Saturday, July 18, 2015

FINAL Blog post for Family Relations:(:(:(

 I honestly don't remember a time that I have been SO sad to be done with a class, but this last week I felt like crying at the thought of that being our LAST normal class!!! I know that sounds incredibly dramatic and very unnecessary but because I have learned SO much about so many different topics (ALL of which have or will have significant relevance to my life) and because of the love, care and concern with which those topics were taught it really hit home to me it was all very REAL to me! Although I have learned so many things I realize all the more, how much I STILL DON’T KNOW! And that kind of scares me! It has motivated me to want to keep learning about how the family functions and how to respond positively to conflict and how to express feelings and communicate more effectively. I want to learn how to recognize unmet needs and know how to go about meeting those needs so that the recipient will know that they are loved and cared for and that they are IMPORTANT!

1. Having a more clear understanding of research and how to find the facts
2. How to “fall in love”/ Healthy dating habits and things to avoid
3. Differences in men and women and how those differences complement each other.
4. Same gender attraction
5. How family systems work and how important healthy relationships/clear boundaries are
6. Intimacy in marriage
7. CONSENSUS vs Compromise/ communication
8. Disciplining children
9. Stay-at-home Moms vs Working Moms-> Saving or losing money??
10. Learning about different experiences and to have compassion for others and not judge them.
11. Gaining knowledge on controversial topics and feeling better prepared and more capable of standing up for the truth and being able to defend it with facts and not just my beliefs and opinions.

Some of these things I knew I wanted to know more about, but a LOT of them, I had never even thought about or had given very little consideration to, so I was shocked at a lot of the things that I learned and am SO grateful to know now! Because I have learned all those things, I recognize other people doing the same kinds of things I probably would have done, had I not learned that it is better to do things a little differently! I will keep myself informed on these subjects and do my best to share my knowledge with others! THANK YOU Brother Williams for all of your time and effort that has been put into teaching us this semester! It is plain to see that you LOVE helping people and helping people find peace in their lives! Thank you for that example!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Separation/Divorce & Remarriage/Blended Families

Separation/Divorce & Remarriage/Blended Families
This week’s topics were really heartbreaking for me. As we discussed the negative effects of divorce and the potential problems that can and typically do arise when divorced parents remarry, I hurt for those people who have experienced these heartaches! I have a few members in my family who have suffered from the effects of divorce and have had to make lots of adjustments to their lives because of it. Although it has definitely been a challenge to all those involved, I feel that our situations are at the mild end of the spectrum in comparison with the experiences that were shared in class and the family that we studied. Learning about the family system and how essential healthy family boundaries are has been really influential in my life by how I see the world and how I approach and seek to resolve problems. I feel that it is a great tool that if utilized, can help you detect the red flags in a relationship that you or a loved one is in, and to stop things before they go too far. Knowing how family systems work can and acting on that knowledge can save marriages and families in so many ways! But from what we see in the world today, divorce and blended families are becoming the norm not the exception. Therefore it is necessary to address ways to cope with the challenges of blending families. Some of the tips for blended families to be aware of were:
1)      It takes a minimum of 2 years to gain normalcy. (That doesn’t mean everything will be “just the way it was before” or that things will be perfect! I just means that the members involved will be more able to predict behavior and know how to respond appropriately.)
2)      The birth parent should be the one to give heavy discipline to the children
3)      The step parent should be more like a good/great aunt or uncle to the children (So they should be supportive of birth parent but listen and sympathize with the child).
4)      New remarried couples should conference with each other DAILY behind closed doors. (They need to discuss how things are going, what changes need to happen and I think there should be emphasis on the “CLOSED DOORS”. The discussions need to be between the new spouses, not in front of the children and not including any other family members so that the spouses can learn to rely on one another and make things work.)
(from the book, “Helping the Remarried Family”)

I felt that those tips were very interesting and insightful! I can definitely see how following those steps consistently could really make a difference for the better! I am grateful for this knowledge! I hope to never have to experience divorce, but I hope that I can use this knowledge to be a source of support and comfort to those that have experienced divorce and blending families. 

