"Endure to the End" in Your Marriage Covenant
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Facing Death




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Endure to the End of Your Marriage Covenant

Enduring in our marriage covenants and commitments is essential in obtaining an eternal marriage.  Note the following statements:


Russell M. Nelson  Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Marriage—especially temple marriage—and family ties involve covenant relationships. They cannot be regarded casually. With divorce rates escalating throughout the world today, it is apparent that many spouses are failing to endure to the end of their commitments to each other. (“Endure and Be Lifted Up,” Ensign, May 1997, p. 71)


Temple marriages are conditional marriages.  Each temple marriage must eventually be sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise.  Not the following:


Hugh B. Brown  (1883-1975) First Presidency

The religious sanctity and sanction of the marriage relationship is greatly enhanced and appreciated where the couple, before marriage—and they must, necessarily, be of the same faith—start with the same goal in mind. They must prepare and be worthy to receive the sacred ordinance in edifices where only the worthy may enter. Here they receive instruction, make covenants, and then at the altar pledge eternal love and fidelity, each for the other, in the presence of God and of angels. Surely such a concept and practice, with its accompanying obligations, makes for the permanence of the home, the glorifying of the institution of marriage, and the salvation of the souls of men.

Such marriage is essentially an act of faith, solemnized in the presence of a divine partner. There must be faith and courage to see it through, to endure to the end, despite the difficulties, trials, disappointments, and occasional bereavements. (“The LDS Concept of Marriage,” Ensign, June 2011, pp. 52-55; reprint of Ensign, Jan. 1972, 62–63; emphasis added)


Richard G. Scott  Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

What to me has become a vitally important part of remembering the blessings that come from the temple is that I love my wife more each day. I recognize that my sealing to my wife is in a sense not yet eternally conferred. We have lived the commandments. We have obtained the blessings of the ordinances in the temple. We have honored those commandments, but she and I both must be found worthy beyond the veil so that those ordinances can be sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise.

The requirement that it be sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise is how Father in Heaven and the Savior assure that no one will gain those blessings unworthily. An individual may be able to deceive mortals by appearing to be righteous, but there can be no such deception with the Holy Ghost.  (“To Have Peace and Happiness” CES Fireside for Young Adults, September 12, 2010, Brigham Young University)


Bruce R. McConkie (1915-85) Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

One of our revelations speaks of “the Holy Spirit of promise, which the Father sheds forth upon all those who are just and true” (D&C 76:53), meaning that every person who walks uprightly, does the best that he can, overcomes the world, rises above carnality, and walks in paths of righteousness will have his acts and his deeds sealed and approved by the Holy Spirit.  ...

In order to get a proper marriage one must do this: 

first, search for and seek out celestial marriage—find the right ordinance;

second, look for a legal administrator, someone who holds the sealing power—and that power is exercised only in the temples that the Lord has had built by the tithing and sacrifice of his people in our day;

and third, so live in righteousness, uprightness, integrity, virtue, and morality that he is entitled to have the Holy Spirit of God ratify and seal and justify and approve, and in that event his marriage is sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise and is binding in time and in eternity.

So we Latter-day Saints struggle and labor and work to be worthy to get a recommend to go to the temple, for the Spirit will not dwell in an unclean tabernacle. We struggle and labor to get our tabernacles clean, to be pure and refined and cultured, to have the Spirit as our companion; and when we get in that state, our bishop and our stake president give us a “recommend” to go to the temple. We go there and make solemn and sober covenants, and having so done we then labor and struggle and work with all our power to continue in the light of the Spirit so that the agreement we have made will not be broken. If we do that, we have the assurance of eternal life. We do not need to tremble and fear; we do not need to have anxiety or worry if we are laboring and working and struggling to the best of our abilities. Though we do not become perfect, though we do not overcome all things, if our hearts are right and we are charting a course to eternal life in the manner I indicate, our marriages will continue in the realms that are ahead. We shall get into the paradise of God, and we shall be husband and wife. We shall come up in the resurrection, and we shall be husband and wife.

Anyone who comes up in the resurrection in the marriage state has the absolute guarantee of eternal life, but he will not then be a possessor and inheritor of all things—there is a great deal of progress and advancement to be made after the grave and after the resurrection. But he will be in the course where he will go on in the schooling and preparing processes until eventually he knows all things and becomes like God our Heavenly Father, meaning that he becomes an inheritor of eternal life.

In a manner of speaking we have, here and now, probationary families, even though we have been married in the temple, because our marriage in the temple is conditional. It is conditioned upon our subsequent compliance with the laws, the terms, the conditions of the covenant that we then make. And so when I get married in the temple, I am put in a position where I can strive and labor and learn to love my wife with the perfection that must exist if I am going to have a fulness of the glory that attends this covenant in eternity, and it puts her in a position to learn to love me in the same way. It puts both of us in a position to bring up our children in light and truth and to school and prepare them to be members of an eternal family unit, and it puts us as children of our parents in a position where we honor our parents and do what is necessary to have these eternal ties go from one generation to the next and the next. Eventually there will be a great patriarchal chain of exalted beings from Adam to the last man, with any links left out being individuals who are not qualified and worthy to inherit, possess, and receive along the indicated line.  ("Celestial Marriage," New Era, June 1978, pp. 16-17; italics and underlining added)


In the preceding quote, Elder McConkie used such words as struggle, labor, and strive to describe enduring to the end in the marriage covenant.  Elder Bruce C. Hafen of the Seventy spoke of the difference between a marriage based on a covenant rather than one based on a contract:


Bruce C. Hafen
  of the Seventy

Three summers ago, I watched a new bride and groom, Tracy and Tom, emerge from a sacred temple. They laughed and held hands as family and friends gathered to take pictures. I saw happiness and promise in their faces as they greeted their reception guests, who celebrated publicly the creation of a new family. I wondered that night how long it would be until these two faced the opposition that tests every marriage. Only then would they discover whether their marriage was based on a contract or a covenant.

