Press Forward// an open letter to a friend.

Press Forward//an open letter to a friend| love, Marybelle

A few months ago, someone left an anonymous comment on my blog, and it really touched me. She said,

“Hello! I have been watching and reading a lot of the remarks from the General Conference and the General Women’s Meeting on my phone over break, and I remembered this blog post. As I watch/read the Conference remarks, I feel so inspired and I know in my heart that the church is true. I have been praying to my Heavenly Father every night for about 5 months, and over time, my feelings have steadily grown. I have attended church twice with a friend, and met with a wonderful sister missionary over the summer. The problem is that my parents (well just my dad, really) are adamantly opposed to the LDS faith. Also, the few friends that I have confided in have either laughed or just looked at me like I was insane. I feel so alone and I am not sure what direction to take. The sister missionary I met with over the summer was transferred to another place, and the friend who invited me to church went off to college and is involved with his college life. I could really use some advice… Maybe you could post something on this blog?”

As it was anonymous, I have no way to reach out to this girl except through posting here, so that’s what I’m going to do!

Dear Friend,

I was so touched by your note to me. I don’t know your name, but I want you to know how loved you are, and that you are not alone!

I am so impressed by your example of faith. I know how hard it can be to feel like your friends look down on you because of your beliefs, but my parents have always supportive and encouraging when it comes to religion. I am so impressed that in your free time you are doing things that will strengthen you and help you come closer to Heavenly Father. I admire that you haven’t given up even though what you are going through is hard. The best advice that I can give to you is to keep going!

In 2 Nephi 31:20 it says, “Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.” I love this scripture! It tells us so simply how to make it back to our Father in Heaven, and it makes it sound so joyful! I think you are already do what this scripture says to: “Press Forward.” Your faith is strong. You are diligent in your prayers and studying the words of those called by God to teach us. You love Him. There’s one more part of this verse to which I want to draw your attention– “[have] a perfect brightness of hope.”

Have hope! Keep smiling. Keep moving forward. It’s hard to keep hoping sometimes, but these scriptures and promises help me to remember the reasons why I can be happy and have hope. In the gospel of John, the Savior says “In the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Life is going to be hard sometimes, but the Savior has experienced everything that we will go through! Because of the atonement, He knows exactly how you feel, and He will not leave you to struggle alone. When we come to Him, He will make our burdens light! He will give us peace, and joy, and the strength that we need to keep enduring. Elder Jeffrey R Holland said, “One of the greatest consolations… is that because Jesus walked such a long, lonely path alone, we do not have to do so… Trumpeted from the summit of Calvary is the truth that we will never be left alone, nor unaided, even if sometimes we feel that we are. Truly the Redeemer of us all said, ‘I will not leave you comfortless. I will come to you’.”

Lastly, don’t forget to be happy! “God didn’t design us to be sad, he created us to have joy!” Even in the middle of our struggles we can find the little rays of sunshine that make life worth enduring. We can choose to be grateful, to revel in the little things, and to find joy in the promises the Savior has given us.

My dear sister, you are in my prayers. I pray that you continue to press forward, find joy, and keep hoping. Please know that you are not alone! You are so loved, and though you may not see them, there are so many people praying and cheering for you. Keep smiling, keep being faithful, and I know that our Heavenly Father will bless you!



Why I Support the Leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Many of you probably heard about the recent change to Handbook made by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often called “Mormons”) concerning the definition of apostasy, especially as pertaining to those co-habitating in same-sex relationships. (Handbook 1 “outlines the general responsibilities of Stake Presidents and Bishops and provides detailed information about policies and procedures” Because it is a manual for those with callings in Stake Presidencies and Bishoprics, it is only available to those who are currently acting in those offices. Also, the Church has not made any public statement verifying or denying the authenticity of reports about these changes.) Usually I would direct you the original source, but as Handbook 1 is not available online to the public, if you want to know exactly what the original wording is, please talk to your local LDS bishop.  He will be able to tell or show you exactly what it says, and probably explain it much better than I can.

I am not an expert about all of the issues at hand. I’m not here to talk about why the church might have made this change, or what the implications might be. Today, I’m here to tell you why I accept and support it!

First, I have faith in my Father in Heaven, and in my Savior, Jesus Christ. I know that they love their children (all of us) and because of this, they will speak to us if we listen. When we pray sincerely, they will send the Holy Ghost to us to help us understand the truth and have peace. I’ve taken advantage of this gift many times–I’ve prayed for comfort, for strength, and for knowledge. One of the things I’ve prayed about is whether the leaders of this church are called by God, and whether they do His will. The answer to both is an unequivocal “yes.”