Friday, July 3, 2015

Fathers: Do we really need them?

This week we talked about Fathers and finance. As we discussed the role of the father in the home and the great importance of his presence. A father figure in the home and family is irreplaceable. Children who grow up without such a figure to look up to and follow their example have significant disadvantages in their lives,  financially amd emotionally. In our discussions about the father in the home we talked about how his influence far surpasses the fact that he provides for the family. As we examined these topics, I found myself pondering my experiences with my own father and I was filled with gratitude and love for my sweet Daddy! He is a good man and he fulfilled his role so well! He was so good to our Mom! He was a hard worker at work as well as at home. He taught us by example and instruction, how to do the same in our own lives. He was firm in his discipline but yet he was merciful when the situation called for it as well.
He and my mom almost never faught! He was always respectful to her and there was absolutely no tolerance for us kids treating her with disrespect.
If I had grown up without my fathers influence and love,  I would be a very different person and far worse off I'm afraid! From the studies we've discussed in class and from my own experiences I know that good loving Fathers are essential to the family for full productivity and happiness.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Communication: Only words???

This week's topic for class was "Communication". It is pretty interesting topic, something that we as people need to be much better educated on. Miscommunication is at the root of so many isssues, ESPECIALLY in relationships! A common phrase that is all too true states,
"HOW you say something is much more important than WHAT you say." I'm sure all of us can relate to a time when someone said something to you in a way that the words they used did not at reflect what they were really meaning to say. Especially in todays world where some much of our humor and entertainment come from sarcasm. Where sarcasm really can seem wotty and give a crowd a good laugh, its effects ate far reaching. It can cause so much confusion because the communication channels are sending contradictory messages! Some people's confidence can be crushed if they take seriously what people say to them sarcastically.  Their ability to trust is weakened and cause people to build walls internally. This is just a few of the negative effects of bad communication.

We communicate in more ways than just using words! There are 2 groups,
VERBAL (*Words *Tone)
NON VERBAL (*Posture *Facial expression *Eye contact)
Which one do you think speaks the loudest? You might be surprised to know, as I was, what the percentage of communication is for each of those areas. One study said this
WORDS: 14%
TONES: 35%
I don't know about you but I thought that was pretty interesting! What I thought was even more interesting is the statement that our teacher made as we were discussing this particular part of our "communication" discussion. He asked a question,  something along the lines of, "If these percentages are true what does that mean for texting and social media? Are we missing 85% of the message? ?  *(100%-35% [tones]-51% [nonverbal]cues=85% of message GONE)
I feel like that is something for all of us to be aware of! I just want to make sure that I am more careful in my communication! I want to say what I mean. Being sensitive to others feelings of course but being honest and not sarcastic. And I want to be better at communicating in person as much as possible so avoid those misinterpretations that are so easy to stumble on as we cut of our lines of communication!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

This week we’ve talked about preparing for marriage. Every girl’s dream right;P?! Haha but really I’m not going to lie, I think about it all the time! It’s the BIGGEST decision I will ever make, especially with an eternal perspective! Having said that, this week’s discussions have been extremely enlightening! It made me think about things I would have never considered otherwise and helped me know what is healthy and what is not. For example, I learned that according to research on how happy/successful/lasting a marriage is, you should only spend $500-$2,000 dollars on a ring and only about $1,000 on the wedding. Also, it is wise for a couple to plan the wedding together and not exclude one or the other (EX the girl planning the wedding with her mother and not involving her fiancĂ©). Another interesting thing was that it is unhealthy for all relationships involved for the parents of the couple getting married to pay for the wedding. The begging of their marriage is a crucial time for the newly wed to bond and grow closer together. If they are concerned with paying the debt back to their parents, they potentially will spend less time, energy, and focus on their relationship. But that is not the only relationship that could be strained. Once you have barrowed that money from your parents, your relationship with them changes, you are now indebted to them and it can sometimes cause unnecessary conflict. I have never wanted to have a big wild wedding or spend a lot of money on things, but I assumed that my parents would help with things and I didn’t really think much of it, but this really makes sense to me why it might not be the best choice to do that! I am grateful to have learned a little more about how to be prepared for when that time in my life comesJ!

