Man. Life is so fantastic and full of happiness when you have the Lord in your life, let me tell you! I have been non-stop happy for weeks and months now and it is the best thing ever! 🙂
Warning: I am not married and have no experience with marriage myself at this point in my life. My opinions and thoughts on the topic are only those I’ve concluded through observation. But I feel confident in saying that many of the words I have to share are inspired, or at least, I’ve tried to let them be.
Tonight, I had the great opportunity to attend a Young Single Adult Fireside. As usually is addressed at YSA activities, the topic turned out to be centered on marriage. However, it was approached in quite a different way than you might expect. For me, I’m normally expecting it to be all “You need to date. Never say no. You should be going on 4 dates a week. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah” followed by a discussion (and rebuke) of why guys aren’t asking girls out and why girls are turning guys down. And blegh to that, thank you very much. In my opinion, dating is all about finding someone to marry, so: LET IT HAPPEN IN THE LORD’S TIME. Marriage is extremely important, so I don’t want to do it just because. I want to do it the way the Lord needs me to! Yes I want to get married and yes I would like it to be sooner rather than later. I’m very excited to share my life and experiences and studies and everything with someone that I’ll be sealed to for the rest of eternity! I’m excited to start a family. But I’m not going to drop everything and make dating the whole point of my existence! There are other important things that I can do while searching for “the one”. Because that’s my opinion and because those examples are generally what you might hear at YSA get togethers, I was pleasantly surprised when they began addressing the question of why marriages are happening later in life and why young adults are putting it off.
The main reason? Fear. Because of what’s happening in the world with terrorists, wars, economic problems, natural disasters, sicknesses, divorces, same-sex marriages, etc, young adults are fearing what might happen as they imagine trying to raise children in such an awful world. They fear that they won’t find the right one. They may fear imperfection – they want their spouse to be “the perfect man” (or woman) and so they spend years and years searching for them. They fear that their marriage would be doomed to end in divorce. They fear that they aren’t stable enough financially to have a family just yet. They fear that they won’t finish getting through college if they marry young. They might even fear that the Church is going to fall into Apostasy and the truth and Priesthood will be taken from the Earth like it has before. While these are pretty valid concerns, let me share what I learned about it tonight.
First, this Church will never fall again. Since Jesus Christ fully restored the Gospel of Jesus Christ through His servant, Joseph Smith, it will always be on the Earth. It has been prophesied and confirmed many times that these latter-days will have the Gospel all the way to when Christ comes again. There is absolutely nothing that will keep this Church from progressing. This generation is the favored and chosen one, the one that has been saved for these days to bring the light of the Gospel to all the world, to bring about the latter-day glory. And oh, is it a wonderful day! 🙂
Second, yes. It might be quite scary to watch the news and hear about all the terrible things taking place in this world. But in 1 John 4:18 it says: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” If you love the Lord and understand and know that He loves you perfectly and unconditionally, your fear will be replaced with faith. ” Just to re-state that, John 14:15 says “If ye love me, keep my commandments” and John 15:10 statesIf ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.” Therefore, if you love and are obedient, you will always abide in a perfect love that comes from God. If perfect love casts out all fear, wouldn’t it make sense that in order to stand up to the world and face the craziness and horror of the day all you need to do is simply love, have faith and be obedient? That’s how I understand it.
Third, divorce. Now this is something that I have briefly wondered about as I see more and more families broken up by divorce or some other such thing – will my own marriage end up like that? But then, very quickly after that thought flits across my mind, I remember a quote that I’ve seen all over the internet at different points in time. It’s someone questioning how a marriage of 65 years lasted that long. The reply was: “We grew up in a time that when something was broken, we didn’t throw it away. We did everything we could to fix it.” Well now. THAT sounds like great wisdom. It sounds to me like there was a lot of faith put into that relationship – faith that all would work out. Faith that there was still love, despite the differences they may have had at the time. Faith that everything would turn out right if they didn’t just sit on their bums and expect things to happen without having to break a sweat.
