A lot of my friends have gotten married in the last few weeks, and many more are about to get married. With all these weddings, there are usually bridal showers that I am invited to attend. I find it interesting that though these showers vary in style and activities depending on who is throwing the party and who is attending, there are two activities that are almost always constant: the giving of gifts and the giving of advice. Both are to help the young couple have a jump-start to a happy marriage.
Just as the people who attend the various bridal showers differ, so do the gifts and advice. While I find the gifts interesting, it is the advice that I find even more so — for just like the gifts given, some are practical and some are just for fun. Some you decide to keep and other you discard.
Through the years, I have heard much good advice given, which I have stored away for the day when I will embark on that sacred journey called marriage. Here are a few pieces of counsel I have found particularly first-rate:
– Go into your marriage with both eyes open; afterwards, close one eye and squint through the other.
– Go to the temple often with your spouse — at least once a month. This will remind you of the covenants you have made individually with God and together with your spouse.
– Make sure to sincerely share your love with your spouse every day, in words as well as in other ways.
– Never let the sun go down on an argument. Make peace before you go to bed so that you do not do so with a festering wound in your relationship.
– In addition to personal and family prayers (once you have children), make time to have couple prayers every day. This will help you and your spouse grow closer together, and will bring a special spirit into your relationship. It allows God to be a part of your eternal union.
– To keep love alive in your marriage, look for ways to serve each other every day, and make sure to show your appreciation for that which is done for you.
I think that the reason all of these words of counsel have resonated with me is because they all remind me that I can’t take my (future) loving relationship for granted. Love takes work and needs daily nourishment to stay strong and alive. It needs the touch of God, for everything He touches lives.
There is one last word of counsel I would like to share that has had a great impression upon me since I first heard it. The story reportedly goes like this: One day the prophet President Spencer W. Kimball was speaking to a returned missionary. He asked the young man what his plans were for the future. After sharing his education and career plans, the young man said that every night, he prays that he’ll marry the girl he loves. To this, the prophet advised the young man to instead pray to love the girl he marries, explaining that the first prayer would end with his marriage, whereas the second prayer never would, so it would be continuously answered throughout the rest of his life.
So what advice do I give my friends as they prepare to get married? Often it is what I have just shared with you: make sure God is a part of your marriage in every way possible, never take your loving relationship for granted, nurture your love through service and gratitude, and enjoy the journey.
This post was originally published in July 2008. Minor changes have been made.