Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Grason Videos

I recently received the two Janette Oke videos I ordered, "Love Comes Softly", which I mentioned in a previous article, and the follow up story, "Love's Enduring Promise," from a company called Grason, http://www.grason.org/online/product.asp?dept%5Fid=17&sku=42476&ssid=XP1C213GG9C29KAFNWMHMKSVBH6TDX5B If you decide to order these films, whether DVD or VHS, I'd highly recommend getting them from this compay.

The study booklet that was included in the package, was very helpful. As I read it, I could just picture a teacher telling some younger women who wished to one day be married, some of the principles they needed to heed. "Instead of looking for the right person, concentrate on being the right person," it teaches. This is opened to discussion, as the single people discover their strengths and weaknesses. Instead of expecting love to "happen" like bombs bursting in air, as a "sign" that they've found their prince, it teaches the Biblical perspective that no matter who you are married to, when real love is applied within marriage.from 1 Corinthians 13), it can grow into something more powerful and solid, though it comes gradually or "softly."

So, what happens when someone marries someone they barely know, just for the survival of both parties? In this story, a man had a daughter who desperately needed a mother, and a woman was left completely alone, with child, when her husband suddenly perished. They married and began to work out their future together.

Careful attention must still be paid to the character of a potential partner. Observatons must be made of the person's character and attitudes. There is no sense marrying someone who lacks respect for his parents, and then hope to change him after. Good sense must be applied in all cases, but it is still possible, in spite of flaws, to apply the principles of love in the relationship.

It might come as a shock to some of you, who one day look forward to marrying, that nowhere in the Bible is there a mandate to be madly in love with someone when you set your eyes on them for marriage. There are strict admonitions, however, to love your mate after you marry them. How in the world can such a thing be done? In our culture, the opposite is portrayed: the madly in-love couple get married, face the hardships of life, the marriage loses its original lustre, and then deteriorates.

What is to be done? How is one to love someone they barely know, or have not had a chance to develop a feeling of love and affection towards? I Corinthians 13, and many other scriptures, have the method by which love is produced in relationships. Love is kind. Can you be kind to someone? Love is patient. Can you show patience? Love treats others as though they are better than themselves. Can you treat someone else better? Love forgives. Can you forgive? Love goes the second mile. Can you do something even if it isn't required of you? Love protects. Can you protect your marriage? These are some of the simple aspects of love. Try looking up the word "love" in your concordance, and see if you can list all the ways that you can show love to your mate. It takes years sometimes to discover that "love" is not a feeling as much as it is a good work. It is an action-word. Many people learn to love someone they are not inclined to love, by putting the love scriptures into practice.

Although this film has been out for a couple of years, I only recently saw it. I was touched by many things in it, and had been thinking on a number of issues related to it for several weeks after I had seen it. It brought to my mind many beliefs and practices of people that I grew up with during pioneer times in the part of the west that they settled. I'd observed that loyalty was a valued commodity, and that commitment was an honor. It was considered deeply shameful, and less than human, most degrading, to abandon someone or to neglect one's duty. People didn't follow the feelings of their heart as much as the training of their thoughts. That's how things got done in hard times.

I had just spoken to someone who was hoping to marry, about the reasons for marriage and the possibilities that marriage created, in one's spiritual life, when the films I had ordered, arrived. In the package, was a booklet that had a work/study text regarding the spiritual aspect of this story, for discussion and teaching. It contained much of the information I had already been talking about, regarding maturity in love, and the meaning of commitment. People change, but commitment does not. I was so excited to see practically everything I'd been trying to teach this woman, in this booklet when the video came. This is more than a nice, entertaining movie. It shows that mature love is an enduring one, and that though circumstances create problems, relationships can last if they are based on these foundational principles of real love and commitment.

Conflicts were presented in this film, as part of life, but with a purpose. They could be used as stepping stones for greatness. The teaching materials ask the students to think of conflicts in their own lives where God has shown his greater purpose for them. I immediately thought of circumstances in my own life as a teenager, when great changes were made beyond my control. My family moved from our childhood homeplace, to a foreign land with strange customs, where I had a great deal of difficulty adjusting. I wondered for years what the purpose was. This study helped me discover that purpose.

I've said before in articles on LAF that there are three stages of love: infant (I want you), adolescent (I need you) and adult (you need me.) I think that this story shows the adult love that is so needed to be developed in everyone today. Even pioneer children had to learn not to whine and cry and give up. The pioneers did have a tough time. Things, though often glamorized by movies, weren't always good. People lost their loved ones on the Oregon Trail, and their most prized belongings they had to abandon at various stages. Others suffered illness , tiredness and separations. Yet, through it all, many of them learned endurance and settled the west.

The real test of "being the right person" is how you handle loss and hardship, not the huge trunk of stuff you can bring with you into the home. Marty, the heroine, lost all her own things in a fire, and had to start over. Imagine what that would be like for you. Today, people would have to go into therapy for years or sue someone, in order to feel they could cope. But in any real tragedy, who a person really is, will shine through. We can be lifters, or we can be leaners.

Like Esther in the Old Testament, many of them felt a certain responsibility to do what they could do. The little study guides that were included in the package, emphasise the purpose of life's challenges, and the importance of developing the character to deal with them. I'd order it again just to get the study guides. You may not agree with every religious aspect that is presented, but it would certainly be a good teaching tool if you wanted to teach young people about the seriousness of relationships at home, future marriages, and parenting.

My great grandmother wrote a story called "Life in the Days of the Pioneers" which is not published (I think my aunt and I have the only copies) in which she described some of the same hardships. Yet when I look at her family photo, I see happy, innocent faces, despite the trials.

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