( “Chapter 18: Honorable, Happy, Successful Marriage,” Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball)

Let us make two assumptions and one rule.

Assumption 1: Marriage is important for Mormons.

Assumption 2: Marriage is hard work.

Rule 1: In promoting the perfect ideal of the happy celestial marriage, we must not neglect to confront certain realities, viz., that some people will never marry, that some people have endured a failed marriage, and that some people live in unhappy marriages. Tact and humility are vital in any discussion of marriage among Latter-day Saints.

Given these rather obvious assumptions, and not wishing to gild the lily nor alienate some among us, let’s get straight to the point of this lesson and suggest some practical and realistic ways to improve marriages. Anyone who offers vapourish admonitions to “be honest,” or “enjoy wholesome recreational activities,” will be taken outside and shot.

  • Enjoy (mormonish) “intimacy” (/mormonish)…
  • …more than once a week
  • In order to facilitate the above, quit blogging and go to bed
  • (But don’t tell us all your sex secrets, we don’t want to know)
  • Read (non-LDS) books together
  • For date nights, go to rock concerts and mosh
  • Be sure to do “dress-up” date nights too, like the opera or the theatre, or a Star Trek convention (Kirk and Uhuru?)
  • Dump the kids at every opportunity
  • Go climbing, biking, hiking and sleep under the stars
  • Once the kids are in bed, make hot chocolates and sit and talk (sans tv)
  • Do each other’s chores, something made much less boring courtesy of podcasting
  • And, of course, go to the temple
  • ?

From President Kimball (Ensign, Mar. 1977, 3, 4):

There is a never-failing formula which will guarantee to every couple a happy and eternal marriage…First, there must be the proper approach toward marriage, which contemplates the selection of a spouse who reaches as nearly as possible the pinnacle of perfection in all the matters which are of importance to the individuals. And then those two parties must come to the altar in the temple realizing that they must work hard toward this successful joint living.

Second, there must be a great unselfishness, forgetting self and directing all of the family life and all pertaining thereunto to the good of the family, subjugating self.

Third, there must be continued courting and expressions of affection, kindness, and consideration to keep love alive and growing.

Fourth, there must be a complete living of the commandments of the Lord as defined in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

With these ingredients properly mixed and continually kept functioning, it is quite impossible for unhappiness to come, misunderstandings to continue, or breaks to occur. Divorce attorneys would need to transfer to other fields and divorce courts would be padlocked.


  1. I would say laugh together. Of course, some might say the ability to laugh together means the marriage is strong rather than a way tomake it stronger. So I’d say do things and talk about things that allow you to laugh together.

  2. Norbert,
    I thought you were going to suggest saunas…

  3. Amen to laughing together. If it is both instigating the laughter, great; if it has to be one of the two, fine. Just do whatever it takes to laugh as much as possible together – not at each other.

    Practice Lamaze outside of pregnancy. Deep and slow breathing actually works as a relaxation and helps you avoid saying things in stressful situations that shouln’t be said.

    Never raise your voice in anger at each other. Walk away for long enough to let the emotions cool before tackling an issue of dispute or disagreement. Then, if neither party can accept the other’s wishes fully, practice acceptable compromise.

    Finally, if saunas aren’t an option, showers work just fine.

  4. We have lunches/dinners together where we are not allowed to talk about the children or work.

    This sounds very easy, but is sometimes very hard to do. This forces us to talk about politics, films, travel hopes, etc., which really we like doing but somehow forget to, if we don’t do this exercise to remind us how much we enjoy it.

    Also, we live in small town where, in non-peak traffic our employment is only 15 minutes away. Ever since the last child started school, we have an inviolable rule of having Thursday “lunch” at home, alone.

  5. Julie M. Smith says:

    Ronan, I’m surprised that your approach to this lesson (I assume you teach these? I do.) is the ’10 steps to a better marriage’ angle. I see two disadvantages to this: (1) you went Dr. Phil when you could have gone theological and (2) hard to imagine anything more alienating to the single/widowed/divorced/unhappily married than a discussion of how to have FUN in marriage.

