we've been talking a lot about marriage lately.
topics like intimacy, pornography, same-gender-attraction, divorce, and dating have been coming up often. all these conversations lead us to talk about the importance of marriage.
one child might ask, "what would happen to us if you got divorced." and we talk about our marital vows and our commitment to them and each other. we explain how divorce has played out for families that we know and love, assuring them that there are ways for families to navigate divorce. we also try to calm their fears. our marriage is so important to them. ossi saw us kissing the other day and said, "gross, but beautiful."
i might feel prompted to talk to them about same-gender attraction. i ask them if they've ever heard the word "gay" and one of them tells me the kids call him that at school. "what does it mean?" i ask. "they said it means stupid." so i explain to them that the word gay does not mean stupid, and that i would be so sad if they used those words interchangeably. I try my best to describe same-gender attraction, working hard to convey the love we should have for every person and the sensitivity we must have for these very-real feelings, and I tell them that if they ever experience those feelings they can talk to me and I won't be upset. I explain that the word gay describes a man who acts on their feelings of same-gender attraction and becomes intimate with another man. we talk about Heavenly Father's commandments concerning intimacy outside of marriage. then we talk about marriage in the context of Heavenly Father's plan. i realize that these conversations must happen if we are to teach both commitment to traditional marriage as the foundation of family and love for people who believe differently than we do.
another time another child asks, "do people get divorced if one person looks at pornography?" i tell them that it depends on the couple, the circumstances, and the path they feel is right. i throw out a few scenarios and ask them what they think. we talk about intimacy and how important it is to be completely faithful in marriage. they ask lots of questions about intimate feelings and we discuss the purpose of those drives and emotions. then one asks, "if dad ever looked at pornography would you get a divorce?" i say "no." i tell them that we are committed to our marriage because we love each other, we love them, and we love Heavenly Father. we believe that there is always a way to fix our mistakes and that forgiveness is a huge part of marriage.
when my kids were babies i was dreading their pre-teen years for all of the uncomfortable conversations. little did i know that the conversations would start so soon and need to be addressed so often! i am thankful that we have an open family and that our kids feel comfortable asking questions. i am also thankful for the little promptings that urge me onward to break awkward ice. those conversations end up being sacred and loving treasures in our hearts. marriage is so dear to me and i know they are beginning to feel how important it is and will ever be in their lives.
as we walked the temple grounds they asked me about the day that i was married there. i was able to promise them that if they are married to the right person, at the right time, in the right place, and if they are true to their marriage covenants, they will build wonderful families of their own.
the response was as i expected. something along the lines of " gross, but beautiful."