- Find Problems or things that can be improved in the family. Identify the Goal
- Ensure everybody is on board with the Goal or has a say in the Goal
- Steps to achieving it & Identify obstacles that may prevent from achieving it
- Date to accomplish this goal by. Or if it’s an ongoing goal how often you will revisit it.
Goals for Mummy and Daddy
- Date Night Monthly
- Temple Night Monthly
- Quarterly Night Away
- Weekly planning session
Goals for the Little Kids
- Make Bed before breakfast
- Pick up toys before dinner
Goals for Mummy and Daddy and Kids
- Dinner or Breakfast Together 3times a Week
- Morning and Evening Prayers and Scripture Reading
- Pick up the house before Bedtime
- No Electronics between 6-9pm
- Family Vacation 2times a year
“Our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world as being able to remake ourselves.” -Gandhi
You may wondering what is all this self awareness stuff got to do with relationships and marriage.Being self-aware in marriage or any relationship is an amazing skill that will allow you to communicate effectively and truly understand your environment and be able to take control of your own emotions. I guess for me my understanding is that if you don’t know yourself how are you able to get to know and love anybody else. Love comes from within, we need to give love to receive love and therefore being aware of who we are can help us develop love for ourselves. (Wow that’s some deep stuff right there haha) But for real though. All healthy relationships come from a deep understanding of self.
Self-awareness (sometimes also referred to as self-knowledge or introspection) is about understanding your own needs, desires, failings, habits, and everything else that makes you tick. The more you know about yourself, the better you are at adapting life changes that suit your needs.
We are literally like a onion we have sooo many layers to us to uncover and understand. I seriously find that the more I go on in life and continue to self reflect the more I connect the dots to why I do and think the way I do.
- Understanding our emotions—what we’re feeling and what triggered it—so we can effectively work through and transform our emotional responses (instead of using them to justify unhealthy choices)
- Recognizing our destructive thought patterns so we can redirect them
- Tuning into what’s going on in our bodies so we can learn from it and access our intuition
- Noticing our behavioral patterns and habits so that we can make adjustments to change negative ones
- Understanding our beliefs, assumptions, and expectations, and how they influence what we choose to do
- Accepting that we are responsible for our actions—even if we developed certain patterns in response to events from our past
Here are some activities that you can practice and implement into your life to help be self reflect.
- List You: What are your beliefs? What do you stand for? What are your likes and dislikes? What are fears? What are your goals? What do you believe your relationships should look like? What qualities do you have to contribute to your relationship?
- Question your thoughts or beliefs. Look at what you have written about yourself and now its time think objectively. For example ask yourself why do I prefer to demand that my partner come straight home after work? Why do I want him always with me? Why do I get mad when he wants to spend time with his friends? Ask yourself these questions whenever those times come up when you are frustrated at something your partner does. If you can’t in the moment then do it when you have calmed down. Is your belief legit or where does it stem from. You can dig deeper and deeper and find the root cause of your beliefs. It may be helpful to do this with a trusted friend, coach or therapist to guide you in the right direction.
- Keep a Journal: Not just what you ate for breakfast but include feelings and anything that will help you understand and reflect on yourself more. Like including what you ate for breakfast or why you didn’t how you were feeling in the moment can help when you go back to read and reflect. Writing a journal helps you identify patterns a lot more easier. So being consistency is key for this exercise. Journals are most effective if done over a long period of time from 6months-12months will give you some good insight on yourself.
- Evaluate: Now you have seen some of your qualities and recorded your behaviour in your journal. Set some goals on what you want to work on to improve your marriage or relationships. You can always keep on track coming back to your goals on a weekly basis to see how you are changing your behaviour. Some people need this written down others can just work on one at a time so it’s easier to keep track of. Remember you will not change overnight so keep working on it. Make your goals easy to monitor so you don’t feel too overwhelmed and give up.
Some of these topics may be hard to bring up especially during dating. But create an environment where you can discuss this openly and honestly. The more open and honest you are with these topics before marriage or serious courtship the less headache and heartache it will be down the road. Keep in mind that this is not the end all be all, opinions and views can change over years of being together.
Childhood Upbringing/Previous Relationships
How did your parents handle arguments? How did you communicate with your parents? How long before issues were solved in your home? What would you do different? What did you love about your upbringing? What were some difficulties in your previous relationships? Whether you realize it or not your upbringing has a massive part to play in how your relationship will unravel. Talking about what your families did and what you liked and didn’t like will help you and your partner know why you do the things you do and what things you want to change. Previous relationships also play a part if you came from a emotionally abusive relationship you may bring these emotions to your current relationship which may hinder your progress together. Talk and discuss ways you can start fresh with each other and not let the past affect what the bright future is able to hold for you both.
Faith and Core Value Beliefs
What church or congregation you want you family to go to? What values you want to instill in your children? What traditions you will be bringing into the home? What morals you wish your children to learn? Are you okay with your spouse having a different faith to you? With different cultures talk about the differences in beliefs and ways of thinking. Find a good mix between the two but don’t feel like all has to be set in stone right now.
Previous or Current Addictions
Have you viewed pornography? How often? To what extent? Have you been addicted to any drugs or alcohol or any form of medications? Knowing this may be able to help you understand your spouse a little better. If they seem to be going back down that track you have already discussed it previously and your partner may be able to help and give support during these times.
Do you have debt? How much debt do you have? How much are you willing to spend on a car? or shoes? How well do you save? Are we going to have a split or separate bank account? Talking about your finances in the beginning can save a lot of assumptions and headache down the line. Be open about where you are at financially so you can be there for each other and keep each other accountable as you both set goals together.
Autonomy & Boundaries
Do you like your independance? Do you enjoy doing hobbies alone or together? How often do you want to do your own thing? How often do you want to do things with your friends? Do you want a shared FB account? Do we share passwords for all email and social media accounts? Do we have a date night once a week? Do we go to our in laws one every other week?
Do you see yourself having children? What if we can’t have children? Are you wanting or open to adoption? Who will be the stay home parent? Will you both be working? What kind of day care or education do you want your children to have? Will you be paying for college tuition? Children are a massive part of marriage and family life so let’s iron out some of the bigger topics.
Where are you living? What are you doing? Where do you see yourself? How do you vacation? What kind of home are you living in? What are things you want to accomplish? What things can you not live without? What things are you willing to compromise on? What things can you not stand in your current life?
Discuss these topics on a date night? Go through one each day take it slow and go into as much detail as you like. This exercise may take several weeks but as you do enjoy learning about each other and your views on life marriage and family.
The million dollar question! When we are dating somebody and things have been going steady for a while figuring out if you are truly in love with this person can be a complicated question. For some people can be an ongoing question for years and years on end. There are many types of love, the love of a parent and a child, self love, love of humanity as a whole, superficial love and the list goes on. Today I wanted to focus on the most truest and purest Love ever known to humanity which is the True Love of God.
One of my favorite verse that talks about Love is that which talks about Charity in Corinthians. Charity is the pure love of Christ. We know that Christ had the purest form of love for us as shown by his sacrifice at the garden and on the cross. Therefore as we try and evaluate our love for somebody we are free to compare it against this definition of Christ. Of course we will never reach his level of perfection but we can try to emulate his love.
Charity is the pure love of Christ. It is the love that Christ has for the children of men and that the children of men should have for one another. It is the highest, noblest, and strongest kind of love and the most joyous to the soul
Charity suffereth long
When you love somebody you are patient with their flaws. We are patient in all aspects whether they are suffering emotionally or physically. We see it through to the end. You understand they are not perfect but you are with them every step of the way in this journey.
Charity is Kind
Being around your boyfriend or husband may mean that they see sides of you that no one else sees. They get the tired you at the end of the day. They get grumpy snappy you. But this is no excuse they don’t deserve to be treated this way. Our spouse is the one we love the most, therefore we need to be our kindest self towards them.
Charity Envieth not
In marriage this can also be referred to as resentment in marriage. Sometimes we resent that our husbands get to go to work all day while we stay at home cleaning cooking and watching the kids. Sometimes we are envious that our wives stay home while we have to go make the money. Envy in marriage can come up in so many ways. So let’s try and appreciate what our situation brings. Let’s not be envious and play the score card game.
Charity seeketh not her own
Marriage is definitely not a selfish road. If that’s what you want you obviously should be looking elsewhere. Marriage is all about serving and loving and giving of yourself. Both husband and wife give of themselves to each other. One is not above the other we are looking to put their interests first always.
