Happy New Years!!! Setting Goals!

 

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Happy New Years!!! Had my ups and downs this past year. Looking forward to accomplishing new and current goals. 2020 is the year I am looking forward to because that is when I will be graduating from BYU-I in July. But in the meantime, I will continue to learn about families and psychology. Having my studies gets me through most of my hard times and understand my own issues as well has been allowing me to open up my eyes and see others and their needs as well. In this process, I am discovering myself and reshaping me to be a better me. I have not been perfect in doing this but we all are a work in progress.

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Society puts a lot of emphasis on new year’s resolutions.  I don’t see any point in making a New Year’s resolution that I know I cannot keep all year long.  In my studies, I have discovered a little system called short-term goals, also known as smart goals.  This is how I try to get through life.  Even though most goals require a long-term commitment, I cut them down to short-term goals.  In doing this, it allows me to assess where I am at every week and then on the fourth week, I either add or subtract to my goal in order to succeed.

For example, I have been trying to lose weight for the past three years after I had appendicitis and gained a lot of weight after my surgery in 2015.  I started many diets and exercise routines and was unable to successfully lose weight.  I may lose 10 pounds but it would just come right back and add a few more with it.  It became very depressing and frustrating, not to mention my ex was not very supportive and his abuse and addiction tore at me in the whole process. Well as the next year came and gone, it just got worse.  I would try and I would fail.  I started pathway program in September of 2016.  I learned about short-term goals and how to apply them to your life to turn them into long-term.  I tried a few more times while in Pathways to lose weight but the only thing I successfully accomplish in my life at this time was divorcing my ex-husband, which was finalized in January of 2017.  In November of 2017, I was told by my doctor I have Fatty Liver Disease.  This disease can lead to Chirosis, Hepatitis, or Cancer of the liver.   I don’t drink alcohol, quit smoking June of 2015, I never did any drugs, so I couldn’t understand how I had this liver disease.  At my next appointment, my doctor helped me come up with a diet and exercise plan to lose weight.  He told me if I lose the weight then my liver can repair itself and everything will work itself out.  I lost 60 Pounds from November 2017 to November 2018.  I took it four weeks at a time and was able to make the short-term goals turn into long-term results.  I still have some work to do and I will have to always work at keeping my weight under control but I know I can do it successfully now.  I just hope that someday I will have someone who is willing to be my coach and partner in my long-term goals.

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New Year’s resolutions should be replaced by short-term goals or smart goals for it has for better results.  As you can see if something is not working then you can switch it around and try something new.  I make short-term relationship goals as well.  Even though I have not successfully found my eternal partner yet, I know that if I keep working on improving me to make myself worthy that God will bless me and I will find my eternal partner with time and patience.

HAPPY NEW YEARS TO EVERYONE AND MAY GOD BLESS OUR LIVES!!!

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Family Rules

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Our family rules consist mainly of living within your means.  Don’t go trying to spend money to keep up with the Jones’s.  I am the first born. It is predicted that I like control, taking charge, conservative, taking care of needs first then saving before buying.  Well, I am more on the conservative side (especially if you compare me with my sister), but I don’t necessarily like being in complete control or in charge of everything.  I rather share that experience with a spouse.  I have been forced to take control and in complete control of the finances in the past though because my ex-husbands would not pay any of the bills for, they couldn’t tear themselves away from their own temptations long enough to see to anything get paid.  I had to keep my money separate from theirs in order to make sure there was money to pay the bills with.  It will be nice when I can find my eternal partner and have enough trust in him that we can join together as one and share the tasks of paying bills and keeping up with the budget.

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Whether you are about to enter marriage are married already it is important that husband and wife sit down and distinguish a set of family rules of their own for their household (financial or otherwise).  Both husband and wife should have equal control and authority over these things.  A budget for the household should be made and honored by both parties.  Need to discuss what each other’s expectations are, such as, calling to let one know if one or the other going to be late coming home from work or the first one home cooks dinner for the other, whatever it may be. We all have different expectations and rules we grew up with and each new family creates their own.  When we can come to the realization of these rules, it is easier to follow them.

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Power in the Marriage

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You want the power in the marriage to be shared equally.  This power will build a strong bond between husband and wife.  Sharing power shows respect and love towards one another in the union of marriage.  In the article from Richard Miller (“Who is the boss? Power Relationships in Families”), I don’t know if there was any particular idea that was new for me, though it did touch my heart in many ways.

