Spirituality in Marriage

Building An Eternal Marriage Teacher Manual, (2003), 19–20


Doctrinal Overview

“If two people love the Lord more than their own lives and then love each other more than their own lives, working together in total harmony with the gospel program as their basic structure, they are sure to have … great happiness. When a husband and wife go together frequently to the holy temple, kneel in prayer together in their home with their family, go hand in hand to their religious meetings, keep their lives wholly chaste, mentally and physically, so that their whole thoughts and desires and loves are all centered in one being, their companion, and both work together for the upbuilding of the kingdom of God, then happiness is at its pinnacle” (Spencer W. Kimball, “Marriage and Divorce,” in 1976 Devotional Speeches of the Year [1977], 151; or student manual, 172).

Principle

“If two people love the Lord more than their own lives and … both work together for the upbuilding of the kingdom of God, then happiness is at its pinnacle.”

Student Manual Readings

“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (83–84)

Selected Teachings from “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” (84–100)

Suggestions for How to Teach

Discussion. Write the lesson principle on the board. Ask students to draw a diagram that illustrates this principle. After their attempts, draw the following diagram on the board and leave it there for the rest of the lesson.

Love Love Happiness image

Student manual. Have students turn to the section “How Does Our Love for God Influence Our Ability to Love Others?” (student manual, 157). Read each statement and ask questions similar to the following:

  • Elder Orson Pratt. Why do you think “a wicked man can have but little love for his wife”? How would living gospel principles in a Christ-centered home help a man love his wife?

  • Elder John A. Widtsoe. Why is it that true love between men and women “always includes love of God”?

  • Elder Russell M. Nelson. According to Elder Nelson, how does our commitment to the Lord increase our commitment to our spouse? Why is this true? What might be the consequences in a marriage if the partners’ commitment to their sacred covenants is weak?

Suggestions for How to Teach

Group work. Divide the class into three groups and have each group read one of the following sections from “Acquiring Spiritual Knowledge” by Elder Richard G. Scott (student manual, 148): “Humbly Seek Divine Light,” “Exercise Faith and Hearken to Jesus’ Counsel,” and “Obey the Commandments.” Have each group present two or three significant concepts from their assigned reading, and discuss them as a class.

Discussion. Ask students: What can you do to increase spirituality as an individual? What can you do as a couple to increase spirituality? How can the Spirit help solve daily problems in a marriage?

Suggestions for How to Teach

Group work. Turn with students to “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” (student manual, 83), and read the following principle from paragraph 7: “Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Briefly remind students how the scriptures teach the importance of building on solid foundations (refer to Luke 6:47–49; 1 Corinthians 3:10–13; Ephesians 2:20, or 2 Nephi 28:28). Explain that to find happiness in family life, we must build on the foundation of the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The seventh paragraph of the proclamation lists nine principles that serve as a foundation for a successful marriage: faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. Divide the class into small groups and assign one or two of the principles to each group. Ask each group to think of examples of how their assigned principles strengthen marriage and share them with the class. Discuss additional examples as time allows.

Conclusion

Read the following statement by Elder James E. Faust, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: “Having the companionship and enjoying the fruits of a Holy and Divine Presence is the kernel of a great happiness in marriage. Spiritual oneness is the anchor. Slow leaks in the sanctifying dimension of marriage often cause marriages to become flat tires” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1977, 14; or Ensign, Nov. 1977, 9; student manual, 186). Return to the diagram on the board and explain that we can keep our marriages from becoming “flat tires” by both husband and wife loving Jesus Christ and following His teachings. Use the diagram you drew on the board to explain that the closer a couple gets to the Lord, the closer they come to each other.

Review the principle that spirituality enhances marriage. Invite students to consider their own strengths and weaknesses and look for ways to become more Christlike.