Charity is not easily provoked
Oh how easy is it to get bugged at the smallest little thing that your loved one does. It’s way too easy to get caught up in the weeds and not be able to see the bigger picture of the flowers blooming around. Sometimes it’s just easier to let things slip by, pick your battles my friends.
Charity thinketh no evil
Our imaginations are king at this. We love imagining up scenarios that we play in our minds that are seem totally true but in fact our a mere creation of our imagination. Let’s not assume that our partners are always trying to flirt or find someone new. Let’s not assume of the worst possible scenario. Let’s assume the best in our spouse and let them assume the best in us. That is where trust begins.
Charity rejoiceth in truth
Communicating to your spouse can be the hardest but the most rewarding thing you can do in a marriage. When you are open and honest with each other about all areas of your marriage, physical, sexual, financial, emotional you will be able to grow and excel to greater levels of intimacy and trust.
Charity Beareth & Endureth all things
Similar to the first, in marriage we work together to solve and workout whatever trials that come our way. Having charity which bearth all things means that we are there till the end when the going get tough, that is not our time to call it quits we will see it through together until the end.
Charity Believeth & Hopeth all things
Marriage means that you believe and have faith in your marriage. You have a positive and optimistic hope in your marriage that things will work out. You have faith in each other and help see the great things that you can accomplish together. You set a wonderful vision for where our marriage is heading and you have hope and faith in what the future will bring for your marriage and family.
If you can tick these off in the ways you feel for your partner you can know that you working towards true love. As husband and wife or partners this is our goal and our aim to develop this kind of love for our spouse. The same kind of love that Christ has for us. His love is perfect and it never faileth!
I would love to hear your thoughts on this piece. If you have questions or thoughts comment or message me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With Love xo
Last month I talked about emotional abuse and the fear that this kind of behavior fosters in home and family environment. There are many ways emotional abuse can be rendered but today I wanted to touch on having open communication and creating this environment in our homes. Homes that are emotionally abusive can instill fear into members of the family which don’t allow for open communication to each other or even to people outside who may be able to help them.
I know firsthand how it feels to live in this fear as a child and how desperately afraid I was to say anything that would go against my parents beliefs. I was fearful of whether I would get the belt or a lecture lasting for several hours. In my parent’s defense they have been amazing to me and I am so grateful for all their sacrifices yet their parenting style was still of the old school ways. It was mainly my way or the highway and it was you listen to me because i’m older and i’m the boss and I know more than you. (Which in most cases when you are between 1-16years old proved to be right.) But as we got to be teenages we started pushing back and starting having our say, probably not the best way because all we did was try and replicate our views as forcefully as they did their views on us because that was the only way we knew how to communicate our views.
Fast forward to my marriage life I noticed me replicating many of these same behaviours. And it was hurting my husband emotionally especially because he knew there were better ways. I knew that I needed to communicate my views in a positive and more loving way. I knew that I had to create an environment in my home where my spouse would feel safe to communicate his feelings about our marriage and family without being afraid he will be teared down or that I will instantly lash out in defense. I also want my children to feel the same way to, that they are have a space to express emotion and be allowed to feel that emotion without ridicule or belittling.
From my personal experience here are 4 ways we can foster open communication in our homes:
Schedule a time with your spouse and children when they know that you are there completely listening to them. I know as a couple we need to have at least an hour of “marriage inventory” A week to have deep conversations about our concerns and goals etc. It’s not just the conversations of how was your day, but it’s the deeper questions that gets them to open up and express their true emotions. It’s great talking to them daily about their day but ensure at least once a week you can dedicate some time for serious alone conversations. If they know there is this time that they will get with you and it is consistent they will be able to develop this trust to open up to you.
Listen with Validation
Validation is allowing people to feel their emotions. I just read an amazing book by the lunds called I don’t have to make it all better where it talks about the power of validating others. Not trying to fix their problems but really listening with empathy. When your spouse say I have my boss is controlling maniac!, don’t respond like my normal response which would be don’t say that about your boss! That’s not a nice thing to say instead. we can respond with, sounds like he making your job harder, being told what to do is not pleasant at all. Allowing others to express their emotions allows them to feel through them and eventually be able to vent it out and can easily be led to finding their own solutions.