This answer is one that I lean on often. When the church makes new announcements and statements, much like today, the hailstorm of criticism and half-truths often descend before I have time to fully process and understand what is being said. It can be confusing and difficult, BUT because I believe that the leaders of the LDS church are acting under God’s direction I have faith that what they are saying is true. I rely on what I know until I have time to properly pray for a confirmation that what they are saying is right. When I have done this, I have always gotten a resounding “yes.”

So if you, like thousands of others, were shaken by this addition to the handbook by the church, or even if you weren’t, I invite you to pray. Pray that God will strengthen your faith in the the things you already believe, and that he will help you to know the truth and have peace about whether this change is His will. I promise that if you are patient and sincere, your answer will come.

I know that God loves all of His children. I also know that He has given us laws and commandments that He expects us to keep. Lastly, I know that if we break these commandments, God still loves us. He has given us a way to repent and come back to Him through the atonement of His son, Jesus Christ.

In this, and other faith-testing experiences, I hope that we can all take to heart the words of Dieter F. Uchtdorf, one of the members of the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,

“Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith.”


My Thoughts on the General Women’s Meeting

I loved the General Women’s Meeting last weekend. It is always so wonderful to hear the leaders of the church speak specifically to girls and women!

The main message I got from this session was that I am a daughter of God, and He loves me! This is so reassuring to me. One of my favorite questions, posed by Rosemary M Wixom, was “I am a child of God, therefore what?” I’ve loved pondering what this means for me. What difference does this knowledge make in my life? I’ve had too many ideas to cover here, but maybe I’ll compile them into a post sometime in the next few weeks. I especially loved President Dieter F. Uchtdorf’s remarks. His talks are always full of great one-liners. Perfect for quotes ad printables 😉 So here are a few I’ve come up with! I have a frame on my wall that is just begging for a quote, and I’m trying to find the right one, so I’ve been Photoshopping like crazy lately. These are a product of that craziness.


love, Marybelle| With such a glorious future, why get swallowed up in the past? Dieter F. Uchtdorf

love, Marybelle | faith will fortify every footstep along the way. -Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Feel free to use these if you like them! (please just give credit where credit is due if you use it on the internet.) Sorry this week’s post is so short. Between morning sickness (yep, I’m pregnant! Woohoo!) and getting ready to host a brunch before General Conference tomorrow, I’m very busy. If you want to know what General Conference is (of which the General Women’s Meeting is a part) feel free to ask me, or follow the link above. If you want to watch with me, go to tomorrow or Sunday if you want to watch live, or any day after to watch the recording.

Also, if you ever have any questions about what I believe or my church, you are more than welcome to contact me! I love to talk about my faith and am always ready to answer questions.

What Would a Holy Me Do?//My Experience

What Would a Holy Me Do?//My experience|love, Marybelle

This is the second post in a series. If you’d like to read the first post, click here.

As I went through the “What Would a Holy Woman Do?” challenge, I sometimes found it difficult to remember what is was I was supposed to be doing. I am a very easily distracted person. The one “side effect” of this experiment that I was not expecting was that the harder I tried to focus on how to be holy in my task for that day, my focus in general improved. I was less distracted by technology, books, noises, shiny things, you name it. As I tried to be holy in one facet of my life I found it easier to focus on the tasks at hand, regardless of whether or not that was supposed to be my focus for that day.

Another benefit that I had been hoping for was that my thoughts throughout the day were more uplifting. They tended more towards optimism and praise of others than towards pessimism, anger, or frustration. The more I tried to be holy, the easier it was to be kind to myself and to others! This was a great benefit.

My first day, as I mentioned in the previous post, I chose to try to be more holy in my interactions with my toddler. I tried to give him my undivided attention when there wasn’t anything pressing to be done. When he colored on the wall or stood on my foot or any other normal toddler behaviors I was able to be much more patient. I took the time to teach him and I encouraged him to help me with cleaning (he liked using the sponge to wipe the crayon off the walls) and even cooking! I’ve tried to let him help me with cooking at least twice a week since then and he has loved it!

The second day I was praying to know what to focus on and couldn’t think of anything. As the morning progressed I noticed an unusual tension between my husband and I. We were both being defensive in our remarks and a little less than loving. At first I was frustrated with my husband for “causing” this problem, but then I realized that it was at least as much my fault as his. I knew what my task for that day was. I quickly apologized to my husband for the hurtful things I had said and asked if we could pray together for the spirit to comeback to our home and ask for help in being more loving and kind. My angel of a spouse quickly agreed, and apologized for his small part in our rocky morning. For the rest of the day I did my best to be kind, helpful, and loving. I also tried to control my thoughts so that I was also kind to him in my mind. This was probably the best day of the challenge for me.

