Monday, December 26, 2011

Keeping the Right Spiritual Feeling

I never applied keeping the spirit in my relationships quite like I have been lately and it's been GRAND!  I've heard it said that when you are married, you should love your spouse emotionally, physically, and SPIRITUALLY.  I couldn't quite understand how one loves spiritually.  But I think I'm beginning to understand it.  Bonding spiritually is a beautiful thing and I'm seeing how it really glues you together as a couple to add that special touch.

Someone asked me how you could find this kind of love.  My answer?  You can't.  This kind of love isn't found at all.  It's something achieved after hard work.  You can begin to love someone emotionally.  You can begin to love someone physically.  Maybe you could begin loving someone spiritually, hey, it's possible.  But to have the kind of love where all three exist and harmonize tremendously, it takes years of being together and working through the rough spots.  It takes patience with each others' faults and each others' weaknesses.  It takes acceptance and love for each other the way the Savior would love.

You wouldn't realize that your spouse could be difficult to love sometimes, but it's true!  No one is perfect.  If you are waiting for that perfect someone, you may never marry!  If you are feeling stuck to someone you don't think is good enough, look again.  People say to look back at the reasons why you married that person in the first place.  Well, in my case that doesn't help because I wasn't drop dead in love when I got married.  It just depresses me to look back and the hard times I had in those first months of marriage when we both struggled with failed expectations and the challenge of change.  So instead, I look at us now and I look at the future.

People say not ever to settle when you get married.  Sometimes people wonder if they DID settle for their spouse.  (I think every married person asks themselves if they did- if you haven't yet, you will at some point.  If you never do, well I congratulate you on defying the odds.)  The thing is, no one settles for a person.  Everyone settles for their idea of what their relationship is going to be like forever.  If you think "This is the way our relationship is and it will always be this way." well, it will always be that way.  I got married and thought this way.  I thought it was good enough.  I wondered at one point if I had settled.  I wondered if I would ever find happiness.  I thought if I left, it would still be impossible to be happy anyway so I might as well stay.  Then someone told me (my bishop, actually) that love is NOT something that is JUST THERE OR IT'S NOT like they say about chemistry in the movies.  Love is something that grows as you work on it and as you give service.

You know why I married my husband?  Because, even though I could see he was not perfect, I could see he was the type of guy who would do whatever it takes to make our relationship work.  He would never give up.  That's all I needed.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Cleave [kleev]: To adhere closely; stick; cling.

Today I was reading on this page about mainly efforts in some wards to more adequately approach sexuality amongst church members, and I came upon this section (Item #6 Intimacy by President Dean E. Criddle - Young Married Couples) where it talked about intimacy in a marriage.  I wasn't looking for advice on my marriage while reading this stuff - I was interested in the messages on sexuality.  But sometimes the Lord sneaks in those lessons that we need most at times we don't expect.

Anyway, this section talked about the scripture that says one should "cleave" unto our spouse.  While most of the time, we approach this scripture focused on the negative (don't cheat on your spouse), in this reading Criddle (I'm assuming) points to the more positive approach of this subject (what we SHOULD do).  I'll just quote here.

"The promise is not simply to avoid cleaving to someone else. It also includes the affirmative covenant to cleave to the chosen spouse. I believe this is a covenant to be pro active in both giving and receiving emotional and physical intimacy – including a covenant to do our best to receive emotional and physical intimacies offered by our chosen spouse.
This can be a challenge.....sometimes... it [is] difficult or even impossible for husbands to be proactive in sharing emotional and physical intimacy with their wives...Sometimes... it [is] challenging for wives to offer or to be willing to accept intimacies offered by their husbands. This can lead to emotional distance and difficulties in sharing other levels of intimacy between husband and wife as well.
Even when there are no specific or dramatic intervening biological or emotional circumstances, the challenges of daily life can and do create wedges between husbands and wives. Whether these wedges are large or small, they can and do make it difficult for spouses to be affirmative in “cleaving unto” each other. I believe this is an issue grappled with by every single couple who has been married for any period of time. It cuts a broad swath especially through the ranks of recently married couples in this Stake, leaving sadness, disappointment and sometimes bitterness and deep grief. This is an “elephant in the living rooms” of even the most committed, self-sacrificing and generous married couples."

 I was struck by this because I had never applied this scripture to my marriage in quite this way.  I have always known it would be better in my marriage if we were sharing both the emotional and physical side of intimacy to each other, but I never connected it to the commandment to "cleave" unto ones spouse.  It made me think more about how my husband and I could work more on being "pro active" in our "cleaving". :)  I then put it aside in my mind and mostly forgot it.

But just now I was looking at my app on my phone at the word of the day.  It happened to be "Cleave."  I think God is trying to send me a message today.  I better go downstairs now and share a conversation with my husband. :) Happy cleaving, you married people, you.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Just Get Down on Your Knees

This morning after breakfast I was doing some last minute studying before class today while the kids played computer (PBS) and the baby rolled around on the floor.  After a while the baby was getting fussy and tired for a nap and so I picked him up and couldn't find his binkie.  This baby is a binkie baby.  There is no going to sleep without a BIG fight and LOTS of noise without it.  I looked EVERYWHERE!  He had it just before, so where could it be?  It was getting quite frustrating because the clock was not waiting for me and I needed to get my homework done.  I looked under the couches (found lots of other things there - balls, etc.), in the kitchen, in my bedroom, in his bedroom...I even looked in the basement.  Again.  Nothing!  Evaporating binkie?  In my mind I kept praying silently to find it but that wasn't working.  I couldn't carry the baby around the entire time because he's heavy and I've been sick lately with body aches and weakness and it was exhausting so he was laying on the floor a while, screaming.  Oh glory.

Finally, I knelt down on the floor in the middle of the living room with my baby and prayed aloud.  "Heavenly Father, please help me find this binkie, I really need to get my homework done!"  I looked to my right and spotted it under the couch (where I'd found lots of things before!).  It must have been behind the bouncy balls!  Snap.  I hadn't even closed my asking-for-help prayer before I was saying my thank-you-so-much prayer!  God lives!

I thought on this experience a bit later.  Some people would think this is a coincidence.  I could have found it if I had just looked behind the toys I was pulling out earlier, right?  Well...I didn't.  I could have found it if I had just looked under the couch again, right?  Well, I didn't.  I had even been *sorta* praying in my mind silently during the whole time.  BUT it wasn't until I got down on my knees and thoroughly recognized my utter helplessness and my need for Him that I got what I needed.

How many other places in life can this apply?  I think in many.