Friday, 25 October 2013

He loves me, he loves me not. He loves me right?!

How do you know if he or she is the one? Can you really know?

I have to be honest, my husband and I only dated for 2 months (knowing each other for 3 months) before we decided to get engaged. 7 months later we were married...and VERY happy.

I have to clarify that this was definitely not the plan. I wanted to graduate college, go home to England and then settle down. Turns out I met my husband my first week of college my freshman year. Yep. I learned that we don't need a plan, just go with it. I'm not saying just marry the first guy you fall in love with or think that they could be the one, there's a little bit more than that. 

My personal decision that my husband was the right one for me is that I could picture myself being with him forever and eternity (that's a long time so I knew that something was up). Then I asked the Lord, "Is he the one?"...He said go get him! We spent everyday together, when we weren't in class or sleeping we were with each other. When I truly knew that it was the real deal is when we were long distance for 3 months while we were about tough.

It is definitely a decision that should not be taken lightly. I used to mock the couple that got engaged after a few weeks of knowing each other and married within a month. But I get it now. For us the Lord had to give us a little nudge and tell us to stop waiting (we were planning on dating a year before we even talked about marriage...oops).

I think that it is important to have expectation in a marriage, but we can't become obsessed with them, that is when we become surprised and think that our Prince Charming isn't so charming anymore. Nobody is perfect, it's true. 

So the key is to have a plan and standard, but don't be disappointed if that plan gets altered a little. Simple right?

Friday, 18 October 2013

What does being equal even mean?

This week we learned all about the differences of males and females and the roles that are associated with each gender. I learned that men and women have different gender roles that are expected, but people are trying to change these because they consider them to not be equal.

These quotes sums up my views of this controversial issue:

Equality is all too often mistaken to mean that if two things are equal, they must be identical to each other.”

“Man and woman play equally powerful and equally important roles.”
(Valerie M. Hudson and Richard B. Miller, Ensign April 2013)

Men and women are biologically different, it’s a fact, we all learnt that in biology 101. Men are typically strong, want to protect, spatial oriented, aggressive, and like rules. Women are typically nurturing, relation oriented, attentive, enjoy communication, emotional and have personal relationships. I realize that many people will disagree and say that they have none of these traits, that is ok but what is not ok, is fighting against our natural instincts as a men or a women to prove a point. 

In my experience feminists are very unhappy, and the reason for this is that they are fighting something that is unnatural. Also most feminists are selective in their equal rights, for example they might want to be a fire fighter but still expect a man to ask them on a date and buy them flowers. Is this equal?! We need to acknowledge our gender difference and embrace them, don't blur them and confuse our children!

In a relationship we need balance, a husband and wife can't have the same characteristics otherwise they will drive each other insane. For example if I am emotion and upset and my husband reacted the same way we wouldn't get anywhere! I need that logical thinking that puts things in perspective for me, and he needs that emotional perspective that softens his understanding for certain situations. Husband and wife help each other out, we strengthen their admirable qualities and make up for their lack of qualities. A relationships needs unity and perfection, and the definition of perfection is to be whole, complete and fully developed. Notice how it didn't say have equal characteristics and be the same in every way?

One way that our differences make up a whole is women are generally less focused on everything, and men very focused on one specific thing. When this comes to children a mother can show love to all of her children at once but lack in the individual attention, where the father will make up for that. 

"Social science research supports the prophetic instruction that couples who have an equal partnership have happier relationships, more effective parenting practices, and better-functioning children."
(Valerie M. Hudson and Richard B. Miller, Ensign April 2013)

This article has many other great insights that are very beneficial to this topic!

Friday, 11 October 2013

Can we be defined so easily?

This week we learned all about the diversity of culture and class. It really made me think of my culture and how influenced I am by it. There are so many different definitions and cultures that we belong to, that maybe we didn't even know about! For example here is a list of the culture I am associated with in one way or another...

BYU-I college student
Family (my husband and I)
Family of origin

The list could really go on, but isn't it interesting to think that we belong to a lot of cultures?! To answer the question can we be defined so easily? Honesty yes, we can. Depending on the time. By this I mean we adapt and change cultures so frequently and almost effortlessly that it defines our beliefs, values, customs, and traditions throughout our life.

I'm not ashamed to say that everybody could figure out who I am from the list of cultures I have listed. I am still an individual with a personality! I believe that the reason people don't like being stereotyped is because they don't like being judged by a one particular culture they belong to. They belong to many cultures and that is what shapes and defines their personality. It is rare to have someone who shares all of the same cultures as yourself.

So the key is to have many cultures and experiences, everybody is different because everybody has different cultures. Even within your own family! It comes down to our beliefs and values as a person, not the stereotypical cultures that we are sometimes forced into.

Be your own person! Cultures are a great thing that makes us who we are and that we can change and adapt all the time. I'm grateful for this as if I couldn't change my music culture I would still be a grungy rockstar wannabe!

Yes our cultures define us, but no we don't have to be defined as that one stereotypical culture that society expects of us.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Are families really that predictable?

This week in class we learnt all about theories and how we can analyze the relations of our families and predict patterns and outcomes. Now let's remember that a theory is an attempt to explain, not like law that is consistent and has been proven to work.