The last day I chose something that is difficult for me: housework. Namely dishes. I don’t know why but I would rather do almost anything rather than scrub dishes. This was made even harder by the fact that my son and I both got sick that day. Honestly, day three did not go well. But as I lay in bed cuddling my toddler and sneezing uncontrollably I thought a lot about how a holy woman would do chores. What are her motivations? Why does she do what needs to be done? I decided that a holy woman is industrious and hard working. She understands the importance of getting things done quickly so that there is more time for other important (and probably more fun) things. She also recognizes that homemaking is a form of service. In taking care of her home she is serving her family. (My Hubby’s main love language is acts of service so that was a big eye-opener for me. Doing dishes is a way to make my husband feel loved.) A holy woman probably also recognizes that if her home is clean it is easier to feel the spirit and to have peace. These are lessons I’m trying to drill into my own head, and I intend to try again today and probably tomorrow to be holy in my housekeeping.

I really enjoyed this experiment and I grew a lot from the things that I learned and the results I saw. I intend to let this experiment change my life and to continue with it until it becomes habit. I want to constantly ask myself, “What would a holy me do?”

Did you do this challenge? What are some things you learned? What were some of the unexpected results you had? Leave a comment (button at top of post) and let me know!


What Would a Holy Me Do?

What Would a Holy Me Do? love, Marybelle| A simple challenge that doesn't take any extra time out of your day to help you be more holy

This morning I read What Would a Holy Woman Do? by Wendy Watson Nelson and I was truly inspired. I was expecting it to be filled with lists of “a holy women does this, a holy woman would never do that, etc.” Instead, she shares an experience of studying what it means to be holy, and then issuing a challenge to some of her friends. She shares their choices and lessons learned during this experiment, and they are enlightening.

I read most of the first chapter, but my little boy came up and tried to take the book from me, wanting me to play with him. At first I started reading out loud to try and make him think that I was reading to him, but then I thought about the title. Would a holy woman ignore her little boy? Or would she play with him and build a strong relationship? To me, the answer was obvious. I spent the next 45 minutes or so playing with him and giving him my full attention. We played with trains, read books, and even cleaned up together before nap time.

After he was asleep I promptly sat down and finished the book and determined that I would accept Wendy’s challenge:

“For three days… just once a day, purposefully choose one of your daily activities and try to “be holy” while doing it.”

So, take one thing that you already do or deal with on a regular basis, and try to be holy while doing it. Whether it be choosing what to wear, dealing with an unpleasant customer, exercising, playing with children, or making dinner, think purposefully about how to “be holy” while you do these things.

Today, I choose to take playing with my son as my goal and make sure that I am not multitasking when unnecessary, surfing social media, or resting on the couch watching him play. Instead, I will actively play with him, engage with him, do what he is doing, and give him my full attention. When I’m done with this three day challenge, I’ll come back and share my experiences with you! I hope that I can keep doing this even after my 3 days are up!

I sincerely hope that some of you will take this challenge with me, and if you would like, I would love to hear about your experiences! How can you be holy?

How to Invite the Lord into Your Marriage

How to Invite the Lord into your Marriage--love, Marybelle|nothing strengthens marriage as much as the Lord can, but how can we invite him to be a part of our marriage?

A few weeks ago some good friends asked my husband a question: “How can we invite the Lord into our marriage?” He posed the same question to me and suggested we study it together. It has been a really great experience and we have learned a lot, and I felt that I should share my findings with you!

As I was sharing my study notes with my husband, mostly a laundry list of things to do, he asked “what is the underlying principle here?” The answer we came up with was obedience. The Lord has promised that as we are obedient to his commandments, we will be blessed. We will have the spirit of the Lord with us, and we will be able to feel his love, not only for us, but for our spouse as well!

Come Close to the Lord Yourself

If you want to have the Lord in your marriage, you need to be doing all you can to be close to him yourself. Linda K Burton said, “The best way to strengthen a home, current or future, is to keep covenants.” As we keep the promises we have made to the Lord at baptism, in church, or even commitments that we have made personally, he will send his spirit to be with us. The Holy Spirit can guide us in our marriages, and help us to know God’s will for us. Attending church services faithfully and regularly, following the council of church leaders, and doing your best to emulate the Savior are all wonderful ways to draw closer to the Lord. You also need to be working hard to make the best marriage you can. “Marriage is a gift from God to us. The quality of our marriage is a gift from us to Him.” -L. Whitney Clayton

Pray Together

Prayer is how we communicate with God. If we want him to be involved in our marriage, this is an obvious place to start. Praying together, out loud, with your spouse can bring you closer to each other and to your Father in Heaven. One of the best ways that my husband and I have found to draw closer together during prayer is to pray for each other when we pray out loud as a couple. When I sincerely thank the Lord for my husband and all he does for me, and ask him for the blessings that my husband needs, I am able to love my husband more fully, because I can feel the love my Father in Heaven has for him. I can also feel the Spirit guiding me to pray for the things my husband needs most. It is such a wonderful experience that has drawn my husband and I so much closer together, and to the Lord.

Read the Scriptures

Study God’s word, both separately and together. His instructions for us are there. Again, as we are obedient to his commandments we will have his spirit with us. Though his words were written long ago, we can find applications to our own lives. As Nephi (a prophet in the Book of Mormon) said, we should “liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning.” When we apply the stories in the scriptures to our lives they gain more meaning and teach us important lessons. As we study the scriptures with personal questions in mind, the spirit will help us find the answers we need as we read.

Make Plans, Then Give God the Eraser

When making plans for your life, council with your spouse. Study out your options, be prayerful, and do your very best to come up with the ideal plan, but don’t get too attached to it. Remember, God’s plan is perfect. We cannot always understand what he is doing, or where is leading us, but if we have faith that his plan is the best, then when we bring our plans to him it will be easier to hand him the eraser and accept his direction. The Lord is pleased when we do our best to make informed decisions and try our hardest to do what is right, but he will also give us the necessary guidance and corrections when we ask for them. As an example, when we were first married my husband and I decided that we wanted to wait until we had been married a year before we tried to get pregnant. We thought this was a very reasonable and righteous decision, and we took it to the Lord. We kept praying periodically and, after three months of marriage, the answer came: “it’s time.” To say I was terrified didn’t even begin to cover it. We prayed for comfort and for strength and eventually found the peace and reassurance we needed that it really was the Lord’s will for us. Now we have the most beautiful little boy in the world and we are so grateful that we listened to the Lord!

 Forgive and Repent Quickly
One of the unfortunate side effects of being human is a tendency towards making mistakes, and neither you nor your spouse is exempt from that. One thing that will strengthen your marriage and invite the spirit is to quickly repent when you make mistakes. It is important to ask the Lord for forgiveness, but it is also important to apologize to your spouse and ask him or her to forgive you. As we try daily to be better and overcome our faults we will inevitably have our slip-ups. Whether it’s an insensitive remark, messing up the laundry, or even just thinking an unkind thought, it is so important to address problems quickly. When you repent right away, the moment you realize that you’ve made a mistake, it is so much easier to repair the potential emotional damage than if you wait. This will heal and strengthen your relationship with your spouse, and give you an added measure of the holy ghost.
The same can be said for forgiving quickly. The Lord said, “he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses shall stand condemned before the Lord,; for there remaineth in him the greater sin.” (D&C 64:9) Holding a grudge, especially against your spouse can quickly damage your relationship with each other. It will also drive away the spirit, leaving you without his influence and guidance. If you instead choose to forgive quickly, even if your spouse doesn’t apologize, you will have peace in your marriage and from the Lord.
Choose to Love

Christ taught that the first and great commandment is to love God, and the second is to love your neighbor. “Love comes from you, but marriage from above, from God.” -Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison. You need to choose to love your spouse. It can be hard, especially if you’ve gotten into the habit of finding faults in your spouse, but this is something that God has asked us to do, and it will infinitely strengthen your marriage. It will also bring so much happiness! Choose every day, multiple times a day if you have to, to look for the good in your spouse, serve your spouse, and be kind. Pray for your spouse and also pray for your own heart to be softened so that you can love him or her. As you do these things you will come to love your companion more deeply than you ever thought possible. Even if you already have a good relationship with your spouse, these things can strengthen your love and marriage even more.

I know that marriage is a gift from God. I know that as we turn to him and invite him into our marriages that we will find more joy, more fulfillment, more peace, and more love than we could ever achieve on our own.

10 Free Date Night Ideas

10 Free Date Night Ideas--love, Marybelle| 10 great ideas for dates you can do with your spouse that don't cost a single penny!

Taking the time to have a weekly date night is so important in your marriage. It can seem really hard, let alone expensive, to set aside the time to just be together, but it is so worth it! Making time for each other shows your spouse how much you care for them, that they are more important than anything else with which you may be dealing, and it can be so much fun! My husband and I have made it a priority to have a date every week. On occasion we take our son with us, but mostly we try to have one-on-one time. Our natural inclination is to go out to dinner, or get ice cream, or do other activities that require money, but those little expenses started adding up pretty quickly and we realized that our bank accounts (and our stress) couldn’t keep it up much longer. Instead of giving up our precious dates, we started brainstorming things we could do for free! Here are some of our favorites:

  1. Blanket Fort
    • Build a blanket fort together in the living room, or even on your bed! Dress it up with some Christmas lights if you have any handy, then grab some snacks, games, or a movie and you’re ready for a romantic getaway in your own living room!
  2. Library
    • Head over to your local library and find your favorite books to read to each other, or find a new favorite together!
  3. Music Video
    • Make a music video or movie trailer together! Use your camera or phone to take short clips of you and your spuse dancing, walking, smiling, anything you like and put them all together with a fun song in the background. Use a simple video editing software like iMovie to stitch video clips together, or if you don’t have access to a computer or want to do something less labor intensive, just lipsync to a favorite song!
  4. Sports
    • Go to a park and play your favorite sport together, or make up a new sport! Have fun being creative. Some of my favorite made-up games are Ultimate Hopscotch (use chalk to draw a long and complicated hopscotch then use a stopwatch to time each other) and Volley-tenn-soc-pong Ball (a game played with your feet on a tennis court, with a volleyball-esque scoring system.)
  5. Picnic
    • Throw together some sandwiches then grab a blanket and go to a place with a pretty view to eat and enjoy each other’s company. Weather not cooperating? Some of my favorite picnics have been inside on a rainy day!
  6. Give Service
    • Bake cookies for a friend who is having a rough time, volunteer at a homeless shelter, write cards of encouragement and hand them to strangers on the street, anything you can think of that will help someone else! Serving others is a great way to grow closer together, and to invite the Lord into your marriage.
  7. Art
    • Draw portraits of each other. If you’re feeling daring, try copying an artistic style like cubism or impressionism. If just drawing feels too intimidating, print coloring pages off of the internet and just have a nice time coloring together.
  8. Night at the “Theater”
    • Pick up a DVD of a play or opera from the library and have a night at the theater in your own home. You could even dress up for your special night “out.” Want to know what the best part is? You can sing along and eat snacks while you watch, if you want to!
  9. Marshmallow War
    • Build catapults or slingshots out of rubber bands and spoons, or use small pvc pipes as blow guns and have a war using mini marshmallows as ammunition! Get creative with rules or setup. You could make barriers to hide behind, have rules about how many times you can be hit before you have to “lose an arm” or even play capture the flag at the same time.
  10. Scavenger Hunt
    • Go around your neighborhood or town and try to find objects that look like letters, then take a picture of each one. You could try to find the letters to spell your names, or even search for the whole alphabet!

I hope these suggestions are useful for you and help spark even more ideas for date nights with your spouse! Which one is your favorite? What are some of your go-to dates for free?

Home is Wherever I’m With You

As we’ve been preparing for our big cross-country move and packing up I’ve been feeling really nostalgic. This is the only house my husband and I have lived in together. It was where we brought our son home to after he was born. This is our home. Though I’ve complained over the years about the lack of air conditioning, or a dishwasher, or light, I’ve become really attached to our little apartment.

And then today rolled around. It’s the anniversary of the day my husband proposed to me, and while I’ve been packing up too-small baby clothes, and artwork, and everything else imaginable, I’ve come to a realization–this building isn’t home. It’s the place where my home is, but that’s because my home is my family! And my family is coming with me back East. I’ll miss this city and our friends and the atmosphere here, but I’m taking the most important things with me. That is so comforting.

So, I’ve made this little printable to put up in our new home to help me remember what I’ve learned today: home is where my family is. If you’d like to use it, you’re more than welcome to!

"Home Is Wherever I'm With You" printable--love, Marybelle| burlap and lace printable

Making Our Homes More Holy//Using Artwork

Making Our Homes More Holy// Using Artwork--love, Marybelle | One of the easiest way to bring the Lord's spirit into our homes is through the artwork we choose to display.

