The other day I was sitting on the couch reading the manual for our Sunday school class which is on marriage and family relations when my 9 year old asks,"Mom, whatcha reading?" So I told him it was an awesome class being held once a month for married couples at church. I explained that Micah and I have been taking this class and we're learning how to be a better, stronger, more unified married couple. Then I asked him,"Do you think we need to take this class?"
"Ummm, yeah," he said with absoluteness."You guys fight too much. Like before church and after church, and sometimes even during church!" My eyes got really wide as I was a bit surprised by his bluntness, but then I agreed. My husband and I do bicker too much on Sundays. We're both tired and cranky from a long week, and bicker over what time we should leave the house. I get really irritated when I feel like he's rushing me and he gets real irritated when I make us late by running around doing last minute things. Yes, we do argue too much on Sundays and that needs to stop, among other things we're learning to do better.
Then my 7 year old pipes in with his two cents,"Yah! And Micah has a secret stash of skittles in the cellar that he's always sneaking into his mouth!"
We both looked at him and laughed because the fact that my husband has a secret candy stash really had nothing to do with what we were talking about, except that maybe Odin felt like since we were being open and honest about important things, we should at least honor the fact that his dad has a secret stash of candy.
But back to arguing on Sundays. Our family gets up and goes to church every Sunday at 9am, and yes, sometimes it is hard to get moving and hard to get everyone ready, but it is 100% worth it. Coming home from church on Sunday I feel renewal in my soul. Usually after church on Sunday I've been spiritually edified and uplifted, and feel overwhelmed with gratitude for my blessings. On the Sundays that church seems to drag on and feel pointless for me, say as I'm chasing my toddler through the hallways for 3 hours, then I am grateful that my children and husband have had the opportunity to feel edified and uplifted in the things they've learned. Or I try too look for ways I can help other people around me. Usually someone there is having a worse day than me and needs a hug or needs to vent in the mother's nursing lounge. I try to be available for stuff like that.
Our church is a place of peace and refuge. Anyone and everyone is welcome to attend, weather you are an official baptized member or not.
The most wonderful thing I love about the gospel is the principles we learn each week to improve ourselves. I saw this quote last week on facebook and it resonated with me because when I first started coming back to church I didn't want to change:
I wanted God to accept me the way I was and still bless my life. I wanted to keep doing what I was doing and still expected him to show up for me when I needed him to. What I didn't know was that he demanded more from me in exchange. He wanted me to rise higher and make better choices and become a more powerful person that I ever was. He wanted me to follow his commandments with exactness, to keep the promises I made to Him at my baptism, and to turn off the excessive noise and influences from the world and "Come unto Him."
It was through my obedience to the principles I learned at church that God changed me into a better person. More loving. More nurturing. More charitable. More honest, more pure in thought. More healthy, more physically fit, more energy to take care of myself and my family. More faithful, more hopeful, and more able to endure the hardships that get thrown at me in life. If he had left me the way I was, I would've crumbled and fallen a long time ago.
I don't know who I would be! But it's also a constant work in progress. Because apparently, I argue too much with my spouse on Sundays, and I know that God refuses to leave me that way.
One part of our lesson this past Sunday that really stuck with me was about how through Christ we can become more unified with our spouses because through Him we can have our natures change to make it possible.
He made clear in the scriptures how the gospel of Jesus Christ can allow hearts to be made one.
Those who believe the truth can accept the ordinances, covenants, and promises we make to God . Then, through obedience to those ordinances and covenants, our natures would be changed. The Savior’s Atonement in that way makes it possible for us to be sanctified. We can then live in unity, and peace with our spouse, our families, and those around us!
I can feel the power of this truth in my life. The more I follow Christ and the more I keep my promises with Him, the more harmony I feel with my husband, my children, my extended family, and the world around me. When we feel unified, our hearts become as one, and the harmony we feel spreads across all barriers of race, class, religion, or status. Says the manual about the gospel of Christ:
" It leads to personal peace and a feeling of union with others. It unifies souls. A unified family, a unified Church, and a world at peace depend on unified souls."
In our world today we need unified souls more than anything. I get so darn sad reading the news and feeling the tensions and conflicts across the globe over the barriers people have built up between themselves. There are color and race wars, status wars, religious wars and wars over greed and money. The Savior wants us to unify our hearts and be ONE with each other. This is His message, yet so many people can't see it because of their own pride and self-righteousness.
I have felt pride and self righteousness in my marriage, and I want to better at that. I don't want to put up angry barriers between us or hold onto past hurts. I want to love my husband with all my heart and let go of any tensions we might have. Forgiveness is paramount to marriage survival, and starting over each day with a clean slate of love and understanding is key.
I still have a lot of learning to do. That's why I have been married ten years and am taking a class on having a better marriage; there's always room for improvement.
p.s. I love this man with all my heart.