• “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple. Dr. Suess

Saturday, April 22, 2017


A new semester. A new class: FAML 300 MARRIAGE. 

I love the clean simplicity of plain bands.

Marriage! How does someone with a spouse effectively discuss such a topic deeply unless their spouse is also privy to the discussion? As I begin this course I realize this semester will change who I am, and may critically affect my attitudes and behaviors.

My spouse likes more elaborate things.
But compromises can be worked out. 

In fairness to my spouse, I explain what I am seeing and feeling, and offer to share course materials if he is willing to join me in reading and discussing topics. He had already been perusing my text books. He thought they looked interesting – or are they merely intimidating?

If my spouse were reading Dr. H Wallace Goddard’s, “Drawing Heaven into Your Marriage,” without me, I suspect I could find that somewhat intimidating. And Dr. John M. Gottman’s, “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work,” would certainly cause me to be somewhat suspicious of how the book might affect my spouse’s attitudes and behavior.

The lead course designer provided a page of reading material about the importance of marriage and asked students to reflect on, and respond to four questions as part of an online discussion with other class members.

The basic requirement for Discussion Board posts and replies is supposed to be 350 to 600 words. I whipped out a sentence or two for each question and posted it, but after reviewing the syllabus I realized I needed to be more thoughtful to be able to meet that word count. Strangely, (for me at least), I really struggled to build the required word length.

I've never attempted to articulate such deep beliefs and feelings before. 

The forced process actually helped me realize how shallow my answers had been and to think more deeply about the meaning of marriage. This course requires me to publicly share a very closely held part of my core being and beliefs. I'm having to decide if I am OK with that. I thought about dropping out. 


But then I considered the message of our new BYUI President and his wife, Henry J. & Kelly C. Eyring from their first devotional to students Tuesday. "Hello, My Friend," discusses our need to reach out to others and avoid the "temptation" to withdraw socially. I am deeply intrigued by the doctrines they taught.  

I'm still unsure about many things. 

Nonetheless, I am jumping in, even if I must learn to swim.


Here's my 350 'ish' words ...
  •  What meaning does marriage have for you? What does it represent?
Marriage is an ideal pattern to develop and promote becoming more like God the Father, our Heavenly Father. For me it represents a core longing to be more than I now am.

Ideally, marriage unites two individuals in physical, spiritual, and emotional ways so they are able to gain and magnify strengths, and minimize or overcome weakness or error.
  • What meaning does marriage have within your family?
Marriage in my family is viewed as a permanent commitment, and a covenant relationship with each other and with God. 

My paternal grandparent's 50th wedding anniversary, 1961

My ancestors generally modeled enduring marriages lasting their entire life time.

My maternal grandparents - 60 years, 1986
  • In what way has your family influenced your views about marriage?
My family’s examples of stable enduring marriage influence me to build and strengthen my own marriage and family. Although we are imperfect human beings, and some family members lack real stability or enduring relationships, true principles are both modeled and taught.

The expectation is pervasive even though application is not always successful. These expectations and teachings also develop a greater support network than might be otherwise available. If a relationship is breaking down, family members are more likely to encourage solutions versus giving up or quitting.

Family members, especially those like parents who are turned to for trusted advice, will help couples turn to each other instead of away from each other, promote patience, and will encourage considering many potentially positive options— Is there another view? a different interpretation? or possible remedy?
  • How do you think your views about marriage will affect your own marriage?
In my opinion, we live in a throw-away, disposable society accustomed to instant gratification. If more divorcing couples believed they would be alone and lonely for the remainder of their lives perhaps they would reconsider, or figure out other options. Too many may be driven toward dysfunction or divorce by friends or family reinforcing petty grievances and encouraging selfishness or pride.

Some seem to believe a new and ‘better’ or ‘happier’ relationship will soon be available if they simply discard the present partner. They haven’t truly committed their all to their spouse, and constantly consider replacement models as if continuously ‘shopping.’ For them, is marriage a mere commodity custom-ordered on whims?

Believing marriage is an enduring, eternal partnership increases my willingness to re-evaluate, grow, learn, repent, and forgive—and to allow my spouse and others to do so also. It helps to view all events, experiences and marital ups-and-downs with more long term attitudes and assessments.