Being Submissive in Marriage

“And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit…”

          -3 Nephi 9:20

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In marriage, we should follow the example of our first parents. God has taught us how to strengthen our own marriages through Adam and Eve’s example. When they were cast out of the garden, they may have been sorrowful, but what was the first thing that they did? They offered sacrifice and called upon God for guidance. “The only remedy for our loneliness is to call upon God. When we feel hopeless, lost, and desperate, we should call upon the Father. In return, we, like Adam and Eve, will be shown the path for our journey Home.” (Goddard)

In our day, we no longer offer animal sacrifices, but we are asked to offer a “broken heart and a contrite spirit” (3 Nephi 9:20). What is a broken heart and a contrite spirit? How can we obtain this? To obtain this we must be humble and submissive to the will of the Lord. We must be meek and willing to repent. As we apply this to marriage, we will be able to see the benefits of sacrifice. The cure for a troubled marriage is submission. Not the kind where the wife just listens to everything that the husband says, but submission to the Lord. A broken heart and contrite spirit is required to heal the broken marriage. Or even a working, healthy marriage. Some examples of doing this would be going to God for counsel as a couple and separately in prayer, accepting and repenting of mistakes, accepting the will of the Father, following the prophet, and using Christ’s Atonement for the power to forgive. No marriage is perfect. Arguments and differences surely arise, but humility and forgiveness allow for progression and healing. A perfect example of being submissive and sacrificing in a marriage is the allegory of a “man who had two friends in the manufactured -home business. When he wanted a new house, he asked each friend to send him half a house. He gave no plans. He provided no specifications on size or style. He left them to design as they would. So, each friend sent a lovely half-house. When the two halves arrived at the site, they were jarringly different. Rooms did not line up. Utilities did not match up. Roofs and walls between the two halves did not connect. This is a pretty good symbol for marriage. Each of us is created in a different “factory” or family. Two people come together assuming that they will readily connect. But we soon find that our traditions, expectations, assumptions, and ways of life do not line up. The more time that passes, the more clear the differences.” (Goddard, “Drawing Heaven into Your Marriage”) So what do we do with this uneven, mismatched home/marriage? We must draw near unto the Lord. He will guide us and mold us into a more unified couple as we have a broken heart and contrite spirit.

Pic: https://www.lds.org/media-library/images/category/gospel-living?lang=eng

 

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Choosing a Covenant Marriage

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I remember being single and wishing so hard to be married. I just wanted someone to choose me. I remember the feelings of rejection and sadness when things wouldn’t work out, but now that I’ve found Jose, I’m very grateful for those experiences. I’m grateful that the Lord put Jose in my path. When I was pondering and praying to know if this was the one that I was to marry, I heard specifically, “It is your choice”. I was a little annoyed. I wanted God to just tell me a straight up yes or no. Ultimately, I made the choice of continuing on with Jose and here we are three years into eternity. I knew that it would be a long road with immigration. I knew it would mean living in Mexico. I knew that it would mean having limited money and resources. I knew that it would mean moving away from my family and learning a new language. I also knew that it was important for me to do all of those things in order to start my own eternal family. I knew that Jose was a good man. Even now, when the times get tough, and lately that is VERY often, I have to remind myself that I chose this life. I chose Jose and I chose Mexico.

The thing that made me want to marry Jose the most was the fact that God was his number one priority and he wanted to raise his family with that mentality. Being a righteous mother has always been my greatest desire so to have the opportunity to have a husband with such a great desire to have a spirit filled home for our children was something I yearned for. Our marriage isn’t perfect and I am not perfect. I often forget that I chose this life and that I have been given a great opportunity to help build the kingdom of God. Not only that, but I have been given a great learning opportunity. Through this journey, I have been and will continue to be strengthened. I will be able to be a stronger mother to my children because of these experiences. Jose and I will have a stronger marriage as we stay close to the Lord through these experiences. We must strive to have a covenant marriage, rather than a contractual marriage. Elder Bruce C. Hafen said “Marriage by nature is a covenant, not just a private contract on may cancel at will.” We must also remember that a covenant is a sacred promise made with God. Elder Hafen goes on to say “When troubles come, the parties to a contractual marriage seek happiness by walking away. They marry to obtain benefits and will stay only as long as they’re receiving what they bargained for. But when troubles come to a covenant marriage, the husband and wife work them through. They marry to give and to grow, bound by covenants to each other, to the community, and to God. Contract companions each give 50 percent; covenant companions each give 100 percent.” As we follow the blueprint that He has given us in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World”, we can keep our part of the covenant. We must be active in being righteous and moving closer together and towards our Heavenly Father. Marriage is often described using a triangle where the two partners grow closer together as they grow closer to God. It is no accident that a triangle is the shape used for description, for it is the strongest shape. Elder Bednar has said “The Lord Jesus Christ is the focal point in a covenant marriage relationship. Please notice how the Savior is positioned at the apex of this triangle, with a woman at the base of one corner and a man at the base of the other corner. Now consider what happens in the relationship between the man and the woman as they individually and steadily “come unto Christ” and strive to be “perfected in Him” (Moro. 10:32). Because of and through the Redeemer, the man and the woman come closer together.”

