Husband and Wife, by Shawni Pothier

Marriage is the keystone for everything else in a family to fit together.  If we don’t put our spouse first, it is really difficult to do all the other family stuff in the proclamation.

Here is a list of ideas to strengthen marriage. Some of these things Dave and I do great. Others are things we are really working on.

Here you go:

Go to bed at the same time. (I know this doesn’t work for everyone, but it makes a world of difference for us.)

If you go to bed at the same time, you get to have “pillow talk” which leads to belly laughs, which make me happy. (I feel so much more connected to Dave when we make time to really talk about how our day went and what’s coming up the next day.)

Find at least a few of the same things to be interested in together. (We’re always working on that one because we are so different, but I think it’s so important.)

Learn what his “love language” is from this book (I know this may sound cheesy, but seriously, it is a pretty cool concept).

Never underestimate the power of touch. Even just a touch on the shoulder or a on his knee at dinner.

Tell your kids how excited you are to go on a date together with stars in your eyes.

Hug in front of your kids.

Tell your kids what you love about their dad. All the time.

Say you’re sorry before he does.

Continue “dating” regularly forever, even if it’s an “at-home date” after the kids are in bed.

Drop everything you’re trying to juggle some evenings and just snuggle on the couch.

Watch a show you like together while sitting in front of him on the floor…he rubs your back while you rub his feet. (or visa-versa)

Text him love-notes in the middle of the day.

Tuck love-notes in his suitcase when he goes on a business trip.

Make dinner for him.

Dave and I decided right when we got married to keep any complaints or things we were bugged about between us. We promised each other that we would discuss those things and work them out just the two of us, not with our friends or neighbors. We figured it would make us stronger to work through things together and to keep that relationship sacred. And we were right. That’s one of the best things about our marriage as far as I’m concerned.

Show that you value his opinion by giving in more often. (Hmmm…I need to work on that one…)
Let him beat you at Quordy here and there 🙂 (that’s a Boggle game on the iPhone)

Make an effort to give him a sincere compliment before you go to bed each night…something you noticed during the day. Be looking for the good instead of for opportunities to nag.

Talk about your budget often and make sure you’re on the same page with how you spend.

If you’re not on the same page with how you spend, re-evaluate. And give-in a little. Make compromises. Finances are one of the biggest stress-inducing things in marriages.

Forgive. And then Forget. Don’t hold on to grudges.

If something is important to him, make it important to you. No matter how silly it may seem in your view at first. (That’s my favorite one from my Mom and I think about it ALL THE TIME.)

Laugh. A lot. Keep a sense of humor.

Ok, and just to keep it real, here’s what NOT to do to make your husband feel like you really care about him:

Chop your hair off in a moment of mid-life crisis even though you know he loves long hair. But if he’s really nice like Dave is he’ll still love you anyway. 🙂

Cough all night long with allergies.

Back into your in-laws’ car.

Forget to warn him about five different conflicts you have in one night early enough that he can brace himself for it.

Text when you’re on a date.

But hey, I’m working on those, and hair grows, right? 🙂

Strong marriages make strong families, but they take work.

What are some things that you and your spouse do for each other that strengthens your marriage?

Shawni lives with her husband and five children in Arizona.  She takes her job as a Mother very seriously and strives to promote joy in the journey of Motherhood on her blog. Shawni’s youngest daughter (Lucy) was born with a rare genetic syndrome which causes blindness (amidst a myriad of other health problems).  Because of this, Shawni and her mother started the “I Love Lucy Project” and have become heavily involved with the Foundation Fighting Blindness. Aside from being an advocate for her daughter and relishing in motherhood, Shawni enjoys speaking at Time Out for Women and recently published her first book, A Mother’s Book of Secrets.

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

Click here to read a complete version of The Family: A Proclamation to the World. The celebration will continue from Sept 17-30.

Remember that during the world-wide-web Family Proclamation Celebration, you can read more posts every day at We Talk of Christ, at Chocolate on My Cranium, and at Middle-Aged Mormon Man.

Every time you leave a comment on any of the Proclamation posts or participate in any of the Blog Hops, you are entered in a drawing to win a giveaway prize.

The giveaway this week is a Dream Big Family Rules Subway Art sign from Landee on Etsy. “One of the reasons we love to create things for our homes is because our favorite people live there! We love our families and want them to be in a happy & healthy environment. We always try to create products that are positive, motivating and uplifting. Stop by our shop and find that special detail for your home that you’ve been looking for!

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Love and Marriage Manual: A Free Download

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I have a little present for you.

I wanted to share with you what I like to give as a wedding gift when an LDS couple gets married.  I put together this FHE manual for newlyweds, a collection of talks and articles about topics that are important for married couples to study and discuss and understand.  There are some really great talks in there!

