Sunday, January 31, 2016

12 Things for Newlyweds/Newly Parents

Hi, my name is Aubrey. I'm the 3rd oldest of  eight daughters.  I'm a twin, and yes, I was born first. By two minutes! I don't know what it's like to not be a twin, but I love being  a twin in case you wondered! We have been inseparable since birth, best friends in every way possible. We are now beginning the journey of living separate lives.... not always getting the same presents, having all the same friends, doing the same activities, or working the same jobs.  She went on a mission, and I got married.

 Kyle and I met while I was preparing to go on my mission. We have been married a little over one year. You can read about the whole experience here-The Marriage Decision Over the Mission Decision.

Besides being a new wife, I am a new mother!  We have a 4 month old baby girl. who we are obsessed with. We are currently living in Idaho where we are attending  BYU-Idaho.
This past week at BYU-I, Elder and Sister Bednar held a "Date-Night" fireside for the married students.  I felt very privileged to be there, as it wasn't broadcast, but just a very needed night of advice from Elder and Sister Bednar!!   President and Sister Gilbert, the BYU-I President and his wife asked them a number of questions about their marriage, and family life from the early years to now. It was an amazing fireside!! I took a lot of notes and kind of summarized my notes into:
12 things for  newlyweds/newly parents

1.     "Marriage can be happy and sad. It can be relentless, it's not always about cupid and arrows."- Elder Bednar

There are times in marriage where we are happy, and things are going our way. I feel like especially being newly married, we are in love, we don't think anything will go wrong. But then it does, and we then don't quite know what to do. We quickly think... Wait. We just got married. This isn’t how it’s supposed to happen. Then we start comparing ourselves to other “perfect” couples. That cute couple in my ward, they are so cute together, they never fight. Something must be wrong with us. Or I must have married the wrong person.  Marriage is not always
"about cupid and arrows.” It's a good reality reminder!

2.  "You have to learn to work through all opposite things"

-Elder Bednar "Sister Bednar and I couldn't be more different! I grew up in the San Francisco Bay area in the late 60's where everyone was doing sexual things, drugs, and alcohol.  Sister Bednar grew up in Wyoming, in a really small town. The whole town including the cattle was as much as my whole graduating class! I am left handed, she is right handed. Things couldn't be more opposite! You have to learn to work through all the opposite things between you!"

Kyle and I couldn't come from more opposite backgrounds. I was born in a warm nurturing family where the gospel of Jesus Christ was taught in our home. My parents both served  missions and were married in the Salt Lake LDS temple almost 4 years to the day from when they met and fell in love at Ricks College. I grew up going to Primary, Young Womens, with all my sisters, received the  Young Women Recognitions Award, and prepared to go on a mission! Kyle on the other hand, was born  to his 16 year old mother who tried her best, but struggled to provide a stable home environment. There were many ups and downs. Kyle was not acquainted well with his birth father, and grew up with 3 different stepdads, never knowing where he came from, who he was, or what his purpose might be in his life. He was very blessed to find the gospel when he was 17. His family did not agree with it, and he was kicked out of his home when he decided to join the church and be baptized. He served a mission, and the greatest day of his life was when we were married in the temple and he became part of an eternal family unit.  Something he yearned for, but never had. 

We have many opposite things between us and we have to accept our spouses for who they are and work through it all. 
The Lord has a plan for each of our lives and there is a reason we are born into the circumstances we are. Marriage  is part of the Lord's plan and I am so grateful for this wonderful journey we are beginning together.

3. You CREATE  your marriage

-Elder Bednar   "We mustn’t let the little things affect us! Differences in marriage can be good things. Let those differences teach you something about you and your spouse. Let them shape you as a couple, and then learn from them.  
-"Work through differences, but let them work with you. You don't find the marriage you hope to have. You CREATE it."

4. You marry POTENTIAL not perfection

 -Elder Bednar "If you think you married the perfect person, then what makes you think that person would want to marry YOU??"
I don’t know how many girls did this growing up, but I know my sisters and I made “The Perfect Man” outline of everything our future husband had to have in order for us to marry him. We must have thought how lucky would he be to be with us? He sure as heck needed to have all those qualities in order to win us. At the time we were thinking it was a way of him earning us. How arrogant was our thinking!
- Elder Bednar“We often make a list of the perfect person, that someday you will only marry a person that has everything on that list, what makes you think you're so great? What makes you think that you are so perfect, and so wonderful that he/she has to fit your criteria? When you very well don't even fit your own?”

5. Did I marry the right person?

-Elder Bednar  "If you think that you didn't marry the right person. Well TOO BAD! The days of searching, and finding, and wondering are over! You made an oath, a covenant, a loyalty to be them for eternity.  We always want things that are polished and unbroken. Most often these thoughts and feelings come because of comparing yourself with another couple, who may seem to have it all together. But, the days of searching and finding are over! We need to love our spouse for who they are, and let the atonement strengthen our marriage.

