My parents were married in the temple, but now they’re divorced. Why should I even try for a temple marriage if that’s how it might end up?
First of all, it is critical for you to understand that what happened to your parents does not have to happen to you. President Spencer W. Kimball said: “While marriage is difficult, and discordant and frustrated marriages are common, yet real, lasting happiness is possible, and marriage can be more an exultant ecstasy than the human mind can conceive. This is within the reach of every couple, every person. … There is a never-failing formula that will guarantee to every couple a happy and eternal marriage; but like all formulas, the principal ingredients must not be left out, reduced, or limited” (BYU Speeches of the Year, 1976, p. 146).
Elder David B. Haight said, “The divine intent is that marriage is to be an eternal union with enduring family relationships throughout eternity. … Marriage was meant to be and can be a loving, binding, and harmonious relationship between a husband and wife” (Ensign, May 1984, p. 12). Planning for a temple marriage is still the best way to prepare for a successful, loving marriage.
A survey of LDS marriages showed that marriages outside the temple “are five times more likely to end in divorce than are temple marriages” (Encyclopedia of Mormonism, p. 392). When your parents were married in the temple, they set a good example for you. They knew that marriage was an important commitment. They knew that the temple was the right place to make that commitment. Though they later divorced, you must avoid becoming discouraged by the things that came between your parents. Instead, work toward building your own eternal family.
When you love someone enough to want to marry them and live every day of this life with them, won’t you want that relationship to continue into the eternities? For the commitment of marriage to be binding through eternity, couples must be married in the proper place and by the proper authority. The Savior said, “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matt. 16:19). The only ones able to “bind on earth” are those holding the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Those keys were restored by the prophet Elijah to the Prophet Joseph Smith in the Kirtland Temple (see D&C 110:14–16) and have been given to each succeeding prophet of the Church. Today, as temple workers are called, some are given this authority to perform marriages for eternity in the temple.
It is easy to become discouraged when you see two people you love going their separate ways. But if you asked them, your parents would probably be the first ones to encourage you to still work toward a temple marriage. That includes being very careful in choosing whom you will date. Be sure to follow the advice on dating outlined in the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet. Date only those who have high standards and respect you and your standards.
The teenage years are the time to pursue an education, discover and develop talents, and prepare for a mission. As you stay close to the gospel and give priority to spiritual matters, the Lord will guide you in the decisions you make in life, including a temple marriage.
Temple marriage is an important sacred ordinance which we as Latter-day Saints have the privilege of entering into. We shouldn’t live in fear that we will make the same mistakes as others. Marriage, like any other commitment we undertake, needs hard work.
Tara O’Farrell, 19 Dublin, Ireland
A temple marriage means that we can be with the one we love, not only until death but forever. On days when I feel down, it helps me immensely to think that somewhere out there is someone I can love. I suggest you receive your patriarchal blessing. It will be a guide to you through hard times. Ask our Heavenly Father, and he will help you make this important decision.
John L. Dillier, 16 Murray, Utah
Pray always, remain close to the Lord and your spouse, and your marriage won’t end in a divorce. It won’t ever end.
Kristin Montague, 17 Payson, Utah
My parents were married in the temple and are now divorced. This trial only makes me want to do better and try hard to make marriage in the temple my goal. I want my family to have the happiness I’ve found in the gospel, and I pray that my children won’t have the pain of having their parents divorce.
Becca Blackman, 13 Fort Wayne, Indiana
We should respect and follow in our parents’ footsteps but only in the Lord’s way. Learn from your parents’ mistakes, and pray for the Lord’s guidance in leading you to a temple marriage.
Elder Blake Tuihalangingie, 20 Papua New Guinea Mission
Temple marriage is not just getting married but is the uniting of faithful spirits. You should not dwell on the fact that your parents are divorced but try to work hard on your own future of eternity with your own faithful spirit.
Sheri-Ann Soong, 14 Waikapu, Maui, Hawaii
My parents have been split up since I was three. Although they were never married in the temple, my mother had always taught me how important a temple marriage is. I look around my branch and see all the marriages that are still going strong, and it gives me that push to strive for a temple marriage myself.
Anna Hicks, 16 Dalry, Ayrshire, Scotland