Despite what so many in today's society say, I believe that a happy marriage between a man and a woman is more important than ever before!
Back in ancient times, marriage occurred not only for social and economic reasons, but for the ever-present needs of survival. The Lord gave Eve to Adam as his wife, not just because he might be lonely on his own, but also because God had a plan for his children! Marriage between a man and a woman creates an equal balance in nature-- the earth needs the varying talents and differing attributes of both men and women. Marriage also produces children, which expands the societal structures of FAMILIES, and perpetuates the human race.
It makes no sense for God to create Adam and Eve, and then have that be the end of his creation and plan-- He wanted His earth to be filled with people, cultures, and ideas! The Family, with a father and a mother at the head, was the way that God's purposes rolled forward throughout the ages.
But what I want to focus on today, is that relationship of Adam and Eve, between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, and even between Dagwood and Blondie. What makes a marriage "good"? What makes it necessary for the happiness of God's children?
(Now, before someone asks about the exception that singlehood creates, I'd just like to state that I recognize that not all who visit here are married. Many single people have much good to contribute, and I appreciate their struggles and the paths that their lives take. But, being a married woman, myself, that's not where my focus is. So bear with me today, ladies!)
In The Family: A Proclamation to the World , we get some ideas we can use to help us in our marriage relationship:
"Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities."
When a couple is united in their spiritual beliefs and practices, it strengthens their relationship more than any amount of flowers given or dishes washed ever could. Our core beliefs are part of us, and they reveal themselves in all that we say and do. When a couple is equally yoked in their spiritual and religious efforts, they can work together to help their family be one of strength and unity. If one person in a marriage is carrying more than their weight in the spiritual realm, feelings of discord, frustration, and sometimes resentment, can create a wedge in their relationship that slowly drives them apart.
2) Love and Compassion--
When we are filled with love and concern for our spouse, we put their needs above our own. Too many times, many couples start "keeping score" in their relationship. A wife might think, "Well, he bought that silly contraption, so I'm not going to feel bad about spending money on my clothes/hobbies/jewelry." (Boy, I've been guilty of this!) A husband might think, "I watched the kids while she went scrapbooking all weekend, so she can clean up the kids' mess."
Does any of this sound familiar?
In Luke chapter 6, verse 35 of the New Testament we can read what the Savior said about this:
" But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil."I read a beautiful quote the other day by one of my church leaders, and I believe if I keep this in mind, I can keep my priorities in line with the Lord's:
"Harmony in marriage comes only when one esteems the welfare of his or her spouse among the highest of priorities. When that really happens, a celestial marriage becomes a reality, bringing great joy in this life and in the life to come." (Russell M. Nelson)My relationship with my husband is not perfect-- I'm not trying to portray that at all! But I can honestly say that we are both trying to keep the blessing of our marriage our highest priority and focus. It's not always easy, but I try to remember that LOVE IS A VERB. It is an action (and I'm not talking about you-know-what only, though it IS a big factor, ladies!!!), and it takes effort and compassion.
3) Work and Play--
When was the last time we went on a relaxing, fun date night with our spouse? When was the last time we worked together on a project at home, such as some housework, home improvement, or yard work? As people work together, they form a bond and create memories that bring them closer together as a couple. When we take time out of our busy schedules to go out together, whether it's to a restaurant, or for a walk in the park, we are showing one another that we value our spouse more than our hobbies, friends, or "important causes".
Time = Love not only applies to our children. It also applies to the strength of our marriage relations.
I testify that marriage was instituted by God for the happiness of His sons and daughters. But it is up to us to make our marriages strong enough to withstand the trials of life. Our Heavenly Father has given us many resources to help us, but it our job to work, love, and reexamine our priorities to make our marriages the gifts that God intended them to be.