Family Vs The World

The greatest battle we face today is that of the breakdown and destruction of the traditional family in today's society. There have been a lot of recent events that have taken a toll on the family and on this blog I will present the things I am currently learning in my class about family relations. I hope you ask the questions, "What is going on with the family in society?" "Where do I stand?" and "What can I do?" Feel free to comment on what you read here! Like it, hate it, share it, or debate it; all comments are welcome.

Saturday, December 14, 2013


Hello there! I know I've kind of been slackin on here... life as a college student is just crazy at times! That's all I have to say! This past week in class we talked about Divorce and Remarriage. For this post, I am going to do something a little different. I am just going to share some random facts that I found particularly interesting this week, and expound upon a few of them.

The first is this: it is more often than not, that the woman is the one that will go seeking a divorce. Keeping that in mind lets look at a statistic shall we?

2 years after a divorce 70% of couples say not only that they could have saved the marriage but that they should have saved the marriage

2 years after a divorce 70% of those men get remarried

Men typically don't want the divorce and so they seem to long for that companionship. When those men get married, their ex-wives often regret their divorce and wished that they would have stuck with it. 

Next, people can get divorce, but they can never get "unmarried." What do I mean by that? Well, when you marry someone, it is more than just a legal document. You loved that person. There were several emotions involved. You had sexual relations with that person which often leads to having children with that person. They were your first true love; the one that make a commitment to be by your side, at LEAST until death. Those experiences, the "firsts," will never be firsts again. Those memories cannot be erased. So although you have a legal document that says you are no longer married, you are never really truly "unmarried" to that person. 

More often than not, most people think that money is the leading cause of divorce. If you ask an attorney of law, they will tell you that 80% of divorces are because of money. Psychologist will say between 70-75%. And marriage and family therapist will tell you that it is about 30%. 

Rumor also has it that another leading cause of divorce is miscommunication. Let me assure you, people who get divorce do NOT have a problem communicating! However, they may have a hard time seeing one another's perspectives. The problem comes when we are blaming one another, instead of explaining how we feel. 
o   Blame à defensivenesso   Pain (no blame) à compassion
When we blame out spouse, the natural response is to get defend ourselves. When we use "I" statements to express our thoughts and feelings, there is a spirit of compassion that is brought into the relationship. So keep that in mind the next time you try communicating how you really feel with your spouse. 

The last thing I wanted to mention was the difference between a contract and a covenant. Since the beginning of time, marriage was always seen as a covenant. God set the terms and the man and woman agreed to accept those terms. In fairly recent years, marriage has become very much a contract. A "I agree to do this if you do this" way of thinking. However a marriage contract is the only contract that can be dissolved by one party. Think about it. If you sign a contract to stay in an apt for 6 months and you decide that after 3 months, it's not really working for you, you can't just stop paying rent and move out? You are bound by that contract. In a marriage contract however, if either party wants out, it's only a matter of a few signatures and it is over.

Marriage needs to be taken more seriously. It should be a covenant, not a contract. We should learn how to learn inward before we start pointing fingers. And we should love for the sake of loving. Don't ever fall in love. Do it on purpose! That way there is no possible way you can fall out of love. 

Have a great day! Until next time ;)


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Effective communication

This week we talked about how we communicate nearly waking hour of our day. As you may have heard, the majority of our communication is not through the words we say. In fact the latest research suggest that as little as 14% of our communication has to do with the words that we actually say. Have you ever heard that "It's not in what you say but how you say it?" Well that is also true! It is more that double the affect of the words alone. A total of about 35% of our communication depends on our tone. So that means the left over 51% depends on what we call "non-verbal" communication. Something to think about the next time you try to tell someone you love that you love them, or when you try to "make things right" with someone you may have hurt. Often we get caught up in our emotions that we just say things in the moment and we aren't even discussing the real issue at hand. So how can we prevent those heated arguments that we find out later are really just a simple miscommunication? First of all, pay attention to how you react in the situation. Pay more attention to the words more than to the way they were said, and repeat back to the person what you understood them to say. DON'T PUT WORDS INTO THEIR MOUTH! Simply restate what you understood. This is known as being an empathic listener. It can save one from many of the heartaches that come from those "heated" debates within any relationship.

