the religion class i am taking this semester is called family foundations. the curriculum of the course is based off of The Family: A Proclamation to the World.
this week we have been going over the third paragraph which states:
"IN THE PREMORTAL REALM, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshipped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize their divine destiny as heirs of eternal life. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally."
|my family. i loooooove them.|
needless to say, in the past week i have read a LOT of talks about marriage and family and their importance.
but the talk that stood out to me the most was about divorce.
divorce. i hate that concept.
i'll let you in on a little secret: divorce is my number one fear in life. with debt coming in at a close second because financial issues are one of the top reasons for divorce nowadays.... and debt is a huge burden that is avoidable.
i understand that there are some cases where divorce is necessary-- and i even agree with it in some cases. but i completely agree with this statement made by Elder Dallin H. Oaks: (he is speaking to people who are married and considering divorce) "I strongly urge you and those who advise you to face
up to the reality that for most marriage problems, the remedy is not divorce but repentance. Often the cause is not incompatibility but selfishness. The first step is not separation but reformation. Divorce is not an all-purpose solution, and it often creates long-term heartache. A broad based international study of the levels of happiness before and after “major life events” found that, on average, persons are far more successful in recovering their level of happiness after the death of a spouse than after a divorce. Spouses who hope that divorce will resolve conflicts often find that it aggravates them, since the complexities that follow divorce— especially where there are children—generate new conflicts." (Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Divorce, May 2007, emphasis added)
later in his talk Elder Oaks said:
"Even those who think their spouse is entirely to blame should not act hastily. One study found 'no evidence that divorce or separation typically made adults happier than staying in an unhappy marriage. Two out of three unhappily married adults who avoided divorce reported being happily married five years later.' A woman who persisted in an intolerable marriage for many years until the children were raised explained: 'There were three parties to our marriage—my husband and I and the Lord. I told myself that if two of us could hang in there, we could hold it together.'" (Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Divorce, May 2007, emphasis added)
the Atonement isn't just for individuals. it's for couples and families too. this is something that i have been learning a lot about recently. in order for our families to be together forever, we A L L need the Atonement. sometimes this means that as individuals we have to hold onto the hope that our loved one will repent and change. but not only that, we have to hold onto the hope that they CAN repent and change.
another secret: i've never really had the problem of trusting that the Savior's Atonement works for me. i have full faith in that. my struggle is trusting that the Savior's Atonement works for other people because i know that the Atonement only works if you do. questions ran through my mind: what if they don't want to change? what if they like what they're doing? what if they only go half way? and then i'd have thoughts like these run through my mind: they probably aren't changing. they probably aren't doing the things they should be doing. i'm worried about them. i love them but they struggle with _____.
so much for faith in others, right? well guess what. in EVERY situation that i've had these thoughts and struggles and fought to overcome them and just love the person-- they. have. changed. not because i believed in them 100% (my inner thoughts obviously showed my lack of faith there...) but because they relied on the Savior and His Atonement. they changed. with His help (not mine), they changed. and then i learned this very valuable lesson:
change is hard. & it's harder when we have the people that we love and respect telling us (by word but usually by action) that we can never change; that we are our mistakes and weaknesses.
sometimes we have to fake it to make it. sometimes we have to give a little more trust then WE think is deserved. sometimes we have to take those steps in faith, trusting that the Atonement will heal our relationships-- especially the eternal ones.
God is good. the Atonement is real and very powerful. let it change your life.
this last little bit was an answer to prayers for me. so i decided to share it-- this is for all the unmarried folks out there:
"In conclusion, I speak briefly to those contemplating marriage. The best way to avoid divorce from an unfaithful, abusive, or unsupportive spouse is to avoid marriage to such a person. If you wish to marry well, inquire well. Associations through “hanging out” or exchanging information on the Internet are not a sufficient basis for marriage. There should be dating, followed by careful and thoughtful and thorough courtship. There should be ample opportunities to experience the prospective spouse’s behavior in a variety of circumstances. Fiancés should learn everything they can about the families with whom they will soon be joined in marriage. In all of this, we should realize that a good marriage does not require a perfect man or a perfect woman. It only requires a man and a woman committed to strive together toward perfection." (Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Divorce, May 2007, emphasis added)