There are many things in this world that may hold us down or try to rip our marriage apart. If the marriage was just a contract, it would be easy to give up. But because of the sacred covenant, we must fight. We must fight in this war against marriage. We must put forth 100% in a marriage partnership. We must choose to win.

 

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The wrong way to pass a law

How is a law passed? In the beginning days of the United States, representatives from each state got together to discuss the foundation and principles of the country. Each man was strong and opinionated. Each man had desire to serve his own state. Each man had a differing view from the others. Yet, they were able to compromise and the Constitution of the Unites States of America was born. With this Constitution, the power of the country was distributed between 3 different groups. There was power given to the President. There was certain power given to Congress. There was power given to the court system. This democracy was built and inspired to make sure that not one group would have the say over everything. There were checks and balances put into place. Long story short, laws needed to go through all 3 parties in order to get passed. This has been the case since the birth of the Constitution, until June 26, 2015.

On June 26, 2015, the United States Supreme Court overruled and bypassed the law-making standards and legalized gay marriage in the whole country. They passed the law even though most states and voters voted that marriage was defined as a union between a man and a woman. Gay marriage would not only affect the children of gay couples, but also families in general. A few judges changed the law, even though the majority voted against it.

The problem with the passing of this law is not gay couples. The problem is the few judges in the court system overruling what had already passed by the voters of the country. True democracy was demolished in that decision. With this type of logic, any branch of the government can just pass laws without debate, discussion, and compromise. What was the point of The Great Compromise that came from our founding fathers? What is the point of a Constitution if the leaders in our country do not follow it? We truly are at war, but not with foreign parties. We are at war within ourselves. There is no order and no respect for concrete laws.

Should “Divorce School” be mandatory for families that are separating?

A few weeks ago, Jose and I had our 3-year anniversary. We were able to go to Zacatecas, Mexico to celebrate and spend some much needed time away from our regular lives. This immigration thing has just taken a major toll on us. I never would have through that the process would be this long and frustrating. So, when the chance to get away came, we jumped on it to hit the refresh button. It’s amazing how much strength can come from a simple change of scenery. I’m a part of a support group on Facebook for families going through the waiver part of the immigration process. It has given us so much great information and has helped me realize that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, however today I wanted to talk about something that I have seen happen much too often in the group. At first there were minor comments that people would just make and fling away. They were so light, that I never noticed them. That is until about a week after we returned from Zacatecas. Maybe this hit me harder because I was still in the bliss stage from our beautiful weekend. A woman in the group stated that her marriage was over because of immigration. She stated that it had ruined her marriage and had torn her and her husband apart. The hardship had just become too hard to bare. She then went on to say that her husband had been approved, gotten his interview, and WAS AT HIS INTERVIEW. He was at the gate. He was almost home. So close, yet so ready to give up. He was coming home. Those interviews after you get approved are just basically to give you your Visa. The hard part is over, yet she had just let everyone know that she was filing for divorce because it was just too much. I was dumbfounded. How could a marriage end when he was literally days away from being free and able to cross the border to go home to his family. Now, obviously there is more to the story on their part, but that’s not the point. I understand there must have been other issues they were dealing with to have made just a big decision during such a hopeful time. But because it hit me so hard, I decided to look to see how many other families this had happened to. So, I did a search in the group for key words, and found several other families that had been pulled apart and divorced during the immigration process. As I was looking at these posts, I noticed that each of these families had children involved. So not only were they far away from their parent, but then there was a divorce that was the end for their little family. That’s when I knew that something had to be done.