The other thing that I found very interesting was our discussion on sarcasm. I probably took so much interest in this subject because I love sarcasm. Along with nearly all of my roommates. You only imagine their faces when I came home and told them how sarcasm is a form of corrupt communication. So when I tried to explain to them what I meant by that, it quickly became a sarcastically heated debate :) And still is... So before you tune out, roll your eyes and say, "yeah, yeah..." give me a chance to explain...

I want to first share a quote by President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008) where he identified the damage that sarcasm inflicts on our relationships:

“Everywhere is heard the snide remark, the sarcastic gibe, the cutting down of associates. Sadly, these are too often the essence of our conversation. In our homes, wives weep and children finally give up under the barrage of criticism leveled by husbands and fathers. Criticism is the forerunner of divorce, the cultivator of rebellion, sometimes a catalyst that leads to failure. …

“I am asking that we look a little deeper for the good, that we still voices of insult and sarcasm, that we more generously compliment virtue and effort.”

We also talked about a scripture in Ephesians 4 but before I do, I need to define three different terms. 

Corrupt: not true to itself; inconsistent; no longer in good form (impure)
Edify: to build in an upward direction
Grace:  to give someone something that they don’t necessarily deserve

Keeping those in mind, lets look at Eph. 4: 29

29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

I have never heard of a sarcastic comment be uplifting. Have you?  Now, I know that not all sarcasm is used to degrade someone intentionally, but what is said and what is interpreted can sometimes be two completely different things. All you sarcastic people out there, have you ever said something and it was taken the complete wrong way? I know I have... I have had to explain myself many many times, to show people that I was "just kidding" or "I didn't mean it like that." After my class, I thought to myself, "Wouldn't it just be easier and more effective to not have the habit of making smart alike comments and being sarcastic in the first place?" 

So my challenge to you this week is to think twice before you say something. And not only to think twice about what you're saying, but how you're saying it. People may think you are really slow at first, but once you get the hang of it and practice it, just like with everything else, it will get easier with time. 

I hope you all enjoy this upcoming week that is full of family, food, and football! And may we always strive to be just a little kinder to one another, and make the world smile, one person at a time! 

Until next time, 

Renee ;)

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Family Crises

This week has been rather emotionally challenging. Last week I had a few decent sized "gashes" in my spirit as I have experienced death of a loved one as well as the sudden loss of a brother of a dear friend of mine. I found it rather ironic that this week we talked about family crisis in class, most of which were dealing with coping with the loss of loved ones. Though it felt like hydrogen peroxide on my newly acquired wounds, it was a good part of the healing process. I wanted to talk a little bit today about how crises, such as death in the family, can be a way for us to grow closer to one another.
The first thing I want to show you is the Chinese word for Crisis:

As you can see it is a combination of the words "danger" and "opportunity." Interesting huh? The first question was an opportunity for what? What things would come as a result of a crisis? Well, there would be an opportunity for learning; for growth. Growth emotionally, sometimes physically, as well as spiritually. What a neat concept that though there may be danger (potential for pain), there is also an opportunity. 

The next thing that I found really interesting is the definition of crisis. There is actually not a set "definition" or a "list" of crisis. The reason for that is that what might be a crisis for one family, may not be a crisis for another family. We learned about a model for crisis called the ABCX model ("Marriage and Family: the quest for intimacy by Lauer and Lauer). It works like this:

A: Actual event
B: Both resources and applying those resources – when a family goes through a crisis they have different resources such as extended family, past experiences
C: Cognitions – the thought process
X: Total eXperience

"For example, let us say that two families, the Smiths and the Joneses, face the stressor of unemployment
A= unemployment
C= define situation as undesirable but also as a challenge
B= they decide that each family member will try to find work and will do something to save money
X= The interaction of these three produces no serious crisis for them

A= unemployment
C= define their situation as a disaster
B= they expect the father to find a new job immediately and to do something to avoid any serious change in their lifestyle
X= the interaction of these three is a crisis"

What was the difference? The way that they reacted to the situation. One family was willing to change and help one another while the other relied completely on the father. What a stressful situation for Mr. Jones! While the Joneses are busy pointing figures and shoving the responsibility solely onto the father, the Smiths are experiencing something unifying. Which do you think are the most happy? My money would be on the Smith family. 

