Same-sex marriage: Disagreement and love

The world is buzzing with political news about marriage, gender, love, and family. In my life, I have never seen the world so divided against each other and at the same time unwilling to see the others point of view. It’s heart-wrenching to see former friends unfollow the other, to see family members heated with frustration towards each other, and to see so much disunity.

Throughout it all, and on both sides, there’s talk of tolerance. There’s talk that love should win. There’s talk that LGBT lifestyles should not be supported. There’s talk that keeping two people apart because of religion is unchristian. Misunderstanding and anger abound.

My heart hurts. It hurts not only because of what I hear people saying to those around them, but hurt because I also feel misunderstood. I’m sure people on both sides feel this way. I believe all individuals want to agree and feel agreed with. As a result, this whole debate has left people feeling unaccepted by others, if they believe in same-sex marriage, or not.

In the end, the issue has hurt us all, in one way or another.

But, I think one thing needs to made clear. Love and tolerance are two separate things and can co-exist without disintegrating the other. Let me illustrate:

No, I do not support same-sex marriage. Yes, I know people who are LGBT. Yes, I love them. Yes, I want them to have a happy life. Yes, my religion plays a huge role in why I do not support it. Yes, I have read the bible and believe in a loving God. But, no, I’m not trying to keep people apart or make other people suffer.

Most importantly, I believe that I can love individuals and still think differently.

disagree and love 2I believe that love and disagreement can exist together. I don’t believe that to love someone fully means you agree with all they agree with–meaning high love equals high tolerance.  Nor do I believe that not agreeing with someone’s view point indicates a lack of love–meaning low love is equal to low tolerance. I believe you can love someone fully, accepting them for who they are, but still not agree with or condone their acts.

I can love and disagree, while still being respectful. So can you.

Dr. Alwi Shihab, the Presidential Advisor and Special Envoy to the Middle East taught out of the Quran when he said: “We must respect this God-given dignity in every human being, even in our enemies. For the goal of all human relations–whether they are religious, social, political, or economic–ought to be cooperation and mutual respect.” (Building Bridges to Harmony Through Understanding, Shihab)

I love that. Despite differences, we should probably stop ourselves before we speak or comment out of anger. Even if we don’t understand or value another person’s viewpoint, we can still seek to value them.

For example, I have family that embraces the LGBT lifestyle. I do not agree with their lifestyle, but I love them. We “like” and comment on each others pictures, we congratulate each other on important life events. We get together for family reunions and talk about things we both find interesting and play games we enjoy. I genuinely am grateful for them in my life. We choose to accentuate the things we agree on. We both know we don’t agree on religious or political issues, but we choose to love, see the good, and relate with each other about the things we do agree on.

We love while disagreeing.

Dallin H. Oaks, former Utah Supreme Court Justice, quoted Gordon B. Hinckley when he said: “We must work harder to build mutual respect, an attitude of forbearance, with tolerance one for another regardless of the doctrines and philosophies which we may espouse.” (Truth and Tolerance, Oaks)

This is all to say, I wish there was more love. Love that cares for people, while they believe differently than them. Love that holds onto their convictions, but still reaches out and finds similarities.

Love your friends if they disagree; love them if they agree. Love them if they accept your beliefs; love them if they don’t accept your beliefs.

You don’t have to lose your beliefs to love. You can love no matter what.

Each day I choose: flaws or fabulous?

Over the years, I think I believed a marriage was made better due to both individuals changing and becoming better over time–a slow refiners fire. Although I still believe this would make for a better marriage over time, I’m beginning to realize that the biggest change for my marriage will take place within… me.

Of course there are exceptions. Some marriages are genuinely harmful in nature and degrading to a spouse. But overall, many spouses in a marriage have a daily choice, I know I do in mine. My marriage could be joyous, fulfilling, satisfying, and meaningful, because of who I am and my attitude. Or, my marriage could be full of frustration, annoyance, disappointment, and contention, because of who I am and what I choose to see.

