Sunday, March 27, 2011

Behind every good man...

I've noticed that different people tend to either over- or underestimate the influence of women. There are examples in the scriptures of the influence some women have had for good or for bad. The truth is, women are capable of influencing generations because of their nurturing roles within their families. Righteous women "partner" with their husbands to "preside, provide, and protect" their families. They support their husbands in their priesthood duties and they teach their children to trust Christ and keep His commandments. They keep those commandments themselves.

In our Pearl of Great Price class, we recently read Abraham 2 / Genesis 20 wherein Abraham's wife, Sarai/Sarah, is instructed not to reveal her identity as wife of Abraham for their safety in Egypt. The Encyclopedia of Mormonism entry for Abraham states the following about her obedience to this counsel:
Sarah's action demonstrated, says one LDS Apostle, "her love and integrity to her husband" (JD 23:228) and was, says Philo, one of "numberless proofs" of her "wifely love…. Everywhere and always she was at his side,…his true partner in life and life's events, resolved to share alike the good and ill" (On Abraham, pp. xlii-xliii).
The Institute manual also stressed the importance of Sarah's righteous action, and I loved the following quote I found there:
Elder Bruce R. McConkie explained: “The Lord never sends apostles and prophets and righteous men to minister to his people without placing women of like spiritual stature at their sides. Adam stands as the great high priest, under Christ, to rule as a natural patriarch over all men of all ages, but he cannot rule alone; Eve, his wife, rules at his side, having like caliber and attainments to his own. Abraham is tested as few men have been when the Lord commands him to offer Isaac upon the altar (Gen. 22:1–19); and Sarah struggles with like problems when the Lord directs that she withhold from the Egyptians her status as Abraham’s wife. . . . And so it goes, in all dispensations and at all times when there are holy men there are also holy women. Neither stands alone before the Lord. The exaltation of the one is dependent upon that of the other” ( Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3:302).
If we want our families to be happy, to be exalted, we have to "step up to the plate" and get them there. Obviously it isn't entirely up to us, but we have great power to influence those we love for good. We have to be willing to serve and lead with our husbands and to make the Gospel of Jesus Christ a part of who we are.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Ways to start a great marriage

We're coming up on our one-year anniversary this month! It's hard to believe a year has gone by so quickly. Here is a list of my top three things to keep in mind for couples who are about to embark on the wonderful journey that is marriage:

Don't go overboard with the wedding.
Yes, your wedding day is an important day in the start of your life together! You should be comfortable over the course of the day and be able to be yourself. I think it is important to have family and friends involved, but not to the extent that throwing a party for them becomes the main focus, or that feeding them at the reception becomes an economic burden. Keep your plans simple; it is only one day.

Keep the ring (and the honeymoon) within your means.
I don't mean to brag, but I am really glad for the way we did things as far as the rings and the honeymoon went. Rather than go to a jeweler, we shopped online and found much better deals and got exactly what we wanted for each other. We did not go into debt to have showy rings; we were careful, did our homework, and we are so happy we did. Plus, we went into it saying, "If in a few years you want something else, we'll see what we can do." For our honeymoon, we spent wisely too. We figured we would enjoy that first several days together no matter where we were - and we were right! We stayed in the States; actually we were close enough to where we would be living that we were able to drive there and "set up house," which made moving in a few days later much less stressful. The main idea is to manage money wisely so that the first few months of marriage are not burdened by the overspending involved with the wedding.

You won't know him any better right after you're hitched than you did the day before.
I probably shouldn't have been, but I was a little surprised that when we got to the hotel after the reception, I didn't know every detail about my new husband's life! It seemed like on marriage, I should have been given all of that information. But the truth is, that is not how it happens! This means that you still have to work on your relationship with each other during the honeymoon, during your first year of marriage, and throughout your entire married life! It is a little bit scary, but hopefully you have dated long enough to know enough about your new spouse to get by. If there is anything you need to know, though, you had better ask before you are so fully committed.

And, as a bonus...
Get married in the right place at the right time.
If you are a Latter-day Saint, you have probably heard over and over from family, friends, and church leaders the importance of marrying in the temple. It really is that important. Choosing who you marry is essential - and it's key to get it right - but once you have found the person you want to spend your life with, "seal the deal" by the right authority. Obviously, you need to make sure your lives are in order to enter that holy place, but when they are, please make the temple a priority. The power and sacred assurance a couple can receive there gives such a solidity and durability to their marriage. When you hit those rough times - and you will - you have that stability to lean back on and help you get through your trials together. I mention timing because I feel it is important to develop your relationship over time before marriage, so that you both know what you are getting into. Finally, do all that you can to be worthy to enter the temple. And once you go through for yourself, keep going back! The first few times may be a challenge, but you will find joy in temple work if you work toward regular temple attendance, and it will bless your life in ways you never imagined.