Celestial Marriage

Reading: “Celestial Marriage,” Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, October 2008 General Conference, Sunday Afternoon Session

In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints families are important.  Families are, quite literally, what it’s all about.  As Elder Nelson says in the talk I read today,

All Church activities, advancements, quorums, and classes are means to the end of an exalted family.

The foundation of any family is a marriage.  God would like for us to be married in the temple.  As Elder Nelson says,

Only those who are married in the temple and whose marriage is sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise will continue as spouses after death and receive the highest degree of celestial glory, or exaltation.

When we go through the temple we make covenants with God.  When we keep those covenants we become worthy of the greatest blessings God has to give.

A true celestial marriage takes two worthy people.  Sometimes worthy people are unable to find a good relationship with another worthy person.  Or, sometimes only one member of the marriage remains true to the covenants they made.  It is clear that God will bless us according to the desires of our own hearts, and not punish those who are truly trying to live his commandments.  Elder Ballard says,

Be we all reminded that, in the Lord’s own way and time, no blessings will be withheld from His faithful Saints.The Lord will judge and reward each individual according to heartfelt desire as well as deed.

However, we should not mistake this mercy of God for laxness in his commandments.  It is clear that those who have the opportunity to marry in the temple but who choose not to will not gain the blessings either in this life or the next.  Elder Ballard says,

On occasion, I read in a newspaper obituary of an expectation that a recent death has reunited that person with a deceased spouse, when, in fact, they did not choose the eternal option. Instead, they opted for a marriage that was valid only as long as they both should live. Heavenly Father had offered them a supernal gift, but they refused it.

When I was younger I did not understand the importance of the temple of covenant of marriage.  Perhaps because they did not want to offend members who were not married in the temple, or perhaps because they did not understand themselves the importance, the teachers I had never explained that being married in the temple is a commandment and that if I was not married in the temple that I would never be able to obtain the highest degree of glory.  I really wish they had, because if I had made the wrong choices as a teenager it would have affected me for the rest of eternity.  Luckily, I did resolve to marry in the temple and my resolve carried me through even with an incomplete understanding of why those choices were important.

The part of this talk that pertains most to me right now is Elder Nelson’s comments on how we should honor our marriage.  He says,

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.

I believe very strongly that the true measure of love comes not in the strength of feeling, but in the level of sacrifice you are willing to make for that person.  When I put the relationship of my husband and I as my highest priority, we are so much happier.  When I put other things ahead, such as my comfort or pride or happiness, then we are less happy.  It’s pretty much that simple.

An important thing I only fully understood recently was that when you put the relationship first, it is different than putting your spouse first.  If you put your spouse first you may feel like you should never tell them when you disagree or when your feelings are hurt.  If you put yourself first you will use hurtful, angry language when you are hurt or angry.  The highest action, and the hardest, is to find ways to talk peacefully and respectfully even when you are both angry and hurt.

Today I am going to tell my husband how grateful I am that we are married and both work so hard to keep our relationship as our first priority. We are certainly not perfect and sometimes we both do things that we shouldn’t, but we are certainly both working on it, and I am very very grateful for that.

This was a really long post as there were so many things I felt were important to write about, thing I wish I had known before, things I am grateful I did know, and things that have made my life what it is today.

How do you keep your marriage on the right course? If you are not married, how are you preparing for a temple marriage?


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