Sunday, April 7, 2013

Week 12 - Difficulties in Creating a Blended Family

Having a blended family can be complex. It is interesting that more than 50% of families today are comprised of blended relationships. I think it's important that we remember this statistic and that we learn how to adapt to them because this is the norm now. I have first-hand witnessed how hard blended families can be. My brother has two little girls both from different moms and it has been a real struggle. Although he has tried to treat them as direct sisters there is always that awkward tension sometimes when the thought of "their real mom(s)" come up. Divorces, deaths, and remarrying are all a part of life. They can't always be avoided and they aren't always the ideal solutions and issues that come up, but if we approach the situations in good light with clear support and willingness, every family has the potential to be happy and successful.

Week 11 - Parenting

I found this week's class discussion regarding parenting to be really insightful. There are so many different types of parenting styles and unique family situations. I have come to understand that it doesn't matter the situation, you can still be a great parent even if you are alone, or married, or widowed. One of the key insights I took from class this week was the need for contact and belonging. So much can be said with the simple touch of one person to another. Every child responds differently, and personal contact can show support, compassion, and understanding. I hope that one day I can be the parent that I know I have the potential to be.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Week 10 - Fatherhood and Providing Financially

I thought this week's topic was particularly interesting. For me, being a father-figure is inevitable, but right now being a provider is not the best option. My wife and I have had multiple discussions over how she feels about being the sole provider right now and we understand that although it seems like our roles are reversed, they really aren't. I may not be making all of the money, but we do know that when we have children what our plans and goals should be focused on. When I think of fatherhood, I think of the three P's. A father should preside, provide, and protect. I know that no matter the circumstances financially are, I can always be there to provide and protect my family and those I love.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Week 9 - Communication

When we were discussing Communication in class today, I thought about the movie "Hitch" when he talks about mediums and how others interpret the message you are sending (especially non verbal). I think this is something that everyone should pay more attention to since it's something that we may not realize we are doing wrong. The slight eyeroll, posture, text message with a particular punctuation could even send the wrong message. It's really important to remember that while you may be sending the same message, everyone interprets your (same) message, differently. You will be able to learn how other people may interpret something by getting to know them. It's particularly important to be aware of any signs you are sending in the first impression phase. You want everyone to clearly understand your stance and intentions.

Week 8 - Stress and Coping

Lately, I have seen my wife become extremely stressed out in her job. She loves her job, but has a lot of pressures on her. I have thought about those stresses in her life affect her and whether or not they make her a better worker/person or whether it is becoming destructive. I like how in class we discussed the different kinds of pressures and how stress isn't always a bad thing. There are many ways in which we can relieve stress and as long as it is not hurting yourself or others around you that's great. I think it's crucial to remember that everyone deals with stress differently. You cannot expect someone else to handle a situation the same as you. That has become increasingly important to me since  I have been married. As long as she is able to find a way to continually happy, which she is, I am happy with how she copes with work and life stress.

Week 7 - Physical Intimacy

One thing that I really found interesting about physical intimacy is the needs and process at which each person is fulfilled. The woman in the relationship most commonly wants to feel love and closeness before the intimate point, where the man wants to be intimate right away and therefore has his closeness needs fulfilled that way. It is really fascinating to me that both the man and the woman have needs at opposite spectrums and yet they are willing to sacrifice their needs for a common goal resulting in a stronger relationship/marriage. Intimacy is not just about the pleasure from it, but for the love and respect you are showing to your spouse.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Week 6 - Children: Blessing or Burdensome?

This week in discussing some of the pitfalls which couples encounter during marriage we tended to focus on the transitional phases of when children enter into the family. It was interesting to note that, on average, marital satisfaction steadily increases from the point of marriage until shortly after the birth of the first child, at which point it begins to decline more and more with the arrival of each additional child. Again, on average, this downward trend in marital satisfaction continues in this fashion until children being to leave the home, at which point marital satisfaction begins to increase once more.
Now, although I understand that there are obvious reasons why children could be the cause of additional stress (lack of sleep, additional responsibilities for both, husband and wife, greater demands on time, increased financial obligations, ect.), which could in turn be perceived as causing a decreased level of marital satisfaction, I don't necessarily think that needs to be the case. For one thing, I don't believe that you can directly associate your level of stress with your level of happiness. I'm sure surgeons are under extreme amounts of stress as a result of their profession but I don't believe all surgeons are unhappy or dissatisfied with their careers as a result, so why should parents become dissatisfied in their marriages when additional challenges arise? In my opinion, our level happiness and satisfaction within our marriages and all other aspects of lives, comes as a result of choice, not circumstances and as gospel principles are applied more fully in our lives, the choice to be happy becomes easier to make.