    Well, now that I said that, I have no idea how to teach this one. I suspect that a more doctrinal/theological approach is safer for marginalized people (they can agree with and promote the doctrinal underpinnings even if they can’t experience the fruits of it right now), but that sure sounds deathly boring and abstract.

    Maybe I should ask the single/widowed/divorced/unhappily married reading this: what would be the least painful/most useful approach to this lesson for you?

  6. Julie, what would be most helpful is explicit warning the week before so I could skip it if I felt so inclined.

  7. Julie, I think you can just go ahead and teach it. As a single person, I feel patronized when others assume I don’t have anything to offer in a discussion of marriage, or that it might be too painful or difficult for me to hear. I think the church in general does an excellent job of always including the disclaimers about marriage–no need to shy away from teaching the doctrine and the very real joy it brings us.

  8. Hmmm…

    I was thinking of buying an old retro Super NES and a copy of the multiplayer classic Secret of Mana, and wasting several hours together.

    But those could work too I guess.

  9. Couple years ago, I read the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy to my wife each night for several months. She loved it.

    I do a mean Gandalf impression.

  10. Julie,
    Very good point. A theological approach wouldn’t work in my class. Given that, Dr. Phil seemed like the least worst option, given that the lesson as written has the potential to cause great pain. The list is supposed to be a little silly and a way to defuse the somber tone that often accompanies this stuff.

  11. As a singleton who sometimes feels a bit cynical about the idea of marriages and relationships that work (being single it’s understood that my relationships up to this point haven’t worked !) I really enjoy lessons on this topic that are #1 honest about the fact that “good” relationships require a lot of work and aren’t perfect and #2 optimistic and point out that successful relationships are possible, especially when two people focus on the truly important elemesnts of life.

  12. Kevin Barney says:

    I love the list. We get so many “list” lessons, but the lists are always the same, and therefore meaningless. By modeling for your class the kind of genuine and outside of the box ideas you are interested in, my guess is that they’ll get in the spirit of things and share all sorts of specific and interesting ideas. This looks like be a fun lesson.

    But what is mormonish intimacy? Do Mormons have sex in a way different than other people? Missionary style only, perhaps? Was there a manual I was supposed to be issued that they forgot to give me at the temple?

  13. Anyone who offers vapourish admonitions to “be honest,” or “enjoy wholesome recreational activities,” will be taken outside and shot.

    This going on my ‘fridge as the quote of the week.

  14. Eric Russell says:

    “hard to imagine anything more alienating to the single/widowed/divorced/unhappily married than a discussion of how to have FUN in marriage.”

    So what? Julie, marriage is the program of the church. We all understand that many different people are not in a marriage for many different reasons, but that doesn’t mean that strengthening marriage shouldn’t be a topic of discussion among everyone. It takes an extremely self-centered person to start pitying themselves because of their marital status when we start discussing issues related to marriage in church.

    My advice for “marginalized” people during such discussions? Contribute based on your observations of other marriages. Think about how lessons being given might apply to a potential marriage yet to come. If you see no potential for marriage in their future, then think about how you can use lessons learned to help benefit the marriages of family and friends.

  15. Eric Russell says:

    That said, here’s my advice to married people. If someone assaults your wife, just stand back and watch. When she asks why you did nothing to protect her, tell her it’s so that the judgments of god upon her perpetrator may be just and so that her innocent blood may stand as a witness against him, yea, and cry mightily against him at the last day.

  16. Kevin, given Ronan’s 4th bullet point (Don’t ask; don’t tell.), I will only add that I hope there isn’t a manual somewhere – and that there is no way I am looking for it if there is. :-)

  17. Steve Evans says:

    Eric, with no. 15 you officially enter the race for the Niblet for best commenter. Look out, GST.

  18. I yield.

  19. I also yield.

    Kevin, “mormonish” was intended to highlight that the word “intimacy” is Mormon-code for “sex.”

