Are We Dedicated to Strengthening Marriage?

As a woman in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), I am a member of one of the largest women’s organization in the world. This group is called the Relief Society. Several years ago, a declaration was written for the Relief Society and the posts in this series are an attempt to apply this declaration to my life more. In this attempt I will be breaking down the parts of it into questions that I would like to try to answer through study. To view other posts related to this declaration, go here: Relief Society Declaration.

We are beloved spirit daughters of God, and our lives have meaning, purpose, and direction. As a worldwide sisterhood, we are united in our devotion to Jesus Christ, our Savior and Exemplar. We are women of faith, virtue, vision, and charity who:
Increase our testimonies of Jesus Christ through prayer and scripture study.
Seek spiritual strength by following the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
Dedicate ourselves to strengthening marriages, families, and homes.

The next question in this series is, are we dedicated to strengthening marriage? What is marriage? Russell M. Nelson, of the Quorum of the Twelve, said,

Marriage is the foundry for social order, the fountain of virtue, and the foundation for eternal exaltation. Marriage has been divinely designated as an eternal and everlasting covenant. Marriage is sanctified when it is cherished and honored in holiness. That union is not merely between husband and wife; it embraces a partnership with God.

Marriage is the union between a man and woman, which was instituted by God when Adam and Eve were married in the Garden of Eden. In Genesis 2:24 Adam says, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” Why does it need to be strengthened? In the proclamation to the world on the family it says, “marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.” Our destiny depends on the family unit which begins with marriage between a man and a woman. In 1 Corinthians 11:11 we read, “Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.” We need one another to achieve all that God has in store for us. As a member of the LDS faith, I believe that marriage has the potential to be an eternal unit that can be forever. My hope in this becoming a reality for me, depends upon the strength of my marriage in this life.

I think that there are two parts to this question of strengthening marriages. First, do we work to strengthen our own marriage? The world teaches that marriage is a temporary thing, which can come and go as we please, but this is not what God wants marriage to be. Marriage is about working through any and all difficulties together. It is about learning to serve another person in a way that is truly god-like. It involves a lot of patience, forgiveness, love, understanding, dedication, communication and so much more. In Doctrine and Covenants 42:22 it says, “Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else.” It is a life-long labor for those who are truly committed.

To strengthen a marriage, we have to rely on the Lord. Just like all other things in the gospel, if both a husband and wife put God first, their marriage will remain strong as a result. The first step in this, is involving God in the commitment of marriage. I believe that if we are worthy and able, we should make sacred covenants of marriage in the house of the Lord, to be sealed as a couple to God. These covenants must not be taken lightly. If we are sealed in marriage, through proper authority from God, we stand on a stronger foundation than anything else. Next, I firmly believe that with prayer we can do anything, and keeping our marriages strong is not an exception to this. A husband and wife should pray together often. In Matthew 19:6, the Savior teaches, “Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” A strong marriage is one that turns to God first, and then to one another before depending on any one else. One of the quickest ways for a marriage to loose its strength is for either or both people to turn to something or someone else for strength. This kind of strength will not last and will actually weaken our marriage probably without us even recognizing it. On the other hand, turning to the Lord first will bring a unity that cannot be duplicated.

There is also a need in marriage, to find joy in one another. In Doctrine and Covenants 25:14, the Lord told Emma Smith something that applies to all men and women in marriage. It reads, “. . . Let thy soul delight in thy husband [or wife], and the glory which shall come upon him [or her].” We strengthen our marriages by spending time together. Going out on dates, taking an interest in what the other enjoys, listening to their hopes and dreams, being intimate, and working together are all things that will bring joy and strength to a marriage. In a strong marriage, we recognize that their are differences between us, and that is perfectly okay. It is our differences that make one another complete. The differences between us and our spouse, will bless us beyond our own understanding. This acceptance of each other, requires unselfish effort on the part of both people in a marriage. We can strengthen our marriages by looking at our spouse the way that God looks at them. We can look for their potential in this life and our eternal lives. When we see them as God sees them, it is so much easier to look past the differences we have and see the amazing people they truly are.

A strong marriage does not falter under pressure. There are so many people today, who say that they fall out of love with their spouse and I just don’t think this is a true excuse for a marriage falling apart. We cannot expect our marriages to remain strong without putting our all into it. In Ephesians 5:25 we read, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;”. The Savior gave all that he had to give in mortality, in love. Marriage is not going to be a dream every moment of every day. Life will always be there and with it comes a lot of trials and struggles. Sometimes our all is only 30%, but in a good marriage, our spouse will be willing to make up the difference without complaint. Likewise, we will be patiently willing to give more when they cannot give as much of an effort. True love comes from the willingness to serve and be charitable towards another person even when times get rough.

The second part of this question is do we help to strengthen the marriages of others? As usual, our example goes a long way. Living with charity in our marriage, so that others can see the love and commitment we have for one another, will give others the desire to have that as well. Helping our friends to be more positive about their spouse is a great way to help them to have a strong marriage. There is wisdom found in Proverbs 21:23, which reads, “Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.” Don’t talk bad about your spouse and definitely don’t encourage others to talk bad about theirs. Getting to know our married friends as a couple and helping them to see the good in one another by the things we say and do, is just one way that we can strengthen marriages.

We can strengthen the marriages of others, by teaching them the eternal significance that marriage has. When we recognize just how important marriage is to our eternal salvation, we have a duty to share that with others. In Doctrine and Covenants 88:118 it says, “And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom. . . “. Telling others the things we do to keep our own marriages strong is so helpful. Those who have been together for years can be a great source of strength to more newly married couples. I have gotten a lot of help from others who have learned a lot through the experiences that life has brought to them. We can uplift those who are struggling through gospel teachings and reminders that they are loved children of our Father in Heaven. I think that helping others to turn to the Lord when they are struggling, is one of the best ways that we can strengthen them in their own marriages.

The work of strengthening marriages should be one of true dedication for any who strive to be disciples of Jesus Christ. His desire is that all people be able to achieve salvation, which we cannot do without striving to keep our marriages strong. Just as with all things in life, we may not always be able to be married in this life, but if we have the desire to strengthen all marriages as God would have us do, we will be blessed with all that God has to offer us. I am so grateful for my own marriage. I cannot imagine life without my sweet husband. He is my eternal partner and I know that I am a better person when I focus on loving him and working with him to build our family. I am so grateful for the knowledge that families can be together forever and that while marriage may not always be perfect, it will bring me joy according to the effort I am willing to put into it. I have a desire for others to have happy marriages and I know that I can help by how I choose to live. As a woman devoted to my Savior, Jesus Christ, I am striving daily to strengthen my marriage and I know I will be blessed for the efforts I give.

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About My Scripture Study Buddy

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.
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