Too many people today don’t take marriage seriously. The comments about women serving as starter wives, the comic strips in which wives mock husbands, and the easy decision to divorce can leave many thinking marriage is no more serious than dating. However, a person who believes in God will take marriage seriously and it is that faith in God that allows us to find the key to strengthening our marriage.
Mormons read the Book of Mormon along with the Bible, and accept both as scripture. In the Book of Mormon, we learn Jesus Christ came to the ancient people of the Americas after His death and resurrection. He spoke to them over the course of several days, sometimes repeating sermons He gave the people who heard him during his life on Earth.
In one such sermon, He said:
24 Therefore, whoso heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, who built his house upon a rock—
25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not, for it was founded upon a rock.
26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them not shall be likened unto a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand—
27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell, and great was the fall of it. (3 Nephi 14)
Although Jesus was talking about our reaction to the gospel message, it is also a good way to understand marriage. When marriage is based on a firm foundation, it is more likely to survive. The world provides a very shaky foundation, one akin to sand, because it celebrates divorce as not being a serious thing. However, the Gospel of Jesus Christ provides a foundation of rock that can keep us safe through the storms.
One reason Mormons have a lower divorce rate when they marry in their temples than do other groups of people is that their marriages are built on a very unique rock—eternity. Mormons do not believe marriage was designed to be temporary. The world does and most churches do, but Mormons don’t. They teach that God created the family and intended for the power of that love to last forever. Both marriages and parenthood continue after death. This is something we all instinctively know when someone dies, because we talk of a husband and wife or parent and child being together again.
Mormons look at marriage’s challenges from an eternal perspective. In that perspective, the comparatively small things that drive couples apart are of no importance. A Mormon will not abandon his wife when he or she develops dementia or has a serious illness because it is only a small space in the eternal scheme of things and life will go on after the death. They work through the challenges with love, patience, and an eye on eternity. The concept of eternal marriages provides safety.
Try looking at marriage as something you are doing in preparation for eternity. Picture your marriage being carried out in Heaven with God on hand. Is the small argument you had yesterday important when placed in the context of God’s eternal plans for your family? Is the club meeting or the television show more important than a little extra time with your spouse? Ask yourself whether something will still matter when you are both in Heaven. Ask which of two choices will matter most in the eternities. These questions can help you strengthen your marriage and keep your eye firmly on eternity.