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||The Marriage Promise: More Love and Happiness Than You Can Imagine
||A. Lynn Scoresby
|Publishing / Edition:
||Knowledge Gain Publications, 1998
This book seems to be a synthesis and refinement of two older books by A. Lynn Scoresby, The Marriage Dialogue (published by Addison-Wesley in 1977) and Foundations for a Happier Marriage (published by Deseret Book Company in 1986). Unfortunately, it is also the hardest of the three books to find. I am unsure if Knowledge Gain Publications is the author's self-publishing outfit. This could account for its rarity.
The book itself has a few quirks when it comes to editing. The font styles seem to change a bit across different sections of the book and there is some missing punctuation here and there. However, despite all of this, the content is brilliant, not only for its approaches to relationships, but also for its insights into psychology in general. There is a lot of valuable information in regards to how we perceive situations and how we commuicate, all explained in a straightforward manner.
Let's take a look at some of the material in each chapter. [Click a link to jump to it.]...
• Chapter 1: The Promise
• Chapter 2: The Covenant
• Chapter 3: The Greatest Feelings
• Chapter 4: The Partnership
• Chapter 5: To Understand and To Solve
• Chapter 6: Showing Commitment
• Chapter 7: Receiving Love
• Chapter 8: Making Love Last
• Chapter 9: Discovering New Rewards
• Chapter 10: Using Differences
• Chapter 11: Reducing Anger
• Chapter 12: Appreciate the Good-Hope for Better
Chapter 1: The Promise
The author offers the following idea: The level of happiness that we experience in life is due to the amount of mental-emotional stability that we cultivate.
Volitale situations are often stressful, and it might seem hard to create peace when we have no personal principles to guide us.
In order to understand these values, we must become self-aware, and through this understanding we eventually realize that our emotions are not wholly dependent upon the things external to us. We have some degree of control over our emotions by how we choose to think and act.
This can be tricky to notice sometimes if we experience excessive fear and anxiety when interacting with people (e.g.: due to past mistreatment). This might lead to an attitude of "defensiveness", which is an attempt to protect oneself emotionally out of worry about what others might do. We get along with others through the development of trust, not by adopting approval-seeking behaviors.
By habitually hiding our feelings and distracting ourselves with "busyness", we keep ourselves from knowing more about ourselves, and by extension, inhibit our ability to communicate effectively.
When we interact with others, we obtain two different types of knowledge about ourselves:
• "Social Knowledge" is how we relate and what others think about us.
• "Personal Knowledge" is what we think about ourselves.
Marriage in particular, is about getting to know each other's "personal truth" and facilitating its unfolding for one another.
Beyond attention and affection, we can experience deep satisfaction by working together, by contributing to something greater than ourselves alone.
Likewise, to grow together, two people must account for the inevitable changes of life. Try to continually move towards personal growth while humbly encouraging other's efforts towards growth as well. Share in the process and celebrate your successes together. This is a way to extend mental-emotional stability outward.
"The promise of marriage" is that it contains "more love and happiness than we can imagine". The fulfillment of this promise is available to everyone who sincerely seeks it out and is willing to work together through any issues that block its expression.
Chapter 2: The Covenant
To paraphrase, "the marriage covenant" is making the commitment to change our life in whatever ways that are necessary in order for us to give everything to our spouse, and to fully receive everything that is given by our spouse.
We cannot rely on cultural traditions or upon our observations of the marriages around us to be able to carry out this covenant. Further, if we see a relationship only as a means of obtaining personal satisfaction, then we are likely to become severely disappointed anytime issues arise.
The irony is that, for many people, the deep caring, adapatability, and other qualities that make up a marriage are not apparent until they have had some relationship experience. Therefore, it is important that we learn how to recognize these qualities beforehand.
If we don't know when something is present, we might assume that it is not there!
People's fantasies sometimes keep them from recognizing love and happiness. For example, they could be under the impression that a new or different relationship will give them what they want, but simply end up taking their disappointments into another relationship.
Cultural and familial differences in how people communicate can also influence whether or not someone recognizes love and happiness. For example, if two people have very different ways of expressing their love for one another, each might jump to the conclusion that they are not loved by the other when they don't have any awareness of these differences. Miscommunications sometimes add up into assumptions that undermine the relationship as a whole.
How we perceive is often tied to how we choose to behave. We are more apt to notice the things that we focus on, and act upon the ideas that we value. The author reduces these tendencies to a general formula: "What you see in your marriage is largely controlled by what you do. Consequently, the perspective you have of marriage - what you think marriage is - determines your ability to recognize love in it."
The author gives three different perspectives of how one can approach a marriage:
• Perspective #1: "Two Individuals"
From this perspective, people see one another as a set of personality traits (e.g.: the ways in which we express our feelings, the things that we find interesting, etc.). This allows us to see each person as unique.
It has several limitations: Thinking in terms of general personality traits can sometimes lead to false assumptions, that others think in ways that are exactly the same as us. It may also lead us into "pidgeonholing" others into categories that may not always be applicable. People are complex and changing.
• Perspective #2: "Two Individuals and a Relationship"
From this perspective, people see a relationship as something greater than the two people who make it up. This allows us to consider traits that are relational (i.e.: expressed between people, beyond a single individual), traits such as compassion, intimacy, etc.
This leads to several concepts:
• Perspective #3: "Two Individuals, a Relationship, and a Situation"
Chapter 3: The Greatest Feelings
Chapter 4: The Partnership
Chapter 5: To Understand and To Solve
Chapter 6: Showing Commitment
Chapter 7: Receiving Love
Chapter 8: Making Love Last
Chapter 9: Discovering New Rewards
Chapter 10: Using Differences
Chapter 11: Reducing Anger
Chapter 12: Appreciate the Good-Hope for Better
• A. Lynn Scoresby Lectures At BYU Education Week On YouTube:
- The Characteristics of Couples That Forge Happy Eternal Marriages and Rear Righteous Children (Aug. 16, 1999)
- Covenant Relationships: The Primary Source of Growth and Development (Aug. 14, 2000)
- Family Leadership (Aug. 18, 2003)
- Family Attachments: The Practical Eternity (2006)
- The Crisis of Unbelief: How to Ensure Faith and Testimony in Our Children (Aug. 17, 2009)
• Do What Matters Most Podcast (Hosted By A. Lynn Scoresby)
• Misc. Articles:
- A. Lynn Scoresby - 3 Things to Avoid When Your Spouse Ignores You (FamilyToday)
- A. Lynn Scoresby - A Future They Can See: Helping Your Children Believe in What They Can Become (Ensign Magazine; Apr. 1985)
- A. Lynn Scoresby - How to Treat a Girl (Ensign Magazine; Feb. 1987)
- A. Lynn Scoresby - It's a Privilege (Ensign Magazine; Jun. 1988)
- Sharon Haddock - A. Lynn Scoresby: Fix every broken relationship (DeseretNews; Aug. 20, 2011)