I print it out, hole punch it and put it in a 3-ring binder.  I print out the title page (above) and write a personal note to them about how these messages can bless their marriage and have blessed mine.  I usually get one of those binders with a clear plastic pocket on the front cover, slide in the title page, and tie up the whole thing with a pretty bow.

You can download the title page by clicking on the picture of it above, and you can download the whole manual (as an 80-page .pdf file) by clicking on the table of contents below.  When you click on either one, you will probably get a dialogue box that pops up asking if you want to save the file.  When you click Save, it will download to your computer.  Then you can open it and print it.

Anyway, I think it makes a great wedding gift, but I also think it would be a great Valentine’s gift to your husband, and something that would definitely strengthen your marriage if you study it and discuss it together.  All of the talks are by prophets, apostles, general authorities, and general auxiliary leaders.  (All are cut-and-pasted from lds.org or BYU devotionals or Women’s Conference talks.)  Even now, I can still think of more talks I love that I wish I had included, so feel free to print out your favorites, hole-punch them, and add them to the binder.  I love the doctrines and principles that are taught in these talks.  I hope you will too.

“Marriage brings greater possibilities for happiness than does any other human relationship. Yet some married couples fall short of their full potential. They let their romance become rusty, take each other for granted, allow other interests or clouds of neglect to obscure the vision of what their marriage really could be. Marriages would be happier if nurtured more carefully. . . . . When you as husband and wife recognize the divine design in your union—when you feel deeply that God has brought you to each other—your vision will be expanded and your understanding enhanced.”– Elder Russell M. Nelson

GCBC Week 13: “Perfect Love Casteth Out Fear” by Elder L. Tom Perry

Merry Christmas.  This week we will be studying Elder Perry’s talk about having the courage to bear testimony and help people understand who we are.  After spending the last while reflecting on the gifts we’ve received from the Savior, this talk seems a perfect way to consider how to give a gift to Him— by sharing His gospel.  If you remember, he spoke about how we do temple open houses to invite people who are unfamiliar with the Church to learn more about it.  He then teaches us to use the same model as we share information with others.

Perfect Love Casteth Out Fear by Elder L. Tom Perry

“There are a number of things that we can do—that you can do—to advance an understanding of the Church. If we do it with the same spirit and if we conduct ourselves in the same way we do when we host a temple open house, our friends and our neighbors will come to understand us better. Their suspicions will evaporate, negative stereotypes will disappear, and they will begin to understand the Church as it really is.”

What about this talk stood out to you? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

To anyone who is checking out GCBC for the first time, the goal is to read one General Conference talk a week and discuss it together as an on-line “book club.” If you want to learn more, go here, and join the discussion.

GCBC Week 14: “The Eternal Blessings of Marriage” by Elder Richard G. Scott

I cried through almost all of this talk when I first heard it on General Conference Sunday back in April.  It was such a sweet talk, so sincere and heartfelt.  You could just tell how much Elder Scott  loves his late wife and how much he misses her.  It was also a wonderful reminder of how importance day-to-day kindness is in family relationships.

“The Eternal Blessings of Marriage” by Elder Richard G. Scott

He told lots of stories that were filled with examples of love and service.  As I listened and read, I knew that there are things I can do better to show my love for my husband.  Here are a few of my favorite quotes:

Two of the vital pillars that sustain Father in Heaven’s plan of happiness are marriage and the family. Their lofty significance is underscored by Satan’s relentless efforts to splinter the family and to undermine the significance of temple ordinances, which bind the family together for eternity.

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As a mother you have been given divine instincts to help you sense your child’s special talents and unique capacities. With your husband you can nurture, strengthen, and cause those traits to flower.

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I think one of the reasons that we are counseled to get married early in life is to avoid developing inappropriate character traits that are hard to change.

How about you?  What were the main points that you felt like were take-away principles from this talk?  Share your thoughts and conversation in the comment thread below.  If you’re new to GCBC, check out the club here.

GCBC Week 13: “Finding Joy through Loving Service” by Elder M. Russell Ballard

Believe it or not, we are already about halfway through the talks.  Crazy, huh?  This talk is one of many from conference that reminded me about the importance of charity.  There seemed to be a lot of emphasis on service.

“Finding Joy through Loving Service” by Elder M. Russell Ballard

May we show our love and appreciation for the Savior’s atoning sacrifice through our simple, compassionate acts of service.

One of my favorite quotes from his talks was in his introduction of his topic of charity:

Brothers and sisters, the gospel of Jesus Christ is simple, no matter how much we try to make it complicated. We should strive to keep our lives similarly simple, unencumbered by extraneous influences, focused on those things that matter most.

This is a principle I am struggling with a little bit right now, and I know that, just as he said, I simply need to focus on “what matters most.”  It’s so easy for those details to get lost, just like the story he told about the gold flakes.

What stood out to you as you read?  In what ways do you think he’s asking us to apply this message?  Share your thoughts and conversation in the comment thread below.  If you’re new to GCBC, check out the club here.