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It confirmed to me I did the right thing when I divorced my ex-husband.  In the quiz at the end of this article, revealed just how much he overpowered me.  It wasn’t by choice, for I fought tooth and nail in trying to have my role in the marriage.  It never failed though, I would finally give in just to keep the peace.  This questionnaire should be taken by every couple in a relationship that is considering getting married.  It may just uncover any “Red Flags” that their partner may be hiding.  In doing so it could lead to many couples aware that they are in over their heads and decide to educate themselves before making a mistake they are not ready for.  It could allow for many to move on to a partner who can and will properly treat them equal.  It is important that a marriage is a unit that consists of respect, love, kindness, and equality between husband and wife.

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One of the many ways that can help a couple remember to respect each other’s’ decisions is by having a council with each other on a regular basis.  A family should have two councils.  One council with husband and wife only. In this council, it would be relevant to discuss any ideas, issues, wants, needs, intimacy, vacations, having children, or anything that requires a decision. No one should make a decision of any kind without consulting the spouse.  This allows husband and wife to be on the same page in the marriage or with the kids.

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When children are in the picture it is important to have a council between parents and children as well.  They should be allowed to voice their opinions on any new ideas that involve them because our decisions as parents do affect our children’s lives also.  It also provides a moment for learning, for instance going over bills with them teaches the concept of money and responsibilities.  Give them a time where they can express any concerns, they have whether it is about discipline, school, friends, or each other.  It allows them to feel loved and cared for, knowing their parents are willing to listen to them and allow them to seek guidance.

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These are my thoughts based on what I read and on my experience.  How do you handle council meetings in your home?

Safeguarding Marriage from Infidelity

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Even though I am not married, I have been married before and feel that I can contribute some thoughts to fidelity and infidelity.  I feel that the following steps are needed to safeguard your marriage from infidelity. These are some of the thoughts that have come to mind as I have read this week’s talks and chapters.  Some are from previous chapters and some from experience.

Step 1Include Heavenly Father in your marriage.  As a couple, you should pray together at least once a day.  In our prayers, we should say something positive about our spouse that we are thankful for.  This will help bring a husband and wife closer together and keep Heavenly Father at the forefront of their marriage.  They should pick a time that is good for reading the scriptures together.  Learning the gospel together keeps their spirit alive and in tune to one another.

Step 2Include your spouse in everything you do, make spouse your best friend.  We are bound to make friends outside of our marriage through work, school, or church.  As we make these friendships, we need to consider our spouse in this process.  We need to ask ourselves the following questions:  Will this friend be friends with just me? Or With me and my spouse? (If the friend can’t be friends with both husband and wife then we should consider if the friendship is worth more than the marriage.) If you go to lunch with a friend that was the opposite sex than you, would you be able to invite your husband?  If not then you should not be at lunch with that friend. It probably best all together to avoid being alone more than a few minutes with any one of the opposite sex if possible.  This just keeps any temptations at bay. If you don’t allow yourself to be alone with anyone of the opposite sex then less likely you are to cross any forbidden lines.

Step 3Communicate open and honest about your needs/wants.  When we need to vent, do not be afraid to talk with your spouse.  Invest your energy into him or her.  Even if we are venting about our spouse.  If we go to our spouse with our needs and our complaints it keeps words from getting twisted around by others and allows the opportunity for you and your spouse to work on any issues there are in the marriage.  Be honest about your feelings, about your needs or wants.  Be kind, caring, and loving when you do voice these concerns, but your spouse should be the first one to hear the issues, needs or wants.

Step 4Continuously date your spouse.  Husbands and wives should continue to date after marriage.  Just because your married doesn’t mean the dating should end.  Marriage takes work on both sides of the picture.  The more you slack off or starve a marriage of attention, the farther the marriage will deteriorate.  But at the same time, the more attention you give to the marriage, the closer and stronger the marriage becomes.

Step 5Keep intimacy alive.  Intimacy can mean several things in a marriage.  It could be just cuddling up to your spouse on the couch watching a movie together.  Or possibly snuggled up in bed talking about how each other’s day went.  It also could be the sex between husband and wife.  We need to make sure we that some form of intimacy is alive in the marriage before we close our eyes for the day.  Intimacy is how our passion grows for one another.  I know the one thing I miss the most about being married is laying next to my husband with his arms around me discussing how my day went at work and listening to his heartbeat.  Things like this can keep the love alive when you are doing all you can in the marriage to survive.

When we can properly apply ourselves in our marriage, we tend to be more loving and at one with our spouse.  When we are more at one with a spouse, we are drawn closer together making intimacy (sexual or nonsexual) more satisfying.

