Now, about THE KISS

There are many types of kisses. There are the innocent kiss of the child who expresses their love to their parent, the friendship cheek kiss, the movie on screen kiss, the passionate kiss, the French kiss and the kiss of love between a man and a woman.

President Kimball condemned the French kiss as “An abomination that stirs passions to the eventual loss of virtue. Even if timely courtship justifies the kiss it should be a clean, decent, sexless one.” Also, “Kissing has been prostituted and has degenerated to develop and express lust instead of affection, honor, and admiration. To kiss in casual dating is asking for trouble. What do kisses mean when given out like pretzels and robbed of sacredness?”

To me, the kiss is the expression of the soul. Therefore, I do my best to be careful as to who I share that with. If a kiss becomes deeper than just a gentle kiss, then somehow, hands begin to move into areas that they should not be. That is where we become burned by crossing lines that we should be careful of.

Think about this: If you kiss someone and your mind goes blank and all you are focused on is the kiss and the next one and the next one, and the feelings that they are bringing to light, how can you stop? I admit, I know this well. Yes, there are times that my mind goes blank and all that I have done my best to do-to stay good-begins to fly out the window. I have trusted the other person who is participating in the kiss to stay sane enough to stop. This is where, for all of us, hearts are open and trust is being challenged.

Instant physical gratification becomes a drive. We need to decide who is driving? Are our souls important enough to put on the breaks? Are we strong enough in ourselves to be able to kindly help our companion put on their breaks as well?

I heard of a couple who cherished the kiss so much that they did not kiss until they were across the altar in the Temple being sealed together. I have a friend who cherished the kiss enough to wait 40 years before she allowed a kiss on her lips. Yes, she dated before that time. She even was kissed, but she would always turn her head so that the kiss she received was on her cheek.

Ok, I will admit that I was not been strong enough to be like either the couple or my friend, but I find that I can forgive myself for my weakness and each day try to be a little bit better, a little bit stronger.

I am now able to be with someone who will share with me the gentle kiss of love and I wish that you may have the same desire and opportunity.

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Friendship before love

This is an interesting concept, but very true. Take the time to become friends before getting married. Get to know each other, laugh together, work out problems together.

If the only thing that is making the relationship happen is the excitement of what will happen in the bedroom, what will happen when the activity decreases? What will we have to talk about with each other? Will we care? Will we go out and have interests that are the same? Will he be focused on sports and I will be focused on hobbies? What about agreeing on what color to paint our home? Can we agree on that? Will we be able to agree on where we want to go on vacation? Will he want to go skiing and I want to go to a beach? Will we be able to compromise?

President Spencer W. Kimball said, “While one is young and well and strong and beautiful or handsome and attractive, he or she can (for the moment) almost name the price and write the ticket; but the time comes when these temporary things have had their day; when wrinkles come and aching joints; when hair is thin and bodies bulge; when nerves are frayed and tempers are taut; when wealth is dissipated…”

There comes a time when those who flattered us and those who’s wit and charm deceived us may leave us to our fate. Those are times when we want friends, good friends, and common friends, loved ones, tied with immortal bonds-people who will nurse our illnesses, tolerate our eccentricities, and love us with pure, undefiled affection.

Then we need an unspoiled companion who will not count our wrinkles, remember our stupidities nor remember our weaknesses; then is when we need a loving companion with whom we have suffered and wept and prayed and worshipped; one with whom we have suffered sorrow and disappointments, one who loves us for what we are or intend to be rather than what we appear to be in our gilded shell.”

Right now, our world is focused on physical attraction. If we look good, our companion will love us. This may be why there are so many programs and ways to keep us looking young. We can have our bodies cut to look smaller, we can replace hair in the right places, remove hair from the wrong places, and we can dye our hair, remove wrinkles and plump ourselves in places that may begin to droop.

I am not saying that we should not be physically attractive; I believe that we should do that for ourselves and not for someone else. It is acceptable to be physically attracted and attractive to our companion, but remember, there is so much more than that to make a marriage last. When we are looking for a companion, looking inside the heart is just as important as looking at the appearance of that person.

Yes, I admit, I know what it is that I am attracted to. I even have another friend who told me what he is attracted to-he is drawn to the “Miss America” types because that is what was typical in his family. No, I am not one of those, but we find that we still can be friends, we laugh together, and we dance together. We share hopes with each other because we are friends. We encourage each other and I am finding that our friendship has lasted longer than a couple of his relationships. No, we know we are not to be together and we are fine with that.

