Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Family Proclamation Taught Us How To BE a Family

Tristi Pinkston is a best-selling LDS fiction author with five published novels. She is a stay-at-home mom, homeschooler, and media reviewer.  I stumbled on a book review that she did in which she briefly mentioned what the Family Proclamation taught her.  I wanted to know more, so I asked her to elaborate for us today!  Here's Tristi!
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It’s said that we can find the answers to all our difficult questions by turning to the gospel, and that’s absolutely true.  A perfect example of this is found in my experience with The Family: A Proclamation to the World, given to us by the prophet in 1995.

My parents’ marriage was rocky right from the start, and they divorced when I was a teenager.  I had a pretty clear-cut idea of what I wanted from my own marriage—essentially, I wanted a relationship that was completely different from what I’d seen modeled in my nuclear home—and when I met Matt, I was determined to create our family unit independent of my upbringing.  The problem was, I had no idea how to go about it.

Matt’s family situation was also unusual.  His father and mother had divorced when he was four, and he was adopted by his stepfather.  He never had a strong model for a proper marriage, either—his mother and stepfather had their rough patches, and he came away wondering just what marriage was for.  It certainly didn’t bring happiness and joy, from what he’d seen.

The Proclamation to the World was released just one month after our marriage, and I consider it a huge blessing.  Here we were, newlyweds, wanting something different for our lives and yet feeling totally clueless.  How can you form a strong family unit when you don’t know what one looks like?  The Proclamation walked us through God’s plan, step by step, and we made it our own personal creed.  It became our beacon along the pathway toward creating a strong marriage and a successful family.

As we sat down together and read through the Proclamation, we were deeply touched by the reminder that the husband and wife are to work together, in unity, to create a nurturing atmosphere in the home.  This type of partnership was something we’d not seen for ourselves, but we knew instinctively that this is how it should be.  The husband isn’t there to bully the wife, and the wife isn’t there to nag the husband.  Instead, they are to come together as loving partners, focused on the good of the family.

We were also moved by the reminder of just how crucial marriage is to Heavenly Father’s plan.  The family was not thrown together in some random, haphazard way—instead, it was divinely created by a loving God who knows what we need and how best to help us attain it.  How miserable would we be without the built-in support system that comes from having a family!  Marriage provides the foundation for that family.  A man and a woman, working together toward common goals, using the Holy Ghost as their compass, cannot fail.  Their daily tasks might not always go as hoped, and they may even see children use their free agency to choose darkness, but they will achieve success far above and beyond anything they could ever attain on their own.

Marriage is hard.  When you first fall in love, and you’ve got stars and daisies in your eyes and you are convinced your beloved can do no wrong, you can’t imagine having days when you’d just as soon lock the front door and not let him come home.  But those days do come.  Life throws curve balls and we can’t always predict how we’re going to react to them.  But by carefully studying the Proclamation, and by understanding that we each have a responsibility to do our part, to work hard and to forgive, we can overcome those challenges and use them to draw nearer together and to the Lord.

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Thank you, Tristi!
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24 comments:

  1. yes, the proclamation is a wonderful guide for everyone and so needed in our day and time...

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  2. This got me thinking that maybe a nicely framed copy of the family proclamation would make a great wedding gift. It would never go out of style

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  3. This was so nice to read...thanks.

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  4. It's funny. Your comment about your situations also being "unusual" struck me as funny, because it seems like divorce is pretty common these days...and that is exactly why we need the Family Proclamation to be a road map for all of the families out there who want to know how to get back to a happy family situation again...or to find it for the first time...Excellent post!

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  5. wow....I am one of the lucky ones. I have never wanted to lock the door to keep my husband out but I sure would have loved to have locked the doors and phones and kept the previous generation out. I am a new grandmother as of last night and I still hold with the idea that the new family needs to interference from the previous generation (that's me) for a week....so they can cement those first days of awe and have them to look back on forever. Made the opposite choice as a brand new grandmother and learned......But good for you 2 to old to scripture and cement your family.

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  6. Marrage is hard...but O so very worth it! Thanks for the wonderful food for thought!

