LESSON EIGHT - Becoming Husbands and Wives

"Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith,prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work and wholesome recreational activities" ("The Family: A Proclamation to the World")

Purpose

To learn skills and patterns of living with roommates preparatory to successful marriage relationships.

Preparation

  1. This lesson is designed to be approximately 20 minutes unless more time is available.
  2. Seek the spirit in deciding which sections to emphasize. It is not critical that you cover all the material provided.
  3. Prayerfully study "Nurturing Marriage," Russell M. Nelson, Ensign, May 2006, 36.
  4. Consider the needs of the participants and prepare additional questions that promote discussion and connect the principles to apartment and family life.
  5. Be prepared to bear your testimony throughout the lesson at any time the spirit prompts.

Doctrine

  • Marriage is ordained of God and central to God's eternal plan.
  • "[Marriage] is your divine right and the avenue to the greatest and most supreme happiness" (Spencer W. Kimball, Ensign, Nov. 1978, 103).
  • D&C 131:1-4  Temple Marriage is necessary to enter into the highest kingdom of heaven.
  • "This is the theme of Mormonism . . . . Marriage, family, home, children, grandchildren, and all that is beautiful and glorious" (Spencer W. Kimball, "Lesson 44: Preparing Now for Temple Marriage," Aaronic Priesthood Manual 2, 168).

SECTION ONE

Activity: Strengthening Marriage

The following activity can strengthen the marriage relationship as couples seek for opportunities for growth and improvement in these and other areas. As you prepare to facilitate the activity, please note that the following quotes are directed toward married couples and consider how they relate to single students. 

Divide into groups and give each group a section (or two) to discuss and then present to the entire group. Activity Resource

Show and Express Love

"The relationship between love and appropriate action is demonstrated repeatedly in the scriptures and is highlighted by the Savior's instruction to His Apostles: 'If ye love me, keep my commandments (John 14:15). Just as our love of and for the Lord is evidenced by walking ever in His ways (see Deut. 19:9), so our love for spouse, parents, and children is reflected most powerfully in our thoughts, our words, and our deeds" (see Mosiah 4:30; David A. Bednar, "More Diligent and Concerned at Home," Ensign, November 2009, 17-20).

Questions for discussion

  • In what ways can we specifically show love through our thoughts, words, and deeds?
  • How can practicing this principle with roommates prepare us to show and express love for our spouse once we are married?
  • How do we show love toward roommates and family members when we feel awkward, unsure, or perhaps a bit embarrassed?
  • What about times when it is hard to show and express love because of hurt feelings or unmet expectations?

Effective Communication

"Good communication includes taking time to plan together. Couples need private time to observe, to talk, and really listen to each other . . . . They should strive to elevate and motivate each other. Marital unity is sustained when goals are mutually understood. Good communication is also enhanced by prayer. To pray with specific mention of a spouses' good deed (or need) nurtures a marriage" (Russell M. Nelson, "Nurturing Marriage," Ensign, May 2006, 36).

Questions for discussion

  • How can we develop and practice positive communication skills with our roommates?
  • Why are we sometimes timid to have crucial conversations?
  • In what ways does effective communication unite and bond people together?

Controlling Your Temper

"I plead with you to control your tempers, to put a smile on your faces, which will erase anger; speak out with words of love and peace, appreciation, and respect. If you will do this, your lives will be without regret. Your marriages and family relationships will be preserved. You will be much happier. You will do greater good. You will feel a sense of peace that will be wonderful.

"Divorce too often is the bitter fruit of anger. A man and a woman fall in love, as they say; each is wonderful in the sight of the other; they feel romantic affection for no one else; they stretch their finances to buy a diamond ring; they marry. All is bliss - that is, for a season. Then little inconsequential activities lead to criticism. Little flaws are magnified into great torrents of faultfinding; they fall apart, they separate, and then with rancor and bitterness they divorce. "It is the cycle which is repeated again and again in thousands of cases. It is tragic, and, as I have said, it is in most cases the bitter fruit of anger" (Gordon B. Hinckley "Slow to Anger," Ensign, November 2007, 62-63, 66).

Questions for Discussion

  • Conflict is a natural part of relationships, but how do we keep conflict from becoming contention?
  • When we feel conflict, what are steps we can take for resolution?
  • How do our roommate relationships help us learn about conflict and conflict resolution?
  • Do we ' divorce' our roommates in a sense when we disengage, move out in the middle of the semester, or stop talking to one another?
  • How does the Atonement help us overcome anger, resentment, faultfinding, and bitterness that we may hold for another person?
  • How can overcoming these tendencies help to prepare us to resolve conflict in our marriage?

Quality Time

"Because marriage is such an important relationship in life, it needs and deserves time over less-important commitments. Couples can strengthen their marriage as they take time to talk together and to listen to one another, to be thoughtful and respectful, and to express tender feelings and affection often" (Gospel Topics: Marriage, www.lds.org).

Questions for Discussion

  • Why is it important to have our spouse be our friend, recreational companion, and partner in our chosen activities, hobbies and adventures?
  • How does time spent together strengthen a relationship?
  • What can you do if you have differing ideas of "wholesome recreational activities" (e.g. she likes to ride bikes and he likes to go bowling)?
  • How do you include quality time into your daily and weekly schedules?

Activity: Brainstorm List

Provide a piece of paper and pen for each participant. Invite them to take two to three minutes to consider and list the challenges and potential conflicts that come by living with other people. Take turns sharing answers and marking off duplicates. Counsel together about ways to prevent and resolve the potential misunderstandings.

Repeat the exercise, listing what dating or engaged couples should discuss before getting married in order to establish common goals, expectations, and patterns for a successful relationship.

This activity can be modified for a discussion about quality time. For example, have participants list quality time ideas that can strengthen roommate and marriage relationships.

Additional Resources

  • The Family Guidebook
  • Marriage and Family Relations Manual

(Both are available at LDS distribution center or www.lds.org.)


Application

A lesson is not complete until a challenge or invitation is extended which inspires and motivates participants to apply what they have learned. "It's in the doing, not just the thinking, that we accomplish our goals" (Thomas S. Monson, "A Royal Priesthood," Ensign, Nov. 2007, 59-61).

As a result of the lesson, each participant should feel an increased desire to change an attitude or behavior and become a stronger disciple of Jesus Christ. Include the following steps as part of the application process:

  1. Summarize what has been learned or ask a member of the group to do so.
  2. Invite participants to write goals specific to what they have felt and learned. How will they apply the principles to their personal lives and apartment life (including roommate relationships)? How will they act on what they have learned as a means of preparation for marriage and family life? In short, what will they do about what they have learned?
  3. Follow-up with participants on goals they have set. Regular and consistent follow-up will increase the likelihood that participants actually execute their plan of action.