It is good to have a friend. I have a female friend who has watched me through my last 2 marriages. She has stood by me through both of them and we still take time out to talk and to support each other. Now, I found a guy who will be my friend and be my companion and want to be with me for eternity… Oh yes, is that not what we are trying to do? Finding our eternal friends and companions?

We have been married to each other now for 2.5 years and it still feels like we are eternal companions. We have taken the time to become friends before we married. He has supported me through the tough times as well as being there for the good. We have goals from daily to eternal. We never look for the negative about each other and we try to encourage each other in our desires.

My hope is that when we are dating, we take the time to become friends before we step into a deeper relationship.

“Where there is honesty, other virtues will follow.”

President Gordon B. Hinckley stated, “Where there is honesty, other virtues will follow.”

Honesty shows through the eyes. Especially can be seen in the eyes of the one that we love. When they become dishonest, there is darkness in their eyes mixed with hurt. Because we love them, we begin to hurt with them, not knowing how to help them heal.

Understanding this, if we become dishonest, it can be seen by the ones who love us and they want to help us to stop, but they do not know how.

President David O. McKay said, “Honesty and sincerity are the basic virtues of a noble character. Honesty… is the first virtue mentioned in the 13th Article of Faith. It is founded on the first principles of human society and is the foundation principle of moral manhood. It is impossible to associate manhood with dishonesty. To be just with one’s self and to others, one must be honest with himself and with others. This means honesty in speech as well as in actions. It means to avoid telling half truths as well as untruths.”

 

What is “Totally Honest”? Does this mean that people accept being partially dishonest? That partly honest is a good thing?

No, we need to be honest in everything.Yes, it is a hard thing to be. It is a hard thing to do. Being honest can hurt. Remember, though, that with being honest, we can be kind. We can speak and act with love. That is one of the things that we are here to learn and to be. Watch what happens when we are honest. If you can see your whole life without feeling guilty about anything, then you are a truly honest person. Life improves, people trust us with all of their hearts, and we become strong.

Other virtues, such as consideration, excellence, faithfulness, generosity, hope, goodness, righteousness, purity and incorruptibility become easier to attain when we are honest with ourselves and others around us.

Trust Heavenly Father to guide us in our endeavors to being honest.

It is much easier to make changes in yourself before marriage than after marriage.

1. The motivation to change after marriage is not as strong because the couple is involved in everyday matters and will not take the time to make the changes.

2. A couple is trying to impress each other, so they are on their best behavior at all times until the wedding day. After that, they are able to let their hair down and show their true selves. Also, when this happens, they are able to take each other for granted.

3. After marriage we can be hurt more easily. We give our trust to the person we thought that we married and now, they see us when we are more vulnerable and they have a chance to criticize instead of encourage.

This leads to the word “Pride” which halts all progression.

One of my favorite quotes of all time is from President David O. McKay, “During courtship keep your eyes wide open, but after marriage keep them half shut!”I was married to my first husband over 25 years ago. I felt very old because of looking back and finding that instead of encouraging changes within myself during that marriage and to encourage it within him; we did fail through each of the 3 steps listed. In doing so, instead of finding the good in each other and encouraging each other, we sharpened #3.

Pride was a downfall. Pain is all I can remember of the last part of our marriage before I had to stand up and make the change in our lives. I found that after our divorce, I had to re-create myself and to allow myself to grow.

Now, I encourage the best in each person that I know and meet. I weep for the pain in my friends. I shout for joy when life is good. I have changed who I was to who I am now.

I believe that each day we have the opportunity to make changes within ourselves. Not only before marriage, but after. When I am sad, I know that I have friends who share my sadness, but also want me to feel happy. They are there for me and I appreciate all of them. When I change who I am, I try to be better.

I have a saying that I started a while ago that gives me hope. “I am as perfect as I can be today.”

Each day I wake up and I find that I have a clean slate. I am to decide what I am going to do with that day. If I make a mistake, I try to address it immediately so that I can say that quote in the evening. There are many times that I have not been able to say it, but then I have another day to work on it.

When we are in a relationship, I hope that each of us realizes that we are connected with someone who is also trying their best to be perfect. Encourage each other, find the good in each other, and shout for joy when your partner achieves what they are trying to do.

Communication and kindness are the keys to a good relationship!

Communication and kindness have an important role in any relationship.

This is not only for the Husband and Wife relationship, but will work in all forms-work, children, parents, siblings, etc.