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Overcoming Gridlock

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Gridlock is an ongoing disagreement or argument that is between two people, usually a husband and wife.  These arguments are often unsolvable.  This does not mean that two people cannot live with these issues though. With some active listening and active communication, a compromise can be made.  Marriage is not easy but anything worth having involves a bit of hard work.  There are no two people in this world that will agree and have the same views to a 100%.  But when two people write down two lists, one being a list of things he or she is willing to compromise and the other being a list of things unwilling to compromise. It may not make the problem disappear but they are able to live with the problem.

Gottman message to everyone is on how to make marriage work through friendship and how to overcome disagreements/arguments with our spouses. In every marriage there is going to come a time when there is a disagreement.  As Gottman pointed out in his book, “The Seven Principles for Making a Marriage Work,” some disagreements are “solvable” and some are “perpetual.” By recognizing the four horsemen, we can work on our type of arguing we contribute with.  There are ways that we can soften up our communication with our spouse if we are willing to put some effort behind it.  Turning to your husband or wife, repair attempts and recognizing the repair attempts, allowing your spouse influence in your life, nurturing and admiring your spouse, overcoming gridlock, and creating shared meanings are some of the ways to improve your marriage and keeping it strong.  Because the biggest key in marriage is keeping our arguments from overwhelming us to the point of divorce.

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Goddard book consists of all the things that involves placing the gospel in the forefront of our lives.  Being that marriage is ordained of God, it should be our first focus in our marriage.  Marriage contains three people, God, husband, and wife.  Without God in the marriage, we are relying on our own strengths.  Being that we are imperfect, we are more adept to fall without proper help from Heavenly Father.  We learn about the importance of sacrifice, faith, humility, repentance, and charity in marriage.

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Anger, is it a Natural Emotion or a Choice?

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As I read Elder Robbins’ talk, I couldn’t help but think how I disagree with him about anger.  Even though we possibly could control how we react and deal with anger, we cannot dismiss anger altogether.  Anger is an emotion just as joy and sorrow.  If Adam and Eve had not transgressed in the Garden of Eden, emotions would not have a place in society today.  They would not have had any children to speak of and they would not know joy for they didn’t know sorrow. As we know, they did transgress in the Garden of Eden, and we know joy and sorrow just as Adam and Eve.  We all know the story of Cain and Abel.  I know I can’t imagine how they felt when they learned their son was dead by the hands of their oldest son. I know that both, Adam and Eve had to have grieved over the loss of both sons.  You cannot tell me that Adam was not angry when he learned that Cain killed Abel.  He may not have gone raging, yelling, screaming, cursing, and showing his anger in a way that is inappropriate but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t angry.  Any time that we lose someone whether through death or divorce we grieve the loss. There are five stages to the grieving process.  The first process is denial.  Examples are: He is in denial that the marriage is broken. Adam is in denial of the death of his son. Eve is in denial that Cain is the cause of Abel’s death.  The second process is anger.  Examples are: Now he is angry at his wife that she has abandoned him.  Adam is angry at Cain for killing his son.  Eve is angry over her son’s death.  The third process is bargaining. The husband is begging the wife to stay, offering to change his ways.  Can you imagine Adam and Eve bargaining for their son’s life back for the exchange of their own? I can. It obviously was not granted but I can definitely see it happening. Forth process is depression. The husband sad and lonely over the loss of his wife to divorce.  I also see Eve crying over the loss of both of her son’s because they lost two son’s that day. One was murdered and the other was cast out because he murdered his brother. And the fifth process is acceptance. The husband now accepts the wife has left, signed the divorce papers, and starting to prepare to move on with his life. Adam and Eve came to accept the fact that they lost both son’s and learned to place it in the hands of Heavenly Father. (https://psychcentral.com/lib/the-5-stages-of-loss-and-grief/) These stages can last days or they can last for years.  It differs with everyone.  Can you see yet where anger is healthy and cannot be avoided, that it is part of life?

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Well if you are still undecided, here are some verses in the Holy Bible, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants about anger.  “D&C 63:32 I, the Lord, am angry with the wicked; I am holding my Spirit from the inhabitants of the earth. Isaiah 65:3 A people that provoketh me to anger continually to my face; that sacrificeth in gardens, and burneth incense upon altars of brick. Psalm 145:8 The Lord is gracious and full of compassion slow to anger, and of great mercy.  D&C1:13 And the anger of the Lord is kindled, and his sword is bathed in heaven, and it shall fall upon the inhabitants of the earth. 2 Nephi 15:25 Therefore, is the anger of the Lord kindled against his people, and he hath stretched forth his hand against them and hath smitten them; and the hills did tremble, and their carcasses were torn in the midst of the streets, but his hand is stretched out still.

