Eternal Marriage

"If you want something to last forever, you treat it differently ... It becomes special because you have made it so."
-F. Burton Howard-

March 29th, 2019 - Birmingham, AL.

The date and location of one of the most important decisions I've ever made.

My parents and I traveled to Birmingham, AL. because it was the halfway point between us and where my girlfriend lives! This was her birthday weekend and she really wanted to go to the temple, so, we thought this would be the perfect time for our parents to meet each other.

We met in the hotel parking lot and the parents went off to dinner together so Taylore and I could have a date night. As she was driving, I asked if we could stop at the Birmingham Temple, as I had never seen it before. The sun was starting to go down and it was the perfect lighting to see such a beautiful temple.

As her and I stood on temple grounds, I took that moment to just hold her and contemplate the future. The future looks like this: We get married, we finish school and find good jobs, we have our dream home (nothing fancy, just somewhere we will be happy), we have children and raise them to be faithful followers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We have decades of happiness in this mortal life raising our children and then seeing them get married and raise their own children. And the whole time, we remember that this is forever. This isn't a "death do you part" marriage... No... This is an eternal marriage, one where we know we will be together forever, with our families, if we live the Gospel. 

As I contemplated all of this, I decided now was the time. I told her we should get a selfie together, with the Angel Moroni in the background (LDS temples are all adorned with a statue of the Angel, Moroni, at the top.) As we took goofy selfies, I slowly raised the ring up over her shoulder, so she would see it in the camera.

The surprise worked. She had NO IDEA. She turned around and I got down on one knee and asked her "Will you marry me?"

She said yes, obviously, otherwise I wouldn't be writing this blog post right now!

Following that special night, we went to the temple the next day and I had the opportunity to baptize her for some of her ancestors. I had never performed baptisms before and to have her with me the first time I did them, well, I loved it.

Do you see where this blog post is going? Marriage. What better subject to write on briefly, now that that is where I will be shortly.

In our religion, we believe in Eternal Marriages, which is just as the name suggests: That you will be with your husband or wife forever. That this life isn't the end.

F. Burton Howard said the following, during the April 2003 General Conference:

"An eternal marriage is ordained of God. This means that the parties to the marriage covenant agree to invite God into their marriage, to pray together, to keep the commandments... It means to be equal companions and to be just as true and pure outside the home as inside the home. That is part of what ordained of God means."

Within a few weeks of Taylore and I meeting (funny story... we met on Mutual, a dating app for members of our church), we were FaceTiming literally every night. I suggested we start praying together, because, if this were to turn into a relationship, then prayer should always be a part of it. She wholeheartedly agreed. From prayer, we added in (almost) nightly scripture study, with a prayer beforehand and then a nightly prayer at the end of our nightly FaceTime.

I want to say, Taylore has been such a huge blessing in my life. I sometimes wonder if God is answering my prayers. Well, Taylore is proof that He does, because she is everything I prayed for. She is kind, patient, uplifting, motivating, loving, spiritually strong, a member of the church, a follower of Christ. She is a beautiful daughter of God, who has helped me become a better person in so many ways. Thank you, Heavenly Father, for bringing us to each other. 
Ok, back to the topic at hand.

F. Burton Howard said the following:

"..I think eternal marriage cannot be achieved without a commitment to make it work. Most of what I know about this I have learned from my companion. We have been married for almost 47 years now. From the beginning she knew what kind of marriage she wanted."

This is so important to me. Taylore and I are in agreement on the marriage we want, which, simply put, is one centered on God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

L. Whitney Clayton had the following to say on marriage:

"I have observed that in the happiest marriages both the husband and wife consider their relationship to be a pearl beyond price, a treasure of infinite worth ... They know that no other relationship of any kind can bring as much joy, generate as much good, or produce as much personal refinement."

Marriage is like a pearl. Husband and wife should always make an effort to keep that pearl shining. Whenever the pearl becomes dirty (arguments, anger) they should make sure to do what needs to be done to clean it and to make it what it is supposed to be, a shiny pearl that is of infinite worth.

He goes on to say:

"Husbands and wives in great marriages make decisions unanimously, with each of them acting as a full participant and entitled to an equal voice and vote. They focus first on the home and on helping each other with their shared responsibilities. Their marriages are based on cooperation, not negotiation."

As I watched my parents growing up, this is the epitome of what their marriage was and is. They were always cooperating, always shared responsibilities. They were equal. 

The final quote I would like to share, also from L. Whitney Clayton, is the following:

"The happiest marriages I have seen radiate obedience to one of the happiest commandments - that we live together in love... Married couples cleave to God and one another by serving and loving each other and by keeping covenants in complete fidelity to one another and to God. They allow no other person or interest to have greater priority than keeping the covenants they have made with God and each other."

Loyalty, love, respect, equal partners, centered on God, commitment, infinite worth. A marriage is so many things and these are just a few. I could go on and on with other stories I have read from General Authorities, or from examples from married couples lives that I have observed, but this post would be way too long.

Marriage between a man and woman is a gift from our Heavenly Father. Having the opportunity to raise His children is a gift from Heavenly Father. And the way we repay that gift is constantly striving to make it a marriage of love, of respect. A marriage centered on God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I cannot wait to begin this journey with my fiance, Taylore. I cannot wait for us to grow together, to experience the joys of life and to be together forever. 

"Marriage is a gift from God to us; the quality of our marriages is a gift from us to Him. I bear testimony of the marvelous plan of our loving Heavenly father, which provides for eternal, wondrous marriage."
-L. Whitney Clayton- 


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