Crises requires change; sometimes in family structure, sometimes in our roles in the family, other times it necessitates other physical, spiritual or emotional changes. But I know that if we can be strong enough, and humble enough to make those changes, we can learn so many things the Lord would have us learn. Everything happens for a reason. I am convinced of that more and more each day. May the Lord bless you as you do your best to over come the challenges you are facing and that they won't become crises in this life, but you can look at these challenges as an opportunity to become more like our Father in Heaven. Have a great week!

Until next week,
Renee ;)

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Marital Intimacy and Complete Fidelity

I really wish you could have been there this week when we talked about this sometimes "touchy" subject. The way that we approached sexual intimacy this week, was with so much reverence that it has literally changed my perspective on just about everything about sex, fidelity, and marriage in general.

We started off the week as we spoke of the physiological things that occur during intercourse and explain the importance of having that sort of interaction with one person your whole life, and it's not just because God said so. In women, there is actually chemical called oxytocin, also known as the "bonding chemical," that is released during intercourse. This chemical is rarely released. Really the only other time it's released is when a mother is giving birth. This chemical creates a strong emotional bond with the other person. Now, if this chemical is so powerful, should it not be reserved for someone that you are "legally and lawfully" wedded to? Why would you share something so precious with anyone else?

There are other chemicals also such as Adrenalin, serotonin (also known as anti-depressant), along with dopamine (the natural kind). When the Lord commanded husband and wife to be of "one heart, one mind," it make so much sense that we would only have these experiences with one person. He gave us these powers not only to be happy and have close relationships with our spouses but also to create bodies for those waiting to come to this earth. We take part in this creation process, thus making this experience not just physically/emotionally satisfying, but also spiritually uplifting. It is through this process that we can find ourselves closer to God than in any other setting. What a wonderful opportunity that is! 

The other thing that we talked about that I really wanted to emphasize is the topic of infidelity. We learned that having sexual relationships outside of marriage is not the only type of infidelity. 


We read a paper entitled, "INFIDELITY: PROTECTING OUR MARRIAGES," written by Scott Gardner & Christian Greiner and it describes these four types of infidelity. (click here for full text)

Fantasy Affair (emotional/detached) is characterized by having an emotional affair with someone who has no knowledge about what is taking place, or with someone who is anonymous and would likely never be met. Examples can include flirting online or otherwise fantasizing romantically about someone other than a spouse. This violates the commandment given to Eve that her “desire” should be unto her husband (Genesis 3:16).

Visual Affairs (detached/physical), such as pornography are perhaps the most common type of infidelity. They are categorized as “physical” because they do typically involve the viewer acting out sexually. The Lord has warned us that we should not look upon anyone lustfully. While this includes wondering eyes, it also includes any form of sexual media. Pornography in all forms is strictly forbidden along with any Internet site, magazine, movie, and book where immodesty is portrayed. (Side note: think about the chick flicks you have seen; how many of us afterward, consciously or subconsciously, compare the characters to our own spouses? Do you see a wedge that could potentially create in your relationship with your spouse? Food for thought.)

Romantic Affair (emotional/attached) occurs when an individual becoming emotionally involved with a specific person other than his or her spouse. A romantic affair is characterized by a “second life” and is a result of trying to escape the monotony of everyday life

And finally, the one we associate most with infidelity, is Sexual Affair (physical/attached) occurs when a person engages in sexual acts outside the bonds of marriage with or without emotional attachment.

