click here for an overview of
Why Marriages Succeed or Fail
... And How You Can Make Yours Last
by John Gottman, Ph.D
Copyright © 1994 by John Gottman
Reprinted by permission of Simon & Schuster, Inc., N.Y.
click here for a short article about Gottman's reasearch
by Hara Estroff Marano, published on March 16, 2004
in Psychology Today
So how do we change the patterns that allow differences to push us apart? Let’s just try and experiment - Try folding your hands, now unfold them and fold them again with the other thumb on top. How does that feel. Now try folding your arms – now fold them again with the other arm on top. Next time you try putting on a coat –don’t put it on your normal way - try putting in your opposite arm in first, or more difficult (and please sit down before you try this) next time you are putting on a pair of pants – try putting in the other leg first. Please be careful not to fall over! Do you sit in a certain place at church? Do you have a typical seat at the dinner table? We are creatures of habit and trying to change our habits can feel unusual and sometimes even uncomfortable.
When we find a habit or trait that we want to change, how can we do all we can to make sure we are as successful as possible?
President Uchdorf shared with the Church the story of the 4 year olds that were placed one by one in a room with a nice big marshmallow. They were told if they could wait for 15 minutes to eat the marshmallow that they would get to have two marshmallows. Only 30 percent of the 4 year olds were able to wait.
Recently a group of researchers replicated this study and found exactly the same result. Then they took another group of 4 year olds, gave them the same challenge but also taught them two simple skills that would allow them to wait. They were simply taught to distance themselves from the marshmallow and to distract themselves by focusing on something else. When these two simple skills were used 70 percent of the 4 year olds were successful. Sometimes we deeply want to change and make things different in our lives but need a few simple skills that might help us to succeed.
What do you think? Can this be applied to marriage success?
One of the most well known scriptures in the standard works gives us a pattern of skills that can help us deal with issues in our marriage and family. It is in fact the very scripture that the Lord used to teach us how to love and serve.
Doctrine and Covenants 59:5
5 Wherefore, I give unto them a commandment, saying thus: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy might, mind, and strength; and in the name of Jesus Christ thou shalt serve him.
6. Thou shalt alove thy bneighbor as thyself.
Is it interesting that the Lord always starts with the heart - use in resolving differences in a healthy way. Is my heart right?
Elder Marlin K Jensen
Nevertheless, despite our best intentions and efforts, our ideal began to collide with reality shortly after our brief, inexpensive honeymoon. I cannot speak for Kathy, but I soon began to feel a small sense of disillusionment, a feeling that there was something more to marriage than I seemed capable of producing.
One small example from those early days of our marriage will illustrate the challenges we faced. We were living in Salt Lake City, where I was attending law school and Kathy was teaching first grade. Under the stress of being new to the city, our respective schools, and each other, our relationship became a bit testy. One night at about dinnertime, we had a quarrel that convinced me that I need not hope for nourishment at home. So I left our modest apartment and walked to the nearest fast-food restaurant, a block away. As I entered the north door of the establishment, I looked to my right—and much to my surprise, I saw Kathy entering through the south door! We exchanged angry glances and advanced to opposing cash registers to place our orders. We continued to ignore each other as we sat alone on opposite ends of the restaurant, sullenly eating our evening meals. We then left as we had entered and took our separate routes home. It wasn’t until later that we reconciled and laughed together about how infantile we had been.
I realize now that such little tiffs are not uncommon in the early stages of most marriages. However, I believe they are representative of the many obstacles that can frequently interfere with the tremendous potential for fulfillment and happiness that exists in an eternal marriage, potential that too often goes unrealized.
Ensign OCT. 1994 A UNION OF LOVE AND UNDERSTANDING MARLIN K. JENSEN
Family Executive Council Meeting
Heads of home
Compliments and gratitude
Minutes from last meeting
Items to discuss
Children - discuss one by one
Time of Next Meeting
Click here or here to view a Mormon Message: Elder Holland "How Do I Love Thee"
Click here to read an article condensed from a BYU devotional address by the same title.