Stance: Studies on the Family

Brigham Young University Student Journal

Category: Dating & Marriage (page 4 of 4)

Wedding Wednesday: Meet Bryn

My name is Bryn Adams. I am currently a junior at BYU, and…I just got ENGAGED!



While being engaged has probably been one of the most exciting times in my life, it has also been the most stressful. Being a full-time student and planning a wedding is no easy task; it’s hard to find a balance between the two. While I wouldn’t say I’m an expert by any means, I have learned a few things in the past couple of weeks that I would like to share with any of you who are engaged at this moment or who hope to be in the near or distant future.


Tip #1: Start planning as soon as possible

Being engaged is an exciting, blissful moment and you should definitely revel in it. However, it’s important to start getting serious about planning the wedding as soon as possible. My fiancé and I immediately started calling businesses for consultations the day after he popped the question. It has only been two weeks and we already have the temple date set, the reception venue, the cake and food at the reception, decorations, and the honeymoon planned. Just this past week we took some engagement photos, and I’ve already gone dress shopping (with no luck yet). Thankfully, school has been put on the back burner only slightly. Planning a wedding isn’t something you want to procrastinate because it is stressful. The more you have out of the way beforehand, the less stressed you’ll be.


Tip #2: Use your family and friends’ talents

Everyone has that really artsy person or crazy micromanager in their family or circle of friends. I’m telling you that you will be grateful for your family and friends’ talents when it’s time to plan a wedding. They will be your lifesavers, stress savers, and money savers. Don’t be afraid to ask your friends or family to help you, in fact, many of them may even offer their talents to you. My cousin has always had a knack for art and wants to go into photography. She’s a pretty good photographer already and has an awesome camera to boot. I asked her if she would be willing to take my engagement and bridal photos, she was happy to help. Instead of paying a professional hundreds—maybe even thousands—of dollars to take our photos, we’re having my cousin do it for cheaper. When planning a wedding, your family and friends become your greatest assets. Oftentimes they’ll be more than happy to help.


Tip #3: Talk to your fiancé:

When it comes to weddings, it is usually the bride who has been dreaming and planning this day in her head since she was young. While planning your wedding, don’t leave your fiancé out of it, assuming that because he’s a guy, he wouldn’t be interested. Your soon-to-be-husband may have some good ideas that you never even thought of. Although he may not want to be involved with the whole thing, don’t leave him out. Ask him how involved he wants to be with the planning. Not only can your fiancé give ideas and advice, he can also be the one that keeps you sane. Tell him what your ideas are, what you’re stressed about, and what you want help with. Who knows, may he’ll surprise you with an awesome idea or give you comfort when you need it.


Though I feel like I’ve gotten a lot done in two weeks, there is still so much to do. I’m learning as I go, and I’m  grateful for all the help that I’ve been given by my friends and family, which I‘m sure I’ll need even more as the date draws closer. These tips have already helped me and I hope they’ll be helpful to others as well.

It’s all Greek to me: Dating a Foreigner

imageWhether you’ve just begun a steady relationship or you’ve been married for a while, being in a relationship with a person from a different country can be a journey. When I started dating my Canadian husband you can bet your bottom “loonie”* that we learned a lot about each other. Our differences are not as pronounced as other couples I have met, but here are three tips I’ve gathered for couples with different nationalities.

*a loonie is the Canadian dollar coin. Look, you just learned something new!

  1. Expect differences, and embrace them. When I say “expect differences,” I mean you shouldn’t assume that your significant other is going to do things the same way as you do. Regardless of whether your honey is from South Africa or South Jordan, there will always be differences. I really like this quote from a previous blog post:

“I wish I would have known that when two people get married, they bring two entirely different cultures into one house. It’s important to understand that while your spouse may cook rice differently, clean the bathroom differently, or do the dishes differently, it doesn’t mean that their way is wrong. Be willing to compromise on these things!” –Kaitlyn, What I Wish I Would Have Known (part one): Marriage

(see full post here)

The compromising Kaitlyn mentioned is one way of embracing the differences between you two. Another idea is to praise your significant other for things they may do better than you. Luckily for me my husband is way better at driving in the snow. Praising him for this always makes him feel good and needed. For two more ways to embrace your sweetheart’s specialties, keep reading!

