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Jun 24, 2015

The Virtues of Honesty

I feel like my writing style has been dry. Reading research is one thing, but applying it opens up a whole other world of insight. In making this perspective change, I have wondered just how detailed into my home life I should get. As I have thought things over there is nothing better than practical application of parenting and marriage strategies. So, dear reader, you are going to get the inside story of applying the things I learn. It will keep me honest as a mother and spouse with my mistakes too .. so... win, win.

To embark on my journey of honesty, how about we start with a tale exposing its virtue... :)

The hubby and I had a disheartening conversation the other day. Not the big "contact your lawyer" kind of communication, just normal trouble that we all experience. We both felt stuck like a spiders web in this disagreement, entangled by this unhappy perception of each other, and yet father apart than ever. It just hurt me, because I know we both had good intentions, and because I love him so much. I really wanted to fix this problem. The most common term for this unhappy cycle in the professional world is called Collusion. Taken to extremes, this phenomenon can lead to divorce.

A few days went by. 

We were getting the kids ready for bed one night. I came out of the baby's room feeling like a zombie and completely ready for bed. Much to my dismay, I saw hubby settling down for a round of video games. We had agreed that it was important to go to bed early and have prayer and scripture study time together. I felt hot anger rise into my throat, and even a few tears. I was so tired. I knelt at the base of his chair after getting a wall like response, defeated. 

In that moment a phrase from our last general conference came to mind. "Lord is it I?" My thought process went something like this: "How in the world could I be at fault here? I only wanted for us to get a decent sleep and have time that I knew was encouraged by the Lord. Heck, I was doing him a favor by encouraging early bed time! There is no way I could be in the wrong!"

I stopped again...realizing my insistence on being right wouldn't solve anything....and really began to  search myself.
"Lord Is it I" (how am I at fault here)

And then other scriptures plopped into my head one by one, weaving together a wonderful and terrible truth.

"whosoever is angry with his brother shall be in danger of his judgment. And whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council; and whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire." (It is a sin to have anger in our hearts)

"Are we not all beggars?"(Aren't we all flawed?)

"Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."(Being angry at your husband is the same as being angry at Jesus)

I was crushed. I put my face to the floor as I realized that not only was I sinning by degrading my husband, but I was hurting my Savior. My eyes stung with tears. As I spit on my husband in my mind, I spit on the only One who had done everything for me, who I loved so much.  I also began to see a husband who was frustrated at work, who had worked hard all day, who was perhaps suffering from hurts of his own and just needed a break. I never could have seen this before when my vision was clouded with anger.

I finally saw what was really happening, now that the anger had begun to dispel.

I mumbled an apology to my husband for not honoring his agency, and for being so unkind, and quietly left for bed. I felt willing to let him take the time he needed to unwind with his games, which left me surprised, because I had never felt that way before. I cried, devastated for all the other times I had so blindly hurt him, and my Savior without realizing it.
Something miraculous happened. Not five minuets later he came to bed and apologized. In the course of the next morning we completely reconciled with each other, and a greater love and peace settled warmly between us.

Three or four days later, I stumbled on the section in the book Bonds That Make Us Free, by C. Terry Warner, that explained what happened. The chapter called "The Truth Dispels the Lie" outlined the process we went through step by step. I was like...YES!

Now every time we begin to have a disagreement, I try to engage this method of "Removing the mote from my own eye before I try to remove another person's beam." It is hard sometimes to remember, because I am a very flawed person and I have to really bat down the influence of evil spirits in my life sometimes. It is no secret that Satan is a master deceiver, but I am beginning to feel less trapped by my blindness, and am taking great heart in knowing that the Savior's way really works. If it means I have to sacrifice a few petty wants for a time, it is worth a relationship that is more peaceful and bonded in love.

Asking for forgiveness in prayer is important too. I never felt the burden truly lift until after my prayer pleading forgiveness. We know that a vessel, or person's heart, that is clean of blemish is a place that light can dwell and increase, whereas darkness attracts darkness. The peace from a sin washed away by the Atonement is so refreshing and calming.

If there is an angry, despairing downward spiral of accusation and blindness called collusion, then there also has to be an loving, introspective cycle of ascension for an increasingly loving relationship. Warner describes the drastic contrast between these two cycles as the bonds of charity and the bonds of sin, or in less biblical terms, seeing only our own needs rather than having concern for the other person's needs.

The other surprising result of this processes that it is slowly changing my hubby without me doing a thing about telling him how he needs to change. It really is beautiful when you can see where... golly, the Savior was right all along.

Mathew 5:22; Bonds That Make Us Free by Warner, C.Terry.; Lord is it I?-October 2014 General Conference, Deiter F. Uchdorf; Jacob 5:23; Mathew 25:40; Luke 6:41;

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