Monday, October 29, 2012

My Soul Hungered

Today's post is based off of the story of Enos from the Book of Mormon.  Enos had a righteous, loving father who taught him the scriptures and the joy of the saints.  Enos recounts the following experience he had while out on a hunting trip:
And my soul hungered; and I kneeled down before my Maker, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul; and all the day long did I cry unto him; yea, and when the night came I did still raise my voice high that it reached the heavens.  Enos 1:4
Enos later spoke to his Lord about his people, the Nephites, and then his enemies, the Lamanites.  But that is not where he began his spiritual quest.  It began with himself, and his own relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.  Only after his own guilt had been swept away was he able to reach out to those around him.

So it is in our lives.  I have tried to reach out to others in the Lord's way while carrying an inner emptiness.  And wouldn't you know it, it hasn't worked out particularly well.  It's not that my actions or even my desires are bad.  They are not.  I truly desire to help and bless other people.  But I must first fill my own bucket with water before I can contribute to another's bucket.

Having tried almost every other way, I have come to the conclusion that I must build and strengthen my own personal relationship with the Lord, Jesus Christ.  I need to come unto Him first and foremost.  I need to ensure that He is more important to me than anyone else.  Honestly, the thought is a little scary for me.  Even though I know that He knows everything about me, I feel nervous being that vulnerable before Him.  And yet, I also know that I cannot move forward to where I want to be personally or in my marriage without His help.

My soul hungers for a connection with Him.  I yearn to have my inner emptiness filled with His great love.  The following scripture comes to mind:
Learn of me, and listen to my words; walk in the meekness of my Spirit, and you shall have peace in me.  D&C 19:23
May the Lord fill me with peace and love.  Not only for my sake, but that I can then pass on these gifts to my loved ones in my family, as well as others to whom the Lord would have me minister.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Spiritual Nourishment From the Scriptures

"Immersion in the scriptures is essential for spiritual nourishment.  The word of God inspires commitment and acts as a healing balm for hurt feelings, anger, or disillusionment."

—Quentin L. Cook, "Can Ye Feel So Now?", Liahona and Ensign, November 2012

I can't think of a better way to sum up what is needed for both personal and marital healing.  There is great power in the scriptures.  Even holding them helps me to feel better.  More so when I open them and immerse myself in their contents.

I once heard it said that if we want to talk to God, we should pray, and if we want to listen to God, we should read the scriptures.  May it be so, and may our spirits be well nourished!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Invincibility Is Not Good For Your Marriage

"I am strong and tough.  I can handle whatever life throws at me on my own.  I am self-reliant.  I don't need anyone else.  I am invincible!"

Does any of this sound familiar to you?  I know that I tell myself things like this all of the time.  I think there are many of us out there (especially men) who want to feel strong, powerful, and in control all of the time.  But I will let you in on a big secret.

It's a lie.

It really is.  No matter how much we may feel otherwise, no matter how much we don't want to admit it, we aren't invincible.  We are very mortal, weak, and sometimes even fragile inside.  That can be a hard blow to take.  The old ego doesn't like being told things like that.  But invincibility is actually a stumbling block in marriage.

A person that is invincible is also a person that can't be touched.  It's no fun trying to get a reaction out of a brick wall.  Sometimes he becomes a person that runs through or knocks over everything he comes in contact with.  That's no fun for those who have to live with him.  And being based on a lie, pretending to be invincible takes a lot of energy to maintain the lie.

And if we were truly invincible, we would have no need of the Lord in our lives.  And that kind of pretend invincibility is the most damaging of all, because it cuts us off from the only one who can truly make us strong.

I think most women would prefer a weak, occasionally stumbling man who is humble and repentant, to one who is "perfect" and untouchable.

Now I hear you saying, Mark, that is easier said than done!  I understand.  I created my own illusion of invincibility to protect myself from some deep hurt in my past.  But the shell it has created has pushed my wife away, and robbed both of us of the closeness that God intended us to have in our marriage.  Opening the shell is very uncomfortable.  In choosing to be vulnerable with my wife, I also have a fear of being shredded.  But that vulernability is the very thing that can bring us closer together.  When she truly knows me, she can love me for who I really am, rather than having to work around a shell.  This vulernability is still new to me, and it is still very uncomfortable.  But the closeness it has generated, even for a short time, has been well worth the risk.

So if you think you are invincible, or that you need to be, might I suggest that you think again?  Take some time to pray about it.  Ask your spouse which he/she would prefer: an invincible spouse or a vulernable spouse.  You might be surprised at the answer.

A New Approach

After some pondering and prayer this week, I've decided to set up a new approach in presenting content on this blog (at least for the time being).  I see two main parts to the healing I am working on currently.  First, I am working on healing and improving my relationship with the Lord.  Second, I am working on healing and improving my relationship with my wife.  Both of them are similar in some ways, but they are different enough that each deserve some "air time".  Also, I imagine that there are individuals who are struggling with one or both areas in their own lives.

So I am planning on posting at least twice a week: one for personal healing and one for marital healing.  I may also toss in an inspirational quote or a link to other blogs here and there, but the main focus will be on the two types of healing I am working on in my life.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Blowing off the dust

Perhaps a daily posting schedule was a tad ambitious.  Many things have happened since I last posted here.  My wife and I celebrated our 10th anniversary.  Our children had birthdays.  We started attending couple therapy.  I gave up playing computer games.

Each of these could be worthy of their own posting, and perhaps I will post about them individually in the near future.  But for now, I wanted to clear off the dust, remove the mothballs, and bring this blog back to life.

I follow a number of Christian marriage blogs, and I have learned many useful things from them.  As I have reviewed them, I've noticed two things.  First, most of the bloggers are women.  I think women are wonderful, and value their perspective.  However, I would like to hear more from the male persepective.  Secondly, there are very few blogs from an LDS perspective.  Again, I have learned many things from my other Christian friends.  However, I feel that there are many others of my faith who may be in a similar position to mine, and would benefit from the viewpoint of a "fellow Saint".

Most importantly, I have felt the whisperings of the Holy Spirit encouraging me to start up my blogging again.  Whether male or female, sharer of my specific faith or fellow believer in Christ, it is my prayer to bring hope, comfort, and encouragement to those who are struggling in their marriages, and hope to improve them through the Lord.