I found that this is a big reason that my first marriage did not work. We forgot to really communicate. I do not even remember when he kissed me with the feelings of love behind the kiss. We only talked with each other to just get the day taken care of. Planning where the kids were to be, what responsibilities we had to take care of in church, house responsibilities, etc. I found that all I did was do my best to keep the world looking normal for the kids. I was so focused on working on this, that I avoided him when he was talking bad about me to anyone who would listen. I felt hurt, but I would not say anything in my defense because I believed that my problems were to stay in the home and not to be aired out on a weekly basis. When I did talk to anyone, I was trying to figure out how to fix things in my life and wanted a second opinion to give me options that I was not seeing.

The thing that I did wrong was that I did not talk to him about what he was doing. I did not confide in him anymore because I felt he would tell people-again. Communication broke down. I became his mother and told him what to do instead of being his wife. When this happened, there was no such thing as kindness. I became sharp. He was a sick man(which happened during our life together), and I lost patience with him after doing everything that I could to help him fix the problem-which was unfixable.

This is the example of when we lose sight of communicating with love and being kind to each other.

I can say that my next marriage had a lot more communication. It just was not spiritually-based. We did not have the 3-way communication we should have had. We did not include Heavenly Father in our lives like I wanted and we should have done.

What was wrong with both of these examples? We did not communicate with kind and tender hearts. Anger and Pride have a way of jumping in when we are not looking. President David O. McKay said, “I’m going to tell you the most important secret of human life. The most critical need of the human soul is to be kind.”

We need to be quick to forgive and let go. I have many friends who are currently having to learn this part.

It is hard, but to forgive without being asked is the greatest gift a person can do for their loved one. It heals and improves a relationship when we use the gifts that we have been taught,such as; kindness, compassion, truth and forgiveness.

We need to have common interests so that we have something to talk about. Yes, sometimes it is good to have someone who is your complete opposite in your life. They encourage you to grow and to learn new things. But, it is someone that we have things in common with that become our best friends.

What are common interests? Hobbies, sports, music, church, family, politics, even types of dating would be a common interest. When I went to dances, I try to ask odd questions to throw off the guy that I was talking with. In doing so, they found that they begin to talk with me for much longer than the end of the song.

My goal was to learn about the person I am with instead of just thinking that he was cute or what he may be thinking of me. I try to take the time to actually have a real conversation. In doing so, I found that I have been creating a large circle of friends that endure even to today.

My marriage is a great example of this! Communication was a hard part of my husband’s life before we were married. In his vows to me, he promised to make an effort to communicate with me even when it was hard. I do my best to listen and not shut him out. Instead of pointing fingers when a difficulty happens, we keep each other’s hearts as a primary focus. We work hard to make this happen.

This does not happen overnight and it has to be worked on continually. But, with our making effort for each other, it has really created a wonderful relationship!

We all need a sense of Humor!!!!

We all need a sense of humor!!!!! We need to be able to laugh. We need to see joy around us.

President David O. McKay counseled, “It is our duty to seek to acquire the art of being cheerful. It will hold in check the demons of despair and stifle the power of discouragement and hopelessness.”

When we discuss humor, it is not the kind that puts anyone down or to hurt others.

There are many who take teasing personally and so to avoid this, just do not tease. Or, at least tease with kindness. Personally, I can take a little teasing, but if it is too much, I find that I begin to find myself hurt and the fun is gone. I have learned to say stop just before that happens.

What we really want to do is to see joy all around us. When I have a bad experience, I find that I begin to listen to bouncy, happy music.  I find that hope is the bedrock of humor. I feel safe when I have hope in my heart. I can see good things when I have it around me.

To have my granddaughter with me reminded me that I can laugh at almost anything. A tickle, the way a word is spoken, a simple gift, running up the stairs, all can be funny. I hope that each of us continue to remember how to laugh and to smile. To be able to share that feeling with those around us would be a wonderful gift!

Loyalty-what is it?

What is it? How does it affect me? Why should I think about it?

Well, loyalty is being true and faithful to a friend or family member. Therefore, if we want to have a strong relationship with our future eternal companion, we need to develop loyalty. We need to be able to stick by the ones we care about and love. If we do not develop this characteristic within ourselves, what will happen when our spouse is in trouble? Will we be there for them or will we be saying bad things and walking away? What if we are the ones in trouble? Will the person we brought into our lives support us? Be there for us? Or will they walk away from us?

This is a talent and gift that we need to develop with those around us now so that when we are in a relationship, we have the skill to be loyal.

To be able to love when loving a person is not easy. Is this not a description of unconditional love?

