That’s it! I just had an epiphany! In thinking and writing and thinking some more, the above title became my mantra in my quest for a happy, married relationship. The statistics are ugly. Over half the marriages end in divorce and that includes all Christian sects as well. No one is excluded. The only way we can bypass divorce is if we fight for our marriage. Even this is under debate as it’s so easy to become complacent about staying together.
There are understandable circumstances with abuse and mental illness but what about the rest of us? The distractions against couples to stay married are phenomenally abundant. In two words, we can take care of over 50 percent of this distraction: media influence.
In our modern society, (in all areas of the media including, movies, television, magazines, and books) we can turn it off, shut it down, toss the book or walk out of theaters. These are all valuable tools. Distractions can be eliminated if we can catch ourselves. Done.
So what’s left? What can I say to those who are fighting for their marriage to stay together? Be kind, pray and work at being happy together. This is encouraging for any couple who are together.
My posts have contained many words of encouragement for kindness. There is a jewel of a talk given by Jeffery R. Holland from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who was the President of Brigham Young University at one time. He talks about how we can do much in our own lives to be kind:
“Sometimes, maybe especially when we are young and insecure and trying to make our way up in the world, we think if we can tear someone else down a little, it will somehow miraculously lift us up. That is what bullying is. That is what catty remarks are. That is what arrogance and superficiality and exclusiveness are. Perhaps we think if we are negative enough or cynical enough or just plain mean enough, then expectations won’t be too high; we can keep everyone down to a flaw-filled level, and therefore our flaws won’t be so glaring.”
Kindness is a positive virtue. Kindness counts big time in relationships and those who feel the need to tear down another or belittle to make ourselves feel superior is missing out on kindness. Sometimes we have to catch ourselves or bite our tongue before we say something we will regret but kindness is important.
Some people might not believe in the power of prayer but it works. It’s not instantaneous as we are accustomed to in our culture but it does work. I’m reminded of a scripture from the Doctrine and Covenants in section 90 verse 24: “Search diligently, pray always, and be believing and all things shall work together for your good….” Life might not seem to be working together for our good but it does. As I look back on trials I have had to face in my life, I have seen the hand of God helping me, I know it has worked out for my good. We just have to keep praying and keep trying.
Work at Being Happy Together:
This idea is an ongoing process which has its ups and downs. James E. Faust a former leader of the LDS Church said this: “Happiness is not given to us in a package that we can just open up and consume. Nobody is ever happy 24 hours a day seven days a week.” (https://speeches.byu.edu/talks/james-e-faust_search-happiness/) No, it is not. We live our life as best we know how and ponder those times to realize how happy we are and have been.
Life is much more enjoyable and fun if we are happy and find joy. This is also true with a significant other. We can’t depend on each other to make us happy but we can help each other to see the bright side of life and enjoy the time together.
From that same devotional at the BYU Idaho campus, Jeffery Holland talks about living after the manner of happiness: “..learn as quickly as you can that so much of your happiness is in your hands, not in events or circumstance or fortune or misfortune.” (https://www.lds.org/ensign/2017/09/the-gospel-path-to-happiness?lang=eng#footnote4-13399_000_013 )
How many times do we count on the events in our life or the wealth that we accumulate to make us happy? Elder Holland discusses the idea that we can “live after the manner of happiness” which Nephi speaks of in the Book of Mormon. (2 Nephi 5:27). We might not be happy every minute but if we live our life in doing things that happy people do we will begin to see a happy pattern.
Three ways we can keep the fires burning in our marriages. It’s not a difficult task but one that needs to be nourished constantly.
Valerie Steimle has been writing as a family advocate for over 25 years. As a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, she promotes Christian living in her writings and is the mother of nine children and grandmother to twelve. Mrs. Steimle authored six books and is a contributing writer to several online websites. To her, time is the most precious commodity we have and knows we should spend it wisely.