“A beginning [to influencing our children for good] is a secure marriage, where there is a commitment to make the personal adjustments to live together forever” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1974, 161; or Ensign, Nov. 1974, 112).
“Please permit me to close by stressing one place in society where that strength and commitment must be shown if we are to survive as a nation, as a people, or even as a fully successful church. We simply must have love and integrity and strong principles in our homes. We must have an abiding commitment to marriage and children and morality. We must succeed where success counts most for the next generation” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1990, 77; or Ensign, May 1990, 61).
“Spiritual peace is not to be found in race or culture or nationality but rather through our commitment to God and to the covenants and ordinances of the gospel” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1995, 83; or Ensign, May 1995, 63).
“I wonder if it is possible for one marriage partner to jettison the other and become completely whole. Either partner who diminishes the divine role of the other in the presence of the children demeans the budding femininity within the daughters and the emerging manhood of the sons. I suppose there are always some honest differences between husband and wife, but let them be settled in private.
“The importance of this subject emboldens me to say a word about covenant breaking. It must be recognized that some marriages just fail. To those in that circumstance, I extend understanding because every divorce carries heartache with it. I hope what I say will not be disturbing. In my opinion, any promise between a man and a woman incident to a marriage ceremony rises to the dignity of a covenant. The family relationship of father, mother, and child is the oldest and most enduring institution in the world. It has survived vast differences of geography and culture. This is because marriage between man and woman is a natural state and is ordained of God. It is a moral imperative. Those marriages performed in our temples, meant to be eternal relationships, then, become the most sacred covenants we can make. The sealing power given by God through Elijah is thus invoked, and God becomes a party to the promises.
“What, then, might be ‘just cause’ for breaking the covenants of marriage? Over a lifetime of dealing with human problems, I have struggled to understand what might be considered ‘just cause’ for breaking of covenants. I confess I do not claim the wisdom or authority to definitively state what is ‘just cause.’ Only the parties to the marriage can determine this. They must bear the responsibility for the train of consequences which inevitably follows if these covenants are not honored. In my opinion, ‘just cause’ should be nothing less serious than a prolonged and apparently irredeemable relationship which is destructive of a person’s dignity as a human being.
“At the same time, I have strong feelings about what is not provocation for breaking the sacred covenants of marriage. Surely it is not simply ‘mental distress’ or ‘personality differences’ or having ‘grown apart’ or having ‘fallen out of love.’ This is especially so where there are children. Enduring divine counsel comes from Paul:
“‘Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it’ (Ephesians 5:25).
“‘That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, [and] to love their children’ (Titus 2:4).
“In my opinion, members of the Church have the most effective cure for our decaying family life. It is for men, women, and children to honor and respect the divine roles of both fathers and mothers in the home. In so doing, mutual respect and appreciation among the members of the Church will be fostered by the righteousness found there. In this way the great sealing keys restored by Elijah, spoken of by Malachi, might operate ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse’ (D&C 110:15; see also Malachi 4:6)” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1993, 46–47; or Ensign, May 1993, 36–37).
“Keeping the garden of marriage well cultivated and free from weeds of neglect requires the time and commitment of love. It is not only a pleasant privilege, it is a scriptural requirement with promise of eternal glory” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1991, 28; or Ensign, May 1991, 23).
“Keep your courtship alive. Make time to do things together—just the two of you. As important as it is to be with the children as a family, you need regular weekly time alone together. Scheduling it will let your children know that you feel that your marriage is so important that you need to nurture it. That takes commitment, planning, and scheduling” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1995, 86; or Ensign, May 1995, 65).
“It is our faith in the importance of making covenants with God and coming to understand our immense possibilities that the temple, the house of the Lord, becomes the focus for all that really matters. In the temple we participate in ordinances and covenants that span the distance between heaven and earth. They prepare us to one day return to God’s presence and enjoy the blessings of eternal families and eternal life.
“I have heard young women around the world repeat in many languages their commitment: ‘We will be prepared to make and keep sacred covenants, receive the ordinances of the temple, and enjoy the blessings of exaltation’ (Young Women Handbook, p. 3). Those blessings can be available to all of us—to all our Father’s children. When our faith is centered in Jesus Christ, our Savior, we begin to understand our identity and our tender relationship to Him. …
“It is through the ordinances and covenants available in the temple that our Father in Heaven has provided the way for us to return to Him rejoicing. To these eternal truths I bear my testimony in the name of Jesus Christ, amen” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1992, 110–11; or Ensign, May 1992, 79).