As we discussed further in class, we made a list of things that would be considered "infidelity" according to these definitions, we thought about the commandment, "Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shall cleave unto her and none else" (D&C 42:22) What does that mean to “cleave unto her and none else?” We talked about how friends, hobbies, your church calling, work, etc, should not interfere with your relationship with your spouse. Going back to the R.A.M. attachment theory, the more we know, trust, rely, commit or touch something, the more we are attached to that person/thing. What that person is not our spouse our attachment with our spouse will shift from them to the person or object to which we are spending our time with. This is why it is important to be careful of any relationship we have outside of our marriage, whether a friend, co-worker of the same or opposite gender, or our boat, because we could jeopardize putting something before our spouse that really shouldn’t be.  

So how are you doing? Are there things that you need to change to strengthen your marriages and make them “Affair Proof?”

The last thing I wanted to say, I’ll make it short and sweet. You may have asked yourself a time or two, “How can I talk to my children about sex? When do I talk to them about it? Should I even talk about it? What if it gives them more ideas??” If you have asked these questions, you would be considered a part of the majority of parents. These are very important questions! If there is one thing that I learned this week, it is the importance of children receiving such sacred information from the lips of their own parents.  So what is the best way to go about that “touchy” subject? To keep my promise of keeping this short, I wanted to refer you to a manual available by my church that addresses all of these questions. It is a great resource! I hope you will explore it! It is so important to educate our children correctly so that they will not look to their friends or teachers at school, or heaven forbid, the internet for their answers. It is also important to start young. Believe it or not, you can start teaching your children about it from birth! Find out by reading, "A Parent's Guide."

I wish you all the best! Until next time!

Renee :)

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Nature vs Divinity

This week we talked mostly about the transition between being engaged to being married to bringing children into the world. When thinking about what I should talk about today, the decision was pretty clear that I needed to talk about the difference of going through these life changing events naturally, as opposed to going through them in a divine way. Allow me to explain...

According to today's society, aka what is on all the television shows, when a woman is pregnant, she is "allowed" to boss other people around because her hormones are running wild and is miserable. Take "Father of the Bride 2" for example. Do you remember the scene where the two pregnant are sitting on the couch and the dad/husband is running ragged to try to get everything they need! If you have forgotten, it's in the video clip below. 

So there are a  few things that I noticed when I watched this particular clip. Maybe you did too? First of all, where is the daughter's husband? Would it not be important for him to be there when his brand new baby arrives? Also, did you notice the relationship between the mother and daughter? Now, to the normal person, that seems totally natural. Well so does cohabitation, pre-marital sex, and homosexual relationships. But are we wanting to live like the "natural man?" 

Now what if I were to tell you that overcoming the natural man does not only have to do with overcoming temptations, but also letting go of the things of the world in exchange for something divine. We are all divine beings, no matter who you are. We are all offspring of a divine being we lovely call our Heavenly Father. So what does that mean? What does being a child of God mean to you? Just think about it. 

There are some important things that I want to share about going through the pregnant process in a different way; a divine way. First let me explain a few things that men often tend to feel during pregnancy. A typical man during his wife's pregnancy feels a wide range of emotions. He is excited for the new addition, worried about how he can support his family, works hard to provide and tend to his wife's every need, and quite often feels unappreciated. The mother is often so consumed in her experience that is happening within her, that she doesn't give her husband as much attention as she did before. She will also become closer with her own mother; calling her for advise, asking questions, and sharing all the "precious moments" with her, as well as accompanying her to her doctor appointments. As a result, the man feels "left out" in a way, and withdraws, and it is then interpreted by the woman that he doesn't care about the baby. When it is time for delivery,  it is often the mother there coaching, holding her daughter's hand, and helping her through while the husband stands off in the distance observing the event instead of participating on center stage. All this would be considered the "natural" way. But we aren't seeking to be natural, we are seeking to be divine. So what does a divine pregnancy look like? 

