"If you have an apple, and I have an apple and we exchange apples then we both still have one apple. If you have an idea, and I have an idea and we exchange ideas then we both have two ideas." George Bernard Shaw

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Make the Covenant, Enter Into it, and Have it Sealed by the Spirit of Promise

This is a follow up to another article about marriage as a stepping stone.  If you haven't read it click here

     In the Doctrine and Covenants of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints section 132 vs 7 we read "And verily I say unto you, that the conditions of this law are these: All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oathsvows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations, that are not made and entered into and sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, of him who is anointed, both as well for time and for all eternity, and that too most holy, by revelation and commandment through the medium of mine anointed, whom I have appointed on the earth to hold this power (and I have appointed unto my servant Joseph to hold this  power in the last days, and there is never but one on the earth at a time on whom this power and the keys of this priesthood are conferred), are of no efficacy, virtue, or force in and after the resurrection from the dead; for all contracts that are not made unto this end have an end when men are dead."

     The three words I want to focus on are: make, enter, and seal.

     When we enter the temple we make a covenant with God and with our spouse.  It is a simple event that only takes a few minutes to do.

     Once we have made the covenant we have to enter into it.  By this I mean that we continually work to improve our relationship with our spouse and grow and become one.

     After we have worked and grown in marriage, then the Spirit of Promise can come and seal our marriage covenant.  It is then that we are sealed and promised that we will be united forever.

Marriage is a Stepping Stone

"Marriage.  That blessed event.  That dream within a dream"

     These few lines from the movie "The Princess Bride" make marriage sound as if it is the cure to all of life's problems.  Most of us know this is far from the truth, but I think there are a few who still see marriage as an end.  Others may say it is only a beginning.  I say it is a stepping stone.

     I used to think that marriage was the end result of a successful relationship.  During my last relationship I began to think of it in a new light.  I wanted to take that relationship as far as it could go, and in my mind that meant marriage.  However as my relationship progressed I realized that relationships go much further than marriage.  If done right the process of learning, growing, and falling ever deeper in love never stops.  The best couples I know are still learning about eachother, even after thirty or more years of marriage!

     I have long known that humans are not static beings, so why would human relationships be so?  They aren't!  Two people are either becoming closer or they are drifting apart.  There are periods of both in any relationship, but the goal is to come closer and closer in the long run.

     With that thought in mind marriage then becomes merely a stepping stone in a relationship.  It shows the man and woman, and the world their commitment to each other.  It also opens the door for a family to begin and greater growth and deeper joy than either of them could ever hope to acchieve by themselves.  From that small step the process continues onward forever, as husband and wife slowly, but surely become one.

     I delve further into this idea with a more spiritual tone, drawing from my religious beliefs here.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Stop Waiting For Life to Begin

     I once read an article directed towards women that advised them not to wait around for prince charming. Although they were still encouraged to marry, they should do more than wait for some dashing young man to sweep them off their feet and solve all their problems.

     I firmly agree with that and its further application to all people.  None of us should sit around waiting and wondering "when will my life begin?"

     Although I have been going to school and preparing to become an electrical engineer, I realized that I was waiting to meet my princess and begin a family.  Its good of course to want to marry, but it had nearly become the sole purpose of my existence.  I had been saying to myself without realizing it, that once I was able to marry and start a family, then my life would really begin, I just had to be patient.

     After a rather painful breakup I began to realize what I was doing.  I decided that I needed to stop waiting for my life to begin and make it begin!  I needed to take advantage of every opportunity to grow and devolop myself, whether single or married.

     How many of us have let opportunity pass us by because we were waiting for something else?  I personally would rather not think about how many opportunitites I lost, because I was waiting for something else instead of seizing the gift right in front of me.  Now is the time to change all of that.  Today is the day to make myself into the man I want to be.  While I believe I will grow in many and unexpected ways when I do marry, there is no reason why I cannot be my own person now.  In fact it is probably essential to finding the greatest happiness I can in marriage that I work to make myself as complete and refined a man as I can.

     Don't let another opportunity slip past because you are waiting for something.  Take charge of your life and when opportunity knocks, invite it in for a drink.  When another one comes by, invite it in as well and make it a party.  If it seems that your house is empty of such guests, then make an opportunity for yourself.  At all times strive to develop, learn, and grow.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Perfect Effort

     As I was walking to church today and thinking about life and how I wanted to change and not be so critical of myself I had this thought: "98% of the time I can't get perfect results, but I can give perfect effort."

     For most of my life I have held very high expectations of myself.  I often compared myself to others and was also critical of others.  It wasn't really that I meant to be offensive or thought that the person was doing a bad job I would just think how they could do it better.  I have a very analytic  mind and it is natural for me to see something or someone and take it apart in my mind, either to see how it works or how to make it better. (I often take real things apart to see how they work as well.  I'm a stereotypical engineer)
     Being so critical of myself and expecting perfection of myself has led to lots of pain for me.  I was a perfectionist and it was hurting me.  I should say is hurting me because it is still something I am working on.  This last week has been really hard for me and I have been struggling to be happy instead of focusing on the negative aspects of my life.  I decided that I should try to worry more about the effort I am putting into something and make sure I am simply doing my best at it, regardless of how it turns out.

     Its good to reach for the stars and to try to be the best I can, but not when it damages me.  My branch president encouraged me to simply let go.  He said I should go float on a river and just let the river take me wherever it wanted to go, but to do that with my mind.  He said it is good that my mind works the way it does, but I don't have to be that way all the time.  Sometimes I need to just go with the flow.

     In the book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible it says "To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven."  There are times that I need to use my mind's full capacity and work as hard as I can, and there are other times that I need to slow down and not worry.

     I need to recognize that some things really don't matter in the long run and just go with whatever sounds good at the time, enjoy the moment, and then move on.  There are also some things that I can't do anything about so I need to just let them go and not worry.

     Some day I, and every other person, will be perfect in all things, but in the mean time I just need to try my best no matter the outcome, and be happy with life.