Thursday, September 29, 2005

Grow Your Love to Mighty Proportions

"Total unselfishness is sure to accomplish another factor in successful marriage. If one is forever seeking the interests, comforts, and happiness of the other, the love found in courtship and cemented in marriage will grow into mighty proportions. Many couples permit their  marriages to become stale and their love to grow cold like old bread or worn-out jokes or cold gravy. Certainly the foods most vital for love are consideration, kindness, thoughtfulness, concern, expressions of affection, embraces of appreciation, admiration, pride, companionship, confidence, faith, partnership, equality, and interdependence."
     -  Spencer W. Kimball

There is a profound paradox to be found in a successful marriage.  Rather to focus on what I need, I need to focus on the needs of my sweetheart.  Only by focusing on the needs of my eternal companion can my needs truly be met.  

Thursday, September 22, 2005


I took a couple of the kids to the zoo the other day. As I think I mentioned before, we have a family pass to the local zoo. We end up at the zoo quite often and spend just a couple of hours there.

The last time we went, they were having an "enrichment" day for the animals. What that meant is that there was something different for the animals. The idea was to stimulate the animals both physically and mentally. The little Golden Lion Tamarins had food hidden in paper bags. Other monkeys had new things to climb on or play with. The penguins had their fish thrown into the water and they had to go swim and get it. They didn't seem to catch on very well, at least at first.

As part of this animal enrichment, there were various activities for the kids and signs with explanation of the various enrichment activities. One of these signs caught my attention. It was a sign answering the question of why they don't give the animals the toys, puzzles and other things everyday. The answer was that if the items were given to the animals everyday, they would stop serving their purpose of providing stimulation to the animals. In essence, the animals would get used to having them. It is novelty of the item that makes the difference.

While we are not animals, we also get used to the things in our lives. Even something we really enjoy can become boring through too oft repeating. For example, if your sweetie likes flowers, receiving them occasionally will be a special treat. But if they were received everyday, they would soon become boring.

The moral of the story is to not do the same thing all the time. Do the unexpected. Give flowers on a non-holiday instead of a holiday. Send a card "just because". Do the dishes or some chore you don't normally do. Challenge the daily routine, once in a while.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Preparing to be Spontaneous

Has this ever happened to you?  You feel particularly grateful to your sweetie and what to do something extra special to show how much you appreciate your sweetheart.   You think up something, but of course you don't have that around the house.  Then you run to the store only to find that they don't have what you are looking for.  You end up spending a lot of time and not being able to do what you wanted to do anyway.  So now, instead of feeling grateful, you're feeling frustrated. 

What you need is a "spontaneity kit".  This kit is a collection of simple things that will allow you to do something special for your sweetie on a moment's notice.  My kit includes:
   * "I Love You" stickers.  These are little round stickers in lots of colors
   * Candles - both scented and otherwise
   * CDs with romantic music
   * DVDs we both appreciate
   * Heart shaped box - think the box that Valentines chocolates come in
   * Index cards with various romantic thoughts on them - hand written by me
   * Massage Oil
   * Blank greeting cards with romantic, friendship and appreciation themes
   * Chocolate Kisses and Hugs - OK I don't really have any of these on hand, but I should.

Of course, my kit isn't all hidden.  The DVDs and CDs are just part of our collection.  The candles are some she bought that she likes.  Other things I keep hidden to surprise my sweetie every now and again.

I use things out of my kit fairly regularly.  For example, my sweetie had misplaced a small item and couldn't find it.  While she was gone, I happened across it.  Rather than just give it to her when she returned, I placed it in the heart-shaped box with a small love letter and left it on her pillow.  She wondered what was in the box and was pleasantly surprised when it was the misplaced item with a note. 

A simple example: My sweetie has medication she takes daily.  I stuck 2 of the I Love You stickers on the lid so she would remember each day that she is loved.