Woman, it is extremely important for your husband to be involved. Over come this desire to turn to your mother for everything. You husband should be the one there at your doctor appointments. Men, stay involved. Take time out of your day to go to these appointments. As best you can, share every little experience. As we talked about last week about RAM, we still need to continue in all those areas (know, trust, rely, commit, touch). If we ignore, for example touch, the possiblity of creating a wedge in the relationship becomes greater. It is important to have this experience be "our" experience and not just a "her" experience. When it comes to delivery, husbands be there by her side. She is putting everything on the line to bring a child into this world. What a great miracle that you have a chance to be a part of. Don't miss it! 

Now, I would really like to hear from you this week. Especially those of you who have gone through the pregnancy process. What did you do to strengthen your relationship with your spouse during pregnancy? What things did your spouse appreciate? How did your relationship change when you brought children into your lives? I would love to hear from you! 

Have a great week!

Until next time 
Renee ;)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Dating, Marriage, and Cohabitation?

Well this week we talked a lot about dating and marriage. Ha, I just love going to an LDS University! Part of our assignment Monday was to create a plan for getting five dates after reading this article called, "Casual Dating is Alive and Well" I must say, I was impressed with this girl's method! It actually gave me a lot of confidence! It was a solution to my dilemma of should the guy ask the girl or can the girl ask the guy? So my plan this week was to 1) go to places where I could meet more guys because I honestly don't know hardly ANY guys here! Then 2) Was to look guys in the eyes and be confident with who I was! 3) engage in meaningful conversation 4) BE BRAVE!!! Ha that last step was extremely important. As I pondered my plan through out the week, I was really just trying to figure out what the heck I was going to do to fulfill this goal of finding 5 dates? On Wednesday, we talked about how dancing was just like speed dating. The lightbulb came on and I found myself at Country Dancing on Wednesday night. I went all by myself, and when I left my apartment, my roommates asked where I was going? I simply told them, "I am going to go find me a husband!" Okay first of all, it's not like what you're thinking! I promise I'm not one of those crazy girls that thinks I have to know if I am going to marry someone after the first date! But I simply meant that I had a goal, not one I was planning on fulfilling that night by any means. A very interesting thing happened psychologically that night. I was confident. I was happy. And I wasn't really afraid to be me. All because I had a goal, and a plan! Now I know you are all dying to know what happened... Well as a matter of fact, I met a really nice guy and he invited me to Latin dance. I went to Latin dance and met another guy whom I spoke with for over two hours and just had a blast getting to know someone! 

This brings me to the other thing that I found particularly interesting this week. It is called the Relationship Attachment Model (RAM). It is a theory that has changed my life and helped me understand so much about my love life! The theory goes like this... It is based on the following five things: Know, Trust, Rely, Commit, Touch. It says that the more we know, trust, rely, commit, and touch someone, the more attached we become to that person. Can anyone identify to this theory? I know I can! I finally understand my obsession of getting to know people! Think about when you were dating, or if you are single, think about your relationships you have with friends right now. I can almost guarantee that this theory is very evident in your own lives as well! 

Okay last thing I wanted to talk about is cohabitation. It was thought by social scientist 50 years ago that cohabiting was the most logical solution to decrease the number of divorces. What they found over the years was astonishing. Cohabiting actually increase the occurrences of divorces! How is that possible? Why is that? Logically thinking wouldn't it seem economical to live together? We could combine resources? We would also be able to observe the other person on a day-to-day basis. Would that not be helpful? Also, if we just live together then, when we decide that we don't want to be together, we won't have to pay for a divorce. So technically, cohabiting just makes sense right? WRONG! (Silly Satan things he can fool us...ha!) I will show you a graphic that will help me explain why that is NOT the case. 

Okay so lets say you start dating someone exclusively... you decide that you want to spend the rest of your life with that person, then you get engaged. While engaged, things start become less and less "your's" and "mine" and a lot more of "our" things. Then when you get married, you lay it all out on the table and what's your's is his and what's his is yours. 
Now let's look at cohabiting. So you start dating someone exclusively. And you love each other so you decide to move in. But you still have separate bills. It's still his dog, her car, my cell phone, his tv, etc. Then you decide that you might as well get married so you can feel that commitment (increasing your RAM). But after you get married, not much has changed... there is still a lot of "his" or "hers" and not very much "our." 

