Tuesday, February 24, 2015

the f word

I distinctly remember my bridal shower like it was yesterday.  Roughly three years ago my maid of honor threw me a super fun bridal shower in our little apartment in southern Utah.  Surrounded by lots of close friends, some future in laws and my mom I opened gorgeous lingerie while blushing, ate yummy food and loved watching the girls try to make wedding dresses with toilet paper.  It was seriously wonderful.

 (Roommates at my Bridal Shower.  We were SO YOUNG!
 Fun fact: now 4/5 of us are married. Circa April 2012)

One of the activities the girls did was write anonymously on these little cards that we marked "marriage advice."  I was one of the first of my friends to get married, so most of the advice was comical coming from lots of single college girls.  I still have all of those silly cards that the girls wrote their advice for how I would deal with my upcoming nuptials. A week or so ago as I was going through some old papers I came across these advice cards again.  Nearly three years later, it was still just as funny to read all of the "newlywed advice" the girls had given me.  Then I came across one that struck me...

"Your happiness is more important than a fight."

And I thought a lot about it during that day.  I mean, JD and do not agree all the time.  Was I single handedly ruining our relationship because I am not at all submissive (if you know me at all, you know I've got a pretty strong personality...for better or worse)?  Would I be better off just letting JD run all over the countryside buying every piece of Nintendo memorabilia he wanted?  I mean, my marriage sure feels pretty happy...am I doing something wrong?  So, allow me to go through some myths about fighting in marriage and why I think you should let conflict happen.

MYTH: Don't go to bed angry
FACT: This is one I sometimes agree with and sometimes don't.  Mostly just because,when you're tired the fight always just continues to get worse.  Sometimes, you just have to go to sleep and deal with it in the morning.  If you're in the middle of a knock out, drag out type of argument, it is probably best to get it finished before going to bed.  However, if you're just going in circles because you're so exhausted, you may just want to give a time-out until the morning.

MYTH: Happy Couples Don't Fight
FACT: JD and I are a happy couple.  And we do fight.  We allow conflict into our marriage on a small scale as a way to express our frustrations.  When I get passive aggressive (which, let's be honest, happens a lot) I create a way bigger conflict that necessary.  If we express our problems frequently, we're less likely to have huge fights. 

MYTH:Conflict means there is a lack of love in your marriage
FACT: The best things in life are worth fighting for.  If you marriage is your top priority, you should be doing everything possible to fight to make it the best.  That means airing your grievances with your spouse so you both know what you need to be doing to make your marriage fulfilling for both of you.

 (There are a few articles that I've been reading and loving on this subject, here, here, here and here.)

So yeah, we fight.  But we're still pretty dang happy, and that's what really matters.

Us, Circa November 2014

Friday, February 13, 2015

because we paid our tithing

It was always a running joke in our household growing up that when we were doing everything right, things always seemed to be much harder.  When we were doing all of the things the Lord asked of us, it felt as though Satan's influence was working so hard on our family.  As I've been married and started my own family, those same principles seem to ring true still.  For example, our car broke down this week because we paid our tithing.

On Tuesday last week, I was working all night long.  In my field of work, I have to be on call every other week.  My first call came in at midnight, got it finished around 2:00 AM.  Then my second call came in at 2:15 AM, got it wrapped up around 6:00 AM.  Then is was time to get ready for work.  I came in and worked most of the morning, then got really tired that afternoon and went home early to get a nap in.  I had to get JD from his office, so I headed back over to West Valley City to get JD.  On the way over there, the car felt really weird and the check engine light came on.  I felt it was probably nothing and pushed it out of my mind.  JD then started the car to head home and the lights came on again.  We decided to go home and get out the warranty paperwork for the car and head to the dealership to see what the issue was.

When we arrived home, we gathered all of the paperwork and realized the warranty was only good for 12,000 miles.  We instantly panicked thinking we were out of warranty as we've had this car for about 9 months.  Turns out, we were within 100 miles of our warranty limit because we paid our tithing. 

After realizing we would still be able to get some work done, JD wanted to get the car over to the dealership right away.  But, our car wouldn't start.  By some miracle, one of our home teachers was home from work early and jump started the car for us because we paid our tithing.

JD got the car to the dealership and found that our alternator was shot, the battery was completely drained and our left front axle had to be replaced.  Honestly, the mechanic had not idea how we got the car there.  He said this car shouldn't have been able to be jump started.  But it did, because we paid our tithing.

The work was going to be over $2,500 to fix without the warranty (I about went into cardiac arrest and was fully prepared to just buy another car).  However, we were still (just barely) within warranty, so that amount was cut by over 75% of what we would have had to pay for the repairs because we paid our tithing.

Basically, life sucked last week because we paid our tithing.  But we were also granted so many blessings and saw infinite amounts of love by those around us and the love God has for us because we paid our tithing.

To those who faithfully and honestly live the law of tithing, the Lord promises an abundance of blessings. Some of these blessings are temporal, just as tithes are temporal. But like the outward physical ordinances of baptism and the sacrament, the commandment to pay tithing requires temporal sacrifice, which ultimately yields great spiritual blessings. - Elder Robert D. Hales