When a person becomes unable to be all that they used to be, such as when they become injured, this becomes a test not only for the one injured, but for the ones who are with them. There is a wonderful man whom I know. He was hurt in a motorcycle accident many years ago. He is unable to walk or do most anything physical. He was married just a couple of years ago to a wonderful lady. She is there for him not only for the good times, but for the difficult times. To me, they are a good example of loyalty. I keep them in my heart to remind me what loyalty is. May we be there for each other in difficult times as well as good.

Shall the youth of Zion faulter?

I am a mother of 3 children. I have done my best to raise them with the gospel. The results are very dramatic!
Let me explain:
I have been an at-home mother during the first part of my children’s lives. I worked at night while they were sleeping and their father was there to take care of them. I worked these jobs so that I could help buffer the family income. A number of years ago, I found that I had to work during the daytime because my children’s father decided to walk another pathway from the one that we were walking together.
The nice thing about this, was that 2 of my 3 children were able to roll with the changes. The one that suffered the most was my youngest child. I will explain later on this.
I was home for most of my first child’s needs. I was able to be with her up until a couple of years into high school. She did not resent me for going to work, but rather, supported the choice. Her heart is strong.
My second child has had it just a little harder. He had times that he had need of his mother at home, and
I was not able to be there for him. We worked through this, but he did understand that I could not be in two places at once. I look into his heart and find that I did not need to worry about him. His spirit is strong.
I held 3 jobs for quite a while and it was difficult! I would be there when they woke up, then I would get home just after they got out of school. Be with them for a few hours, then went to work again. I would come home to a dark home and I would check on my children to see if they were sleeping in their beds.
This was hardest on my youngest son. He needed his mother at home just to be there for him. I had not been able to do this. He showed signs of his need through hiding his feelings. He made friends who were not members of the church and they encouraged him to stray from the pathway. I come home to loud-angry music, him playing on the computer-games that I would never let him play if I was home to control the issue, and having him talk to me in a manner of showing no respect.
I found that I needed to make a choice and I had to give up a job due to an injury, but the benefits are that I was home again. We “Tightened our Belts” even more than we had been so that I could be home for a short time.
I was able to have face-to-face conversations with my children. I was finding that my son is changing his type of music. He was learning that I am putting good influences in his pathway that he either has to reject-which he would never do to my face, or accept what I had to give.
Can he stray? Yes! What could I do about it? I voice my concerns to my Bishop, my home teachers, his teachers, even his home teaching companion. I tried to place good men who would create great influences in his life. Did this worked? Not as well as I hoped when I started communicating my concerns. I find that if I voice my concerns a lot, someone eventually tries to do something. What can be done instead? I am still looking for the good answer, because I know that there are many who are looking for the answer to this question also. So, what can I do? Pray for my child, place good leaders in his way, and hope that he hears what I am trying to say.
President Benson states in a conference talk back in 1971:
Never has the Church had a finer group of young people. They are choice spirits—sent to earth in this most challenging and important period of the world. Charged with the great responsibility of building up the kingdom of God on earth, they have an awesome challenge. This great and momentous responsibility and challenge comes at a most difficult time. Never have the forces of evil been so insidious, widespread, and enticing. Everywhere there seems to be a cheapening, weakening, downgrading of all that is fine, good, and uplifting—all aimed at our youth while many of their parents are lulled away into a false security as they enjoy their comfortable complacency. All is not well in Zion. The inspired Book of Mormon prophets saw this day and, as watchmen on the towers,
issued grave warnings. I quote: “For behold, at that day shall he [the devil] rage in the hearts of the children of men, and stir them up to anger against that which is good. “And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell. “And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none—and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance. …  “Therefore, wo be unto him that is at ease in Zion! “Wo be unto him that crieth: All is well! “Yea, wo be unto him that hearkeneth unto the precepts of men, and denieth the power of God, and the gift of the Holy Ghost!” (2 Ne. 28:20-22, 24-26.)
Also, he states:
For young people to be in the world but not of the world has never been more difficult than today. But this burden must be shared by the parents.

The family home evening is an important barrier to the works of Satan.

The Mutual program must protect our youth against every evil influence and should fill a vacuum left by rejecting worldly enticements.

And, of course, a great panacea for all problems and personal doubts: prayer—private and family prayer, night and morning.
The critical and complaining adult will be less effective than the interested and understanding. And love and understanding are only effective when they are genuine. And to be genuine they must be motivated by love. We must love our young people, whether they are in righteousness or in error. In this way we can give them a chance to discern and to learn. But we must also give them a fair choice. Today many are not succeeding.    End.