I think the most interesting thing, were the trends found when looking that the lives of those who tended to cohabit. Some of the factors were that they were younger, less religious, lower-income classes, their parents tended to have a divorce and lastly, (which I found the MOST interesting) is that the education of their mothers. The trend is that those whose mothers were less educated, tend to cohabit with their partner before marriage. Yet another reason why education is so important. I hope this blog is helping you understand more about why the principles taught in the church are so powerful and meaningful and simple put : TRUTH. The general authorities are NOT making up these statistics my friends. But thank goodness we can take peace in the gospel, and to know what is the Lords will, through his servants, the prophets. May the Lord bless you this week and may you share this knowledge with all you know, that they may also find peace in their family lives. 

Until next time ;)

Friday, October 18, 2013

Gender Roles

Wow, another week of highly valuable information stuffed in my brain all jumbled up and now it's time to make sense of it and pass on the "better part."  I think the hardest part is trying to decide what will be the most valuable to share with you! As the title suggests, we discussed a lot about the different roles men and women play. First let me ask a question, besides body parts, are men and women really that different? Are there really specific roles that men are better at than women? Or women better than men? Once again the Family: A Proclamation to the World, states that, "Gender is an essential characteristic of individual pre-mortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose." One cannot, however conclude that one gender is superior or inferior to one or the other. The Lord clarifies the roles of each gender when he says, "By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners" (emphasis added). Here we learn the general roles of fathers and mothers individually. Though mothers may be "primarily" responsible for the nurturing of their children, fathers and mothers each play an essential role in showing love to their children. Now a note on the word "equal." Something I realized this week was that the words "same" and "equal" do NOT mean the same thing. I understand that there are many feminine thinkers out there and think that women are some how under minded by men because they won't "allow" them to do the same jobs that men do. The fact of the matter folks, is that men and women are different. They should be treated equal but not the same. We need each other to achieve the greatest satisfaction in this life. Men and women were built to compliment each other not to compete against one another. Just like how we are all blessed with different talents and abilities, we are born with different spirits. And thank goodness! If we all acted like just men or just women, how boring would life be?

This brings me to another highly debated topic in today's society. That of same gender attraction. First, I wanted to define a few different terms. Same gender attraction refers to people who may find someone of their same gender sexually attractive. Homosexuality is acting on those thoughts, or sexualizing someone of their same gender either in thoughts or actions. Now the term "gay" or "lesbian" drive me nuts. There are so many presumptions that come when we call someone gay or lesbian. My teacher made a very good point in class to illustrate this frustration I have with these terms. If you think about it, if you were called gay because you don't like sports or you may have a more "feminine" side, does that mean you really are a homosexual? I have seen so many people be told that they were gay and then they turn out that way. Makes me wonder, "If people never used these terms, would the world be a different place? Would there be as many people who chose this lifestyle?" There was something that I want to make clear about people who choose this lifestyle. Many times it is a result of being sexually abuse at some point in their life. 75% of men who identify themselves as homosexual, said they "found out" they were that way when they were sexually molested.  (Most of the research that we did in this class had to deal with homosexual men so that is why I am just referring to them at present.) In fact, most of the men that are homosexuals say that when they were younger, they felt that they never quite fit in with the other boys because they would rather play house with the girls or focused more on the relationships with people. They didn't feel accepted by their own gender and many times that's when the taunting and teasing begins. Around age 10 or 11 boys start to notice girls and the boys that grew up playing with the girls don't understand what the big deal is? They're just girls? Well those boys who already have a good relationship with girls, then sought the approval of his male peers and never seems to get it. It is often the most detrimental to not receive the approval of their father. The relationship between father and son is so important! I cannot stress that enough! Fathers, please please please be involved not just with your sons, but ALL of your children.

Once again, basically the best thing that we can do for our children, is first love our spouses. If we can accomplish that, we will be more equipped to help and love our children the way they deserve. That's all folks. Until next time!