What is marriage?
In “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles proclaim that “marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children.” When a man and woman are married in the temple, their family can be together forever. This is a common goal of Latter-day Saints.
Life's greatest joys are found in the family. Strong family relationships require effort, but such effort brings great happiness in this life and throughout eternity. In our Heavenly Father's plan of happiness, a man and a woman can be sealed to one another for time and all eternity. Those who are sealed in the temple have the assurance that their relationship will continue forever if they are true to their covenants. They know that nothing, not even death, can permanently separate them.
The covenant of eternal marriage is necessary for exaltation. The Lord revealed through Joseph Smith: “In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees; and in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage]; and if he does not, he cannot obtain it. He may enter into the other, but that is the end of his kingdom; he cannot have an increase” ( D&C 131:1-4).
After receiving the sealing ordinance and making sacred covenants in the temple, a couple must continue in faithfulness in order to receive the blessings of eternal marriage and exaltation. The Lord said:
“If a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise, by him who is anointed, unto whom I have appointed this power and the keys of this priesthood; . . . and if [they] abide in my covenant, . . . it shall be done unto them in all things whatsoever my servant hath put upon them, in time, and through all eternity; and shall be of full force when they are out of the world” ( D&C 132:19).
Those who are married should consider their union as their most cherished earthly relationship. A spouse is the only person other than the Lord whom we have been commanded to love with all our heart (see D&C 42:22).
Marriage, in its truest sense, is a partnership of equals, with neither person exercising dominion over the other, but with each encouraging, comforting, and helping the other.
Because marriage is such an important relationship in life, it needs and deserves time over less-important commitments. Couples can strengthen their marriage as they take time to talk together and to listen to one another, to be thoughtful and respectful, and to express tender feelings and affection often.
Marriage partners must be loyal to one another and faithful in their marriage covenants in thought, word, and deed. The Lord has said, “Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else” ( D&C 42:22). The phrase “none else” teaches that no person, activity, or possession should ever take precedence over the marriage relationship.
Couples should work together to manage their finances and cooperate in establishing and following a budget. Wise money management and freedom from debt contribute to peace in the home.
Finally, couples must center their lives in the gospel of Jesus Christ. As couples help one another keep the covenants they have made, attend church and the temple together, study the scriptures together, and kneel together in prayer, God will guide them. Their companionship will sweeten through the years; their love will strengthen. Their appreciation for one another will grow.