  1. Try new things. My husband loves ice skating (a product of all the frozen water in Canada). Because I was raised in the desert of Nevada I only went ice skating a couple of times. For our first date we went ice skating… and it was embarrassing. I barely shuffled along as my husband literally skated circles around me. Ever since then I have begrudgingly gone skating with him at least once a year, and slowly I have gotten better. The only way to get better at things is to try! Even if you don’t particularly like your significant other’s favorite sport, food, or music, giving it a try shows your love for them and opens up your own mind as well.
  1. Get the facts. Do you know anything about llamas in Peru? Could you locate Yugoslavia on a map? When you’re dating someone from another country, pull out your atlas! This may seem obvious, but if you know nothing about their country there’s a chance you’re missing out on important aspects of their personality. This can also be true for couples from the same country but differing cultures. Fundamental to understanding someone is knowing where and how they grew up. When my husband and I were dating I spent at least a few hours researching hockey teams. I did it because I realized that if I didn’t understand hockey, then I didn’t understand Canada, and if I didn’t understand Canada, I wouldn’t understand this guy I was dating. My husband really appreciated it, and his family did as well (brownie points)!

Keeping these tips in mind has always helped me and other couples that I have talked to. Hopefully you and your foreign sweetheart will find meaning in them too!

By Sam Jenkins, Social Media Advisor

“Let No Man Put Asunder”: A Marriage Promise

By Jerrick Robbins

My sister recently bought a new cell phone. It has all the speed, all the data, and all the memory a person could want. Her brand-new technology puts my one-year-old technology to shame. In fact, it might as well own my phone. Her phone’s screen has better resolution, its width is thinner, and its camera can even take a video in slow motion. As much as I love my phone, I plan on getting the newest model as soon as I can update next year.

It seems like our culture is going toward a “newest and best model” theology. People need the newest technology, the best car, the best job, and the newest trends. I have to admit, I want it—all of it. All the new and best things. Yes, that thought might be a little materialistic and unobtainable, but a guy can dream, right? Yes, guys can dream, so can gals. People can dream, and people can have hope that they will obtain their dreams. But there’s one dream no one should entertain.

As I write this blog post, my fiancée is sitting next to me writing “thank you” cards. Earlier today, I massaged her feet as she relaxed from a hard day’s work. I love her, I love serving her, and at this moment, I could never see me leaving her. Sadly, that’s what many couples say at the beginning of their relationship, but they end up doing what they never thought possible.

image from flickr user urbiefoto

image from flickr user urbiefoto

Too many people fall into the “newest and best model” theology when it comes to a spouse. In effect, they think that if their marriage isn’t working, if they run into technical difficulties or glitches in marriage, it’s time to trade in for a new one. Our culture’s “newest and best model” theology has been taken too far. That thinking has removed commitment from a relationship and inserted change instead. It has removed responsibility and inserted replace.

Marriage is not meant to be easy, and it’s not meant to be perfect. Even though there may be difficulties or glitches, we shouldn’t replace it; instead, we should restore it. Rather than the “newest and best model” theology, let’s go back to “let no man put asunder.” A marriage promise should be a lifetime warranty, not a money back guarantee.

“Marriage Is Hard”: A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Photo Credit: HAMED MASOUMI via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: HAMED MASOUMI via Compfight cc

by Rachel Nielsen

The article “3 Things I Wish I Knew Before We Got Married” by Tyler Ward has been travelling through the interwebs lately. Boasting over 73,600 likes on Facebook, its appeal comes from the author’s honesty about the difficulties in marriage and his feel-good takeaways: “the more you give to marriage, the more it gives back,” “marriage requires sacrifice,” “go home and love you wife,” “go home and love your husband.” His points are valid, and I agree with the suggestions he makes. However, his presentation of the idea that marriage is not always blissful is something I can’t quite get on board with.

