Sunday, February 12, 2012

Keeping Our Marriage Strong

This was it.   
This was the day that Richard and I were married

for time and all eternity in the Salt Lake Temple. 

It seems like a looong time ago.  Look how YOUNG we looked. 
For those who know us, we still get accused of looking really young for our age.  

This was the most important day of our lives.  It was the most important decision that we have made. 
After our temple marriage ceremony, we gathered outside for all the pictures.
My husband and I are not horribly photogenic.  Having our pictures taken was something we had to get through.  Everyone wanted us to kiss in front of the camera, and we felt very awkward doing that in front of everyone and we still do!  My husband still won't kiss for a picture. 

I love that old twisted knotted tree we sat in front of and had our picture taken.  Doesn't it kind of look like a tree that could have been in the Garden of Gethsemane?  How symbolic is that?!

In the Garden Christ made the great Atonement for all of us.  Each Sunday we renew our covenants by partaking of the Sacrament.  Elder Holland and others have referred to marriage as a sacrament.
"Marriage is and should be a sacrament. The word sacrament is variously defined, but among Christian people it signifies a religious act or ceremony, solemnized by one having proper authority. It is a pledge, or solemn covenant, a spiritual sign or bond between the contracting parties themselves and between them and God." (Hugh B. Brown, The Latter-day Concept of Marriage)

On a lighter note, can I tell  you what was running through my mind at that moment in front of the old knotted tree ?

"I am a wife!"  "We are married!" "Now What?"

Getting married for us, was a 4 year wait, with 2 missions in the middle,  that didn't always go by very fast.  There were some grueling days of waiting for letters, phone calls, or wondering if it was EVER going to happen.

I can't say that we thought of the DETAILS of life a whole lot after the temple marriage. 
We knew we wanted a family.
We knew we were making covenants to be together essentially -forever. 
And we knew we loved the Lord and each other with all our hearts. 

That's it!  That is about as far as our thoughts went. 

Now, (pause...I have to count how old my oldest daughter is and then add a year) 22 years later
We are still going strong.
But it is not easy is it?!  It is hard work most days and we have to constantly be giving our marriages our full attention.  We have to BOTH be the peacemakers.  We have to be quick to forgive and say "I am sorry".  We have to laugh a lot.  We have to notice each other and appreciate one another every day. Marriage is a strong commitment that goes on each day.  It is a covenant with each other and with the Lord.

I heard a great comment by Elder D. Todd Christoffersen.  This is what he said:
"We go to church and to the temple to make covenants, we go home to keep them"
Elder D. Todd Christofferson
What do you do to honor your covenants and keep your marriage strong?

Here are a few things we do:
  • We have a picture of the Savior in our bedroom to remind us that He is the center of our lives and of our marriage.
  • We have our marriage certificate, framed and also hanging in our bedroom.  I love this and feel this is important to have out.  It shows our children and reminds us where it all began and of the covenants we made with each other.
  • We pray together as a couple every night before going to sleep, taking turns on saying the prayer.  I am sure you all do this. This is huge and keeps us connected to the Savior and is a very important "tradition" to our marriage.
  • We love each other.  This is verb, not a noun.This brings a great spirit and power into our marriage which bonds and strengthens our home and family.   Both husbands and wives have the same needs,  they are just rearranged in a different order on the list.  But they are both there.  Before I was married my mom gave me the bucket list for keeping my husband happy.  It only had 3 things on it: Keep the house clean, good food, and love.  I would also add-to continue to stay attractive. Do we as women even have a bucket list for keeping us happy?  I don't know!  I think it would need to be a big bucket.  We are complex creatures.

  • Talk to each other, a lot.  This is a huge part of our marriage.  We talk a lot.  When Richard comes home from work it is our tradition where the kids are concerned, that we get 5 minutes alone to talk. We go in our bedroom, shut and many times lock the door, and talk about the day without interruptions.  It is a nice tradition.  We also talk several times throughout the day.  Richard calls me at least once a day while at work and tells me he loves me and that I am gorgeous.  I love that call!
  • We make serving the Lord and honoring His commandments the center focus of our family life.  We go to the temple together often. We go to all of our church meetings. We support each other in callings.  We have family prayer, family scriptures, and Family Home Evening.  These things are huge in our lives.  They bring the Spirit into our lives and marriage in great abundance.

This is just the short list.  I love my husband we both try really hard to keep our marriage strong each day.  We do not have a perfect marriage by any means.  We have our issues and our struggles like everyone else does I imagine.  But we love each other and are committed to one another.

What do YOU do to keep your marriage strong?