She likes to watch “Chick Flicks.” Her favorite programs usually involve puppy love. She is unusually emotional. Her faith often exceeds mine.


When I put on my best clothes and combed my hair in preparation for the dance that evening, I had no idea that my life was about to change forever. It had become my tradition to attend dances usually held on campus at the ELWC at Brigham Young University.


I was staying with my sister and her son off campus, so my social life consisted mostly of some interaction with other students attending the classes that I had and BYU dances on the weekends. I had just finished Dance 180 weeks earlier and enrolled in Dance 280, so I thought I was well-prepared. But looking back, I had no idea what I as getting into. I had only been off my mission for six months. After that night, my life would never be the same.


As I remember, for some reason I arrived at the dance early. Yes. This was back in the olden days when the best dances consisted of live bands. The group was still setting up in the Garden Court in the Wilkinson Center.


Meanwhile unbeknownst to me, a young lady was trying to convince her roommates to attend the dance with her, but they were not very excited and dragged their feet. They eventually consented and the group of them soon entered the room. When I saw her, I asked her if she would like to dance. She told me her name and joined me in the crowd.


Her friends meanwhile weren’t having such a great time and decided to return to their apartments. Her enthusiasm was not diminished however.  Fortunately for me, she stayed. I saw her again a few minutes later, and asked her to dance with me again.


She agreed, and we took another turn, the rest of the evening in fact. She danced her way into my heart that night and every day since. We have six beautiful children and recently two grandchildren. I love being with my wife and family. This goes way back to my childhood I am sure.


That’s not to say we haven’t faced difficult challenges together. Raising children is a demanding undertaking. They are wonderful and the source of all our joy, but valuable and worthwhile and cherished because we sacrifice in their behalf.


And what is true for children is also true for our spouses. As we surrender our wishes for another, we are drawn closer and our hearts are knit together. What’s really rewarding is seeing your children love and admire their mother with the intensity that you do.


Marriage and parenting are awesome. And yes, when people remark that grand parenting is even better, I would have to agree. It’s not just spoiling your grand kids and then sending them home (although that is pretty great too). What I find is one of my favorite moments of this part of life is seeing my children look at their babies with the love and admiration we have always felt for them.


And we rejoice even when we see them struggle together to build their little family: living frugally to get through school, buying their first house, adorning a nursery, blessing babies, and other family celebrations—yes, it’s payback time. And the joy we feel for our posterity can bless us and them forever, if we stay true to the principles that produce that end. That is the great plan of happiness.


Well, my intent in this article is not to brag about my wonderful wife, though I could write books about her pleasantries. She is my best friend. But today I would like to discuss the principle of faith that we apply in everything we do. Sometimes we obey without knowing why.


You know what I mean: Store a year supply of food, stay out of debt, forgive those that have wronged you, love your enemies, and many, many more recommendations for our lives. Call them what you will…laws, commandments, guidelines…the principle is the same.


I have found in my life that following the gospel of Jesus Christ has resulted in brighter days, better results, stronger families, and happier lives for me and many others.


I am writing this article on a special occasion. Today is Valentines in the USA. All over the world on this day people are celebrating their loved ones and reaching out to those that have made a difference in their lives. Many romantic dinners out on the town are planned for tonight.  


Our restaurants are filled and reservations were made weeks ago. But there are few romantic anecdotes that compare to that described in Genesis 29. Briefly, Jacob meets Rachel at the well. He falls in love and serves Laban seven years for her hand in marriage. However, instead of Rachael, Laban gives Jacob his elder daughter Leah.


Jacob works another seven years for Rachel. And with that the scripture record notes “And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her.”


Mormon men

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Every daughter and every woman deserves that kind of devotion and love and chivalry.


Starting a family when you are young is a lot like that. There are plenty of challenges and lots of reasons to wait. But it will no doubt bring you happiness through this life and into eternity.


For me, it all began one evening 31-years-ago on the dance floor, and my life has never been the same.


About Walter Penning
In 1989, Walter Penning formed a consultancy based in Salt Lake City and empowered his clients by streamlining processes and building a loyal, lifetime customer base with great customer service. His true passion is found in his family. He says the best decision he ever made was to marry his sweetheart and have children. The wonderful family she has given him and her constant love, support, and patience amid life's challenges is his panacea.

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