Ward discusses marriage as an institution “designed to pull dysfunction to the surface of our lives, set it on fire and help us grow.” This is where my opinion splits. I do agree that marriages refine us because marriages aren’t perfect, but I don’t think he should present this idea by saying that marriage is “designed to pull dysfunction to the surface.” If you go into marriage with the expectation that dysfunction will become a prominent part of your live, that is exactly what you will get. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.

This issue boils down to word choice. A simple thing with major consequences.

When I got engaged, I heard the phrase “marriage is hard” a lot. This was my mom’s sage advice on the matter: “People will keep telling you marriage is hard. But, if you go into marriage with that attitude, you’ve already put yourself in a position to fail because that is what you are looking for.”

I vote that we never say “marriage is hard” ever again.

Let me explain. Some couples go into marriage assuming that marriage will solve their problems. But this is simply not true.  Life is hard no matter what situation you’re in, and marriage isn’t going to fix that. But the difference between explaining that marriage is not a cure-all and explaining that marriage is hard is huge.

What if engaged couples heard the phrase “marriage is extremely fulfilling but it requires selflessness” instead of “marriage is hard”? Would they be less likely to go into marriage nervously waiting for the dysfunction to come out of the dark?

I will try to illustrate my point through other examples of relationships. When people tell us about a new friend they’ve made, we don’t tell them, “Remember, friendships are hard.” Why? Because we know that friendships are worth it. We do not go into friendships expecting everything to be perfect or expecting the friendship to solve all of our problems. Friendship requires give and take to make it last, but it is not presented as a difficult situation because friendships benefit our lives.

I believe that if our attitude was one that painted marriage as a rewarding and fulfilling union that helps us grow, there would be less “hard” marriages and more marriages where two people are trying their best to work things out and have fun while they do.

I believe that I am part of a healthy and successful marriage because my husband and I never say “hard.” And consequently, we never find problems that don’t really exist—because we aren’t looking for them.

We aren’t expecting marriage to be hard. We are expecting marriage to be rewarding. And that has made all the difference.

Rachel Nielsen

In the Community: Valentine Dinner Theater

by Brittney Thompson

If you live in Provo, then you know it can be near impossible to come up with fun and creative dates in the middle of a deep, Wasatch winter. That is why I was so excited when I discovered a little Valentine gem a few weeks ago in the form of The Salty Dinner Theater. Anyone who knows me knows that I have two great loves in my life: food and theater. So you can imagine my delight when I learned that these two passions could be combined into one packaged date!

The Salty Dinner Theater is a troupe that performs in front of you during dinner. Unlike the traditional “dinner and a show” routine where you go out to a nice restaurant for your meal before heading to the theater, the Salty Dinner Theater brings the action to you. This month they will be performing Bonnie & Clyde: A Love Story at The Old Spaghetti Factory in Orem. It’s family friendly so whether you are looking for a night out with a special someone or a new family tradition, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

{Hint: The Feb 9th showing is already sold out, but Valentine’s Day is still available!}

Tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for kids. (Price of dinner not included). There are also shows in Midvale, Murray, Layton and Sandy, for those who live a little outside the Provo-Orem area. For more information about this month’s shows or the rest of the 2013 season check out

What I Wish I Would Have Known (Part 2): Kids

by Alissa Holm

My mom with her first child, circa 1978

We all have our own “What if’s” and “I wish’s” about past phases of life. In an attempt to learn from the past, I’ve come up with a series of blog posts based on this idea: Learning from other’s past experiences to enhance another’s future experiences. In part one, I discussed what married LDS women wish they would have known before they tied the knot. For this segment, I’d like to discuss what LDS women wish they would have known before they had kids.