    As for Mormon sex, the only quirk would be those few wackos who apparently insist on wearing garments during their “intimate relations,” although I can’t quite figure out how that works.

    Nor do I want to, incidentally.

  20. Kevin Barney says:

    OK, I get it now, Ronan. (Since I’m Mormon I already understood the code word, so I assumed mormonish was meant to add something else.)

    I agree that no. 15 was a whale of a comment! Very funny stuff.

  21. “That said, here’s my advice to married people. If someone assaults your wife, just stand back and watch. When she asks why you did nothing to protect her, tell her it’s so that the judgments of god upon her perpetrator may be just and so that her innocent blood may stand as a witness against him, yea, and cry mightily against him…”

    And then you promptly kick his a** because, dude, you’re the head of your wife just like god is over the church and all that…

  22. Julie’s #5: It depends on my mood. Advanced notice would be great, per Ann’s #6, as depending on how I feel I might just want to read a good book instead. But the biggest thing would be: maybe, could we just this once, talk about ways to make a great adult relationship that *don’t* involve the parts that can only happen inside of a marriage?

    At least, from where I’m standing, most of the problems in the marriage relationships I’ve seen collapse (my parents have been in four different marriages – once with each other, and then two others for my mom and one for my dad) had next to nothing to do with sex, children, or living in the same house — it’s arguable that the real problem was always that they weren’t friends with the person they were married to anymore. In at least two cases, they weren’t friends with the person they agreed to marry, ever (even on the day they said “yeah, sure, why not” and then told their parents the news.)

    And while I am one of those pitiable (ugh) single Mormon girls, and thus have nothing useful to say about sexual intimacy (and am scared by the phrase “wholesome recreational activities,”) I actually have friends. Some of them are even guys and everything. Isn’t that a valid experience to bring into this kind of discussion? Most often I feel like the message in the Church is “you don’t have the priesthood, or aren’t married, or don’t have children, or haven’t been to the temple, or didn’t go on a mission, so please just sit quietly in the corner and somehow absorb all our glorious experiential wisdom for use in your future, little girl.” And it was old when I was barely 20.

    (and I have very minimal interest in “helping” the marriages of my family members/friends — anything I can think of doing, other than negative “don’t hang out with that married guy alone all the time” and “don’t encourage Mom to complain about her husband” stuff, would qualify as blatantly inappropriate interference in my book.)

  23. I think the main thing is just remembering that you love each other and acting like it. I think a lot of people get caught up on focusing so much on what the other person is doing wrong, I think they don’t spend nearly as much time thinking about what is right. In that vein:
    You love each other – be nice. BE NICE. Be your partner’s safe harbor, and not a person who is always going to give them a hard time.
    You’re a team – don’t let others divide you, especially other family members and kids
    You’re a team – act like it by helping each other out instead of getting caught up in my work / your work
    You care about each other – show it – kiss frequently, even if it’s not always going to lead to sex – physical affection is bonding.
    You love each other – act like it by giving each other a break; be at least as understanding of your partner’s faults as you would be of your own failings

    That’s probably all too general, but I think that’s what it boils down to – don’t be a jerk. You liked each other to start with so remember that. Be nice so that you continue to be able to like each other.

  24. Oh, and that whole never go to bed angry thing? Garbage. When you’re angry and it’s late, the best thing you can do is go to bed. You’re tired. In the morning it won’t be such a big freaking deal and you’ll be over it.

  25. Also, I am not sure how valid the second assumption is. I know a lot of people who feel that marriage is NOT hard work for them.

    I’m not one of those; it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.

    But I have no doubt those folks are sincere when they say it.

  26. …”intimacy” is Mormon codeword for “sex”.

    When I first joined the Church, and heard about the Garments, I asked an older woman who works in the temple what the deal was.

    She told me, and I quote: “Oh they’re wonderful protection. You only take them off when experiencing Marital Bliss.”


