Two days ago my husband and I celebrated our seventh wedding anniversary. We commented to each other about how celebrating seven years of marriage made us feel so old — that and three children! But we were excited to celebrate one more year of being together. After my husband went to work, I pulled out our wedding album and flipped through the pictures. They triggered many memories of that special day, both reverent and exciting.
I remember posing for photographs in below-freezing weather, my cheeks and nose red and my skin pale. In between photo shoots, my new husband rubbed my gloved hands between his to try to keep my fingers warm. The gloves didn’t seem to keep the cold out at all, but I was thankful that I had chosen to wear white sneakers instead of high heels because at least I had socks on! (Don’t worry, my gown kept them hidden.) Our ceremony, the brunch afterward, and our reception that night kept us in a flurry all day. I look back on that day and remember most of it as a whirlwind of activity, but there was one portion of that day that plays back slowly and is etched clearly in my memory. It was of the ceremony that united us in marriage for eternity.
We were married in a temple of God. As I knelt across the temple altar and looked into the eyes of the man I was marrying, I felt such peace and joy. I looked into the mirror behind him that reflected the mirror behind me and saw our reflections multiplied infinitely, a representation of how our marriage would be if we stayed true to the covenants we were making that day.
I had decided from an early age that I would never be married anywhere other than the temple. I wanted to be with this man, and our children to come, forever. By being married and sealed in the temple, I would have that blessing.
“Eternal celestial marriage is a sacred covenant between man and woman, consecrated in the holy temple by servants of God who hold authoritative keys. It bridges death; it includes both time and eternity” (Spencer W. Kimball, “Temples and Eternal Marriage,” Ensign, Feb 1995).
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that two different qualities of life extend into eternity. We believe all people will one day be resurrected because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, becoming immortal, but only those who have been proven obedient to the laws and ordinances of the gospel will be able to live as families and within God’s presence. The latter is called eternal life or exaltation and is a gift God desires all of His children to have.
After receiving that gift myself, I hoped more than ever that my ancestors would accept it as well. Until the time I was married, I had not been able to personally perform marriage sealings for any of them as I did not yet have my endowment. The endowment is a spiritual blessing that must be given to a person before that person is able to be sealed to a spouse or sealed by proxy for the dead.
Like the day of my own eternal marriage, I remember the first time I was able to perform sealings of eternal marriage for my ancestors with my new husband. I’ll never forget the overwhelming feeling of joy that came upon me as husband was sealed to wife through us. I felt a joy that was greater than my own and I know those ancestors were accepting that gift with gratitude, thankful that their eternal marriage had finally begun.
This article was originally published in December 2007. Minor changes have been made.