React with Understanding and Love
To often when we hear something we don’t like or disagree, we directly go into defensive mode or attack mode. In these times our family members need our love the most. They need our support at this crucial time as they are very vulnerable at these times. This is not the time to ridicule, teach or prove a point. This is the time to listen with empathy and love.
Be the Example
If you feel that there is terrible communication in your household BECOME THE ROLE MODEL. That’s all it really takes is one person showing how communication in the really should be. In my home it was my husband, he showed me how it was to have open communication with love. It took me awhile to get on the band wagon but it finally clicked and now our communication is a million times better than it use to be. (occassionaly I forget) Our children watch us the most if they see the way that we communicate is through force, harshness, they too will do the same.
We all know how it feels to be physically abused. But emotional abuse is something that has just shed light on me in the last year of being married. It started when a friend was talking about her step-mother being emotionally abusive to her father and how it was terrible for her and her family. I asked her what things did she do.. she went on to describe the things she did and I laughed and said “that’s everything I do and that’s totally my childhood of my family and other families I knew!” She didn’t seem to find it as funny as I did. I guess what was normal to me wasn’t so normal to somebody else. We ended that conversation awkwardly but it left me with the desire to further understand what emotional abuse was.
Emotional abuse is a more difficult to recognize and can go by unnoticed in a relationship for a very long time. Growing up in a polynesian community it is renowned fact that men are generally speaking the physical abusers. But thinking about the emotional abuse, I grew up seeing this mainly in the women in my family and community. Emotional abuse doesn’t just happen in couples in can happen in friendships between parent and child or with relatives.
Emotional abuse is when there is a regular occurrence of bullying, criticism, shaming, manipulation, verbal abuse etc. Growing up mocking and putting down was a tactic to motivate someone to do better, and just for entertainment. We use to just keep mocking until that person cried and that was usually the goal and it would be jackpot if they ended up crying. It was completely normal although many times we were really hurt inside but couldn’t show that we hurt otherwise we would be mocked even more. Mocking can be disguised as fun and jokes but usually are very personal and offend one to the point that it seeps into their subconscious.
For me I did notice that I was hurting my husband but I just kept telling him he needed to toughen up and man up to not take my mocks to heart. Or that he was just being too sensitive. What I didn’t realize is that It really did hurt him personally, and it made him feel less and insignificant and that is what mattered not what I thought but how he took it. It took me a while but I really didn’t learn and see examples of healthy communication around me that was the only form of communication I had learnt so I had to pick up on some healthy habits quickly.
Break the Cycle
While mocking take a moment to think are you trying to gain power over somebody. This is a key factor to bulling or being emotional abuse you want to be in power you want to have control over somebody. A person who does this can have many reasons to why they do this. They may have been mocked or abused as a child and are hurting and the way they cope with it is by trying to hurt other people verbally. Whatever the case be, see that person for more than their actions. There are usually deeper issues that lie beneath. I know that this was the case for me. Support them and show them love so they can learn from good examples. If necessary offer support and help or kindly refer them to a professional of some sort to work out through these issues.
Jokes are fun but when they go beyond the point of fun and are mean then we got to take a couple of steps back!
Would love your feedback and comments about this. Let me know what you think. If you or somebody you know is going through something like this I would love to talk about or message me at email@example.com
Be Amazing!!! xo Tracy
Growing up I never noticed that I had insecurities I had always thought of myself as a pretty confident person. I performed in front of hundreds of people, I wore what I wanted, I danced like nobody’s business and could sing down the aisle of a grocery store and not care about anybody around me. I didn’t start connecting any dots until I started noticing my marriage going downhill very early in our relationship. I was jealous, suspicious, afraid, self-conscious, controlling, and paranoid to say the least. It was driving both my husband and I crazy that I was feeling this way, when I knew I had no logical reasoning to feel this way. I had to figure this out and this is when I decided to get outside help. I turned to reading lots self-help books, articles, and listening to marriage podcasts to try and figure out what was wrong with my husband. Eventually came to realize it was me who had to change. It was me who was still carrying deep emotional baggage from past experiences.
We all have insecurities within us to some degree or another and it’s okay to admit them. We have this wonderful thing called imagination that can help us create beautiful amazing things. Or it can take us the opposite direction of fear, anxiety of imagined situations that take control of our mind and body. Fear, doubt and anxiety can creep into our marriage anytime, whether it is because of past experiences that have caused deep wounds, expectations of ourselves and others or some recent rejection or failure. I have collected a few ideas to help those out there who may have been struggling like I did.
