“If couples contemplate often—with each other . . . —sacred covenants will be better remembered and kept. . . . [R]egular family scripture study [will] nourish a marriage and strengthen faith within a family. Contemplation allows one 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.” Elder Russell M. Nelson, Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) (Nurturing Marriage, Liahona, May 2006.)
One of the sweetest memories I have as a child is sitting on my father’s lap in front of the fireplace while he read to me from the Bible. It didn’t matter that I often didn’t understand what he was reading. He was setting the tone for things to come in my life. He was helping me to understand that life is more than just being born, growing old, and dying. He taught me that there is more out there, and that we are here for a purpose. He taught me to feel God’s presence in my life, and to understand when the Holy Ghost is whispering to me.
How I wish every child on earth could feel the presence of God like I felt Him during those special moments with my dad! It could happen. It starts with a father and mother studying scripture together, praying together, and diligently teaching their children who they are, where they came from, and where they are going when they leave this earth.
A married couple who study scripture together is better able to cope with the challenges and frustrations of daily life. They are better prepared to deal with stress, children, heartache, pain, illness, and even grief. They learn tools to help them cope with anything that is thrown at them. I feel compelled to confess that my husband and I haven’t always done that. We often studied separately, but we have always been good about discussing what we have learned. As Mormons, we attend the temple frequently. Mormon temples are a place of spiritual learning, and we regularly have discussions after a temple session about what we learned in the temple. Our temple attendance and the discussions afterward, are a cherished part of our relationship. We come away from the temple feeling closer to each other and closer to our Heavenly Father.
During some of the most stressful and painful periods of my life, I have turned to the scriptures for peace. I’m not well versed in the scriptures, but I feel peace when I read them. Often things will just jump off the page at me and give me understanding and comfort. It amazes me that they never get old. Each time I read, I learn something new. We seem to be wired to absorb certain gospel principles at certain points in our lives. Something I read last week may not hit me at all, but when I read it again this week, it will open up a world of understanding. Maybe in the interim I had a life experience that prepared me to understand that particular gospel principle.
As we discuss these things with our spouse, we teach each other. I might tell my husband about something that I learned, and he might be able to shed even further light on the matter. Maybe he had never thought about something that I bring up in conversation, and he is now able to go do further study and contemplate on his own.
In a previous post, I talked about the importance of communication in marriage. What better way to learn to communicate than to talk about gospel principles from your scripture study? Not only are you talking and exchanging ideas, but you are also learning to treat each other with the love that Christ wants you to have for one another. You are building a foundation of mutual respect as you communicate with each other about the most important things in life.
As you grow spiritually as a couple, your children will benefit from your knowledge of gospel principles. You’ll be able to teach them how and where to find peace and comfort. My children are grown now, and it gives me joy and comfort to know that they all know where to find peace in their lives. My husband and I won’t always be there to pick up the pieces for them when they fall, but we have given them the tools they need to do it themselves.
Tudie Rose is a mother of four and grandmother of ten in Sacramento, California. You can find her on Twitter as @TudieRose. She blogs as Tudie Rose at http://potrackrose.wordpress.com. She has written articles for Familius. You will find a Tudie Rose essay in Lessons from My Parents, Michele Robbins, Familius 2013, at http://www.familius.com/lessons-from-my-parents.