on lavish trips. What ended up happening was they began to focus more on gaining and money than on nurturing and strengthening our family. As a result they eneded up not only having to claim bankrupcy but loosing their marriage and family as well. It really all goes back to the family and having that sense of the value and importance of marriage. Its no wonder we are taught so much in the gospel about the importance of families. I feel that what weve discussed about cultural and economic classes and their impact on the family, vice versa and the cycles that result is really evident in the proclomation to the family where the prophets state "We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society." It really all comes together and I feel the studies truly support this knowledge and as we take it back to the family and value marriage as it should be valued we would have alot more unity and success as a society.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Boundaries and Subsets

This last week weve touched alot on about family dynamics, structures, systems and boundaries. There were many things I learnt and that stood out to me. 1st about how in our family systems we have subsets and how they relate and affect the family as a whole. I thought alot about my own family and how inasmuch as we are together we are greatly divided when it comes to the subsets hat exists. I feel it causes rifts within our family as a result of a lack of understanding and really working together as a family and relying on each individually. I loved the demostration Bro. Williams gave to us as she showed how he would work with a family. In regards to a problem in the family, instead of giving things for the mother to do for the daugher, who were closer and more involved than the father, he purposely recognizing the subset that existed gave the father things to do to help and assist the daughter. His intent being to diffuse the subset taht existed to change the behavior or lack of unity within the family. I also loved talking about boundaries. Boundaries is something that is very disfunctional within my own family. I feel we do not have much of any sort of clear boundaries. They are more a mixture of rigid and defuse than anything and it really effects the unity within our family and our personal relationships with eachother.  I feel I learned alot about how to set clearer boundaries that foster respect and trust for eachother that allows you to be free but at the same time a support and a guide to that other person within your family. I know as I try to be an example of proper boundaries I can help to encourage my family to implement clearer boundaries not only within our family but within their own families as well.