  27. #24 – I’m one of those who wouldn’t call my own marriage hard work, because I married someone with whom I just seem to fit perfectly (the ancient concept of split-aparts), but I would say it still requires constant awareness of my wife’s moods and needs – particularly in moments and times of increased stress, distraction and/or fatigue. It means I have to think about her (both qualitatively and quantitatively) more than anyone else – including myself. For many people, it really does feel like hard work, and if my own “awareness” needs to be translated as “hard work” to resonate and motivate someone else, I am perfectly fine with that wording.

  28. I like what Sue said in #24. If you’re tired, please please please GO TO BED! And no, DON’T kiss me goodnite when I’m mad at you.

    The other thing I would add is: Do not share your small problems with family members/friends. You may forget about what you were so mad at your husband over, but your mom won’t. She doesn’t see the apology, the make-up and the return of happiness- she only has the memory of the crummy things you told her. It’s a quick way to invite problems.

  29. Tracy, AMEN!

    My parents have been married for almost 50 years, and I have never once heard my father say anything about my mother that even could be construed as negative – not in public, not in the privacy of our own house in front of the kids growing up, not in private conversations with me, not from others from private conversations with them, not ever, not once. I have no doubt he understands her weaknesses better than anyone else in this world, but there is nobody else who knows of them by talking with him.

  30. Tracy,
    I wish you would have told me the thing about marital bliss sooner. Who would have thought that I could have eaten the pizza my wife makes (perfectly I might add) without my g’s on. That pizza–now that is marital bliss.

  31. As far as the don’t go to bed angry thing…When I got married my sister gave me a card that said:
    “Never go to bed angry…” OPEN CARD
    “Stay up for the fight!”

  32. Regarding “intimacy,” “martial bliss,” and all the rest: I am reminded of a conversation I had with a female friend at BYU, years ago, right after Deseret Books came out with another one of their supposedly groundbreaking manuals for straight talk about how to make marriage work. My friend (we were both single and pretty cynical about such things at the time) had read it, and shared some good bits with me for laughs. Then she made a statement which I regard as prophetic: “I’m in favor of ‘intimacy’ as much as the next Mormon girl, but honestly, until one of these books actually mentions the word ‘clitoris’ and tells its readers where to find it and what to do with it, they’re not going to make much difference.”

    Regarding #24 and #26: I appreciate you both mentioning this, because it’s something I’ve wondered about. I have to admit that I think marriage, or at least my marriage, is easy. Perhaps Melissa wouldn’t agree, and perhaps this speaks to something I’m doing wrong. And I recognize that sins and mistakes of my own have caused us both pain and difficult times on more than a few occasions. But that isn’t the rule; for the most part, it’s really just common decency, giving each other sufficient space and privacy, sharing work around the house, offering up compliments and apologies as needed, listening to one another, having some flexibility and patience when one or both of you are having a bad day, being willing to compromise in the bedroom, and doing stuff to make each other laugh. Especially that last one, as Norbert and Ray have already mentioned. As my grandmother once instraucted Melissa and I, when we’d been married about a week: “have a sense of humor…about each other, about everything.” Maybe she made it all seem more easy-going than it actually is, but I tend to think that a “happy marriage” isn’t all that different, emotionally speaking anyway, from a happy, decent friendship of any sort.

  33. My best advice about marriage:

    Don’t listen to other’s advice about marriage.

    Whatever they say will make you feel nauseous because it’s too sappy or guilty because it’s completely unrealistic.

  34. If I were still single (I married in my 30’s), I would head out after sacrament and get some other singles together for a good meal and a movie. You singles know in advance that this is going to be the topic on Sunday, and I give you my express permission to skip out after sacrament and not feel bad about it.
    As far as going doctrinal with this lesson, Julie- I see what you’re saying; I tire easily of numbered lists when it comes to marriage. On the other hand, if I were to give a theology/doctrine-based lesson, it would be called “Marriage: Past, Present, and Future according to the scriptures and prophets” and the lesson would probably end in a riot.