- Recognize and Identify your Insecurities and understand WHY you feel that way? Go deep!
- Tell the difference between imagination and reality. (If you don’t trust your husband is it because he’s something he has done or is it because past experiences you think may repeat again?) Write down all the reasons why that imagined situation is not true.
- Avoid things that increase your insecurities: E.g. social media, unfollow friends that don’t help you boost your self-confidence or avoid movies or tv shows that decrease feeling of self-worth of yourself or your relationship
- Create a New Story: Tell yourself new stories and live them. Use affirmations, declarations or reframes to help you paint a new picture or yourself and your marriage.
- Talk to your spouse/partner about it. Be open with it and let him know what you are struggling with so he can be your support on this journey. When my husband understood my trust issues where because of experiences in my childhood he was very understanding and realized he wasn’t the problem.
This really isn’t an overnight process. It is something that I have to continuously work on. It can last from a few weeks to months even up to a year to work through these beliefs. It will take continuous effort but I know you can do it! The results are freeing and immeasurable! I promise as you continue to work on releasing and understanding your insecurities you will see greater happiness, freedom and joy in your life. Self reflecting really is the first step to improving one’s marriage and relationships.
If you have further questions I would love to talk to you. Leave your questions below or contact me with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You are amazing! You are worthy! You are Beautiful! xo Tracy
Bio: Stacey Ahokava is 24 years of age and has been married for 6 months and 5 days. They currently have no children yet. She is of Samoan descent and her husband is of Tongan descent. She is currently working full-time supporting her husband as he is in his final year of Engineering. She loves spending time with family and loves her tongan food especially Otai! We are privileged to hear some of her experiences and thoughts in the first 6 months of their marriage.
1. What was your biggest fear before marriage?
My biggest fear was not knowing what to expect after marriage. I was a little hesitant when my husband even brought the idea up haha. He played a song at the pier and slow danced with me asking what I thought about marriage and I asked why? Why so soon? Why not wait? I took a leap of faith going into this. I was excited but in saying that I was so scared. My parents have separated and I often felt inadequate but with a lot of support from my family and especially my husband, I was able to get sealed in the temple for all time and eternity.
2. What has been the biggest adjustment for you being married?
The biggest adjustment would have to be the time spent together. Before marriage, I would spend most of my time with my little cousins who I treat as my own and I don’t think they’ve adjusted well lol. I was always with my family. My family are my everything! When my husband came along they (my little cousins) weren’t too happy and did not welcome him with open arms hahaha. Living together was weird at first but I love having someone to talk/cry/laugh to every night before I go to sleep. Having someone to hold hands, kneel and say prayers with. Having someone to go on dates with. Having someone to sit next to at church. Having someone I can call mine haha It’s not about me anymore and what I want, it’s about us and what’s best for us.
3. What was the best advice someone gave to for marriage?
The best advice I’ve been given would have to be what I often hear at Church and that is to always look at the eternal perspective. After I got baptised less than two years ago, I started going to Institute. My husband (boyfriend at the time) was teaching the Book of Mormon Class so I went on my own to the Eternal Marriage class (bear in mind we were just dating at the time, not sure why I went to that class. I must’ve been following the spirit haha). They taught about man’s view in comparison to God’s view. I’ll never forget that lesson. Not because I was paying real close attention due to the no friends I had in that class haha, but because I understood. For so long, I was living in “man’s view” and I had progressed very little, if any. Seeing that made me appreciate all the trials I went through. And that the choices I made from that day on, will affect me and the progress I make each and every day. “Line upon line. Here a little, and there a little.” Some days are tougher than others, but I’m happy that my husband and I have both gained that eternal perspective to help us make better decisions not only for this life, but into eternity.
