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Last Sunday night I got to attend a fireside put on by my church. Our Stake is focusing on strengthening marriage this year so, the Stake President asked Brother John Bytheway and his lovely wife, Kim, to come and share some steps to help in creating a strong marriage.
If you have never heard them speak, they are funny. John has a way of saying things in a humorous way, so it doesn’t pierce your heart… right away. Later as you lay in bed thinking, you realize that what you had laughed so hard about was really true, and really you!
They started off with a quote by President Harold B. Lee that said “Satan’s greatest threat today is to destroy the family, and to make a mockery of the law of chastity and the sanctity of the marriage covenant.” As I think about the things I saw on t.v. earlier in the day, it was easy to see the truth in that statement. Satan knows that if he destroys the family, he has the key to all of humanity. So what do we do to strengthen our family against his attack?
John and Kim gave 5 tips for creating strength in a marriage:
1. “Reverse your Buts”: Or in other words, change your outlook. Instead of thinking “Life is good, but I wish we had more money”, think “Even though we don’t have a lot of money, life is good.” How often do we get hung up on the “BUTS” of life? Or, the “I’ll be happy WHEN…” Change your outlook.
2. Write a note: Sometimes in life, we find ourselves in the appreciation cycle. Appreciate—Expect— DEMAND. We want to live in an appreciation state. No one wants to have their spouse demand of them, but everyone wants their spouse to appreciate them! Be grateful for your sweetheart! “Don’t withhold gratitude and praise that might lift another!” Appreciate your husband because he “presides, provides, and protects.” Um, hello! That one hit me. I complain all the time about Manly trucking, but the reality is, he is working hard and doing his very best to provide for our family. As hard as it is sometimes, I need to be grateful that he works as hard as he does to take care of us. Appreciate the man, Missy!
And, what I loved the most about this tip, was that they gave permission for a little mush! *It’s okay to be cheesy!* Be each other’s boyfriend and girlfriend again! Notice what each other does and praise it! Leave love notes on the bathroom mirror. Surprise him with a text at work. Make an effort like you did back before all the kids came along! Appreciate.
3. Meet a Need: Find out what your spouse needs! Women generally want affection, they want to be cherished! While men often times what physical intimacy. Both of these needs must be met! Don’t hold it over him… oh, don’t pretend you don’t know what I mean! Don’t think in your pretty little head that “I’ll give him loving when he gives me affection… when he cherishes me… when he meets my needs first.” If you both act like that, nobody’s needs are going to get met and everybody loses. If we get over our pride and meet needs, we’ll be surprised at what happens.
4. Turn off the Tech: THIS IS A BIG ONE FOR US! Once you finally get the kids in bed, do you find yourself on Pinterest while your hubby is in front of the T.V. watching a game? Are your eyes glued to your Kindle while the hubs plays on Facebook? Turn off the gadgets and tune into each other. They suggested setting up “No Tech Night” and actually spending real intentional time together. This was a gigantic A-Ha! for me. Manly and I usually end up in completely different sections of the house so no wonder he feels so far away sometimes. *Check out THIS awesome talk on technology by Elder David A. Bednar! It got me thinking.
5. Choose to be Delightful: …remember, we really do get to choose. You can change your own heart by choosing to be gracious, happy, and thankful. Ask yourself, “What is it like to be married to me?” And, when he is driving you nuts and you are about to call and complain to your mother, look in the mirror and take a minute to think, “Did he get everything he wanted? Am I perfect?”
Wow! “Don’t be a whiner.” Ouch! But, so so true.
Can you see why Marjorie Pay Hinckley is my hero?
What I liked about this fireside was, they didn’t set the bar at some unreachable height. The tips were incredibly simple, which was so eye-opening to me. It really doesn’t take much to make our marriages solid. What it boils down to is effort. We have to choose in. We can decide today that our marriage, our sweetheart, is THE most important thing on this earth and that it comes first.
If we can look at it that way, nothing can come between us.