Saturday, May 30, 2015


I have learned a LOT about dating this week, what is healthy and what is not and its funny that what’s NOT healthy seems to be the norm nowadays… MAINLY Hanging out is not good because it causes more competition. Think about it, you’re at a party and you’ve got your eye on the cutie in the corner across the room. You make eye contact and he even smiles at you! And then later in the evening you catch him stealing a glance again and now you’re really excited! But THEN this beautiful stranger just waltzes in and starts flirting with the very guy that has been making eyes at you. She’s cute funny and flirting profusely. It’s clear that she has his full attention now. So now you’re stuck trying to think of ways to get back in the game! And that’s all it is! Just a big fat frustrating game! If he’d just asked you out on a date things would be fine! You’d have his full attention and you wouldn’t be worried about the other girls because everyone knows the dating rules, when you’re on a date you’re committed to that person for the time-being and that’s that. But on the other hand, in a hanging out situation there is zero commitment, those glances and smiles mean nothing as soon as someone else walks in and succeeds in grabbing his attention. So moral of the story, hanging out is NOT the best way to find a potential spouse! That was important for me to learn!  

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Gender Roles

This week we talked about gender roles. Ive always thought there were differences between males and females but I never thought much more about it. I grew up in a home where my parents fulfilled the traditional roles: Dad as the bread winner, changed the oil on the car and worked in the yard. Mom was the the homemaker, cooked meals, took care of us kids and the house. That was normal for me but as I grew up I saw families do things differently and I didnt think much of it. As I have learned more about the family and how we best function it makes sense that moms typically stay home and dads go to work. Like is said before, I knew there were differences between men and women but the WHY really clicked with me when we talked about it in class! Women are able to be aware of multiple things at once and therefore best equiped to watch over children and different things at home at one time. Men on the other hand are able to hyper focus on one thing making them very successful in the work place, but not just that! With his ability to focus on one thing at a time, when he finally does come home he is better able to leave work at work and focus on his family! How neat is that?! I belive that our gender roles are divinely appointed! We can do things "our way" and they might turn out "ok", but I dont want to just "get by", I want to to the very BEST that I can at raising a family and I believe that to achieve that I must embrace and fulfill my role as a woman!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Culture and Family-Make a Change

This week we talked about culture and how that affects or plays a role in how families function. Then I think of culture I think of big parties that different ethnic groups might have, but come to found out that in families, the culture isn't always so easy to recognize and point out, especially if it's your own family that you are examining. One example that Brother Williams mentioned in class is how some families have a tendency to be sarcastic. In the eyes of that family, sarcasm is acceptable because "That's just how we are". But in reality it may not be as "ok" as they think. There are consequences that come as a result for negative family cultures. Parent/child relationships and sibling/sibling relationships can be greatly affected as well as the development of the children when there are negative cultures in the family. But one must be realistic, we’re not perfect, no one family is! But we CAN break the cycle! WE can make a CHANGE! We can learn from those who have gone before us and follow their example in the good things they do and adjust the things that need some improvements. One thing that we talked about and that I thought was very important was how when a couple are getting ready to get married and start a family, it is wise to discuss WHAT you want your family to be like. HOW you want to raise your children. WHAT PRACTICES will you incorporate into your daily routine? HOW will you discipline your children? It is wise to discuss these things before children come because if you and your spouse haven’t agreed on what is best for YOUR family, most likely you will both parent the way you were parented whether that is the best way to do it or not. We watched a few videos about a family who lived some pretty rough conditions. The oldest son didn’t like it and he wanted to make a change, but he ended up more or less following in the same path that his mother had gone down. So it’s one thing to recognize a problem, and another to actually fix it because it won’t fix itself. So what I personally want to do, is decide NOW what is important to me and what I think I need to change. If I figure that out now, then when I get married, I can discuss it with my husband and we can work together and decide what our priorities are for our future family. I am confident that that will help us be stronger as a family! 