Now first let's look at family system theory...

A family can be defined as a "unity of interacting personalities", meaning a family has individual personalities that interact and bind together. A highly integrated family is characterized by rituals, discipline, and independence. These characteristics can benefit our family is growing close together and progressing relationships within our families. A family is a closed system of social interaction, meaning that our family experiences are repetitive and based on patterns of interaction that we must keep these relationships private. If we shared our family issues with other, then guess what happens...MORE family issues! Family is a natural social system, with its own characteristics, rules, roles, communication, and power structure.

A family can be related to a recipe, we need all the ingredients, however small, to produce the desired outcome. Rules results from the redundancy principle and are critical in defining a family...couples begin to create rules of their relationship as soon as they meet e.g. curfew, religious practices etc. To truly understand the interaction of a family we must analyze the sequence of behavior rather than the result. If one person change the whole family system has to change!

Now let's look at system theory...

This is when a small part effects the whole. For example if one child gets sick, others in the family get sick as well, or has to help others. If we go back to the recipe analogy, if we are making a cake and don't use baking powder, what do we get...a flat cake! If one member of the family changes their role in the family, the role family has to adapt otherwise the outcome will be disappointing. We all have role, we all contribute.

Next up is exchange theory...

This means that if we do something we expect something back, sound reasonable right? Have you ever done for a family member and not received the reaction you wanted? How did you feel? Pretty crummy probably, and you didn't have a strong desire to do that again. No matter how much we want to, it is very difficult to do a 100% selfless act of kindness. We have unintentional expectations. For example is the Mother makes dinner, the children or husband do the dishes, it shows appreciation and respect. We are human and naturally we need a balance of give and take, otherwise we create conflict and issues that are very avoidable.

Now let's talk about the fun one (they're all fun really), symbolic interaction theory...

This theory is about unspoken messages and tone of voice. Everything we do is through symbols (intentional or not). Sometimes we recognize the meanings of these symbols, for example a certain tone of voice may mean that you are in trouble. Interpretation of actions can be different and create conflict. Especially if we enter into a new marriage or family and assign same meanings of actions from different experiences. We need to recognize these associations to avoid conflict and misinterpretations that can ultimately destroy families.

The last one is conflict theory...

Survival of the fittest? Maybe not...This can turn into negative or positive outcomes for your family! First let's do the negative, if your family has limited resources then that can create conflict on who can control it. But there's hope! It can help families work together and can bind you together, making your family stronger and united as you continue to overcome challenges as a family.

Now every family is different, but they are all generally based upon these theories. From these theories we can analyze patterns of interaction in our families and resolve conflicts before they have a chance to arise!

Here are some great websites that talk about strengthening the family and the value of the family.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Are these trends trendy to you?

This week in class we talked all about the trends of family life happening all over the world. The definition of a family is definitely changing, no longer is it a husband and wife with their children. It can be step parents, unmarried parents, single parents, and sometimes not blood or legal relation at all.. The variety of family is evolving, people who don’t have love in their family look for it some place else, that could be an extended family or even a group of friends that you consider family.

So what measures family?
I was raised with God's definition of a traditional family, but the evolving definition is altered because religion isn't the model anymore. Our world is changing with views on the family. My question is, is this good or bad?

We may be able to answer this question by looking at the trend in society that are effecting families....
Divorce rates is a big one that effects a lot of conflict between families, although the numbers are not increasing as rapidly. This change can be explained by another trend, people are simply delaying marriage. Now this isn't a trend that will ruin our society but it has many results. Such as if people are getting married later in life then they are also delaying children. Another factor that adds to this is cohabitation, as couples feel that if they live together before marriage that they will have a stronger marriage, when in fact studies show that marriages are more likely to end in divorce if the couple cohabited because there was no commitment. 

I want to take a minute to talk about the effects of divorce. Now I understand that sometimes divorce is necessary. But to avoid this I think that couples really need to consider if marriage is the best route for them. I think that sometimes people find marriage too hard and give up, but they then come to regret that decision (70% regret!) because once you are in the process of divorce it is hard to get out and attorneys are pushing you to do it. 25% 1st marriages end in divorce and 60% 2nd marriages end in divorce, and it is found that divorce is more likely in 2nd marriages when children are involved.

Divorce can create so many conflicts between children and step-parents. In some cases step-parents can't connect with the children and the divorced parent may want to go back to the biological father. The unity of parents is complex after divorce and can create conflict and resentment to another parent…also if a step parent tries to parent the child, the child may resent them and manipulate parents to get their own way.

These are all common situations that can happen in divorce and it can get very messy! I believe that almost all marriages can be resolved and that they shouldn't be rushing to divorce, especially if children are involved.

All of these trends are damaging families and in result our society and the views on family values are diminishing. Families are so important and the values and principles need to be protected and cherished. 

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Start of a new semester!

Hey my name is Hannah Pottle! This is a new blog for my family relations class this semester at BYU-Idaho. I will be writing my about my thoughts and feelings of the things that I learn this class. I'm excited to get into this semester and share with you what I learn and see if any of my views change on family issues!