Luisa Perkins from Cold Spring, New York, writes:
I am trying to find ways to have more regular and effective scripture study with my husband. We study individually and with our children, but I'd love some ideas on ways we can have the ‘companion study' we both enjoyed on our missions. Does anyone have some light to share?
Luisa, what a dynamite idea!! (a) it sounds like tons of fun, (b) it lends itself to huge “home improvement” implications, and (c) it will be an awesome model for your kids.
The power of the buddy system is obvious. Two heads are better than one in any situation (barring, maybe, conjoined twins) and a condition of service on a mission.
I think the Circle should take this idea to heart and help us make this ideal a reality in our marriages. I'm convinced your note was inspired.
I am impulsive and immature by nature. I like to think about the fun stuff first. Let's assume we are looking at Alma's fireside chats with his sons; Helaman, Shiblon, and poor little derailed Cori(anton). Those intimate father-son discussions are crammed with beautiful doctrine. What about Gazalem's light, as one interesting thing to think about? In the same chapter, take a look at verse 37. I think it's one of the loveliest, most comforting ideas, and the best advice in all the standard works. I am influenced by having first become aware of it as a ward choir arrangement by my genius brother-in-law, who has nailed a number of blue ribbon Ensign contests. I think this was one of them. Either way, set to music it is unforgettable, but my point is to look for something that takes you by surprise or makes you cry, or speaks to you privately and spiritually. Make it your “inside info” as a couple for a week or a day and do what any effective corporation does: find innovative ways to live your values. Tape it on each other's steering wheel so they see it all day or all week. Stop three times a day to call each other and share “awareness” milestones. Remember to utilize this beautiful tool that Heavenly Father has preserved for us via a series of unimaginable miracles and a history of consecration and martyrdom. Think of obvious ways a loving couple might buddy up on the implementation process. Incorporate it into itself: “Counsel with the Lord. He will direct you for good.” Don't you love it, already???!!! Luisa, thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for thinking of this!! Just imagine the potential!!
I need to look twice at the reminder that those who are slothful won't, can't, don't, and never will prosper. Nobody likes to think of herself as a slacker; but we can always buck up and make changes. We can empower our beloved spouses to help us look over our shoulders into our blind spots so Heavenly Father can make weaknesses strong unto us. We can become the chief private cheerleader who notices every tiny effort to make these changes, and rewards them with anything from a cookie to a cruise it doesn't matter; it's just the principle of couples taking turns giving each other a heads-up or a morale boost. I can't imagine anything more intimate or trusting.
How about the simple and glorious reminder in Alma 38:5? That would make a nice pre-emptive attack against all the superficial hassles of an average day or week (or lifetime).
Corianton gets the long lecture. It is he who needs to take full advantage of the atonement, and his dad tells him every detail. Nowhere in the standard works is this process clearer. Notice there's no scolding. Just the excellent advice to get to work and do a good job. What more can we do, regardless of how much or how little we have sinned?
This is just one random example. I think the power of the “companion study” you have mentioned is the trust and focus you can build, as a couple. This is your private, intimate opportunity to create a home that is purposefully, deliberately, aggressively, pro-actively engaged in the plan of salvation. It gives me goosebumps to think about it. It is so do-able. It just took a Luisa to think about it and to propose it in an international forum.
First, there is nothing I can possibly add to Kathy's brilliant answer. Second, my mind is still in post-birth shrinkage trauma. Third, will someone tell me how they make time for this?
I'm not trying to sound discouraging and, frankly, I'm in total admiration of Luisa. We are really good at having our family scripture study devotional (7:00 a.m. sharp, in the family room) and I'm almost as diligent with my personal study. I really love studying the scriptures and sharing them with my children. But I can't imagine where we would squeeze in another scripture study time!
On second thought, we have, on occasion, incorporated some kind of weekly couple discussion of various gospel topics with some level of success. Perhaps a more structured study of this sort would work out for us.
Readers, what say you?
A couple of great resources that I love:
Marking the Scriptures by Daniel Ludlow
Searching the Scriptures by Gene R. Cook