Fourth, preparing for marriage. Many young adults post-pone marriage and family because they want to be sure they are financially stable and secure, that they have a good education and are able to immediately begin providing for a family. Elder Holland has some great words about that: “If being financially stable and secure and having an education were what I was waiting for, well, Sister Holland and I STILL wouldn’t be married!” Touche. He went on to talk about all the things, the memories, the happiness, even the children they might have missed out on had he and Sister Holland post-poned their marriage even for a day. They may not have had the experiences they had, and therefore learned the things they learned. They may not have even had the children and grandchildren they have today. When they were married, Elder and Sister Holland only had $300 between them. Their parents couldn’t help them out and they still had a lot of education to go. But they knew that the Lord had established marriage and families as the most important unit in eternity. Because of that knowledge, they took a leap of faith and were married despite all the circumstances of their day.
Marriage is not about how much money you have, or how far you’ve come in your education. It’s not about what job you hold or your goals farther down the road and how to start accomplishing them now. Marriages is about love, faith and the Lord. We can’t allow our fears to counsel us. That’s a job for faith, for your Savior and your Father in Heaven. We should always be looking forward to what the Lord’s plan is rather than what the world’s plan would be. The best things in life are going to be hard, and we need to fight for them and show that they are everything to us! We should be confident in our marriage and the love that it is based on. And I don’t mean just the love you have for your spouse and the love they have for you. I mean, also, the love that you have for the Lord and the understanding you have of the Lord’s love for you. Remember that God is at the helm. Never doubt that. Remember that following the counsel of the Lord is never impractical.
Faith is like a little seed. If planted it will grow. Once it begins to grow, it becomes stronger and stronger the more we cultivate it and work to keep it going. No matter if it’s still a seed or a giant tree that can give relief on a hot summer day, faith will protect you. It protects family, temples, love, joy and much more than that! If you’re not sure how to grow and be strengthened, how to cultivate your faith, ask yourself: Where are my priorities? Where should they be? What needs to change? How can I simply start to come closer to the Lord to help bring this change?
My suggestion on where to start: Act. Faith is a principle of action. Alma 32:27-28 says: “But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words.Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves—It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.”
Often times, we find ourselves searching for truth, searching for answers and what we should do with our lives. And, for me, almost every time, it has taken some sort of action for my prayers to be answered and answers to be confirmed. Heavenly Father is VERY aware of us. He ALWAYS answers prayers. But He also trusts us to make decisions on our own. We are agents unto ourselves, which means that we have the ability to make choices and act on our own will. There’s that word again: ACT. Nothing ever happens without us doing something about it, right? Do the dishes get done if you sit on the couch and do nothing? How about homework? Work in general? Cleaning? Relationships? Happiness? Faith? The answer is no. The more you fear, the less you do. The less you do, the more miserable you are. On the other hand, the more you have faith, the more you act. The more you act, the stronger and happier you become.
Because of these things I’ve learned, I have no fear when it comes to marriage. I trust the Lord and have faith in Him and His timing. I trust and have faith that He will guide me to find the right man who will make me the happiest and bring me closer to becoming like Heavenly Father. I trust and have faith that He will help me know what to do whenever things like finances, education, raising children in an awful world, and other things like those come along. I also trust that He is relying on me a little bit to do my part and be worthy of someone who will help me most in all of these things. If I’m not worthy, why should my spouse be? I trust, too, that the Lord is relying on me to make an effort, get off the couch and go searching. I know the guy isn’t going to fall into my lap if all I’m doing is eating junk food and watching chick flicks. But that’s the beauty of it. The harder I work to be worthy, to find him, to make myself better and closer to the Lord, the more I know how much greater my marriage will be, no matter what circumstances come my (our) way.
Do you remember how I started out this post? Happiness and excitement because of the Lord. I testify to you that exercising your faith brings so many wonderful blessings, including the happiness and love and excitement that I’m always talking about. As we learn to apply the knowledge we’ve gained, we become so much closer to the Lord and better off for it. The more that we decide to lift ourselves up off the couch and work, the more that we will experience joy rather than fear. Faith takes work. Marriage takes work. Life takes work. As I said before, anything in life that’s worth it takes work! I promise you that if you take time to plant your seed of faith, or to nourish one that’s already planted, wherever you are in life whether you’re single or married, childless or have a house full of children, working on a degree or not, financially stable or not, you WILL see the blessings of the Lord in your life and they will be pouring down faster than you can get on your knees to say a prayer of thanksgiving. This I promise in the sacred name of our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, amen.