4. What has been the most enjoyable part of marriage?
My favourite part of marriage is knowing that I am sealed to my eternal companion for all time and eternity! Even if he leaves me in this life, he’s still stuck with me haha. Nah but seriously, he is one of my greatest blessings. Having him around is always fun. He easily knows how to get out of the doghouse and he’s always making me laugh and is pushing me out of my comfort zone. He knows I like to stay in the “safe zone” and I love that he sees my potential and pushes me to be a better person than I was yesterday (I don’t love it at the time though haha). As I said before, I’m a convert to the LDS faith. I’ve been a member going onto two years now. & my husband converted when he was young. I was a Catholic and he a Methodist. I’m still learning about the Gospel as I’m sure he is too. Especially as we plan to extend our little family soon maybe next year or the year after lol. Every day I wake up thankful to have an amazing husband, to have a priesthood holder in my home and to be with my best friend every day. That’s the most enjoyable part.
5. What have you done to get through your tough times in marriage?
My husband and my mother in-law have both told me this. It’s one thing I didn’t quite understand or accept but learnt to do so over time. My wonderful mother in-law also shared this recently in Relief Society. When I was first introduced to my in-laws, I was scared. After much praying haha, I eventually met them and I was on my best behaviour. Like never before haha. After meeting me my husband asked my mother in-law what she thought about me, and she said she looked at me as a daughter of our Heavenly Father. Now at the time when I first heard this I was confused. Until I later understood the blessings of this statement. Quite often I’m singing “I Am a Child of God” but did I believe it? Probably not. Ask me again if I do now, I do! I have learnt to understand that not only am I one, but everyone else is too. We are all His children and He loves each and every one of us. My worth and understanding of the love my Saviour has for me have helped immensely when getting through the tough times in marriage. My husband and I have gone through a lot of trials in just the last six months of marriage and I’m grateful for this knowledge because it calms me hahaha. It helps me. I’m always asking myself “would my Father approve of my choices? Would he be proud of me?” My ultimate goal is to return to him, with my family. I know the trials I’ll face won’t get easier, but because I have a testimony of the Gospel, I know these will all be worth it. After all, I am a Child of God and He has sent me here. :):):)
I love the verse in the Book of Mormon
We are agents unto ourselves. We are here to act and not be acted upon.
Heavenly Father has given us a purpose in this life to be a part of His work and build his Kingdom here on earth. But we all have our own parts to play in this great work. Do you know where you fit in? Do you know what part you play into His amazing plan? Have you taken the time to ask Him these questions? Have you taken the time to listen to what He is communicating to you?
Once you come to the realization of what your purpose and role is, your vision starts to unfold naturally. Creating a vision of our entire life enables us to develop motivation, drive and purpose in the everyday things we do. When you create your vision you are consciously choosing to act for yourself and not to just flow to and fro with whatever comes your way. If you don’t create your vision the reality is you will be allowing other people and circumstances to direct your life. Whether you are creating a vision for your family or business the same principals apply.
Life is too short to be doing nothing or just going with the flo. Start today on living each day with purpose!
Questions to consider
Creating your vision doesn’t just happen instantly. For me it was here a little there a little until all the little pieces started to make sense. Even today I feel that I get more pieces as I have accomplished what I have received. I personally feel that God gives us enough to work on and then will give more once we have done that. To get started on your purpose and vision here are some questions to consider…
- What are my 5 most important values that I hold dear?
- What legacy do you want to leave behind?
- If you did not have any fear of people or failure what would you do?
- What would you do if you didn’t get paid?
- What are your natural talents?
- What experiences do you get the most joy from?
- Describe or draw your ideal life? 5, 10 20 years from now
I love visualizing my vision and each day manifesting it so that it comes true and I live it each day. My vision helps me align my actions every day so that I am living with purpose. When you create your vision, seek for clarity. Getting clear on what you want helps you achieve those lofty visions. Just saying “I want to be an entrepreneur” can only get you so far, it may just help you start thinking about different business ideas. But saying I am an creative entrepreneur promoting other creatives such as artists, musicians dancers to get more exposure. This vision clearly defines where you are heading. You will achieve better results with a clear vision. It is better to put all your eggs in one basket when it comes to your vision otherwise holding too many baskets with eggs will result in scrambled eggs.
Continuously go back to the source of all knowledge to help guide you through your journey of finding your purpose. He will direct and guide you so you know what it is you need to do to help you live a purpose driven life.
Here is an example.
Purpose: To serve and inspire
Mission: To create, share and provide tools for women who want to live a fulfilling and purpose driven life.
Vision: A world where women who live by faith, know their purpose are serving and are living life purposefully.