Saturday, May 9, 2015


This week we talked a lot about theories and how the family maintains homeostasis (an interesting concept in relation to families I thought...) and what different kinds of relationships families have.
I mostly want to focus on the theories because I think that can be really helpful in each of our families! If we know how the family works or responds to things, we can know how to better deal with the challenges in our own families.

The theories were interesting to me. Even though they say different things and explain situations differently, I can see how they have all played a role in my life in my relationships with people.
*Systems Theory- The "whole" is greater than the sum of its parts. The book used the example of a cake with the individual family members representing the flour, salt, baking soda etc. Without one of the ingredients, the cake wouldn't be as good. Therefore everyone in a family contributes and is needed for the family to function properly.
--> I've seen the evidence of that theory in my life with my family. When Mom gets sick and isn't able to do all she normally does, it affects the whole family. The same goes for my Dad. When he is gone or sick or whatever the case may be, the family isn't the same. Now that's pretty obvious though right? I am pretty confident that most if not all can remember how they felt when someone who played a major role in their life, was out of the picture for awhile. But the same rule applies to other members of the family, siblings who have grown up and left home and live far away. That's not uncommon and doesn't necessarily mean they're not functioning in the family, but when you know that things are not going well for them and you know they're not doing very well, it affects the whole family! You worry about them or you're angry with them or you're scared for them. All of those feelings effect how you respond to other things. Therefore, no single individual can do something without affecting another.

*Exchange Theory- You keep doing things that give you results even if it costs you something. But you will typically only do whatever that is, if the benefits are greater than the costs.
--> Think back to a time when you tried to do something nice for someone and they either didn't notice or were ungrateful about it. How did that make you feel? Well I know how I feel at times like that and it certainly doesn't make me want to do that thing again because it wasn't worth it! Now that can sound kind of selfish but its the truth! And that's not the only example of exchange theory in action. What about paying to have your car cleaned but when you get it back it still looks filthy! $10 says you won't be taking your car to get washed there again! And then there is a more positive example of exchange theory in action. How do you feel when someone does something nice for you?? It feels pretty good right? And you kind of want to do something nice back right? Well there ya go! Exchange theory!

*Conflict Theory- This theory states that conflict is inherent in human relationships. It can come from gender differences, different classes, and personality differences just to name a few. This theory bothered me at first because it seemed to say that everyone was just always angry and fighting. That's not the case though. Conflict theory just points out that there are always opposing forces and sometimes one side wins and sometimes the other side wins. I think we can all think of plenty of situations where we have experienced both sides of that. We don't always get our way, you have to give and take and it doesn't mean that you're fighting over things.

*Symbolic Interaction Theory- This theory has a lot to do with perception. When someone does something that offends you it's easy to jump to conclusions about why they did it, when in reality, many times you are way off the mark. One of the readings that we did shared an example of a couple where the husband had been married before but his wife had cheated on him. Well he and his new wife were at a party and she was talking to another man and the husband got upset with her later that night. The reading shared two different endings to the story, the first being that the husband accuses the wife of being too friendly and she gets all defensive and the whole thing escalates because they just assume the worst of each other. Then the other scenario the husband kind of calls the wife out about talking to the other man, she explains that she was asking about a vacation that the man had gone on, one that she and the husband had wanted to go on. He then expresses how he would appreciate if she talked to him about things first and she says that maybe he should come over and visit with them next time, that she'd like to have him with her. So really it's all about how we perceive things.

So as I have learned about these theories I would hope that I am more understanding of how my family and other people's families work and maybe have a better understanding of why they do what they do. I hope that learning this will help me have stronger relationships in all areas.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Dismantling Myths

