Sometimes, life has a way of getting the better of us. Even the happiest couples have problems. We run around with our to-do lists overflowing and things yet to be accomplished. We try to stay close to our spouse, and try to figure out just what it is that can best help our children. We try to keep our lives running smoothly. We try to have balance. As I have thought about what it means to have unity, a genuine feeling of togetherness, in my home and my heart, I've realized that it just doesn't fall into place by accident. I don't think we've ever stopped loving each other, but being on the same page is a different matter.
Here are a few activities that have really helped me and my family.
Plan out your days and weeks together as a couple and family. There are so many things going on in our lives that have us running here and there; errands, work meetings, school events. It is more important than ever to make sure that you are aware of where you, your spouse, and children are going to be during the week. Especially if there are teenagers in the family.
We often get so caught up in our own busy schedules that it becomes all too easy to miss things that are important to our spouse and children. Planning the week together will help in avoiding scheduling conflicts as well as give everyone a chance at the beginning to prioritize.
Prayer has power. It just does. Whether you pray together as a family or for each other individually, it helps. Public speaker and religious leader, Spencer W. Kimball taught, "If we pray fervently and righteously, individually and as a family, when we arise in the morning and when we retire at night, and around our tables at mealtime, we will... knit together as loved ones..."
When I am struggling with a problem or with illness and I hear my husband pray for me it gives me strength. Even if he isn't able to fully understand what I am going through it is a kindness that touches my heart to know that he cares enough to pray for me.
Prayer also gives you a dose of the divine. You can be more at peace and find direction and answers through taking the time to communicate with a higher power.
Find time to spend together worry free. Margarita Tartakovsky, an associate editor at Psych Central states in her article "The Importance of Play for Adults" that:
"Our society tends to dismiss play for adults. Play is perceived as unproductive, petty or even a guilty pleasure. The notion is that once we reach adulthood, it's time to get serious... But play is just as pivotal for adults as it is for kids."
Tartakovsky goes on to explain the benefits of play. Playing together "help[s] couples rekindle their relationships and explore other forms of emotional intimacy." Play does not have to be extravagant or childish. Play can be what you want it to be just as long as it feels like play to you.
Anyone who has taken time to play with a child knows how important it is to them. Spending time with your child on their terms rather than yours helps form a bond in ways nothing else can. It's important for us to see the magic of a child's world and playing with them is just the ticket.
"Perhaps the most powerful thing we can do to create unity in our hearts and homes is practice charity for each other," Marvin J. Ashton, a religious leader said.
"Perhaps the greatest charity comes when we are kind to each other, when we don't judge or categorize someone else, when we simply give each other the benefit of the doubt or remain quiet. Charity is accepting someone's differences, weaknesses, and shortcomings; having patience with someone who has let us down; or resisting the impulse to become offended when someone doesn't handle something the way we might have hoped. Charity is refusing to take advantage of another's weakness and being willing to forgive someone who has hurt us. Charity is expecting the best of each other."
I do not have the perfect family. No one does. We all have our struggles and trials in this life. However, that doesn't mean we have to let them tear us apart. As the saying goes, "United we stand, divided we fall." Little things can make a big difference.