I know that divorce is very common these days and anyone who is reading this blog post may be part of a divorced family. I do not wish to offend. The part that I really wanted to talk about was how it effects children. I recently learned about something that can really help kids as they are going through the transition. No matter the couple’s situation, divorce is hard and painful. And they are adults that are able to handle hard things and have the maturity to cope. Children on the other hand are often left confused and disoriented. I have seen how members of my own family have been open and honest with their children about certain things regarding the divorce with the children. I think this is so important. Children need to be able to talk about what they are going through. While studying in my marriage class, I was introduced to a video about a program called “Divorce School”. This idea touched my heart. My heart broke as I heard the children talk about their experiences, but I was quickly able to see the benefits. The kids learned big court words, they did therapeutic activities that helped them express and come to terms with what their new family dynamic would be like. In the long run, the kids came out with more positive outcomes than those who hadn’t had the chance to go through. I think that that type of school should be court-ordered for each family going through divorce with children. Divorce is a major life change. It is hard for adults, imagine how hard it is for children who are not developed completely. Their perspective and understanding is at a different level than that of adults. While divorce is hard for adults, it can be traumatic for children. Divorce school is a very good option for these children to go through a workshop where they learn to talk freely about what they are going through. At first, they may not want to go. There will be tears, but in the long run, the benefits outweigh the negatives. If a couple is going through divorce because of abuse, alcoholism, or adultery, Divorce school could be a way to produce more “Transitional Characters”. A Transitional Character is someone who breaks the mold. Often times abuse, alcoholism, and other negative characteristics are passed down through generations. If a child who has been exposed to those things goes through Divorce School, they will be more aware of the effects and outcomes. There could also be follow up classes or workshops that help children in those types of homes deal with their own emotions that come up. These follow up workshops would teach healthy coping mechanisms so that they truly can break the mold. Some types of coping skills that children would learn are meditation, communication, journaling, Dialectical therapy or emotional regulation, sports, music, creativity. There are so many different outlets that can be used to channel emotion rather than going to alcohol, drugs, sex, or abuse. The more we focus on the children in divorced homes, perhaps we can break the cycle of unneeded divorce in the future.

(This post is for FAML 300: 05. While I am writing this post for this class, I am in no way speaking for BYU-Idaho as an institution.)

Is this the year?

Happy New Year!! 2018…I hope you bring happy immigration news. If not, I really hope that God grants me with patience. During 2016 and 2017, I moved back to the states during the waiver process for Jose. We were apart for a year and a half. It was tough, but I was able to work with a great company and spend some time with my family. In August of 2017, I moved back to Mexico to be with Jose. The day after I got here, his waiver was approved! We were ecstatic! Finally the long wait for Jose’s residency would be over. We still don’t have his interview yet. The US consulate in Mexico keeps saying it’ll be any day now. It has been 4 months. We call each week, but immigration is not one to get things done quickly. In the mean time, we have been busy with school online through Brigham Young University-Idaho, work, and helping the little branch here in Calvillo. Jose has been called as the Branch President for here and keeps busy trying to help strengthen the members here. I can’t help but think that one of the reasons that we are still here is so that Jose can be an instrument in God’s hands and help these wonderful people.

This coming year we hope to be in the states. The goal for 2018 is to be in Houston, Texas by April so that Jose can begin his summer job. He will be doing summer sales for my brother’s company. I will continue going to school full-time and working very part-time teaching English online. After the summer we will return to Mexico so that both Jose and I can go to school full time and we can live on my salary from part time teaching. Thank you Mexico, for being so inexpensive. We hope and pray that this is the year that the Lord blesses us with a Niño (or Niña), but I know that all happens in God’s time. I’ll be honest, I don’t always like that, but I really need to get used to it. Control freak Ashlee needs to learn how to calm down.

So thank you 2017 for the approval that you brought. 2018, please bring the interview.

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I am so excited for this new year.
This has always been my favorite holiday.  I love new beginnings and goal setting. 

It is always so interesting to me that we set a MOUNTAIN of goals beginning of the year.  No wonder why they are never obtained! That is so overwhelming and makes me feel like I can do nothing.

So… This year

In order to take the stress off of my perfectly capable self, I resolve to not make a load of new years resolutions. I resolve to make monthly, weekly, and daily goals that will help me be the kind of person I want to be.  I resolve to include the Lord in each of these planning sessions so I can know just what to do to be the woman He knows I can be.

Happy New Year my dears!
And may you resolve to make the ongoing changes!

Pioneer Living

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I feel like a Pioneer. Not in the way where they were super faithful and walked across the country for they faith. But the way of cleaning without a washing machine or a sink. We recently moved to the bigger city of Aguascalientes due to more work opportunities. Jose has started his own company called “Home Running Repair”. He does construction and I am so proud of him! He has been able to stay VERY busy.

