Stance: Studies on the Family

Brigham Young University Student Journal

Tag: tips

A: Aspirations as a Married Couple

You spend your whole life planning what you want to do and be for the remainder of life, and then . . . BAM! You get married, and everything changes. It’s a challenging experience to try to take two lives with two plans and merge them into one. In some cases, there has to be a lot of compromise so that the two partners can live their idea of a fulfilling life.

When I was deciding to marry my husband, Tyler, I thought integrating my plan into his life would be pretty easy. My plan in life was to grow up, go to my dream college studying the thing I love, marry the love of my life, have some cute little kids, and otherwise insert myself into his plan. I thought my plan was very conducive to married life. This plan would have worked out great, except that life doesn’t always go as planned, and I didn’t have a back-up plan.

Shortly after I married Tyler, I realized that the thing I was studying was not something I loved. This was problematic because I was almost done—and if I wanted to insert myself smoothly into Tyler’s plan, I had to graduate when he did, or not at all; so changing my career track was not an option at that point.

Another problem we encountered was the fact that Tyler’s plan wasn’t fully developed. Sure, we knew the basic outline: graduate from college, get a master’s degree, get a job. But, all of a sudden, we started figuring out that the track he was on would not lead him to the career he thought it would. We applied for internships, but he didn’t get any because he just wasn’t in the right field (even though he’s brilliant, and any company would be lucky to have him).

These problems led to many nights of stress for Tyler and worrying for me. Sometimes we’d lie in bed about to go to sleep, when I would start worrying out loud and end up in a fit of tears. Why aren’t things working out for us? I’d ask. Why didn’t everything go as planned?

Now, I still don’t have the solutions to our problems, but I have a formula for dealing with aspirations as a married couple that I recommend to anyone having similar issues.

First, you have to talk to each other. You have to get together and write down the things you enjoy doing, the things you could see yourself doing as a career, your ultimate dreams and goals.

When you’re done with that, I recommend that you rank the things on your list in order of importance to you. Talk about the things that you feel are non-negotiable, and things you wouldn’t mind doing without. Work out possibilities for the future, and how those things might affect your relationship and your family.

Then you have to make a plan together. And not just one plan, but several that range from broad to specific, from semester to fifty years, from ideal to worst case scenario. This could take several hours, so make sure you have a block of time set aside for doing this, or else you could end up scratching things out at 3 o’clock in the morning.

The last step is making a plan of action for right now. What will you do today to set you on the right path? Even if it’s just research, it will help you out in the long run. Decide on a timely plan for both of you, and help each other out. Remind your husband when his internship application is due. Encourage your wife to look for opportunities to acquire new skills. Take it day by day—if you always make sure you’re on the right trajectory, you will eventually end up where you want to be.

BY CARI AVERETT

Parenting tip #10:  Love Your Kids—No Matter What

Rosen 2013 394

 

 

By Phyllis Rosen

Before writing this last article on parenting, I want to state something for the record:

I HAVE SIX WONDERFUL CHILDREN!

But I didn’t always know that. There were times during their upbringing when I wasn’t convinced they were all that wonderful. Each one, in his or her own way, caused some anxiety or fear or anger. At different stages of their lives, they were not very lovable.

But you must love them anyway, and of course, deep down you do. So how do you show that love during these difficult periods? It isn’t easy, but it’s possible. Here’s what my husband and I learned over the years:

1. Find just one positive thing to say each day.

When one of our kids was belligerent and prickly and almost impossible to interact with without getting into an argument, I prayed and prayed to know what to do. The answer was: Read the Book of Mormon.  As I read the Book of Mormon daily, something happened to my heart.   It softened.  And as it softened, I realized I needed to find something positive daily about this child.  As I mentioned positive things to him  (which were not easy to find), I found that the tension in the home decreased.

2. Let go of the things that don’t matter.  

One of our boys decided to pierce his ears. Later he grew his hair long.  Both actions were not what my husband and I wanted. However, neither action was life-threatening or had eternal consequences. We finally learned that the hair and the earrings were outward evidences of inward feelings. We decided to ignore the outward and concentrate on the inner.

