Being a good mom is a lot easier if you’re a good wife.

I mostly use this blog as a vehicle to talk about motherhood.  Today I’m going to switch gears just a little bit to share some thoughts I’ve had recently about marriage . . . except it’s not really switching gears since marriage and parenthood are so connected.  One of the most important things we can teach our children is how marriage is supposed to work.  (Heaven knows the rest of the world won’t teach that!)

“Marriage is perhaps the most vital of all the decisions and has the most far-reaching effects, for it has to do not only with immediate happiness, but eternal joys as well. It affects not only the two people involved, but also their families and particularly their children and their children’s children down through many generations.” (Spencer W. Kimball, Marriage and Divorce, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1976, p. 10.)

Even harder than teaching about good marriage is modeling it.  Good marriage takes hard work.  It almost always takes work, but sometimes, when the cares of day-to-day living start to wear on you, that work can seem even harder.  Essential, but hard.  I have learned that when my marriage is healthy, I’m so much better equipped to deal with the other challenges I face.  There is a lightness and a sense of safety that comes from knowing that “all is well” on the home front. On the flip-side, when I let disagreements fester or small problems go unresolved, I find myself more easily overwhelmed in all my other pursuits.  There’s a heaviness that holds me back and makes it harder for me to be successful as a whole.

Recently, some of the stresses that my husband and I have been facing individually have led us to realize how much we need each other.  We need one another’s strengths to face our own weaknesses, plus we need blessings from the Lord that are sure to come if we are paying more attention to our marriage covenant.  I don’t want to cause any false alarm because I have always been certain of my love for my husband and my gratitude for my marriage, but, like all important things, Satan works hard to cause distraction.  We’ve just been busy.  We’ve dealt with big things in both of our roles.  We haven’t done things to damage our marriage, but we’ve waded through a short phase where we just kind of got too busy for each other. Even the greatest of seeds, when ignored, won’t give good fruit.

“Marriages would be happier if nurtured more carefully.”  -Elder Russell M. Nelson

In short, we’re stupid if we think we can handle life’s challenges alone.  And even together, if we don’t have the Holy Ghost, we’re alone.  We need the teamwork.  We want it.  So we’ve chosen to cling to each other, and we’ve been thinking and praying and talking about the things that are important to us and to our family.  Even just that much makes me feel so much more grounded.  At women’s conference last week, I attended a workshop where the speaker said, “Whenever I feel distance between myself and my wife, I know I need to repent.”  It struck me that rather than focusing on what needs to be done in a marriage, things will always move toward resolved when we’re each focusing on what to be.  Trying to keep my husband’s welfare and happiness as a top priority has made me happier.  It really has.  It gives me strength to deal with the same things that have been there for months and overwhelmed me, but I feel stronger because he is my partner.  We both feel better, not because life is any easier, but because we know we can lean on each other.

I just wanted to share some of the articles I’ve studied recently that I found to be the most helpful. They have great reminders of the basic nurturing that is easy to forget.

“Enriching Your Marriage” by James E. Faust

“Nurturing Marriage” by Russell M. Nelson

“Oneness in Marriage” by Spencer W. Kimball

“Coping With Difficulties in Marriage”  (The Ensign interviews Val D. MacMurray, twice a bishop, and [then] assistant commissioner for LDS Social Services.)

I also collected some favorite quotes from these articles and a few others and made little signs (ha ha ha, here I go with my signs again) to hang on the mirror in our master bathroom.  We both want to stay focused on what matters most, so I created these little “Marriage Mirror Messages.”  If you want to print them out and use them, you can click here to download the file. Please note:  I am not a graphic designer.  I just know how to type.

I wondered if this post might be a little bit too “dirty laundry” to put out there, but I can’t imagine that we are any different than any of you, and we all need reminders sometimes about what matters most.  I know that my own personal journey in the past week or so has helped me feel full of the Spirit and reminded of the great blessings that I have, not to mention the great blessing I’m married to.  I guess I just hoped it might do someone else some good to remember the same things.

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27 thoughts on “Being a good mom is a lot easier if you’re a good wife.

  1. I am so glad you took the time to put this post together … I can’t wait to explore all the links, quotes, talks and more. Thanks!!

    What you explained about the importance of marriage is so simple, yet it is so profound. Every married couple would do well to read this!

  2. Beautifully put. So true. My husband and I have each been ‘too busy’ to really take care of the other…him working 60+ hours a week, me wrestling three little boys in a small living space. We’ve not been nurturing very carefully around here…we’ve failed to work together to help each other, and I am very appreciative to you for putting into words what I’ve been feeling lately.

    Thank you. and THANK YOU for those talks you cited…can’t wait to read them this evening!

    I don’t think you aired dirty laundry at all. You’re a real person, with a real life, and you’re just keeping it real. Thank you.

    • I love the quotes. Joel and I were going through family history last night, and that- we have found – has really helped to bond us. Knwoing that we are part of something so much bigger. You have insird me too – I am taking our living room wall – the entire wall and doing all of our family history photos and hanging them, with the temple in the middle. We found some awesoem late 1800 pics to use. So I am copying you. ;0)

  3. I really like what you wrote today. I am certain that what you said is very true. Marriage is a lot of hard work. After 25 years, I have learned that we are both better, with whatever is in front of us, if all is well with our marriage. It is something we are working on all the time. But again, it takes work every single day. (I’m happy to have the hard work to do!)