Like I said in my last post, I am not married, nor do I have any children. However, I do have several connections in my life to wise women who do have children and know quite a bit on the subject. So, without further ado, I give you a list of ten “What I Wish I Would Have Known’s” in regards to having children.

1. Motherhood means sacrifice. Joseph Smith said, “Sacrifice is the first law of heaven.” From the moment you conceive your child, you will learn to sacrifice everything from your health, to your sleep, to your appear for them.
2. Kids won’t ever be happy when they are hungry or tired. Your kids need to be well fed and rested to be happy and perform well.
3. Don’t sweat the small stuff. You can discipline children all day long for what they’re doing wrong. Some of these things aren’t THAT big of a deal. Who cares if the kids rearrange your silverware drawer? Yes, it is annoying, but it isn’t worth making a big deal out of it.
4. Emotional scars are just as bad as physical scars. Be careful with your little ones’ hearts.
5. Be silly. Sometimes this is the best way to connect with your child.
6. Read a lot. Turn off the TV and teach your children to love books.
7. Kids are mirrors. Sometimes they may be slow to listen, but they are very quick to imitate. Be careful.
8. Traditions matter. The traditions your family establishes will shape your child’s memories for the rest of their lives.
9. You can’t spoil your kids with time, just money. Spending extra time with your kids can only make them better.
10. Be quick to forgive. Kids are so quick to forgive, so don’t feel too bad when you make a mistake. Just try harder the next day.

What I Wish I Would Have Known (Part One): Marriage

by Alissa Holm

My oldest sister and her husband on their wedding day, August 21, 1999.

The experience of marrying another person is likely the biggest transition a person will ever make in their life. Each person goes into a marriage with their own set of values, beliefs, traditions, experiences, and testimony, and is expected to join with another to create a united eternal unit. While this experience may sound blissful from the outside, often this “clashing of minds” isn’t quite so easy from the inside.

Before I write any further, I should probably explain that I am not married, nor do I claim to know much about the subject. But in my associations and conversations with the married couples that I do know, I often hear them sticking in their two cents here and there about what they wish they would have known before they got married. Each of them has developed advice based on their experiences that they want to impart to us “unmarrieds” to help in our relationships and future marriages. And I’ll be the first to admit—I love hearing their tips so that I can better know what to expect once I reach that phase too.

I have polled my close family, friends, and coworkers to come up with a list of ideas and experiences LDS women say they wish they would have know prior to their own weddings and marriages. No matter your relationship status, try reading through at least a few of these. You might be surprised at what you can learn!

Newlywed Life

  1. Surprises are inevitable. “No matter how well you think you may know your future spouse, you’re bound to find out something new the first day you’re married,” says my co-worker Sarah.
  2. Recognize that differences will emerge. “I wish I would have known that when two people get married, they bring two entirely different cultures into one house,” says my friend Kaitlyn. It’s important to understand that while your spouse may cook rice differently, clean the bathroom differently, or do the dishes differently, it doesn’t mean that their way is wrong. Be willing to compromise on these things!
  3. “Any traits, positive or negative, you see in your future spouse will be amplified as soon as you’re married,” says my sister, Lara. The old saying attributed to Benjamin Franklin rings true—“Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, and half-closed afterward.”
  4. Take some time for yourselves before you have kids. While this is a topic that is personal to all couples, most of the people I talked with expressed the importance of taking the necessary time before having children to enjoy each other’s company, get to know each other, and travel. Once you have kids, your lives will never be the same.

Your Married Relationship

  1. You don’t have to be brutally honest with each other all the time. “Sometimes, things are better left unsaid if they will hurt your spouse,” my sister, Lara, tells me.
  2. Fall in love with your spouse on this inside as well as the outside. We all age and change physically over time, usually for the worse. This bit of advice comes from my sister as well, who has been married for 11 years—enough time for a few new wrinkles and grey hairs to appear. Yet, I still look at the two of them and can see that they are just as in love now as they were 11 years ago.  
  3. Put his needs in front of yours. “When you are single the only person you really need to worry about and take care of is yourself—making yourself the best possible,” says my friend Jani. “But when you’re married, you have to cook, clean, budget, earn money, etc., with someone else.” She explains that this works well if you have a Christlike attitude, but if you don’t, Satan will try to find his way in and change your attitude to one of selfishness.   
  4. Remember, he can’t read your mind. If you have something on your mind, just tell him, don’t bother dropping hints. Communication is key!