6. Communication is key

-Elder Bednar "When Sister Bednar and I were first married. I was going to school to earn my Doctorate. There were so many days where I felt like giving up. There was no possible way that I could finish. I was talking with my Professor one day and he mentioned to me, ‘You won't be able to finish. You have 2 young kids at home, a wife, and on top of that your religion. It's just too much, the odds of you finished are slim to none.’ I went home that night, while lying in bed, I said, ‘Susan. I don't think I can do this anymore. I just want to give up.’ She of course was speechless. In the end there was only one in his whole class who graduated and finished, it was the religious guy with 2 kids a wife.”
Elder Bednar talked about how afraid he was to communicate with Susan his feelings of inadequacy. Especially as a young father and husband, he didn’t feel like it was likely for him to finish.  Because he communicated with his wife at such a vulnerable time for him, it strengthened him, and it strengthened their marriage.
 "The Atonement blesses us with the capacity to do things that we couldn't otherwise accomplish."- Elder Bednar

7. Ask your spouse, "How can I best support you?"

--Sister Bednar“Elder Bednar was called to the stake presidency when he was 30. Our son was just a baby. I was so afraid of his calling, because the stake center was 2-3 hours away. I didn’t think I could do it. I remember feeling so alone, getting on my knees and pleading with the Lord. ‘Father in Heaven, I simply can’t do this. I need my husband.’ I then realized how wrong I was. That this was in no way how to support my husband. I needed to support him, and be grateful that he was called from God to be in the Stake Presidency.”

8. Putting your spouse first

When we have young children, we are so consumed with giving all our time to them. Feeding them, changing their diaper, giving them the attention they need, and any other necessary things. That our spouse becomes second on the list. But plainly enough, our spouses need us. They need our love, they need our attention. Then need to know how much we love them, and how important they are to us.
“We won't be good fathers and mothers in the eternities if you aren't good husbands and wives first." –Elder Bednar
 "When you are empty nesters, and all you have in common are your children, that's when marriages fail.” –Elder Bednar
 “One night at the dinner table, Elder Bednar was the bishop, he was talking to me about going to the courthouse because he was going to be marrying a couple the next day. Our oldest son then said, ‘Wait daddy… then who is mommy going to marry?’ It's important that your children feel loved and secure with you as a couple. They need to know that their parents love each other.” –Sister Bednar
“Make the comfort and well-being of your spouse your highest priority.” –-Elder Bednar

9. Being a young mother

-Sister  Bednar-"We had our first child when we had been married for 13 months. Being a young mother was SO difficult. I remember when my mom came after our son was born, she stayed with me for a few days. She went home a few days later. I called her and said, 'wait mom. Come back. I don't know how to bathe him right!'  I was so nervous to be a mom. It took a while for my mothering instincts to kick in!”
As Sister Bednar said all these things, I kept saying yes! That’s exactly what it feels like!  As I just had a baby 4 months ago. There are so many emotions that run through you as a young mother. You feel so alone, and so helpless. You have absolutely no idea what you are doing! I remember calling my mom and asking, “So when she has a diaper rash, do I use Desitin or baby powder?” But somehow, someway you make it through the first 3 months, and you start to feel somewhat normal again. Your motherly instincts do kick in. You feel like maybe this mother thing isn’t so bad. As Elder Bednar said, “The Atonement blesses us with the capacity to do things that we couldn't otherwise accomplish."

10. Being a young father

Don't divert all your attention to your children and not your wife. Make sure she knows you love her most. She can't do what she is spiritually prepared to do without that spiritual love for her.” –Elder Bednar
As a wife, when I know that my husband loves me. When he does the little things for me, that’s when I feel rejuvenated to be able to care for our daughter the way that I need to. It’s extra fuel in the tank.

11. As a new family, when do we start Family Home Evening?

“When the baby is in the womb. They will feel the familiar spirit, and it will bring the spirit into your marriage and family early on. Being consistent is key, it won't turn out if you aren't consistent. You can't expect the church to do what you neglect doing.” –Elder Bednar

12. Bring children into the world and rear your children in righteousness

 Last minute advice to newly married couples with or without children:
"Don't be too kind and conscientious that your contentious gets in the way."
“As bad as the world is, it's as good as it will ever be. Don't be afraid to bring children to the world, and to rear them in righteousness."
-" This is serious business. But don't let your seriousness get in the way. Pray for the assistance of the Holy Ghost, find it now. Don't spend your whole life searching for it." Elder Bednar
 * Elder Bednar gave a great devotional at BYUI the same day titled REPITITION, you can read that here: