I’m so glad that I started keeping notes a little over a year ago in my little “Jesus notebook”. It’s just a composition notebook, but I glued paper on the front and then a picture of Jesus. It used to have a quote glued under that, but it peeled off not long ago. I don’t take a lot of notes, but I take it with me to church and other special meetings. I write down quotes or ideas that I want to remember or messages that the Spirit teaches me or tells me I need to do. I was reading in my notebook last night and found notes that I took in a class at BYU Women’s Conference last year. It was a marriage class called “Loving & Caring for Each Other through All the Seasons of Life” by Vickie S. and Donald C. Phippen (husband and wife). I just wrote down a few things from their class, but as I re-read them last night, this one stood out to me.
“Seek and identify the moments when the Spirit testifies to you that you are with the spouse you are supposed to be with and record it in a marriage journal.”
A marriage journal? Do you have one? Even after I heard this in the class and thought it was important enough advice to write down, I quickly forgot it and didn’t start one. Now I am starting mine today. What wonderful counsel. Maybe you don’t have the rough times that I sometimes have, but I have occasionally thought that maybe I made a mistake. Maybe I was just young and stupid and not close enough to the Spirit to hear him yelling, “RUN!” when we were planning on getting married. It sounds horrible, I know. (I don’t doubt he’s had the same doubts about me sometimes.) But then there are other times thoughts come to my mind about how special Robin is and how we compliment each other’s strengths and weaknesses, how much Heavenly Father is a part of our marriage and wants us to be together. Writing those thoughts and feelings down will help me through the rough times. I will be able to read them and be reminded of the truth since the Spirit only speaks the truth.
I am going to add another part to my marriage journal. When I first re-read that note above, I misread it. I thought it said to write down moments when the Spirit testifies that we are being the spouse we are supposed to be. (I’m sure my mis-reading was partially that I was tired and mostly my bad handwriting!) But I do think that writing those thoughts down is important too. I tend to dwell on negative things about myself too and it would be nice to have a little collection of things I did right. And then if I read them later, they can remind me to do the same things again. Of course, if I’m going to write down what I’m doing well, I should include things that Robin is doing well. I’m excited about trying to keep this up.
2 more quotes from the Phippen’s class:
"While marriage is difficult, and discordant and frustrated marriages are common, yet real, lasting happiness is possible, and marriage can be, more an exultant ecstasy than the human mind can conceive. This is within the reach of every couple, every person. 'Soul mates' are fiction and an illusion; and while every young man and young woman will seek with all diligence and prayerfulness to find a mate with whom life can be most compatible and beautiful, yet it is certain that almost any good man and any good woman can have happiness and a successful marriage if both are willing to pay the price.”
President Spencer W. Kimball, "Oneness in Marriage", 7 September 1976
“To pray with specific mention of a spouse’s good deed (or need) nurtures a marriage.”
Russell M. Nelson, “Nurturing Marriage,” Liahona, May 2006, 36–38