At one time, for many Church members throughout the world, realizing the dream of a temple marriage seemed hopelessly out of reach. Temples were often so far away that to seriously consider being married in one seemed like a fairy tale. But with every temple that is built, more and more couples can start their married lives with the blessings of a temple sealing.
Before the wedding, however, there is a courtship. Where do these young Latter-day Saint men and women find each other? What do they do as they prepare to go to the temple?
The following are the stories of young couples who have married in the temple recently. Their stories of where and how they met, how they pursued a common dream of a temple marriage, and how they found happiness in their efforts can serve as inspiration to others who hope for a temple marriage in their future.
In all of these stories are some common threads. First, most couples met at a Church activity. And they usually had to make a great effort to attend those activities. Second, they set the goal of a temple marriage. Third, they lived worthy lives and prepared to go to the temple.
Justin and Tiffany Walker, United States
Although Justin and Tiffany now live in Utah while they are finishing their schooling, they grew up hundreds of miles apart. Tiffany grew up in Columbus, Ohio, and Justin’s family lived in Roanoke, Virginia, both largely non–Latter-day Saint environments. They would likely have never met, except that both decided to make every effort to attend school where they could be around other members of the Church. They chose to attend Brigham Young University—Idaho. They were assigned seats next to each other in their geology class. At first, Justin, a returned missionary from the London England South Mission, was quiet (he insists he was just trying to concentrate). Soon they started having fun discussions.
As their friendship developed, it changed to courtship. But because they were apart during the summers, they dated for more than two and a half years. During this time, Tiffany and Justin discovered they shared a rock-solid desire for a temple marriage. Tiffany says, “I first developed a desire to be married in the temple when I realized that there were special covenants I could make there that could not be made anywhere else. I knew that if I was married in the temple there would be no other place I could possibly be married that would be more right.”
Aries and Lowenna Janssens, England
The first time Aries and Lowenna saw each other was at a young single adult dance. It was just a glance; neither spoke. Six months later, Aries and a couple of his friends traveled 120 miles (190 km) to a young single adult housewarming activity at Lowenna’s student house. He says, “I guess it was the normal thing to do where the young single adults are so far spread.”
They both recognized each other from the dance, and Aries wasted no time inviting Lowenna and her sister to go wakeboarding with him. Lowenna and her sister didn’t make it because the distance to pick them up and return would have been too difficult for Aries, but they continued to see each other a couple of times a month at dances and activities. They grew to be good friends. As their feelings became stronger, they would regularly call and talk on the phone.
As Lowenna says, “Our feelings were stronger than we had ever experienced with past boyfriends or girlfriends. We both wanted to be the best that we possibly could for each other.”
Aries planned to propose and secretly bought a ring and overcame the daunting task of asking her dad’s permission. The couple planned to walk to a beautiful waterfall in a place where Aries spent a lot of his childhood. As Aries knelt to rummage in his backpack for the ring, Lowenna, thinking he wanted to take everything slower, said, “Is there anything you would like to change in our relationship?”
Aries replied, “Yes, there is actually. I would like to change quite a lot.” He pulled out a box with a ring inside.
The couple immediately started making plans. They were married 10 weeks later in the Preston England Temple, with Lowenna’s grandfather performing the temple sealing.
Lowenna says, “The Spirit was really strong through the day and served as an excellent introduction to the gospel to all our nonmember family and friends. We felt that there was nothing more important in this life than our eternal marriage. We are so grateful for the strength that we were to each other during our courtship, which enabled us to enter worthily into our Father’s house to make the sacred covenants that guide us in our married life today.”
Pang King Yeung Dono and Pang Bobo Ka Po, Hong Kong
Shortly after Ka Po was baptized, the sister missionaries encouraged her to take an institute class. It was held early Saturday mornings, and Ka Po remembers how hard it was to wake up and get to class on time.
A classmate called Ka Po every Saturday morning to wake her up and encourage her to attend class. One day the classmate gave the responsibility of calling to King. That was the beginning of their friendship.
Ka Po says, “Church activities helped us know more about each other.” Their first date was a dance practice for young single adults.
Ka Po and King dated for four years. King helped Ka Po share the gospel with her grandmother and brother. Then on the night he proposed, he met Ka Po in the playground of the school where she was attending night school. She had just finished a big exam and was exhausted, but she felt wonderful when he asked her to marry him and gave her an engagement ring.
They were married in the Hong Kong China Temple. Ka Po says, “I will never forget the day we were sealed in the temple. It was so beautiful and amazing that we could be together for eternity. I could not stop crying, and my heart was so full I couldn’t speak. I love the temple and the great blessing that we can go to the temple in our own country.
“Our temple marriage will influence not only us, but it can influence our children and their children. It is so important that we have the same purpose and goals on earth. I love the gospel, and I love my eternal spouse.”
Tururarii and Taiana Teturu, Tahiti
“By the time I was 12,” says Taiana, “my desire for a temple marriage became more and more firm. It was more than just an objective I had to achieve. I wanted to become a person worthy to marry in the temple. So I worked toward it, especially through Personal Progress. And there were lots of people helping me—my parents, my Young Women leaders—and many Church activities to help keep me on track.”
Tururarii, on the other hand, has not been a member for most of his life. He joined the Church at the age of 25. “But having received the gospel,” says Tururarii, “and learning more and more about the blessings, I immediately set a goal to be married in the temple.”
Tururarii and Taiana met during choir rehearsals for an Easter concert fireside put on by the Church. They performed with the choir, became better acquainted, and began dating. But it was at a young single adult conference on a neighboring island that they decided they should be married. When they returned from the conference, they talked to their bishops and began making plans to be married in the Papeete Tahiti Temple.
Tururarii explains the closeness that working toward a temple marriage brought into their lives: “Since I joined the Church, it has always been my goal and my desire to be married in the temple. Then when I met Taiana, it became our goal and our desire, together.”
Alexander and Rachel Sarafian, Australia
Alexander and Rachel had a mutual friend who introduced them at a young single adult activity. But the first time they really talked was at a young single adult convention held in Brisbane. Alexander said hello to Rachel as they were leaving the food hall. Rachel had a lot on her mind and needed someone to talk to. So they sat on the grass outside one of the dormitory buildings and talked.
Alexander promised to take Rachel out for her birthday, but before their first date, he was hospitalized because of a motorbike accident. They began spending a lot of time together. But since they lived a long distance from each other, they ended up breaking up and going their separate ways.
More than a year later, Alexander bought another motorbike. While riding home from church, he was struck by a vehicle and was again hospitalized. Rachel’s mother found out about the accident and mentioned it to her daughter. Rachel decided to make the long trip from Brisbane to Sydney to visit Alexander.
Alexander says, “I still had feelings for Rachel, and she must have had feelings for me if she was willing to make the trip from Brisbane just to visit me.” The couple had spoken about marriage when they were going out, but now Alexander felt it was time they prayed about getting married. Rachel was startled by the question but agreed to pray about it.
Alexander already knew his answer. When Rachel prayed to know if they should marry, she felt she should say yes. Alexander was her best friend.
With a cast still on his leg, Alexander took Rachel to the same grassy spot where they had first talked, and then, while sitting on a bench overlooking the ocean, he officially asked her to marry him.
In three months, with the help of family and friends, Rachel moved to Sydney and made plans for a temple marriage. For Alexander and Rachel, their sealing in the temple represents commitment and a promise that they will work on creating an eternal marriage together.