How do I love Thee? {E&C Free Printable}

7:09 PM Elephant & Chick 0 Comments

Since it is February and February = Love Andrew and I felt it was appropriate to focus on aspect of our marriage we could make stronger.  For those of you who are interested we started with this article that lists 28 encouraging quotes on marriage from LDS leaders.  Which then lead us to this article titled "Marriage isn't for you."  It is one of the best articles i've read on marriage in a while.  I highly recommend it.

For those of you with older children that actively participate in FHE I think this topic is still for you!  Many of the 28 quotes talk about how you can strengthen your relationships in general (not just specifically marriage).  I think it would help build a stronger family unit to read these articles aloud together for FHE this month.   Another addition to your FHE or couple scripture study could be to join in and read Mindset with the E&C bookclub.

One article I particularly enjoyed is titled "How Do I love Thee?" by Elder Holland (delivered in a BYU devotional in 2000).

My favorite part is where he talks about how the Plimsoll Mark came to be and then relates it to relationships.  Here is an excerpt: 
As a youth in England, Samuel Plimsoll was fascinated with watching ships load and unload their cargoes. He soon observed that, regardless of the cargo space available, each ship had its maximum capacity. If a ship exceeded its limit, it would likely sink at sea. In 1868 Plimsoll entered Parliament and passed a merchant shipping act that, among other things, called for making calculations of how much a ship could carry. As a result, lines were drawn on the hull of each ship in England. As the cargo was loaded, the freighter would sink lower and lower into the water. When the water level on the side of the ship reached the Plimsoll mark, the ship was considered loaded to capacity, regardless of how much space remained. As a result, British deaths at sea were greatly reduced.

Like ships, people have differing capacities at different times and even different days in their lives. In our relationships we need to establish our own Plimsoll marks and help identify them in the lives of those we love. Together we need to monitor the load levels and be helpful in shedding or at least readjusting some cargo if we see our sweetheart is sinking. Then, when the ship of love is stabilized, we can evaluate long-term what has to continue, what can be put off until another time, and what can be put off permanently. Friends, sweethearts, and spouses need to be able to monitor each other’s stress and recognize the different tides and seasons of life. We owe it to each other to declare some limits and then help jettison some things if emotional health and the strength of loving relationships are at risk. Remember, pure love “beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things,” and helps loved ones do the same.
For myself I found this visual to be really helpful.  Even if there is room on 'my ship' I could already be at my 'Plimsoll Mark' and starting to sink and may need to re-adjust my current commitments, toss a unproductive task overboard or re-adjust all together.

Andrew and I read this article together and appreciated the vocabulary it gave us.  Phrases like "at capacity," or "need to re-adjust," or "monitor load levels" are phrases we try and use when communicating with one another.

On a lighter note, I am in the process of decorating our bedroom and have been looking for inspiration.  When I cam accross this talk, I fell in love with the phrase and decided I wanted this on one of my walls in our room.

Below is the printable I made and I wanted to share it with you!

download high resolution photos here and here

How do you communicate effectively with your spouse?