This last example of using the kit even surprised me.  The other day I got home and my "I Love You" stickers were out.  My kids are curious and I often include them in my little romantic gestures.  Therefore, I wasn't too surprised that one of the kids had been looking at them.  After all, they are fun and there are quite a number of them in the package, so I could spare a few.  Well, it turns out that my sweetie was having a bad day and my youngest had gotten a sticker and given it to her to help her have a better day.  Sometimes a sticker says it better, I guess.

Some of these things are only available at Valentine's.  So the idea is to keep your eyes open for things to add to your spontaneity kit throughout the year.  A collection of items allows you to take better advantage of the opportunities that come your way.

In the future, I'll post other things I add to my kit and different ways they come in useful.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Celebrating Your Sweetie as a Parent

The most important task most of us will ever perform is that of mother or father.  As a society, we understand better than ever to social implications if either father or mother is missing from the home.  Yet, that same society diminishes the importance of parenthood, making it seem secondary to other pursuits such as career or "personal fulfillment".  On top of that, being a parent is often a thankless duty.  Children are notoriously ungrateful. At least until they leave home and really realize what their parents both did and sacrificed on their behalf.

Yet most of us wouldn't trade parenthood for anything.  We love our children and the joy they bring into our lives.  The sacrifices are made without even thinking, just because our kids need something.  For example, now that school has started again almost all my free time is dedicated to helping my kids with homework.  I am now spending lots more time on homework than I ever spent while going to school.  Silly me, I thought when I graduated I would be done doing homework. 

Mother's Day and Father's Day are both long gone and a won't come around again fro a few months.  On Mother's Day you have to say nice things about your wife, because its expected.  Same with Father's Day.  The message of how much you appreciate and love your sweetheart is dulled by the duty of the day.   Everyone is forced to say those things so the sincerity is lost.  Also, there is no spontaneity. 

Now would be a good time to celebrate what a wonderful father or mother your sweetie is.  It will be completely unexpected and seem more sincere because no one is making you do it.    One of the best things you could do would be to right a letter of love and appreciation for what a great parent your sweetie is and present it to your sweetheart with some flowers or chocolates, both of which are cheaper this time of year.

Let your sweetie know that at least one person recognizes and appreciates all the work, worry and sacrifice that goes into being a parent.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Combine Your Hearts into One

Shakespeare, speaking in Henry the Fifth, said, 'God, the best maker of all marriages, combine your hearts in one.' (Henry V,5:2.)

Be unified in all you do.  This does not mean to do everything together, but truly and wholehearted support each other in all that you do.    

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Hurricane Katrina Relief Ideas

I have started adding to my other blog, , some real ways to help those who are suffering as a result of Hurricane Katrina.  The focus of my posting is on those who have been moved to Camp Williams in Utah.  However, the links and postings also have national help information. 

Do something for someone with your sweetie.  The love you expeience when you serve other people together is tremendous.  People need your help and you  and your sweetheart can serve those people together.  There really is something you can do.


Opening the Door

The other day I talked about needing to do the simple courtesies liking holding doors opens.  Yesterday I surprised my sweetie by actually going around and opening the door of the car for her to get in. 

We were visiting her sister's and were leaving.  The rest of the family was in the vehicle and my sweetheart had stopped on the porch to say good-bye.  As my sweetie started to walk toward the car I realized it was a great opportunity to she her a simple courtesy.  So I jump out of the car, and walked over toward her door.  My sweetie asked "What's the matter"?  I said nothing, just smiled an opened the door for her.  My sweetheart just beamed. 

I learned a couple of things.  First, its been a lot longer than I thought since I had shown my sweetheart that simple courtesy.  I was a bit surprised when she thought something was wrong, but it has been a while since I opened the door for her.

Second, a small amount of extra effort goes a long way.  It is the small and simple acts of kindness that keep the fire alive.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Keys to a Successful Marriage

From the Declaration on the Family:

Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on
principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love,
compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities