The Choices of One Person Can Affect Generations

family tree

I believe in covenant marriage, not to be confused with contractual marriage. Covenant marriage says, “For time and all eternity..” Contractual marriage says, “‘Til death do we part.” Covenant marriage happens in holy temples and makes God a third member of your marriage, contractual marriage says “In all things unless you don’t hold up your end of the bargain.” Read more about Covenant Marriage HERE.

I had the opportunity to create a genogram for my marriage class this week. Read about what a genogram is HERE. In doing this, my family tree has given me new perspective. Looking at my genogram, whether you know my family or not, you can see the effects that one person can have on generations.  My paternal grandparents were active members of my church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for most of their children’s upbringing. My grandmother always stayed strong in her conversion–  she was a convert to the church in her early 20’s. My grandfather was an active member, a bishop, married in the temple to my grandmother, etc.  When my father (who is the second oldest of 6 kids) got home from his mission, my grandfather left the family and divorced my grandmother. Reasons are unknown (to me). There was still 4 children in the house when this happened. My dad, being the oldest male of the family, tried to hold the family together. He tried to help all of his siblings and be there for them. My grandfather threatened his children that he would have nothing to do with them if they took their mom’s side in the divorce. What was the result? My dad has been the only active member in the family besides my grandmother. Furthermore, my dad and mom were sealed in the temple and only ones in the entire family. Three other children (three of my dad’s siblings) married and eventually divorced their spouses (a couple remarried and divorced again).  Two of the children never got married and never had a family. None of my cousins are members of the church and many members of the family actually blame the church for all of this. My family remains the only family that is active in the church. Out of all of the six kids that my grandfather and grandmother had, only 1 remains in the church (with 6 kids of his own that are all active.)

The choices of ONE person!

This quote from our reading comes to mind:

“Marriage is by nature a covenant, not just a private contract one may cancel at will. Jesus taught about contractual attitudes when he described the “hireling,” who performs his conditional promise of care only when he receives something in return. When the hireling “seeth the wolf coming,” he “leaveth the sheep, and fleeth … because he … careth not for the sheep.” By contrast, the Savior said, “I am the good shepherd, … and I lay down my life for the sheep.” Many people today marry as hirelings. And when the wolf comes, they flee. This idea is wrong. It curses the earth, turning parents’ hearts away from their children and from each other.”

My grandfather turned away from his family to some degree, left a covenant marriage (my grandmother was an INCREDIBLE lady!), in search of a more selfish endeavors– and left many broken hearts in the wake of his leaving. He was a hireling. As a result the family largely has been estranged with only a few relationships intact. There is a lot of healing to be done. Hearts that need mending. I know it’s possible. I hope to someday understand more. I forgive my grandfather. I hope my entire extended family knows how much I love them. I hope everyone will put their differences behind them someday soon. Until then, I am thankful for my dad who was a protector of his own family in circumstances that I still don’t completely understand. He has always put his family first. My father and mother have worked hard to honor their marriage covenants and as a result their children do as well.

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