Thursday, June 30, 2011

Thoughts on marriage

When I first read through these questions number 13 was the one I was least eager to respond to.  Each day, as my list gets shorter and I feel this one coming up, I sense a sort of drag.  Bleh, I don't want to ramble about marriage.  I can't organize those thoughts.  Hardest part?  YIKES, going down that road could get ugly.  

Then, I had a wonderful, porch sitting morning.  One where the weather in the shade requires a light sweater, but no shoes.  One where a General Conference Ensign is in hand.  One of those perfect mornings when you can't organize your thoughts, so the Prophet of God does it for you.

I'm ready for you now question number 13!  Give me your best shot!

13.  Thoughts on marriage:  what is the easiest/hardest part, if you could change anything, what would it be?

First, I wouldn't change anything.  Does this mean we've had a perfect marriage . . . far from it.  Ben's had to deal with more than any man's share of crazy.  And I often demand aspects of righteous living that I myself am not willing to live up to.  Do I wish we hadn't had some of those (crazy) struggles or some of those (be a better person!) fights?  Of course!  I'd love it if I could control my temper and keep my mouth shut; we'd both be happier if some of those painful words had been kept bottled in.

But that's life.  And I doubt I would have enjoyed President Monson's most recent Priesthood session talk if I didn't understand the struggles of marriage.

So in an effort to share some of my thoughts on marriage, I'll just highlight some of my markings from his talk, and maybe even try to explain why they strike me so.  

The talk drew me in with this image "What do I deal with every day that causes me to weep sometimes late into the night?"  The service God's prophet performs undoubtedly gives him a humbling chance to feel the Savior's love for all His children, and likewise weep over their struggles, the ones He so willingly tried to remove from us.  I thought of our sweet Prophet, praying for guidance over how to lead us, and then weeping for the struggles we have.  A very tender image.

As I read on I quickly realized "marriage" is what causes him to weep.  The staggering number of young men who "are of an age to marry but who have not yet felt to do so." And the growing number of "cancellations of sealings."  In regards to the later, he says, "In the three years since I was sustained as President of the Church, I believe the saddest and most discouraging responsibility I have each week is the handling of cancellations of sealings."  On a smaller scale I feel I can relate, as a missionary the saddest and most discouraging event came when Brother George stood firm on the need to have his family removed from Church records, undoing their baptismal covenants.  I'm sure the Prophet weeps for similar reasons, undoing the covenants spouses make with one another.

This seriousness with which he spoke really drew me in, and I had to read the whole thing twice in order really grasp the complexity of my thoughts (and his) on marriage.  So, to the pearls of wisdom he so tenderly shared.

"If you choose wisely and if you are committed to the success of your marriage, there is nothing in this life which will bring you greater happiness."

"Choose a companion carefully and prayerfully; and when you are married, be fiercely loyal one to another."

"Choose your love, love your choice" -- a plaque in the home of his aunt and uncle.

"Being happily and successfully married is generally not so much a matter of marrying the right person, as it is being the right person.  The conscious effort to do one's part fully is the greatest element contributing to success." -- President Monson quoting President Howard W Hunter.

He says "We who are married in the house of the Lord do so for time and for all eternity, and then we must put forth the necessary effort to make it so."

I recognize that a lot of work goes in to preparing for a temple marriage, but he is exactly right, after we wed in that matrimony, we must move forward with great effort.  We still have to be the right person we were trying to be while spouse hunting.  To me, finding a spouse is a choice, and making your life work with that spouse is another choice.  Complex and difficult choices, yes.  And sadly, some of us suffer because of others' bad choices.  As a spouse, we can't let our significant other's suffer.

Ben and I didn't simply choose each other this time of year, 5 years ago; we have to continue to choose each other each and every day.

For now, those are my thoughts on marriage.


Jodi said...

Love your thoughts.

Shilo said...

Great post!! I loved it!

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