Aguas has been very beneficial for my business as well. While living in Calvillo I didn’t feel right about asking women to buy mascara that cost the same about of money as our monthly rent. Others were MUCH worse off financially than we were. It just didn’t seem right to ask that off someone. Here in Aguascalientes the economy is much better. It is very similar to the states here, so good quality mascara is not a problem to purchase. But enough on mascara…

I want to talk about the purpose for this post.

We have no kitchen

We purchased a small camping gas stove with two burners so that I can cook food. We have a small table which I prepare the food on, cook the food, and then we eat. Washing dishes has become an interesting task. We have WONDERFUL neighbors down our street. Hermana Michaus has offered to let us clean our dishes in her sink. We did that for the first few weeks, however, I will be honest…I feel bad for imposing on them every day to clean dishes.

So we bought two big bowls that look like those pans you use to pan for gold, but plastic. I fill them up with water from the small sink in the bathroom and take them outside. One is for washing, the other is for rinsing. IMG_6310

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The 3rd bin is for drying.

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Here’s the whole system!!

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The leftover rinse water goes to water all those flowers I have. This little table is actually a dog house for our landlords’ dog, Canela. She is a very protective dog and barks at every car that passes. I love it so much, especially when she barks during sleeping hours.

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Our home is on the roof of the house and has two small rooms and a small bathroom. We don’t have much space, but right now we don’t need much. Washing clothes is also quite the adventure. Our landlords do not want us to use very much water since they are paying the bill so we can’t use our laundry machine. Mario (the man) gave us the suggestion to wear our clothes in the shower like he does to wash them. Yeah that’s not going to happen. Today I washed a load by hand in a bucket with laundry soap, then set the soapy clothes aside and filled the bucket up again, but with rinse water. Afterwards I hung the clothes to dry in the sun. This last step I am used to, however, since no one here has a dryer. We all hang dry our clothes.

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Such a tiny load, but honestly, that’s all I want to try washing by hand. I am NOT a fan. So grateful for laundry machines. AND SO GRATEFUL FOR HERMANA MICHAUS. She has our laundry machine at her house so we can use it when needed. It is much easier to wash clothes at the neighbors than to wash dishes.

All in all I really like our new home. I’m not sure how long we will last here, but it is so nice to be next to friends in a new city!

Immigrants’ Wives

This week Jose has been gone in Mexico City for work. I’ll admit I cried pretty hard when he left. Cheese balls? Yes, I know. I didn’t know that I would miss him so much, but I guess he is my husband and I love him very much. My first night alone in this country I was quite nervous. Our hallway doesn’t have a roof, so of course my brain made up so many scenarios about robbers and stuff. But guess what…I live in the most tranquil part of Mexico. Seriously, I am so lucky. I fell asleep watching Spanish cartoons about chickens. The next day I woke up and watered the garden and weeded for a few hours before the sun became blazing hot. As I was weeding, I thought of how blessed I am. I thought of the women here in Mexico whose husbands have gone to the states to provide more for their family. I know that for some this is a very touchy subject, but let me try to shed some light about immigrants. Obviously I don’t know it all, I just want to share what I have noticed. Yes, Mexico is a VERY beautiful place. And what makes it even more beautiful is the people. My favorite thing here is that their main priority is family. Family guys! Not money. Not themselves or work. FAMILY. If that isn’t following the Lord’s plan, I don’t know what is. And that is a big reason why a lot of people cross the border and go to the states. They risk their lives and go to a place where they do not know the language or culture, for their family.

You see, here in Mexico people are willing to work. It’s just that the jobs don’t pay. The people who have money are either crooks, part of the Government, or have their own businesses. I know of a family here that has 5 children. The dad works ALL DAY. In the blistering heat. He gets paid 300 pesos per day. Right now the money exchange is about 15 pesos per dollar. So divide 300 by 15. That’s 20 bucks. A day. For a family of 7. That’s $120 a week. That is just one example. Things here are cheap. Like food and land, but clothes, education, household items, etc…They are all the same price as the states. People don’t have a lot here. I’ve seen it, and I’m experiencing it. It has not been easy. Sometimes, honestly, it sucks really bad because we don’t know how we’re going to earn money. But the Lord ALWAYS provides.