My husband and I went to the Parade of Homes last month and it was a blast. I loved looking at all of the decorations, the floor plans, the kitchens, (I was absolutely drooling over the multiple laundry rooms in one home.) I was really enjoying all the cosmetic aspects of the houses and I got a lot of great ideas for our new home.

Then we went to my favorite house. It was big, it was beautifully designed, the yellow siding was so darling, and I liked it. The decor was not at all the style I have envisioned for our new home, but before we were halfway through the house I turned to my husband and said, “This is the first house that feels like a home.” It took me a while to put my finger on it, but I finally realized why–it was the artwork. The pictures on the walls weren’t posters of celebrities, or old maps, or even landscapes. Every single piece in that home had religious themes. They were all portraits of the savior, or scenes from the scriptures. Some of them were obvious, some were a little less blatant, but the spirit and the holiness they brought to that home was tangible.

I realized that I was focussing on the wrong things. There’s no harm in having a beautiful home, and it can be so fun to decorate and re-decorate, but this home helped me to remember what is most important: having the  Lord’s spirit in our homes. I want to have more pictures of the Savior in my house. I want my children to know and recognize him. I want to have the joy and peace of the atonement in my home all the time!

So, today I committing that within a week of moving to our new place, I will have every picture of the Savior that I own on the wall. I also will be continuing to search for, and potentially create, new artwork for my home!

For those of you wanting to join me in making the artwork in your home more holy, here are some of my favorite artists’ websites. Not all of their paintings are religious, but the ones that are, are absolutely stunning.


Improve Communication in Your Marriage// Ask “What Are You Thinking?”

How to Improve Communication in Your Marriage--Love, Marybelle | ask "what are you thinking?"

Wouldn’t it be so nice if our spouses could read our minds? It would make so many aspects of marriage easier. My husband and I frequently disagree or have misunderstandings, but we have never fought. One of the ways that we’re able to achieve this is by asking the other “what are you thinking?”

We don’t say this in an exasperated, you-are-so-stupid tone, but in a sincere and honest attempt to see the situation from the other person’s perspective. When you really understand where another person is coming from it is so much easier to love them, even if you don’t agree with them. I think this story by Craig Zwick illustrates this point perfectly!

Forty-one years ago I climbed into the driver’s seat of an 18-wheel semitruck with my beautiful wife, Jan, and our infant son, Scotty. We were taking a heavy load of construction materials across several states.

As we made our descent over historic Donner Pass, a steep section of highway, the cab of the semi suddenly and unexpectedly filled with thick smoke. It was difficult to see, and we could hardly breathe.

Just as I was pulling to the side of the road, but before we had come to a full stop, my wife opened the door of the cab and jumped out with our baby in her arms. I watched helplessly as they tumbled in the dirt.

As soon as I had the semi stopped, I bolted from the smoking cab. With adrenaline pumping, I ran through the rocks and weeds and held them in my arms. Jan’s forearms and elbows were battered and bleeding, but thankfully she and our son were both breathing. I just held them close as the dust settled there on the side of the highway.

As my heartbeat normalized and I caught my breath, I blurted out, “What in the world were you thinking? Do you know how dangerous that was? You could have been killed!”

She looked back at me, with tears running down her smoke-smudged cheeks, and said something that pierced my heart and still rings in my ears: “I was just trying to save our son.”

When our truck cab filled with smoke, my wife acted in the bravest manner she could imagine to protect our son. I too acted as a protector when I questioned her choice. Shockingly, it did not matter who was more right. What mattered was listening to each other and understanding the other’s perspective.

I love what he said there: “it did not matter who was more right.” So often we are concerned with being right—with winning an argument. Can you keep a secret? This one will blow your mind: You and your spouse are on the same team! When one of you wins, you both win! My husband and I had a Sunday School teacher share with us a great tradition that we adopted very early in our marriage. This teacher said that whenever she and her husband disagreed, and they found out the correct answer, they would say, “we were right!” We. Not I, not you, but we. Putting yourself on the same team as your spouse, and trying to see the world through his or her eyes makes marriage so much more fulfilling and enjoyable!

Craig Zwick closed his remarks by saying, The willingness to see through each other’s eyes will transform “corrupt communication” into “minister[ing] grace.” I know from experience that this is true. When we look through each other’s eyes we will automatically think and speak more kindly.

I know that God loves us and that he intends for marriage to be uplifting and joyful, and above all, to help us to become more like Him. I know that as we turn to him, and to our savior, we can find the strength and courage to love our spouses, even when it is difficult.

{W. Craig Zwick shared this story at General Conference (like Christian Ted Talks) in 2014. You can read the whole talk here.}

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