Saturday, September 6, 2014

Marriage vs. Divorce

"Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God"

I am learning ever learning, and what I am learning right now is HOW important the marriage covenant is.  My husband and I just recently celebrated our 24th wedding anniversary and I feel that is a great accomplishment in life!  Even with all those years behind us, we still don't know it all and we are always learning how to love each other more and how to strengthen our marriage.
If you want to know how important marriage is to the Lord and how He looks upon this covenant, take  a few minutes and read Elder Dallin H. Oaks talk from April 2007
Whaaaat?  Read about divorce to understand more about the importance of marriage?   Yep!! 
 It will open your eyes as you really study and ponder the message. Here are a few highlights from his talk:
  • A good marriage does not require a perfect man or a perfect woman. It only requires a man and a woman committed to strive together toward perfection..
  • Divorce touches almost every family.  Some see themselves as the victims of divorce, others as beneficiaries, others see themselves as failures because of divorce, others use divorce as the  great escape.
The bottom line is that divorce has become commonplace for many marriages. It is the perfect out when you want to get out!  It is acceptable and understood and empathized with.  When a couple has a problem, instead of working at it, even getting counseling, they decide to just divorce and start over with someone new. They soon realize that every person has different problems, there is no such thing as 'the grass is greener', and all marriages take work!
"The concept that society has a strong interest in preserving marriages for the common good as well as the good of the couple and their children has been replaced for many by the idea that marriage is only a private relationship between consenting adults, terminable at the will of either."
"Nations that had no divorce law have adopted one, and most nations permitting divorces have made them easier to obtain. Unfortunately, under current no-fault divorce laws, it can be easier to sever a marriage relationship with an unwanted spouse than an employment relationship with an unwanted employee. Some even refer to a first marriage as a “starter marriage,” like a small home one uses for a while before moving on."
Am I the only one struggling with the "starter marriage" concept?    I feel is Hollywood-driven, wordly, and as wrong as wrong can be.  The marriage covenant is binding, and for LDS, eternal in nature. 
You date,  you make your choice, you pray about your choice, you make sure it is right, and THEN-when you get married and make those covenants, you and your spouse do all you can to make it work. 
 Looking lightly upon marriage takes away all the sacredness of the covenant.  Elder Oaks explained:
"The kind of marriage required for exaltationeternal in duration and godlike in qualitydoes not contemplate divorce.
WOW! Did you understand that?  Read that again! 
"The kind of marriage required for exaltationeternal in duration and godlike in qualitydoes not contemplate divorce.
Does not contemplate divorce.

In the temples of the Lord, couples are married for all eternity. But some marriages do not progress toward that ideal.
Because “of the hardness of [our] hearts,” (pride and selfishness take over)
And read this next part slowly, letting is soak in:
...the Lord does not currently enforce the consequences of the celestial standard. He permits divorced persons to marry again without the stain of immorality specified in the higher law.
So we don't have ALL the knowledge and ALL the revelation on the law of marriage and divorce, but the fact that the Lord is not "currently" enforcing all the consequences, is enlightening to me.  If He feels this strongly about divorce and it's consequences of which we don't have the full enforcement, I think we should ALL work harder at having strong marriages because there is so much we don't even get!

If we have made the choice to marry, made covenants that are eternal or at the very least for this life, we need to do all we can to keep our covenants. 

My mom has a saying:" We spend all of our lives trying to overcome our childhood"  There is a lot of truth to that.

We all have a past and a childhood where we became the people we are.  We all respond differently to life's many situations.   Marriage is all about developing Christ-like attributes of faith, hope, virtue, knowledge, humility, diligence, obedience, and  love. 

Elder Oaks cautions:
"I strongly urge you and those who advise you to face up to the reality that for most marriage problems, the remedy is not divorce but repentance. Often the cause is not incompatibility but selfishness. The first step is not separation but reformation."
  • The remedy is repentence
  • Selfishness is the root
  • Reformation is the first step (don't be afraid to seek personal/couple counseling if needed) 

 Believe it or not, reading and studying this talk on divorce has really opened my eyes.  Seeing how the Lord looks upon divorce has enlightened me and strengthened my understanding of how He must look upon  marriage.
My resolve to love my husband more and to strive to honor my marriage covenants has been strengthened.
[There are so many men and women who have done ALL they can and try as they might, their marriages end in divorce. I have several very dear friends, that with all of their best efforts and countless prayers, and with much heartache, their spouse decided to leave the family.  My heart goes out to those people!

 The Lord will make up the difference and will bless you and take care of you! 

Other marriages where abuse or other serious sins are involved are an exception as well, and Elder Oaks addresses that more thoroughly in this talk. I encourage you to read that. ]