Do you believe that having faith can lead to successful marriages and family life? I do! Faith is essential to how our lives go. In fact according to the fourth article of faith, faith is the first principle of the gospel. We must have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ in order for our testimonies to grow. I will go through three different dimensions of faith and how they affect us and our families.
Dimension One: Religious Community and Family.
Loren D. Marks says, “The dimension of religious community encompasses and includes ‘support, involvement, and relationships grounded in a congregation or less formal religious group.'” As we take part of our religious community our faith will increase. We can rely on others and see how much faith others have in order to increase our own faith.
Also, being a part of a religious community can help strengthen a marriage. Going to church together can bring a couple closer in ways that other areas of life can’t. Atkins and colleagues conducted a study and found,
“Couples who are not happy in their relationship might believe that participating in organized religious activities can help safeguard their marriages.”
So if you feel that you are struggling with your marriage or you want to make it stronger maybe suggest to your spouse that you want to attend church together and see how it helps. It will take time. You can’t expect to go one week and then expect everything to be peachy again. So do not get discouraged if you don’t feel like attending church with your spouse is helping anything. Be patient and have faith.
Dimension Two: Religious Practices and Family.
Marks says, “Religious practices are ‘outward, observable, expressions of faith such as prayer, scripture study, rituals, traditions, of less overtly sacred practice or abstinence that is religiously grounded.'” Families will grow closer by having family prayer, family scripture study, family home evening, and any other type of religious practice a family might do. Religious practices can help us each gain our testimonies and continue to grow them and maybe help someone in our family that is struggling with theirs. Religious practices should be done with couples as well as the whole family. Prayer is a great way to help a marriage. The prayers that are given should not be selfish or unthoughtful. As couples pray for each other they will gain a bond and will be more aware of each others struggles. Marks says,
“Humble, charity-filled, true prayer often helps with conflict resolution and promotes a sense of relational responsibility.”
Make a goal to pray for your spouse each night. If you haven’t prayed in a while say a little prayer in your heart and work toward more formal prayers. Pay close attention to your spouse to you know what to pray for and don’t be afraid to ask your spouse if they need you to pray for something specific. Also, express to your spouse that you are praying for them to show you care and are continually thinking of them.
Now, religious practices will help with the parent-child bond. As children see you reading your scriptures or saying your prayers they will want to do the same. They will follow your example and be excited about doing it. This is why it is important to do. Also, having good relationships with your children based on religious practices will help them to “conceive of (and believe in) a loving God. This can help them to have a better relationship with you as well as their Heavenly Father.
Dimension Three: Religious Beliefs and Family.
Marks says, “Religious beliefs include ‘personal, internal beliefs, framings, meanings, [and] perspectives.'” These beliefs will influence a family and family life. Now, there are many, many religions in the world today. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and I believe in the teachings of that church. However, I do respect those who believe in something different and practice their beliefs. I think religion in general is amazing and if we can all at least believe in something then there would be much more good in this world.
Believing in something helps with parenting. Religion is a great way to learn about parenting. Showing and teaching those beliefs to children can help with depression. A study showed that “60 out of 64 studies reported linkages between higher religious involvement and lower depression.” This is amazing. Obviously having some sort of religious influence in the home won’t get rid of depression completely, but it can help. Having religious beliefs gives hope and peace in difficult times and that is why it is so important to have some sort of religious influence in our homes.
Overall I just want to say that having religious influences in our lives will help our families. As we live up to our beliefs and practice what we believe in we will be blessed and our families will grow closer together. Find ways to practice what you believe in and share it with your family continually. Increase your faith as you have those religious influences in your life and feel the peace that comes with it. I encourage everyone to find something to believe in and find ways how it blesses your life.