Wow this week I have learned SO much! I think my brain is on overload! But I have been mind blown by all the information we've covered! I like learning about most things just in general but when we when I get to learn about things that hit so close to home such as the family as a unit in society and how different things affect it (for good or bad) I just get pulled in! It has so much more meaning for me! Which makes sense right? I mean what happens in the family as a fundamental unit of society truly affects everyone in some way or another. One of the preparation assignments for class was watching a documentary on demographics called, "New Economic Reality: Demographic Winter and Viewer Guide" (I've added the URL for part 1, part 2 listed on the same youtube page for those of you who want to check it out! I definitely recommend it!) The documentary started out by addressing the widely accepted notion that the world is being over populated and in a relatively short period of time, we will have depleted all of the world's resources. This idea began to spread like wildfire when Paul L. Ehrlich, professor at Stanford University, published his book, "The Population Bomb". He firmly believed that having as many as five children was irresponsible and selfish because that meant you were taking resources from others and possibly making it so others could not have children.In any case this idea has widely become accepted. I will be honest I had heard that at one time years ago and it was a scary thought! But as time has gone on I have felt that that statement and all it claims just doesn't add up. Then watching this documentary confirmed my suspicions. In the documentary the social scientists and professors explain how in fact the opposite of what Ehrilch claimed is true. The fertility rate is dropping, not rising. In most countries in the world have stopped having big families for a variety of reasons. The one that was talked about the most was the U.S. and how fertility rates have dropped dramatically in a relatively short period of time. Some of the projected causes were the Women's Revolution (with a big help from birth control), Sexual Revolution, Age of Marriage going up, Individualism and the Decline in the Family. It was so interesting to see how all of these are interconnected causing a domino effect in ultimately resulting in a decline in fertility! It was a very eye-opening learning experience!

Some of the things we learned in the reading from our textbook that I thought was interesting was the section on myths about marriage that are commonly accepted as truth. One that I found interesting was the one that states "Having Children Increases Marital Satisfaction". The reason this caught my eye is that I had pretty well accepted that as truth. As I read more about it I learned that that isn't ALL wrong, but it is important to note that this "increase in marital satisfaction" doesn't just come with the children. If you have a lousy marriage having a kid isn't going to fix your problems, in many cases that just might "break" you. The book states, "The impact of children seems to depend on the quality of the marriage: a good marriage enhances the benefits...If the marriage deteriorates with the addition of children, the couple probably already had a troubled relationship."
Another myth which I think most people know is not true, is "Happily Married People Don't Have Conflict". I have known that forever, but it was cool to read that because it states that, "not only is conflict normal, but when it is handled properly, it strengthens rather than threatens the marriage". I thought that was pretty neat!

Anyway this is just a "smidge" of what I learned this week! Until next week!
"Marriage & Family: The Quest for Intimacy" Lauer-Lauer

Friday, April 24, 2015

Just to start off...:)

Hi:)! My name is Marni and this is the FIRST time I have ever blogged:), The reason I am starting now is that it is required for my family relations class... Haha at first I was not very excited since blogging is something that I've never done before. I am rather self conscious about what I write if I know other people can read it and so I wasn't terribly comfortable with the idea of posting my thoughts to the world! But I will say that my professor's enthusiasm for this project and his deep desire to promote and protect the family have been very moving! It has given me a boost of confidence I guess you could say, and the desire to share what I have learned is growing!

One of the first things we talked about in this class is that we are trying to find the FACTS. There are so many opinions and bogus ideas supported by skewed research and its SO easy to hear something even just once and accept it as truth or complete garbage simply because it makes sense to you. But in this class we are striving to learn the skill to pause and take a step back when hearing, reading, or learning about something new and not jumping to conclusions solely based on our personal opinions and bias's. I greatly appreciate and respect my professor's desire to do this work with a sense of dignity. In learning about these topics that can be highly controversial, he very lovingly stated that we do not want to speak ill of ANY group of people, whether we agree with them or not. We believe that we are all children of God and we are all very special in God's eyes. Now having said that, we still believe in defending truth and fighting for what we believe is right, but in this course we are learning to do that in a more fact based way. My professor strongly encouraged us to never criticize or demean someone or something even if their beliefs are complete opposite from ours. But if there seems to be something that they claim that doesn't add up or make sense to you, research it! Find out where these "facts" came from, make sure that there are sources with solid evidence to support the said claims. Do all of that before you open your mouth and just throw out hateful opinions.  Truth speaks for itself (in time). I found that to be really powerful!

Anyway, I am looking forward to learning how to do that:)! I want to be informed and be able to make good judgments and not rash opinionated biased statements:)! This will be a great learning experience:)!