I wrote this paper for my Prep for eternal marriage class... and felt like I should post it on here, feel free to give your comments and insights!
I really enjoyed reading Covenant Hearts, it was very enlightening and made me so very excited to ever get married! I had so many thoughts and took many notes. I did get sad a few times actually when I made notes, and wished I had someone to discuss it with, in a deeper relationship where it would be more acceptable. I wished that he would have been reading it with me so we could compare notes and explore our ideas together. Luckily, or not so luckily, for you, I have this paper to use for that desire!
So many things struck me in this book. Bruce C Hafen talked a lot about love and joy. A few of his thoughts and quotes on joy really struck me and led me to many thoughts. The first that just hit me and keeps my mind soaring is that “…if we don’t move out of our comfort zone, we won’t grow. If we don’t grow, we won’t find joy”(13). This reminds me that there is opposition in all things, and that if it isn’t tough it won’t be worth it. I guess it just makes me think that we really do need to move away from the things that keep us comfortable to be able to grow, to stretch and learn more about ourselves. I was dating this boy for a while and we went to a party some of his friends were throwing. I had never met them, and usually it had just been me and him and our close friends together always… so in this new setting where I only knew him, he and I both noticed that I didn’t say much at all, if anything. I was out of my comfort zone. I am normally the one who cracks jokes and likes attention, but more than that likes to know who the stories are about and help tell them. In this setting, I knew no one, I didn’t know the stories, and I didn’t know any of them well enough to tell any jokes. It took awhile, but towards the end of the night I was coming out of my shell and joking around a little bit and sharing my own stories, but we both noticed I did act differently when out of my comfort zone, but I need those experiences so that I can grow, and become more use to being in bigger groups so that that becomes comfortable. “I didn’t know I had it in me” (151). We should constantly be able to say that, at the same time that we should have faith that we will be able to. I think that in marriage, if we give up, we will not grow. We will not be able to discover what we didn’t know we didn’t know, or we won’t find what we could do if we just pushed a little further. At the end of the night, I noticed that I had had fun, I had grown and I had found joy.
Along with opposition and joy, we find on page 65 that without children we would be without misery… but we know that children equal joy. If there was no joy, there would be no misery. The story about the father who was out in a field with his son, and then saw his son and realized the ramifications of that, that he was a father; that was his son; it touched me. I do not have any children, but I believe that when I do it will take awhile for it to click that I created that life; I was entrusted with that intelligence and spirit from the Lord, that I am a mother and that is my child. While that child might cause me many sleepless nights and much misery, the joy of that child will be so much greater. When my sister was pregnant she thought about getting an epidural for her labor, but when that came it came too quickly for her to be able to. I had heard that when you have an epidural you are numb and cannot feel what is going on. My sister said that as soon as the labor was over, though her body had been through so much and exerted so much energy and had so much pain, as soon as she saw her son, it vanished. It made me think that I will want to give a natural birth, to experience that intense pain so that I can feel in the full effect, all of the joy and love that comes afterwards.
Love was talked about throughout the whole book, obviously. But there were specific things mentioned that caught my attention. Bruce C Hafen mentions how the Greeks had three different types of love, and I was instantly taken back to my social psychology class where we learned about three different types of love that a theorist, Sternburg had come up with. The Greek types were, paraphrased, as being charitable love, romantic love, and love for siblings. Sternburg’s are intimacy, commitment, and passion. There is a diagram that goes along with Sternburg’s theory, and it is a triangle. He says that all sides need to be equal to have consummate love, the complete form of love. When I think of the triangle, I think of how the church teaches us that marriage is a three way commitment to you, your spouse, and the Lord. On page 125 Hafen tells a story about a spinning saucer and the analogy he came up for that, that we should be in the center where we are stable and should pull people into the center with us. I thought that Christ is the center, we all revolve around him. Christ should be at the center of our marriages, and our hearts. Furthering this three sided triangle, centered on Christ, is an analogy to marriage as singing on page 140. He says how we start as a duet, two solos. I immediately remembered the triangle between husband, wife, and Christ and thought oh no! It is a trio! We need the Lord! Then my thoughts turned to the poem or story of the footprints in the sand, where the Lord is always with us, sometimes carrying us. It is a duet because the Lord is there with us, he is helping us to “carry” the tune, we can not do it without him.
There is a story about the girls in Australia who were able to help put the chandelier together in the Celestial room, which impressed me. The girls were so tender and gentle with those crystals, and wanted to linger in the room, looking at their creation, what great works they had performed and done together. They did not want to leave the room, for the peace it gave to them was more important that anything else. It reminded me of how little girls look at and touch babies, so gently and they recognize the importance and how precious they are. We need to remember that kind of innocence and respect for other humans, children of God, and treat them better.
The secret to a happy marriage was given on page 73, and at first when I read that we should lower our expectations I was thinking, no way, this is false!! But the more I read, the better I understood and agreed. We need to be understanding, and remember that it takes time to transition. Often times I think people forget that they have weaknesses and that others do as well and that when we get married we are not translated into perfect beings, but we are the same two people, who need to rely upon each other and the Lord to help them. One of the ways we need to lower our expectations in with communication, we expect the other to be able to read our minds. We need to lower this, they cannot! We cannot! We need to communicate better, express our feelings, and talk. We will learn more about our own weaknesses than our spouses through marriage. We marry to give, and to grow as expressed on page 76. W learn on page 124 that “…charity never reaches a higher meaning than it does in marriage”, and we need to remember that in order to serve we must use charity. I loved the story where the woman was upset no one was serving her and then realized that she was not serving anyone, and when she did she was not upset anymore, but filled with love. When we marry, we don’t just marry that person, but their past experiences and life, that was such a great thing to hear!
Some of my final thoughts towards the end of the book came from the conclusion, “Society may be losing the plot of the great Love Story” (259). I do not think the plot is lost, but more hidden as how he mentioned the majestic mountain was behind the fog and you might not believe there was something back there if you went to see it on a foggy, cloudy day. But I think that those who believe it is there without being able to see it, those that remember our “…deepest God-given instinct is to run to the arms of those who need us and sustain us” (137) that they will seek after the great love story with more fervent efforts, and that they will make finding it a journey. That once they find their own love story, it will make the journey more meaningful, and that they will cherish it more, they will be glad they found it and will try harder to keep it and protect it. “Love awoke, and so did life” (107). I look forward to this so much, to love one another, to have my life awakened in a new sense to have someone else to care about, think about, and experience life with. That when either one of us goes through a hard time it will not “…just be his, but theirs” (121). I know that I am not alone for the Lord is always with me, but I am so excited and desirous of the companionship that comes with marriage, and I want for that, I want to be able to help my husband through his pain, to bear it with him and raise him up. I learned so much from this book and am so very excited to read it again, to learn more and to be able to share what I learn with othe