The choice is mine to make. Every single day.

Each day I chooseEach day I choose the quality and happiness I will find in my marriage. I can choose to see the flaws of my spouse and hone in on them. I can choose to not get past them and begin to think of ways that he needs to improve or the characteristics he needs to alter. I could even make a plan for his change and try to make the change occur through “subtle” hints, encouragement, or reminding. But, most likely, I would be the one making the marriage worse.

In H. Wallace Goddard’s book, Drawing Heaven into Your Marriage, he says:

Satan knows that healing human souls is something we humans always do poorly. That is why the devil wants us to be mate-fixing do-it-yourselfers.

This is a keen irony in our dilemma. We cannot fix our partners. We cannot even fix ourselves! But we can make ourselves humble. We can recognize our dependence on God for all that we have and are.

So when we presume to set our partners and our marriage right, we are intruding on the Heavenly prerogative. We are seizing the reins from God. It doesn’t work. We mortals make poor gods.”

I was not made to fix my spouse and tell him how he needs to change and the steps he needs to take. I’m not even the one who needs to tell him what to work on. That is simply not my job, and whenever I assume it, I’ll inevitably do it wrong. Why? I cannot even change myself very effectively without the help of God and His endless and all encompassing atonement.

So, what is my job in the marriage? To simply find joy in what I love about my partner. Celebrate his triumphs, celebrate his good, celebrate what I fell in love with in the beginning and leave the rest to him and God. My job is simply to love, accentuate the positive, and have charity for his weakness, as I hope he’ll have charity for mine.

In the end, my marriage is only as good as my ability to love my spouse. In the end, my marriage is only as good as my ability to see the good. And in the end, the only lasting change I can make takes place in me.

I am the master of my fate*If you would like to read more thoughts on marriage, feel free to jump on over to my blog about marriage and relationships: Working for my Marriage. It is still in the early stages of being created & designed, but the content is all there! 🙂

Sacredness of Intimacy

This week my mind has been blown, boggled, and awe-inspired all at once. Sometimes I read an article and I’m relatively unchanged by it’s contents, but then sometimes I come across an article that dives into my heart and makes waves that last for days.

I can’t shake this last article I read and the feeling it has brought over me. Check out the article HERE.

Sacredness of life

The main premise? Marital intimacy is a sacrament that we experience with our spouse and God. Sacraments are moments in time when we come to God and feel his holy presence. We partake of a holy experience with Him. There are few times in life when we get more close to divinity itself, then when we join with our spouse with the potential to create. And not just to create anything… but to create a living, breathing, loving, dreaming human being.

This concept boggles my mind.

“You and I who can make neither mountain nor moonlight, not one raindrop nor a single rose–yet we have this greater gift in an absolutely unlimited way. And the only control placed on us is self-control–self-control born of respect for the divine sacramental power it is.

Surely God’s trust in us to respect this future-forming gift is awesomely staggering. We who may not be able to repair a bicycle nor assemble an average jigsaw puzzle–yet with all our weaknesses and imperfections, we carry this procreative power that makes us very much like God in at least one grand and majestic way.”

This quote is the essence of my thoughts. I cannot believe that me–so very imperfect– and quite unable to put together a rubiks cube–am right this minute creating fingers and toes, a nervous system, eyes to see the sunrise, and ears to hear birds and someday my goodnight lullaby.

sacredness of marital intimacy

I’m so profoundly grateful to a God who lets me come closer to Him through this sacrament. This time when I feel His guiding hand and love so powerfully. Surely, intimacy is sacred, the creation of life is sacred, and I’m humbled that even I, as imperfect and weak of a vessel I am, can take a part in this magnificent sacrament.

The best choices I made for myself

There seems to be a notion among ladies that getting married is practically selling your soul to a life of boredom and having children is waving goodbye to your health, good looks, and happiness. Before embarking on my journey with both, I didn’t have much to say–I spoke on faith alone that marriage and motherhood would bring happiness. But now? Now I speak from experience; from evidence in my own life. best choices marriage motherhoodYes, if we’re speaking in terms of doing what is best for yourself–marriage and motherhood are simply a good choice. It isn’t choosing a life of giving up all you love, it is gaining a life of meaning.

