There are marriages that are composed of two spouses that endure seemingly everything, especially each other. While staying together seems the top priority, they still are so apart from each other emotionally.
One couple has a grieving wife, she lost her mother, and she’s checked out of life. She drinks when she’s not at work and takes sleeping medication when she wakes so she can sleep some more and hopefully dream of her mom. Her husband doesn’t know what to do for her, he’s not of her faith and doesn’t understand why she’s acting this way. He does his best to raise their two kids alone and plays video games in the solitude of the evenings. Their lives are parallel now, rather than a cohesive single path for them to walk together.
Another has been married but lived separately for years. The husband is the service member and is deployed regularly and in training oftentimes when he’s at home. These training activities take place in different states around the country and feels the same as a deployment to his wife because she is not allowed to accompany him. The kids grow up without him and she makes friends that are there for her because her husband cannot be. Despite this, though, they connect regularly through emails and send pictures as often as they like. Phone calls are rare but exciting and special, and the calendar at home is religiously checked off day by day as the one when Daddy comes home is looked forward to with more anticipation than Christmas. Once he finally does come home, his wife will meet him at the airport and they spend the first 18 hours alone with the children waiting at a friend’s house. This time helps them reconnect and rejuvenate after the long separation. At some point in the first week, she will tell him the different techniques she’s using in her parenting skills because the kids have grown a bit while he’s been
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gone, and the ones he remembers using aren’t developmentally as helpful as they were when he left. The next week or two isn’t as beautiful as it would seem, because of the long absence, but their mutual vision of their lives and their desire for each other’s happiness smooth out the rough spots.
“Marriage is a relationship that cannot survive selfishness, impatience, domineering, inequality, and lack of respect. Marriage is a relationship that thrives on acceptance, equality, sharing, giving, helping, doing one’s part, learning together, enjoying humor.” David O. McKay
From Bruce C. Hafen’s Covenant Hearts we read:
“Up to now, your first question has naturally been, “what is best for me” – how to use your time, money, school, work, whatever. But after your wedding, the biggest question is, “What is best for our marriage, our family?” And that is a very hard thing to learn.”
The first couple has two people who are living together but with a completely different focus from each other. The second, people who spend much of their lives living apart from each other but are completely focused on the other.
Dr. Gottman teaches that we need to turn toward each other and touch base with each other regularly. When the spouse comes home from work, he suggests a six second kiss and at some point a nice exchange of dialogue as you each take a turn talking about your day and hearing your spouse’s.
With the first couple, if they were to turn toward each other, the wife would be able to talk through a lot of her pain, and her husband would be able to hear her, to bear it with her, to support her, and allow her to cope with it instead of building it into a wall between them.
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The military couple (and family) is able to talk about the day via email and stay current with stresses, joys, accomplishments, and goals in a regular manner.
Additionally, and most importantly, Christ is able to heal anything He is allowed to touch and/or influence. As we come closer to Him, we can feel of His love and ask for the power to repent and forgive and share that love.
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“Marriage was ordained of God. It is a righteous principle when in holiness it is received and practiced. If men and women today would enter into this covenant in the spirit of humility, love and faith, as they are commanded to do, walking righteously in the ways of eternal life, there would be no divorce, no broken homes; but a happiness, a joy, beyond expression.” Joseph Fielding Smith
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