Your New Family

  1. “Kill your in-laws and new family with love,” says my friend Kaitlyn. She also recommends not complaining to your spouse about their family—these are the people, other than you, that they love the most. “Be kind and love, love, love,” she says. “Chances are, you’ll end up falling in love with them as well.”
  2. Remember, you marry the family too. “As much as you want to think that you two get to run away and live happily ever after by yourselves, that is not true,” says my friend Jani. “He will want to spend time with his family (which is a good thing), and you will want to spend time with yours.” And remember to be yourself—don’t try to be someone else just to impress them.
  3. Don’t keep score. “If you spend time with his family one year, don’t think that it’s your house for Christmas the next year. If you see one family every week and the other once a year, it doesn’t matter because everyone wins—it’s not a competition,” says Jani.


So there you have it: a few basic tidbits of advice from married couples of all ages.

Whether you’re single, engaged, newly married, or have been married for several years, hopefully you can benefit from or at least relate to these points.


Have any advice of your own? Feel free to comment below—we’d love to hear from you!

Five Ways To Eat Healthier in College

by Amanda Ricks

Eating healthy while in college can be a daunting task. Fast food restaurants, particularly ones with a dollar menu, are cheap and easily accessible, and this convenience can sometimes outweigh the negative consequences of eating foods that have been fried, saturated, or greased.

The following are some tips for cleaning up your diet:

  1. Stock your refrigerator with fresh fruits and vegetables. When it comes to a late night craving, you won’t feel guilty if you’ve snacked on carrots or grapes rather than a doughnut or chocolate cake.
  2. Plan time for your meals. If you plan time, you are more likely to eat a balanced and nutritious meal.
  3. Don’t always fall for the “free candy” gimmicks thrown at you by different clubs. Generally, the piece of taffy isn’t worth the time or signing a piece of paper. If the treat is your sole incentive for going to meetings, perhaps you could better spend your time making yourself a healthier meal that can fill you with nutrients.
  4. Make a shopping list. If you buy food and have meals planned, it will mostly end with pleasing results for your body and your pocketbook.
  5. Take healthy snacks to campus with you. If you have some almonds or dried fruit with you, you are less likely to buy a high-fat, high-sugar candy bar because you’re hungry in between classes. Additionally, carry water around with you on campus. Staying hydrated is key to being healthy.

Eating healthy in college can be affordable if the necessary time is put in. Who knows? Maybe next time you are thinking about making cookies for that cute boy in your ward, you can take him a plate of carrots instead.

Extra! Extra!: BYU Professor Reveals Results of Provo Dating Study

by Erin Jones

Provo, Utah, is known for its obsession about dating matters, and for good reason. When you stick a group of thousands of Latter-day Saint (Mormon) young adults together who are all trying to get married, you can expect to hear about dating.

Being surrounded by dating talk, I was instantly curious when I heard about a dating lecture that would take place on campus. Professor Holman was to reveal his exclusive results from a study he conducted on Provo dating life.

I sat in a crowded room at the Joseph F. Smith Humanities Building at Brigham Young University, awaiting Professor Holman’s lecture. I nervously sat in the back of the crowded lecture hall, not wanting to be seen in such a laughter-inspiring situation. As I sat, I watched dozens of people enter the room: couples holding hands, groups of girls, and even some curious guys. I overheard a married couple in front of me say they were there for extra credit. Having already successfully navigated Provo’s complicated dating scene, why else would they be at such a lecture?

