Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Pathways to Eternal Marriage

The last time I posted here was in December of 2102.  I have been in school for five years!  I did not want to take too many classes at a time, so it's been slow going, but I am getting it done!  I should graduate next Spring in Marriage and Family Studies.  I am really excited!!

I am attending BYU-I online.  Most of you will be familiar with that school.  It is a religious school affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  This is the church I have grown up in and know all my life.  I love it.  I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior and he is my brother.  He loves me and you.  He loves everyone.  He wants us to be happy.  Part of that happiness will come from living his commandments.  

I am going to take a different road with this blog for a while.  At school, I am taking a class called "The Family."  It is based on "The Family: A Proclamation to the World." I will be sharing different aspects of the proclamation and how I feel about it.  I am doing this for a project for my class, but I am excited and happy to share some of my beliefs.  

"In 1995, leadership from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also known as Mormons) released “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” a document outlining Mormon beliefs on families.
Its purpose is to clearly “proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children,” as well as define important beliefs about the family’s eternal nature, the sacredness of marriage, and parental roles and responsibilities"(https://www.mormon.org/blog/the-family-proclamation).

There are some of you who may not believe the principles I am going to discuss here. That's OK.  I hope that you will still read what I have to say.  We can have a difference of opinion and still be open to hearing to each other's beliefs.  I have decided to start out by leaving my comments section open.  I want to hear what you have to say, what you agree with and what you don't agree with.  But I am not going to change what I believe, so I would ask you please to keep the comments positive and respectful and I will leave them open.  If it gets too negative, I will remove them.  If you feel you need to unfollow me, that's OK.  I will get over it....Thank you so much!

Young adulthood and Pathways to Eternal Marriage
What are some milestones that are a necessary part of becoming an adult?  Accepting responsibility for oneself?  Achieving financial independence?  What about marriage?  It seems as if society is changing their attitudes about marriage and the transition to adulthood.  The trends in our current society reveal that there are many stumbling blocks in today's dating and courtship culture that require young adults to approach marriage with an even greater degree of faith and steadfastness than was required in previous generations.  So how can young adults move toward marriage with faith and confidence?

I have found it interesting in my studies of marriage that despite the growing trend to put off 
marriage, research indicates that having a successful marriage is still highly valued among emerging adults, especially for those who have never wed, marriage remains a life goal. About six-in-ten (61%) men and women who have never married say they would like to get married, according to the 2010 Pew Research survey. Only 12% say they do not want to marry and 27% are not sure  (http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2013/02/13/love-and-marriage/).

I know many young people are a little pessimistic about marriage, given the divorce rate today.  The divorce rate in America is between 40-50 percent, and even higher in subsequent marriages (http://www.apa.org/topics/divorce/).  Because of this pessimism, many young people are putting off marriage and using their young adult years as a time to pursue their personal interests and become independent financially.  In a recent study, a considerable proportion of emerging adults reported that to be ready for marriage, they need to be financially independent, finished with their education, and settled into a long-term career.  Many are even saying they need to be able to pay for their own wedding, and have purchased a house before they get married.  Gosh, at this rate, not very many people will be married anytime soon!
Do you remember dating?  Well, these days it seems to be going away.  Only 50% of college women reported that they had been asked out on six or more date, and a third said they had been asked out on two or fewer dates (Glen & Marquardt, 2001).  More young men and young women are "hanging out," instead of dating.  Then there is "hooking up, which is basically having sex with someone without expecting anything of the relationship.  This is very widespread and accepted in today's world.  Cohabitating has become embraced as well by emerging adults.  62% of young adults reported that living together before marriage is a good way to avoid eventual divorce; more than half of all marriages today are preceded by cohabitation (Whitehead & Popenoe, 2001).

Many friends I have talked to feel that "living together" takes the risk out of marriage and reduces the odds for a divorce.  This is not the case; Studies on cohabitation and later marital success have consistently found that couples who live together before marriage are more likely to divorce than couples who do not live together before marriage (Jose, O'Leary, & Moyer, 2010).

Becoming the right person for marriage
When it comes to dating and becoming the person you want to be for marriage, Elder David A. Bednar warns young people about a embracing a finding-focused view to dating and counsels then to practice a different approach.  He visits with young adults all over the LDS church.  Many young people will ask, "What are the characteristics I should look for in a future spouse?  As though they have some checklist.....You are not on a shopping spree looking for the greatest value with a series of characteristics.  You become what you hope your spouse will be and you'll have a greater likelihood of finding that person"(2009).

I want to share a personal experience here.  When I was twenty, I met a guy who I thought was "the one."  We dated, and got married within about 4 months.  1- 1/2 years later we were divorced.  I am not sure why it didn't work, other than I was young and had no idea what marriage was supposed to be like.  I did not understand that marriage was more than just a couple relationship.  I thought being married would bring me personal happiness, emotional gratification, physical attraction, good communication, pleasurable intimacy, and basically a wonderfully happy marriage.  Well, to some extent those views about marriage are correct, but I didn't understand that the "couple relationship" goes deeper.  There is a sacred aspect to marriage that I knew nothing about.  Marriage is a divine institution.  I was missing out on the sacred aspects of: commitment, sacrifice, selfless caring for one's spouse, and benefits of marriage for children.

As a Mormon and Christian, I am learning that there is so much more to create a loving and lasting marriage.  When marriage is looked at as a divine institution, this grounds a couple's relationship in the principles of discipleship, covenant making, cleaving, equal partnership, the sacred responsibilities of husbands and wives, and eternal purposes of marriage.  Viewing marriage in this way teaches us that one of the keys to lasting marriage is to seek not just compatibility with one's spouse, but also to seek alignment with God.

I have been married now for 22 years.  My marriage is not perfect by any means.  It is still a work in progress.  I know that Heavenly Father has given us the institution of marriage for a reason.  We need to form loving and lasting relationships.  We can do this through marriage and family.  The world is changing, along with the definition of marriage, but God doesn't change.  I am so grateful for my marriage.  It isn't easy.  There are ups and downs.  There are wonderful times and hard times.  My goal with this blog is to share some of what I have learned about marriage and families with you, and hopefully we can all learn together.

Have a great day!


*Most of the information that I have shared here is from the book Successful Marriages and Families, Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives.  Edited by Alan J. Hawkins, David C. Dollahite, and Thomas W. Draper.

1 comment:

  1. Welcome back! I look forward to your posts and insight.


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