|Hiking or not--Dreaming Together is Great!|
One of the fun "build our marriage" exercises we do together when Gramma Rosie is in pain, is a mind diversion we call "Dream with Me...Outloud." Often these moments happen in the car as we drive together shopping. Rosie doesn't drive, so I often get to play Prince Phillip to her Queen Elizabeth, and truly be "an husbandman"
We invented this very practical imagination game when our Jeff and Sally were little. It goes like this: "If you had a million dollars that you had to spend in 30 days--where would you go, what would you do and who are two or three people you'd do it with? Sound intriguing? Five year olds have to really think about the issues involved..and then it seemed more like work than fun! Rosie took the bait and began to spin a project out of her imagination that really sounded pretty good.
"If I had all that money," she told me that day, "I'd pay all our bills--and then I'd find some land where we could build some modest homes for elderly folks who had nowhere else to go."
I immediately began suggesting names. The best I could come up with as a working title was: "Happy Dreams Acres!" For the next few minutes her painful teeth, gimpy tummy, consistent migrane and bum knees and hip were overcome by visions of helping folks like us who had rented or gone homeless most of their lives. I gently asked about compensation: "Oh, they'd pay a little rent, but only what they could afford," she said. By then we'd made it to the store and bigger, more immediate issues became for the moment, upper most in her mind.
When you find yourselves in some kind of want, pain or lack of funds, consider this alternative. We've always taught each other than a Dream is a wish that you write on paper and review the progress of occasionally. "Happy Dreams Acres" may never happen, but we can always talk about it during a lull in the action.
Diversion of the practical kind is good for married teams and their teammate children.
One third world mother strapped for grocery money would come home late at night after foraging through the neighborhood and announce that the family would chew the beet greens she brought and sing hymns. Sometimes it was just hymns without the greens.
Dreaming outloud with someone you trust and love can wipe away negative emotions and guide the brain to build often practical castles in the air. The advantage is that encouraging the process builds hope and guides futures.
President Merrill of the Monterey Bay, California Stake in 1970 counseled us that parents should bring their babies to church. Not only does it get everyone into a good habit, if the babies cry--no matter. "You can only hear one thing at a time!" he told us.
On the other hand I have treasured Brigham Young's clever advice from the stage of the Salt Lake Theater in the early pioneer days before Social Hall Avenue was ever built. "Crying babies are like good intentions: They should be carried out!"
The great truth in all this is that the human mind can really only concentrate on one thing at a time. Contrary to what modern behavioralists tell us there really is no such thing as effective multi-tasking. Most good things are consecutive--and if a good husband can divert his wife constructively with a way to harness her creative thoughts to build their family, it will be good for both of them.
Emeritus GA Elder Joe J. Christensen, former President of Ricks College once told a Priesthood Session of General Conference: "Make the time to listen to your spouse; even schedule it regularly. Visit with each other and assess how you are doing as a marriage partner. Brother Brent Barlow (prominent LDS Marriage Counselor) posed a question to a group of priesthood brethren: “How many of you would like to receive a revelation?” Every hand went up. He then suggested that they all go home and ask their wives how they could be better husbands. He added, “I followed my own advice, and had a very informative discussion with [my wife] Susan for more than an hour that afternoon!” (To Build a Better Marriage," Ensign, Sept. 1992, p. 17)
Communication--keeping the thoughts, like water flowing between us... that's what the Dream Outloud exercise is all about--and if it improves her disposition and supercedes her pain medication--all the better!