  35. When I was in singles’ wards at BYU, it seemed like every other week was a lesson about marriage (why we should get married) and the other weeks we had a chastity lesson (which usually involved a videoptape of Elder Holland’s talk “Of Souls Symbols and Sacraments”). Myabe it was just my wards, who knows.

  36. Thomas Parkin says:


    Otoh …
    I’ve been privy to many of the difficulties my parents have had in marriage. Both my parents speak quite openly about them – to me, anyway. I’ve benefited a great deal from an awareness of the rough spots and how they have dealt with them, good and bad. Not least because as their son as I share many (most) of their personality traits.


  37. I attended an LDS wedding luncheon some years back where the groom’s aunt got up and told everyone the key to the success of her long marriage: “Fight naked.”

  38. #34: When I was single (which was before Holland’s SSS talk), we called those frequent lessons the three S’s: Sex, Sin and Self-Control.

  39. Naismith #24 etc.: I don’t think my wife or or I would say that marriage itself is particularly challenging, but add kids to the mix and we’d definitely like to talk to those who think it’s a piece of cake!

  40. OK, can I nominate #36 as the last word – maybe post the advice on the side bar?

  41. First, there must be the proper approach toward marriage, which contemplates the selection of a spouse who reaches as nearly as possible the pinnacle of perfection in all the matters which are of importance to the individuals.

    I guess most people better remain single.

  42. #36: And all this time I thought Carrie Ann’s idea of a Naked Financial Summit was the best idea.

  43. #36, Dan Ellsworth,

    Doesn’t the groom’s aunt’s suggestion fall into the category of wholesome recreational activities, which Ronan has specifically banned?

  44. Mark,

    How wholesome it is really depends on the couple and what books they’re read. I should stop right there.

  45. Dan,

    I have no idea what you are talking about. To the pure in heart, all things are pure.

  46. Mark,

    LOL-thank you so much; you are a fount of wisdom. Never were more useful words spoken. I’m going to spread the word in my quorum’s next chastity discussion, and we will initiate a new era of openness in the Church.

  47. #36 – A late-night discussion in my old apartment produced this gem (which wound up on our public quote wall) from one of my roommates

    “If you get in a fight, just should just start taking off your clothes… you can’t argue naked!”

  48. There is a never-failing formula which will guarantee to every couple a happy and eternal marriage…First, there must be the proper approach toward marriage, which contemplates the selection of a spouse who reaches as nearly as possible the pinnacle of perfection in all the matters which are of importance to the individuals.

    Is it just me, or is President Kimball is commiting the fallacy of composition? It is true that any individual can improve her chances for a happy marriage by “selecting” a nearly perfect spouse. But surely “every couple” can’t do that—there aren’t enough perfect spouses to go around!

  49. You said it so much better than me, Ed.

  50. StillConfused says:

    At Relief Society today, the teacher was so apologetic for having to give this lesson, “Because many in this room are not married at this time.” I fall into that category (not being married at this time) but I didn’t feel that an apology was necessary or appropriate. I am also medically forbidden from fasting but I don’t expect apologies about that either. The apology seemed a little politically correct to me. Just because I am not married at this time doesn’t mean I can’t benefit from a lesson on marriage. Stop apologizing!

  51. We had this lesson in my YSA ward Relief Society. The instructor expressed her discomfort at teaching the lesson as she “obviously has not been successful” in this area. The most painful part of the lesson was when, after quoting SWK’s quote about two righteous people can make a marriage work, the teacher asked: “Well what does this mean? There’s a whole Elder’s Quorum down the hall full of righteous guys!”

    She was met with a room full of sad, perplexed stares, and obviously, no right answers.

  52. I appreciate what StillConfused said #50. In my ward the people who talked about divorce today amidst the marriage lesson both also talked about Elder Oak’s divorce talk. They both love that talk. They were the only ones (that I know of) in the room that have been divorced. Sometimes we tend to tip toe around these topics around single and divorced members. That can be more patronizing and worse than just teaching the lesson without apologies.

