Thursday, November 17, 2011
Courtship in Marriage
I saw this quote over at Sofia's Ideas and loved it. The color scheme and little house remind me of Emily's blog over at Joyful Abode, so check her out too.
As I was searching for an article to illustrate the continued courtship in marriage that I was hoping and planning to write about, I found an article by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland and his wife Patricia about courtship, problem solving and unity in marriage. If I had a highlighter in my hand, the entire article would have been bright yellow! Every word seemed to apply to me.
I love the LDS.org website and all the articles in it. At the end of the articles are generally discussion questions, and this article is no exception. I will attempt to answer the four questions at the end of this article.
Do you find yourself trying to “rush things needlessly and unnaturally” in your life? If so, what can you do to “be happy with the season you are in”?
Yes! Yes! Yes! I have a terrible habit of assigning an age to when I "should" have accomplished so-and-so. I was supposed to graduate college at 22 and then get married immediately after. When I was in high school I wanted to be married by the time I was 20. The closer I got to age 20, the more I realized that wouldn't happen. I decided it would probably be easier to just finish college and then get married. Well that didn't happen either. I wanted to get married earlier rather than later so that I would be able to have my three children that I planned to have by the time I was 30 years old. At 30, I wanted to be "done."
I didn't get married until I was 25, but I still felt like I was "old to be getting married" and "behind." The average marriage age was 25.9 for women and 27.6 for men the year we got married, but I still felt like Robbie and I getting married at 25 (me) and 26 (him) were old for a couple o' Mormon goobers like us. Once I was finally married though, the age thing didn't matter so much. I was just soooo happy to be married! Yay!
Now that I am 28 with only ONE baby, I can see that the whole being-done-by-30 thing isn't going to quite work out the way I had hoped. Unless, the next pregnancy....wait, no, not gonna say it. But now that I have become a birth junkie and have developed such a love for the whole pregnancy and birth experience, I am in no hurry for my child bearing years to be over. I want to hang on to this for dear life. I want to hang on to the years that my little sweetheart is just a little girl and still loves me the way she does. I whisper in her little ears, "Please don't grow up too quickly!" And as I look at her right now, she's just removed her pajama bottoms for no reason other than to learn how to do it, I just feel a warmth in my heart and want to cherish this moment forever. I want to enjoy it so much, that when I look back on it, I won't feel a need to miss it. Is it possible?
I believe the only way I can truly be happy in the season of life I am in is to make a real effort at reminding myself to enjoy these moments. When I start getting that little twinge when I hear about another 28 year old woman who is having her 5th child and I start feeling behind, I need to think, "Now hang on a minute, Kristi, you have a beautiful little girl over there. Would you change anything? Are you truly ready for your childbearing years to be over already?" Because this is something that I am currently working on-trying to enjoy where I am in my life right now-I find that mostly what I need to do is TRY.
Do you currently have a budget that works for you? Are finances a source of contention between you and your partner? What can you do to improve your money management skills?
Unfortunately, we do not have a budget that works for us. Finances are a source of stress in our marriage, but I do not believe it is a source of contention between Robbie and me. I am thankful that neither of us blames the other for our situation, though I know Robbie takes much of the burden of our financial struggles on himself as the provider. He blames himself a lot and he gets a case of the "shoulda's" sometimes. We are working hard to get things back on track, including paying our tithes and offerings, and searching for better employment. I'll admit, marriage has taken us on a whirlwind adventure of disorganized finances and we weren't perfect at the whole tithing thing. With the help and advice from our Bishop, we have been working for awhile to get things back on track. It's not easy, and it is not easy to do without either while being surrounded by many affluent people at church. It's humbling (I guess that's my nice sugar-coated word when what I really mean is embarrassing) to be around people our own age or even younger than us who live in huge houses and have the fantastic high-paying jobs. I suppose it's not really embarrassing to me that we live in a two bedroom apartment, because I like it AND I can barely keep up with keeping this place clean. How would I manage a house? What embarrasses me is all the things I can't do, such as bake dozens of homemade cookies for primary activities because we can't afford the ingredients or I can't make little handmade trinkets for the sisters that I visit teach because we can't afford for me to buy the materials. I can't always go to the little activities that one of my friends invites me to because we can't afford the gas to travel that far that often. But this is all part of saying no and making do. It's trying to still hold my head high as mentioned in the article.
"Make do with what you have. Do without. Say no. You can hold your head high even if your clothing is not the most stylish nor your home the most regal."
I will admit that holding my head high is really really......really....hard to do.
To improve our finances, we need to be able to face our finances and not be afraid to open those bills each month. We need to come up with a plan and do it TOGETHER. For so long I tried taking care of our finances alone. It stressed me out way too much because I just could not make the decision of what to pay and what to delay. I had to talk about it with my husband. We are getting better at discussion and coming up with a plan, but we just couldn't do it alone. We needed to talk to our bishop and get his eyes on the situation. I feel a lot better now that we've come up with a plan with his guidance. I don't feel as if we are so alone now. I feel like we have the Lord on our side now after admitting to the bishop that we need help. I suppose if things are just so bad, and one feels like throwing in the towel, then the first step would be to talk to the bishop. Then do what he says, no matter how difficult it may be. I thought it would be terrible to talk to our bishop, I thought he would say mean and awful things and we'd be severely chastised. But we weren't! I felt like a weight really lifted and that we really will be able to get things under control. It'll take time, but with the Lord's help, we'll be able to do it.
Do you feel that you are fully committed to your husband or wife—that you have fully invested all that you have and are to your marriage? If you feel reluctant or doubtful, why do you feel that way? What can you do to overcome those feelings?
Now, this is one I feel that Robbie and I are pretty good at. I am sure we are not perfect, but I don't doubt that he is fully committed to me. Someone told me once that he "reeks of love" for me. I certainly can tell that he loves me. I know he is committed to me. I don't know if he feels like he is, but his actions show me that he is. I hope my actions show him that I am committed to him.
Discuss the observation that “we can’t wait to be a good wife or a good husband or a good Christian just when we ‘feel well.’” What can you do on the difficult days to “bring the strength of Christ” to your union?
This part of the article was so profound and another place where I felt like the authors were in my head. Sometimes when Robbie and I are both discouraged, I feel as if I have no more strenghth left to take care of his needs. I feel as if I just don't have it in me. Some days, I just am so tired that I don't feel like doing anything, much less take care of the needs around the house. I keep waiting for when I don't feel so tired. I ask myself, "Will I ever feel good again?" Sigh. Most days I have to tell myself, "Just suck it up, Kristi. Everyone is tired." I admit, I hate having to "suck it up." It annoys me and I feel like Lily when she doesn't get her own way. I want to drop to the floor, kick my feet and whine whine whine. (Don't say it, Robbie!)
I know know know that if Robbie and I did better at reading our scriptures, both personally and together, we would have more strength in our marriage. We do not read the scriptures together nowhere near the amount that we should, *cough-at all-cough*, so we really need to get on the ball with that one. We really need to make a better effort to spend time in the scriptures on our own as well.
So what started as a cute picture for me to share because I liked it turned into me accidentally finding an article about something that I truly needed to read. Funny how things work out sometimes.