Many marriages begin with words similar to the ones in this meme. Understood within, are binding promises to endure ills and poverty and still love and cherish. This enduring is not only for the moments you can stand it, but as the promise states, “till death do us part.”*
And yet, life gets hard; children get sick or are just difficult and defiant. Jobs are lost, disagreement happen over finances. One partner betrays the other, or someone just falls out of love and these words, said intentionally at the moment, are quickly forgotten.
On the day you and your beloved said these words, you knew in your heart of hearts the two of you would never go back on these promises. He would always be there for you. You would always be there for him. No hardship would be too difficult for your love. He hangs the moon for you and you walk on water for him. (*While these are not the exact vows in an LDS ceremony, our covenants are even more binding. See sealings)
Of all the videos on Mormon Messages I have seen over the years, this one, speaks to the deepest part of my soul.
Can you see your marriage becoming like this couples?
“Our capacity to love a spouse deeply and our ability to experience great joy in marriage are commensurate with the degree to which we are willing to suffer and hurt, to labor and toil, and to persevere through moments of unhappiness, stress, disappointment, and tests of our patience and love for our partners” (Kent Brooks, BYU Department of Church History and Doctrine).
Willing to suffer and hurt…
In a beautiful address by Elder Robert D. Hales, he made the following analogy,
“Marriage is like climbing a mountain. You tie yourself to a companion, and you start up the mountain of life. As a child comes along, you tie him to Mom and Dad and continue your journey. The ropes will hold all of the mountain climbers together. But there are many elements—the wind and the rain and the snow and the ice—all the elements of the world will tear at you to pull you off that eternal mountain. How do you reach the summit?
Someone has said it this way: “Thee lift me, and I’ll lift thee, and we’ll ascend together.”
In an amazing book by Elder Bruce C. Hafen entitled, “Covenant Hearts”, Elder Hafen teaches the principle of the “Doctrinal Pattern of Adam and Eve, No Misery, No Joy”. It takes more than a token agreement to be willing to endure all that can and will happen in a marriage here in mortality. Here in this proving ground, where we learn to love and sacrifice for one another.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell gives us another way to look at the condition of marriage in mortality. It is found in the principle of consecration. “Consecration is the only surrender which is also a victory. It brings release from the raucous, overpopulated cell block of selfishness and emancipation from the dark prison of pride” (Neal A. Maxwell, Oct 1995).
To consecrate is to lay it all on the alter, of God, or of marriage — both really.
Consecration in marriage is about serving. It is giving of ourselves rather than demanding that our needs be met. Dr. Goddard (author of Drawing Heaven into Your Marriage) shared the chapter on consecration in marriage at Meridian Magazine, an online LDS e-zine. ( The link will take you to the full chapter from his book.)
Like the word of Kind Lamoni’s father in Alma 22, what will we forsake that we might know this great joy and happiness that the Father has in store for those who honor their marriage covenants?
Alma 22:15 “…What shall I do that I may have this eternal life of which thou hast spoken? Yea, what shall I do that I may be born of God, having this wicked spirit rooted out of my breast, and receive his Spirit, that I may be filled with joy, that I may not be cast off at the last day? Behold, said he, I will give up all that I possess, yea, I will forsake my kingdom, that I may receive this great joy.”
To find true happiness we must lay all we have, all our hurts, our jealousies, our frustrations, and squabbles over socks on the floor, lack of help with house keeping and childcare, judgements over spouses level of spirituality — lay it all upon the alter of consecration