Marriage: Beginning bud of family life

Relationship would be happier if nurtured more carefully

The earth was created and the Lord's Church restored so families could be sealed and exalted as eternal entities. One of Satan's cunning methods of undermining the Lord's work is to attack the sacred institution of family, said Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve.

In his Saturday afternoon address, Elder Nelson spoke of a recent airline flight on which he noticed a young married couple. The wife clearly loved her husband and sought his companionship throughout the flight. In contrast, the husband seemed oblivious to his wife as he focused his attention on a electronic game player.

Elder Nelson said he wanted to shout at the husband to open his eyes and tell him to pay attention to his loving wife.

It is marriage, he said, that brings greater possibilities for happiness than any other human relationship. "Yet, some married couples fall short of their full potential. They let their romance become rusty, take each other for granted, allow other interests or clouds of neglect to obscure the vision of what their marriages could be. Marriages would be happier if nurtured more carefully."

Elder Nelson acknowledged that many mature Church members are not married and deal with the trials of life alone. He added that in the Lord's own way and time, no blessings would be withheld from His faithful followers.

Elder Nelson then suggested two steps to a more joyful marriage.

1. Doctrinal Foundation

"The Lord declared that marriage is a legal wedding of one man and one woman," Elder Nelson said.

Worldly trends to define marriage in some other way "would sadly serve to destroy the institution of marriage." Such schemes are contrary to God's plan.

"Marriage is the foundry for social order, the fountain of virtue, and the foundation for eternal exaltation," Elder Nelson said. "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, he added, is but the beginning bud of family life. Parenthood is its flower and grandchildren can beautify the bouquet. Marriage is both a commandment and an exalting principle of the gospel.

"Because it is ordained of God, the intimate physical expressions of married love are sacred. Yet all too commonly, these divine gifts are desecrated. If a couple allows lewd language or pornography to corrupt their intimacy, they offend their Creator while they degrade and diminish their own divine gifts. True happiness is predicated upon personal purity."

Marriage was intended by the Lord to endure beyond physical death.

"His plan offers eternal perpetuation of the family in the kingdom of God," Elder Nelson said. "His plan provides temples and opportunities to officiate therein for the living and the dead. A marriage sealed there launches a husband and wife into that grand order of unity so necessary to the perfection of God's work."

2. Strengthening Marriage

Elder Nelson suggested three action verbs to improve one's marriage: appreciate, communicate, and contemplate.

To say "I love you" and "thank you" is not difficult. "But these expressions of love and appreciation do more than acknowledge a kind thought or deed. They are signs of sweet civility."

Good communication, Elder Nelson added, includes taking time to plan together. "Couples need private time to observe, to talk and really listen to each other."

Contemplation with one another, particularly in the temple, allows couples to "anticipate and to resonate, or be in tune, with each other and with the Lord. Contemplation will nurture both a marriage and God's kingdom."