If you marry well–marriage will be no where close to living a life of boredom, it’s the opposite. It’s getting so comfortable with one person, you feel you can be your absolute crazy self, your whole self–no feeling of trying to impress or be something you’re not. You have a best friend who will be there to wipe away your tears, vent your frustrations to, and be a crazy nut with, all without a second thought of them judging you. No, marriage has been my happiest years, my craziest years, and my most fulfilling all in one.

Not only that, it has been best for my self-worth, too. There is someone who knows all about me, seen all of me, and never leaves. No one-night stands here. There is someone who inspires me in my goals, keeps me accountable for what I’m working on, and reminds me day-in and day-out that I’m beautiful and worthwhile–even when I feel ugly and insignificant. Never have I been more self-assured than since I’ve been married.

And now about the kids.

When I was pregnant, I heard two girls behind me talking about their friend who was pregnant. One of them expressed her disdain for pregnancy and said:

“Pregnancy completely ruins your body.”

While pregnancy can be taxing, strenuous, and dangerous, most of all–it is beautiful. It doesn’t completely ruin your body. That is a hoax. In reality, it fulfills its purpose. I’ve never felt so whole or complete, than after I had my baby. Pregnancy and motherhood have brought me happiness, not stolen it away.

Since having my first, I’m healthier than before. I have way more reason to hit the gym, than simply wanting a slim bod. I workout and eat right because there are little ones I want to play with, memories I want to have, and a life I want to live. Yes, motherhood has fueled my desire to live and growing a baby inside me has never gotten in the way.

“Being a mother is not what you gave up to have a child, but what you gained from having one.”–Unknown

Don’t believe the lie that marriage and motherhood will strip the fun out of life; that marriage will confine you to a dull relationship and motherhood will make your body damaged goods, because it simply is not that way. If you do believe the lie, you may be robbing yourself of the greatest happiness you’ll ever know.

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Give him more than leftovers

We are all well acquainted with leftovers–Thanksgiving this last week has made me quite aware of the phenomenon. It’s the part of the meal left after a feast; the part that gets thrown in a tupperware or tossed.leftovers

Lately, I’ve been feeling like I’ve been giving my husband a lot of leftovers. After a long day taking care of my rambunctious boy, I swear he’s eaten up all my energy. When my husband walks in the door, my mood is short and I’m at the end of my rope. I give him my love, but in the end, I’m pretty much handing him leftovers, offering him what’s left of me in a tupperware. ‘”Take it or toss it,” I feel in my heart. I’m ready to mindlessly surf the internet or veg until we go to bed.

Am I the only one who struggles with this?? It saddens me, but it’s true.

Everyday I want to give our little boy the best of me, he is one of my greatest treasures. I’ve never felt my heart latch onto another person in the way my heart instinctively latched onto his. I’ve never felt so much worry and utter happiness until he came along.

img_3387Yet, I distinctly feel my relationship with my husband should be first, even before my little ones. It is close parents who set the tone, bring stability, and model love and kindness in a home. Couldn’t I try a little harder to give my husband a fresher, more loving heart–instead of my cold heart in a tupperware?

“Those who enter into marriage should be fully prepared to establish their marriage as the first priority in their lives.”- James E. Faust

My husband, he’s the love of my life, my best friend, and my greatest confidant. He provides for me. He became my one and only the day we were sealed for eternity and I intend on keeping him mine forever. He is the daddy to my boy; the man I’ll still be dating when our little ones have grown. He is the one whose wrinkly hand I hope to hold as we watch our family grow.

So today, I’m committing to saving more of myself for my husband–more than just measly, cold leftovers for a heart.

How do you save energy and time for your husband or significant other? How do you make your husband feel loved and cherished even when you’re tired?

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