“If each spouse is forever seeking the interests, comforts, and happiness of the other, the love … will grow” (Spencer W. Kimball, Marriage and Divorce [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, Co., 1976], p. 23).
Mormons believe that unity in marriage is an important foundation for rearing children successfully. If a husband and wife do not support each other, they greatly weaken their influence with their children. However, if they are humble and strive to achieve greater unity, they can teach their children valuable lessons, both formally and informally.
Former President (of the Mormon Church) Spencer W. Kimball stated: “It is certain that almost any good man and any good woman can have happiness and a successful marriage if both are willing to pay the price” (Marriage and Divorce, p. 16). That is a bold statement in a time when so many marriages seem so troubled.
Mormons place great importance on a concept called eternal marriage – they believe that people can be married forever, if they are married in a Mormon temple and continue in worthiness. According to Mormon belief, if one spouse is striving honestly to live a righteous life, tries to love the spouse unconditionally and allow the spouse to make his or her own choices, the marriage may not fail. However, if both spouses honor the commitments they made at marriage, the marriage can last forever, in love and faith.
In examining your role in promoting oneness in your marriage, consider the following questions:
- Do I acknowledge myself and my spouse as people with worth and value (see Ephesians 5:2829)?
- Am I willing to see my partner as my best friend?
- Am I willing to put the interest of my marriage and partner first?
- Do I see how my selfish acts hurt my spouse?
- Do I seek spiritual guidance in resolving disagreements?
Obedience to God’s commandments helps us achieve oneness in marriage. When husbands and wives repent of their sins and mistakes, strive to overcome their weaknesses, and seek righteousness, they can become one.
Former Mormon Church President Ezra Taft Benson gave husbands the following counsel:
“Once you determine that a high priority in your life is to see that your wife and your children are happy, then you will do all in your power to do so. I am not just speaking of satisfying material desires, but of filling other vital needs such as appreciation, compliments, comforting, encouraging, listening, and giving love and affection” (In Conference Report, Apr. 1981, p. 47; or Ensign, May 1981, p. 34).
Resolving Conflicts in Marriage
Most of us, regardless of what church we belong to, would like ideal marriages. But in wanting that, we can set unrealistic goals and expectations for our spouses. When they do not meet our demands, we may forget to respect their choices and then we can become resentful, becoming blind to our part in marital problems. We think that only our spouses are at fault, and we justify our feelings because of what they have done to us. Elder Carlos E. Asay, another Mormon leader, reminded us to avoid conflict:
“Do not contend or debate over points of doctrine. The Master warned that ‘the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil’ (3 Nephi 11:29). We are inconsistent if we resort to Satanic tactics in attempting to achieve righteous ends. Such inconsistency results only in frustration, loss of the Spirit, and ultimate defeat” (Carlos E. Asay, in Conference Report, Oct. 1981, p. 93; or Ensign, Nov. 1981, p. 68).
In resolving conflicts in marriage, we must concentrate on our own weaknesses. Elder Neal A. Maxwell, in discussing how Mormons should interact with less faithful members of the Church, noted a principle important to each of us, particularly to spouses:
“If the choice is between reforming other Church members or ourselves, is there really any question about where we should begin? The key is to have our eyes wide open to our own faults and partially closed to the faults of others—not the other way around! The imperfections of others never release us from the need to work on our own shortcomings.” (In Conference Report, Apr. 1982, p. 57; or Ensign, May 1982, p. 39.)
Go to Emotional Infidelity.