  53. I’m surprised no one has mentioned John Gottman’s books yet, particularly his Seven Principles book. I found a comment on Amazon from a psychotherapist and marriage counselor that neatly outlines the strengths (many) and weaknesses (relatively few) of the book.

    The thing I appreciated most was the distillation of common patterns that occurred in their observations of thousands of couples, both those who remained married and those who divorced. It has made it easier to see “warning signs” that point toward divorce, and also easier to remember and practice positive habits that buttress marriage.

    I’d go on all night if I started typing excerpts or advice, so I’ll just recommend that you check your local bookshop or library and get a copy.

  54. I live in a mostly married family ward, but the RS instructor included the not-marrieds by spending the first 15 minutes on relationship building and discussing the issues that are helpful irregardless of the nature of the folks involved (roommates, colleagues, spouses).

    Then she asked about destructive forces on the family today, and we listed those on the board, which we seem to do a lot in church lately, so I asked if we were going to list the modern developments that have strengthened families. She seemed taken aback and asked like what, and I responded that I think safe and reliable birth control has strengthened families greatly. People added some other things.

    I personally think media is a double-edged sword, although it usually ends up on the “bad” list. I appreciate there is a lot of yucky stuff out there, so we just don’t have our television on most of the time, never on a weeknight. But I think DVDs allow us to gather as a family and partake in (Sorry!) wholesome recreation. We pre-ordered the Young Indiana Jones series which is finally coming out on DVD next month.

  55. Naismith – my hubby (author of this post!) refuses to buy Young Indy on DVD as we have them on VHS – even though we don’t even own a VHS player any more! I’m jealous you’ll have them!

  56. I taught this lesson in EQ yesterday, and I thought there were some parts that could be viewed as highly controversial, like this:

    … “Soul mates” are fiction and an illusion; and while every young man and young woman will seek with all diligence and prayerfulness to find a mate with whom life can be most compatible and beautiful, yet it is certain that almost any good man and any good woman can have happiness and a successful marriage if both are willing to pay the price. …

    I wonder how many people really believe that. Certainly when we’re dating we don’t act like it.

    My conclusion on how to teach this lesson in my EQ was to invite several of the wives to come in as guest speakers and give their ideas on how to make a successful marriage. I wondered if it was the first time some of the guys had heard their wives address that question. It worked out perfectly.

  57. Also, for the singles, there was a section of the lesson concerning preparation for a successful marriage. I didn’t apologize fr the lesson and I think the single guys contributed to it very well.

  58. For date nights, go to rock concerts and mosh

    I like your list very much Ronan, but this item needs a disclaimer. We go to concerts all the time, but I would rather my wife run out into traffic than mosh in most of the pits I’ve seen. Maybe the Brit Pits are much nicer(?)…

  59. #56 – Brilliant teaching strategy, MCQ. My wife’s immediate reaction: “I would love to know what the wives said.”

  60. Ray: I’ll write a summary when I can.

  61. I also taught the lesson without apology. No problem. I also to soften the topic a bit started off with a discussion about “ideal teachings” and warned the bretheren that SWK uses some strong language on a topic or two.

    I also brought in a RS Sister for some female perspective/comments.

    A big part of the lesson was a discussion of what we can do to be better husbands.

    Here is the list off the whiteboard.

    1. “We” not “I”
    2. Date nights
    3. Agreement on Money matters and childraising tactics
    4. Kind Words
    5. Respect in the bedroom

    Some of the guys who were non-members when married and converted after marriage were a little put off by the really strong language in the manual on marrying out of the church. We have 4-5 really strong EQ guys like this.

  62. fwiw, I didn’t feel comfortable sharing the “fight naked” advice in our HP Group (the next youngest HP is at least 15 years older than I – and there are at least 4 who are over 80), but I laughingly shared it with a half dozen Elders and High Priests. Every one of them loved it, and at least two immediately said that they just *had* to share it with their wives when they got home.