Professor Holman started out the lecture by saying that he wouldn’t be staying for the viewing of The Princess Bride following the lecture, because he was going home to his own “princess bride.” The crowd let out a coordinated “aww”—or at least the females in the room did.

Professor Holman then explained that his team had spent the last several months studying Provo dating life. A group of young adults had been selected to have their dating life put under a microscope and revealed to the student body. These research subjects had agreed to send weekly texts on the status of their relationship (such as “I’m dating someone,” “I just broke up,” or “I went on a first date”) over the period of several months. A few participants were also given weekly interviews on their thoughts on dating.

With all of these results, the professor and his team found that Provo dating is not how dating used to be. Apparently there are no clear signs understood by everyone that indicate how the relationship is progressing. Generally, a guy and girl who like each other will increase time spent together, until they decide they want to date. This mutual like could be communicated solely through physical affection (bad) or through communication (good).

The research team also found some interesting dating quirks of their research subjects. They humorously grouped their subjects into several sociological categories. The girls fit into three groups:

Flirtatious Girls: These are the flirtatious girls who base their self-esteem off of how many guys like them. If this girl likes you, you will KNOW. Unfortunately, they probably like 10 other guys as well. The tough thing with dating these girls is convincing them that you are the best guy around and that you are willing to treat her better than the other millions of guys she’s after.

Lock and Key Girls: I heard this description and immediately thought “Oh my gosh, it’s me!” These girls are relationship avoidant. They are independently minded and have high (sometimes too high) expectations. If one of these girls likes you, good luck—there is no way you will know. Just ease into the relationship slowly and convince her you are worth it.

Stable Girls: These girls are comfortable with dating. They will open up to guys and share their feelings and are willing to go through the dating process without rushing it.

As for the guys, there are three groups as well.

Emotional Guys: When they go too far, these types of guys can be perceived as creepy or stalkers. Really, though, these are some of the sweetest guys you’ll meet because they’re very dedicated to dating. They feel rejection really hard. When they hear from general authorities that they should be dating, they feel guilty and get to work! But maybe too much work.

Closed Off Guys: These guys don’t try very hard to date. When they hear from general authorities they should be dating more, they think, “They’re referring to someone else,” or “I would love to date more, but I have too much homework.” Then they lock themselves in their apartments on Friday nights and play video games.

Stable Guys: These guys are willing to go through the dating process. They don’t jump into a relationship too fast, but they also don’t avoid dating. They move on after a rejection or a break-up and keep trying. And eventually, they win (find a wife, that is).

Professor Holman and his team said that no one fits perfectly into one of these three categories. Nevertheless, the characteristics of each category seemed all too familiar. So what can you do about these dating weaknesses? Well, there is hope. Apparently you can change your attitudes about dating. If it goes right, dating leads to marriage, which leads to family, which leads to life-long (and eternal) happiness—even though there may be a lot of bumps along the way.

I walked out of the lecture a bit frustrated by my lock and key ways, but determined to change them. Provo dating, here I come!

What Does It Take to Make a Family

by Kaylyn Johnston

Family. Defined by the dictionary as, “a basic social unit consisting of parents and their children, considered as a group, whether dwelling together or not.” This definition, however, does little to reflect just what family really means to an individual. Aren’t families more than just social structures, but rather, supportive networks where individuals can feel loved and accepted? 

For some, family can be interpreted according to the dictionary definition: a mother, father, sisters, and brothers. Others think of their extended family members such as grandparents and aunts as family. Others find familial relationships through friendship, companionship, or participation in particular organizations. Whatever the relation, families love each other.

Families support each other.
Families are there for each other even when things go wrong.
Families work together. Play together. Laugh together. Cry together.
Families believe in each other.
Families accept each other for who they are.

This Valentine’s Day season let us remember to express our love for those who we call family in our own lives. Whether mother, brother, boyfriend, or godmother, remember that families love and support each other. Without family, our lives would truly be so much duller indeed.

My Turn on Earth: What Does it Take to Make a Family by Carol Lynn Pearson and Lex de Azevedo

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