Now my children are good- not perfect-young adults. They look for the good in those around them. They encourage the good and try to help those who are hurting and in pain. Because I see this, I feel that I have succeeded in being a good mom. I do not “sit on my laurels”, but continue to try to be the good mom, example and someone they can come to when they need a confidante.
My recommendation is to look around at each individual youth and see beyond the surface. See if there is a way to help that youth keep to the strength and testimony that they carry in their hearts. Be that
person that they can look up to. Help them before they are on their own and need to make those hard decisions that will affect their lives. We can do this for all youth, not just the ones in our family.

Love them.

Self Control

Self-Control. This is a big one for many including myself. I admit, sometimes I lose control when I should be using restraint (usually with books, music, movies, eating out…).

Think about this, if we use self-control, we are able to show signs of maturity which will help us in becoming a better friend or marriage partner.

I do admit that my weaknesses do not need to cost a lot-which is very true. For example, instead of going to a library for my books, I purchase them second hand. I find that through my lifetime, I have owned the equivalency of 4 libraries. When I look at what I have been collecting, I donate the books and start over. I find that it would have been wiser to keep the best books-only a few, and check out the rest with the ability to return them.

Do you have an issue like this? Is it a favorite food that is indulged in too often? Is it a reaction to how someone speaks to you? This one I personally found a way to fix through my children. I am very glad that they did this because I then learned to become a better person.

Elder Milton R. Hunter stated, “I believe the lack of self-control is one of the most common contributing factors of unhappiness and discord.”

Amen to that!

Ezra Taft Benson said, “Restraint and self-control must be ruling principles in the marriage relationship.” This gives us the opportunity to discuss differences of opinion in a calm manner instead of hurting each other. This helps to strengthen the relationship instead of tearing it apart.

So, how do we improve our self-control? We know that we need to do many things, but if we are only told to do it without the how, nothing gets done.

So, here is a way on the “How”. Fasting is a wonderful way to learn how strong our self-control is. If we are able to fast, we are able to accept patience and restraint in ourselves. We are able to wait for that piece of chocolate cake or apple pie until we are finished. We are able to stand up to the world of self-gratification.

When we see wonderful pieces of art that are very intricate, we appreciate the fact that the person who created it took a large amount of time to make it. Well, we are an intricate piece of art that Heavenly Father created, therefore, we need to take the time to appreciate what we do have and what we are. Remember to not only stop and smell the flowers, but to really look at the colors that they are and appreciate the gift that Heavenly Father has given us in his creating them in the first place. For we are a gift unto each other.

To have the self-control that we need to become more mature would enhance that gift.

Respect

Respect is a feeling of admiration, which generally has to be earned.

It also means refraining from interfering with other’s agency-we allow them to be themselves.

I remember when I was first married to my first husband, he went through my things and threw away a doll that I had cherished when I was a little girl. My mother’s visiting teacher took it when I was a little girl and made clothes for it. I had planned on cleaning it up (Ok, it’s hair was the example of a loved doll) and giving it to my daughter when she grew up enough to appreciate it. To me, he did not respect me enough to let me keep something important to me.

Respect always motivates us to want to be kind and caring toward him or her and gives us the opportunity to wish for the best in them.

The quickest way to lose respect is to do something dishonest or immoral. How can we trust someone who does something wrong that will affect us?

The best way to gain respect from our partner is to set high standards and stick to them!!!! Elder Hugh W. Pinnock has said, “Men and women who do not have a wholesome respect for regulations during the dating process will often continue to break the rules after the work ‘yes’ at the altar is spoken.”

I have worked hard to earn the trust and respect of my children. My middle child became 21 and told me that he was going to do something that was not appropriate in my eyes. He was honest with me and was open to my concerns. I gave him advice-probably not something that most LDS people would say, but I knew that he was going to do something wrong and I wanted him to know that I was still there for him because I love him, not his actions. Because of this, his evening turned out much better than I had envisioned.

To me, both he and his younger brother have promised that no matter what question I ask, they will always tell me the truth. I have learned to ask many questions and to brace myself for the answers when it is something that takes them away from the correct pathway. The part that is important is that I do not judge them, I do not punish them. I let them learn from their mistakes and I stand back because they punish themselves harsher than I ever could. In doing so, I have done my best to be a good example for them so that they know that they can come back when they open their hearts. I have hope for them because they know what I stand for and they will not do anything to jeopardize me. To me, this is the embodiment of respect-from children.

I have many friends around me and many respect me as much as I respect them. I have learned to work hard for that respect as well.

Remember, I am your friend. I have learned to be able to say that I love you for who you are.

We are not perfect, but as long as we are willing to work together, we can get there without being alone.