Spencer W. Kimball, former President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (or Mormons,) once said: “Marriage can be more an exultant ecstasy than the human mind can imagine” (“Oneness in Marriage,” Tambuli, Jun 1978, 1.) And I believe it is true.
My sister lives in humble circumstances, and has her entire married life. Yet, she is happily married. My husband and I did not get to have all the children we desired, nor do we enjoy good health, and yet, we are happy.
Far too married couples claim to be happy. It’s so common, in fact, to be unhappy that when you say you are happy in your marriage, people often look at you like you’ve sprouted horns. Yet, real, lasting happiness, is possible.
President Kimball taught that a simple formula could guarantee every couple a happy and eternal marriage. However, like all formulas, it often doesn’t work if you try to switch out the ingredients, or ignore one or two ingredients all together. You must pay careful attention to each ingredient in the formula—if you do this, you and your spouse will be happy.
First, the utmost care must be taken when choosing an eternal companion. This is not the time to give in to your hormones, or to other base desires. Make every effort to choose a companion who possesses all of those characters you deem to be most important for the long term. Think of the lifestyle you plan to lead, the children you hope to have, how you will raise them, what you expect from a future mate. All of these things and more, must be addressed and accounted for before you say “I do.”
Second, both individuals must practice great unselfishness. That “I do” you said when you got married should be the last time you think of “I.” Think of “we,” and you’ll do just fine. Think of the family, and strive to do all things for the good of the family—that is where happiness lies.
Third, saying “I do,” should not end the courting you enjoyed before you were married. Continued expressions of kindness and affection are the life blood of your marriage and absolutely necessary to keep love alive and growing.
And finally, keep the commandments of the Lord, as defined in the gospel of Jesus Christ. There can be no substitute for obedience to these commandments—they must be lived completely.
Apply these ingredients generously and continuously within your marriage and family unit. If you do this, President Kimball promised that “it is quite impossible for unhappiness to come, misunderstandings to continue, or breaks to occur.”
A happy marriage means lots of sacrifice and sharing. It means you don’t always get what you want. It means giving yourself in service to your spouse and your children. It means inviting care and worry for another to take the place of selfish cares and concerns. But life-long and eternal happiness is your reward—surely the price is not too great.