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  7. Thank you for your comments, everyone! I appreciate it.

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  8. a lovely illustration of the teaching the Family Proclamation has. This was perfection: "The family was not thrown together in some random, haphazard way—instead, it was divinely created by a loving God who knows what we need and how best to help us attain it." Thank you.

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  9. You're so right; the proclamation is an inspired template that helps us build family the right way. Thanks for reminding me what a blessing that is.

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  10. I can completely identify with Tristi. I was the first person I knew to get a divorce. And at the scary age of 21 with a baby. I didn't want to repeat that so I stayed single for 12 years. During that time the Family Proclamation was given but I didn't know about it, being inactive and "lost". When I came around in 2000 and found my way back to all I needed, desired, and craved, I learned of the Proclamation and also found a wonderful Priesthood holder to marry and start a new life with. We've been blessed with two little girls to add to our blended family, and I want to give them the family life they deserve, founded on the gospel.

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  11. This was a great post. My parents were divorced when I was in the 6th grade. I knew I never wanted that for my children. It's true how the Family Proclamation is a guide for us. As long as we use it we will be blessed. I'm watching some of my siblings struggle and it breaks my heart. They so need this unfortunatetly they are not in a place to listen right now. But I think hanging it in my home on my Family wall is a great idea. I've felt the need to do that this week since reading these blogs.

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  12. All of these comments really make me smile. I also loved what you said about the family not being thrown together in some haphazard way. I have friends who are wondering if they have met "the one" and don't feel like they are really ready for bringing children into the world. But as I read your post, I thought, "Huh. Being married and NOT having children would basically mean we weren't filling the measure of our creation, and how could the marriage help but FEEL that unfulfillment?" And that's also there, right in the Proclamation! And though we may not have had the best examples in our homes of what marriage should be, we can see this basic guidance and then look to others who are looking at the basic guidance and get more ideas for how to make the ideal REAL for US, not our neighbor or that lady that never wanted to lock her husband out of the house or the other perfectly happy couple next door. I mean, I know of plenty of "perfectly happy" couples next door that are divorced now, too. Anyway -- thanks for that. I think I need to go back (again and again and again) and read and look at the Proclamation and see what direction is there that I haven't followed today that can make my marriage better today than it was yesterday!

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  13. Amen. Amen. And Aaaa-MEN:) It's so great to hear a success story from two people who did not have that example of what marriage can be. Proud of you both for working for something better!!:)

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  14. We all come from not quite perfect homes. Some less perfect than others. It is always a work in progress. There are things I want to do differently than what I was raised in. Thank goodness my husband's strengths help fill in some of those gaps. It makes things so much easier to have a recipe to follow rather than try to wing it and hope it turns out.

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  15. This made me cry. But in a good way.

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  16. I relate to this so much. My parents are not a good example and my husband's are divorced. We have spent many years trying to figure it out and make our situation better than theirs and have been so thankful for examples from our ward and the Proclamation on the Family to guide us.

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  17. I really love the idea of the Family Proclamation being a beacon to guide us. Well, said.

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  18. I work in a place with a lot of women who badmouth their husbands left and right. Locking them out of the house would be kind compared to some of the things I hear. The Family Proclamation is a wonderful way to focus on what's truly important in life. It would be nice if more people treated it the way you do, Tristi.

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  19. this is a beautiful reminder of how important marriage is. thank you for sharing your story. and thank you beinglds for making such an incredible blog to follow! im a first timer and i will definitely be back frequently!

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  20. So true! I never really thought of using the Proclamation as a marriage guide before, but it makes so much sense!

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  21. Wow, beautiful post. Thanks for the reminder of how great a blessing the Proclamation is!!!
    -CK

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  22. Great post! It's nice to see folks rally around an idea that gets laughed at in the media. Some things are just right. This is one of them

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  23. I love the idea that we can become better than what we've learned growing up. My father came from a dysfunctional and abusive home (parents divorced from each other twice, married three times), but broke the cycle with his own family. I am thankful for the teachings of the gospel that helped him learn a better way. The proclamation is a good place to start learning healthy family relationships.

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