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I looked these versus up because I wanted you to see that even Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, the two most perfect beings to ever exist, still got angry at times. But they were able to control their anger and handle it in an appropriate way.  As you can see, it is only natural to feel anger at times, just like it is to be happy or sad.  It is the manner of how we deal with our anger that we need to question, not the fact that we get angry.  Elder Lynn G. Robbins stated, “Becoming angry is a conscious choice, a decision; therefore, we can make the choice not to become angry. We choose!” We don’t choose to be hurt.  For example, when a husband betrays his wife, she will naturally feel hurt and angry over his actions against her.  Honestly, can you choose to be happy that your husband is having an affair?  Now, plotting his murder, causing harm in any way would be wrong. I may want to do one or the other, but the right thing to do is discuss it with your partner.  Take some time out to think and pray.  Get counseling!  But we are still going to be angry and some arguing probably will take place.  We are human after all.

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When we have consecration in our lives, in our marriage, we can have the proper love and support in our lives to help get through our moments of anger.  Even if our anger is at our spouse for not folding the laundry or doing dishes the night before, if we have given our all to our spouse then we can get past the minor details.  A marriage is a union, a team, a unit, a system, and a family that we create here on earth is ordained by God Himself.  It is supposed to last an eternity and return to Heavenly Father through the sealings made in the temple.

As we all know I am single and getting myself ready to meet my eternal companion one day soon.  As I am learning and preparing myself for my companion these following quotes stood out to me from Goddard chapter 6 page 99-103:

“Until one abides by the laws of obedience, sacrifice, the gospel, and chastity, he cannot abide the law of consecration, which is the law pertaining to the celestial kingdom.  ‘Zion cannot be built up unless it is by the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom” (D&C 105:5)” (President Benson).

“Only the vines connected to the roots will bear fruit. Only that part of the car driven into the car wash can be cleaned.  Only those train cars hooked to the engine can be pulled up the mountain.  Only that which we bring to the altar can be sanctified and perfected.” Page 100

“Just as Isaac was willing to give his life as the ultimate expression of commitment to God, so are we are invited to dedicate our lives, our talents, our weekends, and our weaknesses to the sacred enterprise of sanctifying our marriages and ultimately perfecting our souls.”  Page 103

We must learn to sacrifice/dedicate our lives to the ones we love.  Give everything we have to our marriage, our companions.  Don’t take for granted what Heavenly Father has provided for us.  Don’t take for granted what our spouses have done for you as well.  Be appreciative and grateful for the things that you have and don’t concentrate on what you don’t have.  Always remember the grass is not always greener on the other side.

Influence and Pride in Marriage

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The quote that stood out to me by President Benson the most was, “Unity is impossible for a proud people and unless we are one, we are not the Lord’s.”  When we get married and sealed in the temple, we unite to become ONE with our spouse.  Without this unity that we call family, we cannot return back to Heavenly Father.  If we hold pride in our hearts, then there is no room for the ones we love the most.  We are allowing Satan to fill our hearts with envy, jealousy, hatred, and later divorce because that is what pride can and will eventually do to us if we refuse to unite with our eternal companion.

From what I have observed in the past and in the present some of the little ways we can allow pride to manifest in a marriage is through a sense of own self.  For example, a husband who thinks that who he talks to on the phone, or how he spends his money, is none of the wife’s business.  Expressing how he doesn’t have to answer to his wife is another way of showing pride.  He feels he is less of a man if he gives in to any of the above.

I remember my marriages well.  I was always willing to accept their influence and change my life around to fit into their perspectives.  I believed in giving myself for what I thought was for the better good.  Unfortunately, my ex-husband did not share in the influence.  He rejected any suggestions I have tried to give him.  He would quickly snap and made sure I didn’t question where he has been, where did all the money disappeared to, or who he was hanging out with. His motto was, if he could stop me from asking then he didn’t have to come up with a lie. I fear though, that because of my past history of marriage that I will not be so quick to let my future eternal companion, have any influence over me.  I know that for a marriage to work we need to be able to accept influence on one another.  It cannot be just a one-sided street.  I believe when it is time for me to love again that Heavenly Father will help me be able to trust and accept his influence in my life.