Sometimes it is hard for us as newlyweds to have regular FHE. At first, I kind of thought it was strange because what was I supposed to teach my husband that he didn’t already know. And even in the reverse, what can he teach me about that I haven’t heard my whole life?
Well despite not knowing why, we have continued to persist at having FHE. After all, it is called FAMILY Home Evening. And WE are a family! We became a family almost 18 months ago when we were sealed for time and all eternity. Having kids increases the volume of a family but even without them, we are still a family! FHE is a place to find spiritual nourishment, support and a time to have fun together—things we need with or without the kiddos. In 1978, the First Presidency promised, “As you faithfully plan and hold quality family home evenings, you will gain the strength to withstand the temptations of the world and will receive many blessings which will help qualify you to enjoy your families through eternity in the Celestial Kingdom.” We wanted to be able to enjoy these blessings as well and so we make an effort to have weekly FHE—even as newlyweds!
With our super busy schedules as college students and working, there are times when FHE is short and sweet so we can get back to studying or lesson planning. But we still have it! And other times, the discussion continues to grow until well over an hour or two later we look at the clock. By holding regular FHE, I know we invite the Spirit into our lives and specifically into our marriage. And it definitely helps to strengthen our love and friendship.
We do our best to make it official; we want to build righteous traditions now so as we add kids to the mix, it will be easier to continue our same habits. We start with an opening song and an opening prayer. Then a thought/ scripture (shared by the person not giving the lesson—if we can, we like to plan our lesson in advance and then tell the other person the topic so it connects) and then the lesson. Sometimes these are short, sometimes there are visual aids, sometimes they are elaborate. It doesn’t really matter so much as to what it is as to that it is. We close with a prayer, enjoy a treat and participate in some sort of an activity. It works for us!
And you want to know what I have come to understand? I actually look forward to FHE. I love hearing my darling sweetheart testify of truths. There is so much he can teach me. And so many things that I can teach him. It truly becomes a choice time together.
So… now the question is what some ideas are for lessons as Newlyweds. I do admit, it is kind of challenging to come up with ideas. Listed below are some things that have worked well for us or things we plan on trying in the future. (Although I am trying to write this as a “Newlywed FHE Ideas” list—I’m fairly certain it would apply to most stages in life.)
* Use the current Ensign. Pick any article and discuss it together. Summarize or read it together. Try to find additional references to support that article. Then for the activity, do something to apply it. This is a great go to for last minute/ not a lot of time to prepare lesson ideas. And the great part is there is always a new magazine every month.
* Basically the same idea but use the current Conference Ensign. Each week discuss/ read/ present a different talk. This would keep you busy for a long time! Try to come up with an activity to support the topic you just learned.
* Learn how to study the scriptures together. As great as a scriptorian as you/ your spouse is, I’m sure there is still room for improvement. Share ideas of how you study (not just read) the scriptures. Use Preach My Gospel for additional ideas.
* I didn’t serve a mission and Casey misses his. It has been fun for us to have “discussions” where Casey is the “missionary” and I am the investigator. We end up both learning a lot and this will help us with our future goal to become senior missionaries. It is never too early to start preparing. :)
* Act out, draw, or sculpt various scripture stories. Turn it into a guessing game.
* Make an emergency plan together. Figure out what you would do if there was a fire/ earthquake/ flood/ tornado/ etc. Get old backpacks and start building 72 hour kits with old clothes. For the activity, go shopping together to buy some food (granola bars, peanut butter, tuna fish pouches, crackers, fruit snacks, water bottles, etc) to put in the 72 hour kits.
* Read your Patriarchal Blessings together. Make an extra copy and mark it together. This is great because it helps you see your spouse for their potential and forget the small things that are annoying you right now.
* Go to (walk?) the temple grounds and walk around and see how beautiful it is. Figure out ways that you could make your home become more like the temple.
*The Savior loved by serving. Spend the night showing your love for your spouse by serving them. Do each other’s chores (or do them together). Maybe make a chore chart together of who is going to do the dishes/ laundry/ etc.
* Write letters to your parents/ grandparents. Yes, we live in the day of cell phones and e-mail when contact is so easy. But there is something special about getting a handwritten letter. Thank them for their sacrifice they made for you. Another idea instead of each writing a letter to their own parents how about you switch and each write the letter to your in-laws.
* Start a Family Journal. (Casey calls it our “Family Bible.”) Write in it together about the joys and struggles you are facing and how your family has been blessed.
* Make a movie of your lives. Show where you live, what a typical meal is like, talk to your future posterity about what your life is like as a newlywed.
* Gather random items and discuss how they testify of Christ. The more random the better. This is really fun because everything does testify of Christ—some things just take more creativity than others.
* Discuss the importance of hymns. Play name that tune where you each pick a different song and hum so many notes of the different hymns.* Learn about the upcoming holiday. Discuss the history and why it is important. Make decorations to help your home be festive. Plan what traditions you want to start to celebrate it.