As we approach Thanksgiving, we are all counting our blessings. It is a good thing to do once in a while. We all need perspective. Taking a long look at the good in our lives enriches our sensitivity to what is really important. What it all boils down to is marriage and family. Countless times we have watched tragedies of fire, tornado, earthquake, hurricane, and other disasters unfold on our television screen while a news reporter interviews victims who say, “Our family is safe and together, and that’s what counts. Nothing else matters. We can rebuild.” Those tragedies remind us of the importance of marriage and the family unit. Those are times when we are a thankful marriage partner.
Heavenly Father put us here with the instruction to multiply and replenish the earth. We can’t possibly understand the totality of His plan for us. We do know that we are meant to live together as families, and to love each other. The power of God is great, and it occurs to me that He could have placed us on the earth in some other way, but He chose the miracle of marriage, childbirth, and the family unit. As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon), we believe that the family unit will continue eternally through blessings received in the temple.
Why did Heavenly Father choose to give Adam a wife? Why did Eve choose to eat the forbidden fruit?
And the Gods said: Let us make an help meet for the man, for it is not good that the man should be alone, therefore we will form an help meet for him (Abraham 5:14).
And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin (2 Nephi 2:23).
It is not good to be alone. I have had some lonely moments in my past, and it was not fun. Adam and Eve were given to each other that they might have joy. Eve ate of the forbidden fruit because they had been commanded to multiply and replenish the earth, and she understood it was requisite to eat of the fruit in order to have children. Thank goodness for Eve’s comprehension of Heavenly Father’s plan! She knew that there would be sorrow and pain, but the plan was worth some misery. It has always been about marriage and family—long before Adam and Eve were ever placed in the Garden of Eden.
Having this perspective should make us all thankful. We should be thankful for God’s eternal plan, for our first parents who saw the wisdom in choosing to partake of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, for covenants to lead us back to our eternal parents, and for our spouses and children.
As we ponder these things, it is important to keep the sacred nature of the marital relationship close to our hearts. There is nothing more sacred than marriage. It was important enough that Adam and Eve had to remove themselves from spiritual bliss in the Garden of Eden and bring sorrow upon themselves. It was important enough that Heavenly Father was willing to sacrifice His son to redeem the world for our sins. It was important enough that Jesus Christ was willing to go through unspeakable pain and sorrow that we can’t even begin to imagine in order for us to have eternal life. It all revolves around the importance of the marriage covenant and eternal families. Knowing these things, how can we not be thankful?
We need to give thanks to our Heavenly Father. We can do that in many ways. We can pray often giving thanks. We can live our lives in such a manner as to emulate the Savior. We can be humble and teachable. We can be thankful marriage partners. We can show our eternal companions that we appreciate them, and understand their important role in the marriage covenant and God’s eternal plan.
Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to think about the eternal nature of the family—but it isn’t the only time. We should have thankful hearts 24/7/365. I don’t even want to think about how lonely it would be without my eternal companion and my family. When the time comes for us to leave this earth, I know that we will again be reunited as a complete family unit if we strive to live the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I hope that I will remember to always have a thankful heart. I pray that I will always cherish my marriage and my eternal companion. I don’t ever want to take my marriage, my companion, or my children for granted. I want to be a thankful marriage partner. How wonderful it is that Heavenly Father provided this wonderful eternal union that we simply refer to as the plan. As we carve our turkeys in a few days and remember our national heritage, I hope we will also think about marriage and family with thankful hearts.
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.