3. Make home a refuge.

When one child made choices that were hard for our family to live with, a neighbor came over and gave great advice.   She said,  “No matter what, make your home the very best place to be.  Make it a safe place.  If your child leaves home, you will have less influence and less opportunity to set the example.” My husband and I decided to follow that advice. We did everything we could to make our home a place where our child felt loved, safe, and accepted.

4. Have patience.

We had another child who thought someone else—other than my husband and myself—was more qualified to give guidance and direction. This frustrated me greatly.  But a professional counselor told us to be patient and in time our child would figure out who really loved him or her, and would come back to us, the parents. And that was true.

5. Get professional help as needed.

One of our children got into trouble to the point that I could not live with the fear of what the long-term consequences might be. I finally went to a family counselor.  The result was that he validated my feelings, especially my fears. More importantly, he helped me to figure out what I could do to alleviate the fear and move in a positive direction.  We don’t have to bear every burden by ourselves. Professionals can help us get through tough times by applying their training and perspective.

6. Do all you can, then turn the rest over to Jesus Christ.

Only by turning our burdens to Jesus Christ can we get through the fear and the sorrow and the pain.   When we turn our worries over to Christ, we literally feel the burden being lifted from our shoulders.  This doesn’t mean that all the pain or sorrow or fear is gone.  But it means we know that our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are aware of our situation and will guide us through it.  Turning our burden over to the Savior enables us to find joy along a difficult journey.

7. Remember that time is measured to us differently than it is measured to God.

We do not have the benefit of seeing the end from the beginning.  We can’t know whether our child will change tomorrow or in ten years.  We need to put our trust in God and know that His timing is perfect.

8. Last of all, when your child seems unlovable, remember that this is your opportunity to develop Christ-like love.

I discovered that after I had gone through trials with less-than-lovable kids, I was much more tolerant and forgiving of others. I am a better person for having gone through the hard times. Looking back, I can see Heavenly Father’s hand, not only in my children’s lives, but in my life as well.

And now I know without a doubt, I HAVE SIX WONDERFUL CHILDREN!

Moving Back Home: 4 Things I Learned as a College Student Living with My Family

mailboxThe last two years of my college life I have spent living at home with my parents and three younger siblings. I moved home after I spent some time—and most of my money—on a study abroad in the British Isles. The thought of moving back home after being on my own was frustrating, but the last two years have been much different than I expected. Here are four things I learned about what college kids and their families can do to make living together a good experience.

  1. Space is blessed. I am gone at school and work nearly all day, and when I am home, I’m usually doing homework. I need a sanctuary where I know I can take time for myself to get things done or just veg out. Families, remember that your stay-at-home college students are still adults with their own busy schedules. Help them by giving them physical and mental space to breathe.
  2. Family is an investment. Speaking of a busy schedule, there just never seems to be enough time for everything! However, even though I have my own agenda, I have found it’s important to make time for the people who not only house and feed me, but the people who also love me. I’ve grown closer to my parents and siblings in ways that I never could have had if I didn’t live at home. If you give them time, they will give you time. It’s a win-win.
  3. Save that dough! If you’re like me, chances are your family isn’t making you pay for everything—utilities, garbage, insurance, mortgage, etc. And with all that extra money, it’s way easier to feel like I have more to spend. But don’t get caught in a trap. Some months I have actually saved less money living at home than I did living on my own. I’ve found that maintaining some form of responsible adult spending habits (like keeping a budget and pitching in on groceries or rent) keeps me from overspending.
  4. Remember to stay socially healthy. Between school and work, I don’t always have the energy (or the desire) to go out at the end of the day. But even though spending time with family is important, participating in activities with my friends and peers is also important. It actually gives me more energy, reinforces my networking, and helps me find new cultural experiences.

—Sarah Perkins, Senior Managing Editor, Stance

Wedding Wednesday: Meet Bryn

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

IMG_0787

 

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.