    This topic is interesting in the context of a non-Utah HP Group – a bunch of old men, most of whom converted to the Church with their wives and look at it from the perspective of how the Restored Gospel changed their attitudes toward their wives and their duties as husbands. I think everyone should hear that discussion occasionally – even if only to emphasize how cool these teachings really are to those who grew up and started marriage without them.

    One quick example:

    A recent convert will be sealed to his wife in the next few months. They almost separated years ago, then renewed their marriage a few years ago. She laughingly and he sincerely talks about how not too many years ago she wouldn’t have dreamed of “marrying” him a third time; they both glow about the upcoming ceremony now. Both of them attribute that change directly to their acceptance of the restored Gospel and the perspective it gave them.

  63. Struwelpeter says:

    yet it is certain that almost any good man and any good woman can have happiness and a successful marriage if both are willing to pay the price.

    This seemed like an important little word that was overlooked both during my HP lesson yesterday and the discussion today. Of course, if overemphasized, it pretty much eviscerates the premise SWK is putting forth.

    How about a fill in the blank exercise:

    If you couldn’t make a marriage work with at least ___% of members of the church of the opposite sex, you are messed up.

  64. Half of dating is figuring out which stuff one or the other of you isn’t “willing to pay the price” for, the potential happiness and success notwithstanding.

  65. And I’d say “25%” if you’d add “single” to the description, Struwelpeter.

  66. Summary from the wives that spoke:

    Attend the temple together regularly.

    Take time to communicate with each other every day.

    Put your spouse first.

    Have a sense of humor.

    Focus on the positive.

    Have a selective memory.

  67. Just sharing some thoughts on other comments… [And I will post them separately, since I ended up being typically verbose.]

    I like the approach mentioned in #54 of introducing the marriage topic with a discussion of developing good relationships in general. And MCQ and bbell, I think it’s great that you brought in women to give perspective to your EQs!

    The idea of “soul mates” is often an illusion as SWK said. I believe that almost any good man and woman can have a successful marriage if both are willing to pay the price. Most people can be happy with someone with whom they are compatible, without having to find that illusive “one and only.” However, I personally am married to my soul mate, my “split apart” as Ray called it in #27. They do exist.

  68. My thoughts on #41 and #48 are to emphasize the part of the quote that jumped out at me: “…the selection of a spouse who reaches as nearly as possible the pinnacle of perfection in all the matters which are of importance to the individuals.

    This may be a simplistic example, but when I was young, watching my dad get frustrated trying to fix something around the house, I determined I was going to marry a genius in that regard. (Also someone who was stereotypically tall, dark, and handsome.) When it came down to it, though, there were other far more important factors that helped me make my choice — what I once thought was “of importance” was no longer so important. For me and my DH, the “matters which are of importance” to us include things such as attending the temple together, being willing to share the “joys” of sick kids in the middle of the night, being together in church, dancing in the kitchen while our kids “gag” in the background, laughing and talking and building dreams together. We manage the fix-it-up stuff and our kids are blue- and hazel-eyed beauties! We balance what is most important for us — and in doing so, find some measure of “perfection” as we go along.

    I believe SWK wasn’t saying the first step was to find the “pinnacle of perfection” — rather, I think he stressed the importance of knowing ourselves and our chosen spouse well enough to know what is important and non-negotiable as individuals and as a couple, and that we focus on those “matters of importance” as we work together toward perfection.

    As members of the Church and/or of the bloggernacle, many of our long-term goals will be the same, but the ways and methods we each take to get there will vary widely. What is important to me and my DH will be different than what is important to any of you. We each find happiness and “perfection” in a multitude of ways.

    (I’m thinking of perfection along the lines of “I am perfect in paying my tithing, even as I’m not perfect in controlling my tongue” — not as in never making a mistake.)


  1. […] Posted on September 21, 2007 by mcquinn The following is an outline of the material from the lesson of the same title which I gave in EQ last […]

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