For example, about a month ago, Jose and I had about 50 pesos left with no jobs lined up. We both had looked and searched like crazy, yet there was nothing. Since we got married we both have been looking forward to going to Stake Conference 40 minutes away. For both of us to go it would cost 200 pesos. The day before we decided to go visit Jose’s family and just spend time with them. Jose’s sister in law came up to Jose and gave him 200 pesos. He asked what it was for and she told him she was paying him for a lamp that he put in her apartment. A few hours later Jose’s sisters came to me and asked me if they could by some makeup I had in stock from my old job. I couldn’t believe it. The Lord provided us a way to go to conference and also enough for food the next week. The next week Jose found a two week job and now he is in Mexico City for more work. This job allows us both to work from home and have our own business. I am so grateful for the Lord. For him providing for our family.

I got sidetracked…but I felt the need to write the above. So for us yes, now we are financially OK, but for others it is not that easy. That is why the dads jump the border and go work to take care of their family. I know of so many women here in Mexico who are home alone and taking care of their children without their husbands. In fact this morning, I was talking to my Suegra about how much she missed her husband when he was gone to the states for YEARS at a time. And Jose is only gone for a WEEK. The sacrifice of these people is tremendous. So I guess what I’m saying is, please don’t be so quick to judge illegal immigrants. They are just trying their best for their families. They want to make a better future for their children. Isn’t that what so many people want when they go to the states? Yes some don’t have papers, but I know they would if they could. It is a lot of work and a lot of money to get them. Money that the people of this country do not have. The Government has tons, but the people have seriously nothing.

Through the eyes of this gringa I can see just a little of how the women live while their husbands are a country away for years and years. Mine is still in the same country and he is only gone for a week. But this week I have caught a small glimpse of what they are going through. And ladies…I get it and I respect the crap out of you.

-Ash

Mexican Mole Sauce with Chicken

Red Mole

As promised ladies and gents!

   Mole from the Motherland. This recipe is one that my suegra uses to celebrate anything that needs celebrating. And today is Jose and my 5 month anniversary so I think that is worth celebration. Bring on the mexican comfort food!

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I used frozen chicken because, well, that’s all that was in the store. So I thawed it and then boiled the chicken. As you boil it the water is made into broth. Do not throw this away because you will need it later on.

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We now get to the goods. CHILE! Use about 6 chile anchos. They need to be dry roasted. Wash them good and boil them until soft. I boiled mine for about 20 minutes. After they are boiled through them toss them in the blender with the water. You want to liquefy the chiles so blend them for a good long while. Once they are a smooth liquid strain them and put the remaining in a pot. The heat should be on about medium-low heat.

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Guess what comes next…chocolate!!! This recipe just gets better and better. Toss about 2 Tablespoons of chocolate into the liquid chile. Constantly stir until the chocolate is completely melted.

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The next thing you need to mix up is the bread mix. In the blender add 1 tomato, 1/2 an onion, 2 small cloves of garlic, bread (about 2 slices worth), about 6-8 Ritz crackers, and a small amount of a cinnamon stick. WARNING: If you put too much cinnamon, your mole with be disgusting. Seriously so horrible. Take my word for it…In the photo of the cinnamon stick above, do you see the top of the side of my pointer finger? That is ALL you want. Combine all of these items in the blender. Add about 1 1/4 liter of the chicken stock that came from boiling the chicken. This will help it to not be a bread smoothie.

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Strain the mixture after it is liquified. Add this bread soup into the chile in the pot.

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Stir well

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Here’s a tip: keep stirring while the mole is on the burner. You do not want ANY curdles in your mole. That’s gross. So stir and take off the burner while you make the bread soup, or you can do as my suegra does and have a helper stir the mole while you get everything else ready. It makes for good family bonding time too!

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The last spice you want to add to the mole is pepper and gloves. Make sure that they are whole peppercorns and cloves. Use 3 peppers and 2 cloves. Anymore, they will overpower the mole. You want to mash them up. I didn’t have a stone bowl and hammer thing…I have no idea what those are called…but I do have giant rocks around my house. So I took the little bag of solid spice and smashed it like crazy with a rock on our concrete floor. This is a great way to get any extra anger or frustration out!

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Remember the chicken? Shred it with those fingers of yours, or a fork, and toss the shredded chicken into the mole. And you’re ready to serve!!

What’s mole without tortillas! But also don’t forget the rice! (I did…Luckily there is a real Mexican in our household who will let me know when we are missing something for a traditional meal.) So cook up some rice, put a spoonful in your mole and enjoy with some nice warm tortillas!

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Provecho!!!

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