Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Dating and Marriage

On your mission, you taught about the plan of salvation. How family relationships can last much longer than this life, but for eternity. This is possible through the sealing power of the priesthood which is only available in holy Temples that now dot the earth. We are so blessed to know that marriage and relationships endure longer than "to death do us part". 

Families are very important to our Father in Heaven. If they were not important, why would God command Adam and Eve to multiply and and replenish the earth? (Genesis 1:28) God could have created more people like He created Adam and Eve, but he wanted them to have the opportunity to be parents and to learn and gain by experience Christlike attributes like sacrifice for another, unity, love, and other attributes. Heavenly Father has given us direction to what we should strive for our families to be like in a document called "The Family: a Proclamation to the World" given to the Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley and the quorum of the twelve Apostles in 1995. In this proclamation, we learn the importance of families and the best way to have a happy stable family; something that is impossible to gain by ourselves without divine help. 

There is a quote that I learned growing up that says "We are not put on earth to see through each other, but to see each other through". This can be put into action in a family that is striving to return to God together without leaving member behind.

But how do we get our own eternal family? I believe that Elder Robert D. Hales explained this the best in his talk "Meeting the Challenges of Today's World". "The track that leads to marriage passes through the terrain called dating! Dating is the opportunity for lengthy conversations. When you date, learn everything you can about each other. Get to know each other’s families when possible. Are your goals compatible? Do you share the same feelings about the commandments, the Savior, the priesthood, the temple, parenting, callings in the Church, and serving others? Have you observed one another under stress, responding to success and failure, resisting anger, and dealing with setbacks? Does the person you are dating tear others down or build them up? Is his or her attitude and language and conduct what you would like to live with every day?"

A few years ago, I was given a book by my parents called "Martina the Beautiful Cockroach" by Carmen Agra Deedy. It is a cute story from a Cuban folktale about a Cockroach who is meeting suitors. Her grandma told her to have all of her suitors take a test; the hot coffee test. When Martina spills give the coffee test by spilling hot coffee on the shoes of her suitor, she gets a glimpse at who they are really like. There is a lot to learn from this coffee test. When you date, don't just see the person you are dating in sunny circumstances. See how they act on their rainy and stormy days as well. It may save you from heartache later.

Elder Hales continues with: "That said, none of us marry perfection; we marry potential. The right marriage is not only about what I want; it’s also about what she—who’s going to be my companion—wants and needs me to be…Your responsibility now is to be worthy of the person you want to marry. If you want to marry a wholesome, attractive, honest, happy, hardworking, spiritual person, be that kind of person. If you are that person and you are not married, be patient. Wait upon the Lord. I testify that the Lord knows your desires and loves you for your faithful devotion to Him. He has a plan for you, whether it be in this life or the next. Listen to His Spirit. “Seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand.” In this life or the next, His promises will be fulfilled. “If ye are prepared ye shall not fear.” "

The road to perfection is not easy. Often times on the road back to Heavenly Father, we trip and fall off the path. When this happens we get covered in mud, grass, and sometimes even a little blood. But we can always get back onto that road with the help of our friend and elder brother, Jesus Christ. He is always there to help us get cleaned up and to start on our journey again. We are never disqualified from happiness if we use Christ's atonement to repent and become clean again. We must remember that as we search for someone else to share our journey with on the road back home to God.

I want to invite you to pick one of the qualities that you want your future spouse to have. It could be anything. Now I invite you to develop that quality in yourself. If you already think you have it down, perfect it. We always have room for improvement. You may not see how your life will play out and how you will find your happily ever after with your eternal companion, but I promise that you will find happiness with the Lord's help. All you have to do is to do your best to look for and to be the person that you want to spend eternity with.

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