  4. I am so thankful the Bloggernacle pointed me in your direction. You are an inspiration. This post is well-said. I am going to print and read those articles. Thanks for the reminder.
    ~Shari

  5. I can really relate to what your speaker said, about realizing that when there is a distance between him and his wife… he needs to repent. I have TOTALLY found the same thing in my life. When I realize that his weaknesses are there FOR MY BENEFIT… :) (God really knows what HE is doing), I am humbled, and find myself repenting of my own weaknesses. If I am bugged by his shortcomings; I NEED TO REPENT of my own shortcomings.

    This has been in the fore front of my mind lately, as I have a lot of room for growth; thanks for the excellent reinforcement and reminder!
    Corine :D
    Corine :D
    corinesmiles.blogspot.com

  6. Stephanie,

    I have to teach RS this month on marriage, so thanks for completing my entire lesson! You’re the best!

  7. Haven’t really thought about my marriage lately…. probably a bad sign. I ought to nurture it a little more. Printing off Elder Nelson’s talk ahorita.

  8. I almost went to this class! But when I realized the other two classes I wanted to take were in the same building (but different from this one) I just decided to stay in the HFAC.

    When I was teaching section 137 in seminary several weeks ago we discussed being judged by the desires of our hearts. This quote was provided in the teacher’s manual:

    “What we serve we learn to love, and what we love takes our time, and what takes our time is what we love.” ~ Marvin J. Ashton ~

    At that time I realized it is so true not just about “things” but especially with our relationships.

  9. I consider my marriage to be one of the biggest blessings in my life. And, like you, I find a lot of satisfaction and stability when things are good. Thanks for the reminders and the articles. Excited to read them when I’m not propping my eyelids up with toothpicks.

  10. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I believe you were inspired. I know that I needed to be directed to these talks you’ve posted and I appreciate your willingness to share.

  11. What a fabulous post. Thank you so much for sharing. One of the greatest things I have learned through marriage is that the quickest way to change our spouse is to change ourselves first. For the longest time in our marriage, I was quick to point out the faults of my spouse, I would often pout because I didn’t have that “happily ever after” love from the fairy tales and I was just plain unhappy. Then one day it hit me. An old saying from my youth came back to me. If I want a Prince Charming, I have to be the Cinderella! I quickly “repented” and spent the next few months treating him like a Prince Charming. It was funny at first, because it was totally out of character for me. I am sure he couldn’t comprehend my actions. I remember the moment I realized how selfish I had been all that time and how much I had missed out on by sitting and waiting for him to become that person I had dreamed him to be. The magic came with time. Slowly, that change I had been waiting for was all the sudden here, IN ME AND HIM. I fell in love all over again. To this day, I still have to remember, if I feel neglected, I have to ask myself, am I the one neglecting?

  12. Hey, Steph. When you “reply” to a comment, it emails the author. My blog apparently does not do this. Any idea why?

  13. Stephanie, I thought this was a great post and I think if anyone says their marriage is perfect they are either lying or they’ve only been married for a DAY! Marriage is hard work and I could relate to what you said about just feeling off and kind of heavy when things are “weird”.
    I am SO thankful for the Gospel to help us every step of the way. I love my husband and he loves me… but that’s not enough. Our families don’t have the best track record for marriages… and I was really scared to get married for that reason. When Zeke proposed, I said, “yes, but this is FOREVER or no deal.” Thanks for all of the talks and quotes… I can’t wait to read them.

  14. Thanks for the reminder to value my relationship with my time, energy, and thoughts *before* there are issues. It’s easier to maintain then repair.

  15. Even the best marriages still need a little help every now and then. And thanks for including the file! We just spent a lovely week on a cruise ship and were lucky enough to never get tired of being together, without any little ones trying to squeeze between us.

  16. I just listened to a program on “the Mormon channel” called conversations where they talked with Elder Ballard and his wife. They talked about their marriage and I found it very insightful. Like many others this topic has been on my mind and I am glad you talked about it. I will have to read the articles you mentioned.

    Thanks
    Andre ( your cousin)

  17. At the risk of sounding generic and repetitive, thanks for sharing this. I’m feeling the need for improvement in several areas in my life, wifery being one of them. Thanks for the links, too.

  18. I think everyone’s marriage is unique & different, & we all deal with our problems in our own way. We’ve had a hard time with a long distance move that seems to mostly benefit my husband…. & you just have to talk it through, & try not to rip their head off in the process….

  19. Thank you so much – I have been reading these talks in conjunction with my scripture study. They have brought me back around to what is really important. Thank you.

  20. Thanks for the message! So appropriate for anyone who is married! Marriage takes alot of hard work to keep it strong, and our everyday “things to do” often get in the way. Marriage relationships are like a plant- to keep it beautiful it’s needs must be attended to and not neglected or it will turn ugly and die. Some plants can hold up to neglect for a really long time- but they too eventually shrival up and, well, get tossed away. The eternal blessings of marriage is so worth the hard work!

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