Monday, September 14, 2009

Marriage Contract

As I was perusing blogs this morning during breakfast, I came across a post by a girl named Lori Truman (a friend of a friend of a friend, if you will). For her parent's 50th wedding anniversary, they invited all their children over, served them dinner and stated that in payment for the dinner, they needed to sit and listen to some counsel. (What a way to get an audience, huh?)When it was time to go, they were sent away with party favors. One was a document their parents had drafted together, of ideas and wisdom derived from 50 years worth of marriage experience. She shared that document on her blog, and I'm completely in love with it. Each point is simple and poignant, and made me think about my own marriage and whether I'm doing enough for it to last 50 years--after all, the plan is for eternity, right?

Marriage Contract
Dee & DeAnna Packer

I commit total loyalty to Jesus Christ, His commandments, and you--realizing that marriage and the family are central to God’s Plan of Happiness. (The Family: A Proclamation to the World)
I understand that my fulfillment as a person does not ultimately depend upon any other person, including you. Though I commit myself to be one with you, I am in charge of my personal happiness. Proverbs 23:7

I accept you as a unique and separate person who is very different from me. I understand I need to deal with those differences in ways that are not critical or judgmental. You do not have to be a carbon copy of me.

When we collide—because of our differences—I will negotiate with you, invite you to meet me half way rather than insisting you think, act, or believe my way. “Learn to listen, listen to learn”… "With all thy getting, get UNDERSTANDING." Proverbs 4: 7

I will not relentlessly complain about you. If I am constantly unhappy, I will look inward for ways of changing me so I can feel better. Proverbs 21:19

When I do need changes, I will ask for them, using kind language (“Would you be willing…,” etc.). I will take responsibility for inviting rather than demanding changes from you.
I will allow you to say no, and will also exercise that right when I do not feel good about giving what you’ve requested. However, instead of a flat “no,” I will make counter-proposals to try to find a solution that will meet your needs and mine. If I say yes to you, I will give what you want without resentment.
I recognize that when I get angry with you, it is because I am creating anger in myself. I realize, too, that I am responsible for expressing my anger in ways that are not destructive to you.
No matter how angry or upset I get, I will never threaten to, or actually harm you or myself. If I tend to become harsh or abusive when I get angry, I will take immediate steps to learn how to avoid such behavior.
I will not use anger, or sulking, or continuing to be hurt as methods of controlling you. Neither will I use criticism or pin pricks to pressure you to do what I want. I will not call the relationship into jeopardy if we quarrel by threatening to leave you or to end the relationship. “Church callings are temporary…family relationships are permanent.” Dallin H. Oaks Oct. 2005 (What is the difference between admonition and criticism? D&C 6:19)
I give highest priority to my loyalty to you. I will not reveal confidences you have shared with me without advance permission. I will not embarrass you by airing our differences or by drawing other people into our conflicts.
I will not make you the brunt of jokes.
I will not flirt or give ‘come-on’ signals to others that will humiliate you and undermine our relationship.
I will put your needs before those of outsiders, and I will protect you from criticism by not complaining to these people.When I am happy with you, I will tell the world. When I am unhappy with you, I will tell only you. If I genuinely need help, I will confide in someone who can give aid rather than someone who will just agree with me.
I will consistently give you feedback concerning your positive qualities, actions and growth.
I will keep my negative feedback to a minimum and my positive feedback to a maximum.
I will keep my body healthy and attractive. But, realizing that perfection is unrealistic, I give you, and myself, the right not to be a perfect “10.” I will also find challenges to keep myself mentally alert. D&C 89

I recognize I do not “own” or “possess” you. Because of this, I will refrain from using words like “allow” or “let” or “can’t” in reference to your activities. I ask that you extend the courtesy of coordinating your schedule with mine, but I do not expect you to ask permission to do the things you wish.
I will not try to control or manipulate you with sex or money. I will share equal responsibility with you for planning our mutual finances and for making joint decisions about major expenditures.
I place high value on our love and will be open to you sexually. If at times I may not feel available, I will tell you kindly and directly.
I give you the right to “private” time—time to pursue individual interests, to enjoy solitude, or to do nothing. I will give you that time without complaint or penalty.
I give high priority to creating “we” times that bond us together. I will often reach out to talk to you, to be affectionate, and to work and play side by side I will remember that truly, "two are better than one." Ecclesiastes 4:9

Great stuff, huh? No wonder this couple has been together for 50 years...

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