Another bride sighed blissfully on her wedding day, “Mom, I’m at the end of all my troubles!” “Yes,” replied her mother, “but at which end?” When troubles come, the parties to a contractual marriage seek happiness by walking away. They marry to obtain benefits and will stay only as long as they’re receiving what they bargained for. But when troubles come to a covenant marriage, the husband and wife work them through. They marry to give and to grow, bound by covenants to each other, to the community, and to God. Contract companions each give 50 percent; covenant companions each give 100 percent (see Bruce C. and Marie K. Hafen, The Belonging Heart) [1994], 255–65;

Marriage is by nature a covenant, not just a private contract one may cancel at will. Jesus taught about contractual attitudes when he described the “hireling,” who performs his conditional promise of care only when he receives something in return. When the hireling “seeth the wolf coming,” he “leaveth the sheep, and fleeth … because he … careth not for the sheep.” By contrast, the Savior said, “I am the good shepherd, … and I lay down my life for the sheep” (John 10:12–15). Many people today marry as hirelings. And when the wolf comes, they flee. This idea is wrong. It curses the earth, turning parents’ hearts away from their children and from each other (D&C 2).

Before their marriage, Tom and Tracy received an eternal perspective on covenants and wolves [through the temple endowment where they were told the story of Adam and Eve and their fall into the lone and dreary world].  ...

Every marriage is tested repeatedly by three kinds of wolves. The first wolf is natural adversity. After asking God for years to give them a first child, David and Fran had a baby with a serious heart defect. Following a three-week struggle, they buried their newborn son. Like Adam and Eve before them, they mourned together, brokenhearted, in faith before the Lord (see Moses 5:27).

Second, the wolf of their own imperfections will test them. One woman told me through her tears how her husband’s constant criticism finally destroyed not only their marriage but her entire sense of self-worth. He first complained about her cooking and housecleaning, and then about how she used her time, how she talked, looked, and reasoned. Eventually she felt utterly inept and dysfunctional. My heart ached for her, and for him.

Contrast her with a young woman who had little self-confidence when she first married. Then her husband found so much to praise in her that she gradually began to believe she was a good person and that her opinions mattered. His belief in her rekindled her innate self-worth.

The third wolf is the excessive individualism that has spawned today’s contractual attitudes. A seven-year-old girl came home from school crying, “Mom, don’t I belong to you? Our teacher said today that nobody belongs to anybody—children don’t belong to parents, husbands don’t belong to wives. I am yours, aren’t I, Mom?” Her mother held her close and whispered, “Of course you’re mine—and I’m yours, too.” Surely marriage partners must respect one another’s individual identity, and family members are neither slaves nor inanimate objects. But this teacher’s fear, shared today by many, is that the bonds of kinship and marriage are not valuable ties that bind, but are, instead, sheer bondage. Ours is the age of the waning of belonging.

The adversary has long cultivated this overemphasis on personal autonomy, and now he feverishly exploits it. Our deepest God-given instinct is to run to the arms of those who need us and sustain us. But he drives us away from each other today with wedges of distrust and suspicion. He exaggerates the need for having space, getting out, and being left alone. Some people believe him—and then they wonder why they feel left alone. And despite admirable exceptions, children in America’s growing number of single-parent families are clearly more at risk than children in two-parent families.  Further, the rates of divorce and births outside marriage are now so high that we may be witnessing “the collapse of marriage.”   (“Covenant Marriage,” Ensign, Nov. 1996, pp. 26-27)


The following are helpful articles regarding enduring through trials and hardships in marriage:




Facing Death


Harold B. Lee  (1899-1973)  President

Death of a loved one is life's most severe test. Having gone through some similar experiences in losing loved ones in death, I speak from personal experience when I say to you who mourn, do not try to live too many days ahead. The all-important thing is not that tragedies and sorrows come into our lives, but what we do with them. Death of a loved one is the most severe test that you will ever face, and if you can rise above your griefs and if you will trust in God, then you will be able to surmount any other difficulty with which you may be faced.  (The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, ed. Clyde J. Williams [1993], p.53) 


Resources for the Study of the Doctrine of Death:

Perfection

Joseph Fielding Smith

Salvation does not come all at once; we are commanded to be perfect even as our Father in heaven is perfect. It will take us ages to accomplish this end, for there will be greater progress beyond the grave, and it will be there that the faithful will overcome all things, and receive all things, even the fulness of the Father's glory.
 
I believe the Lord meant just what he said: that we should be perfect, as our Father in heaven is perfect. That will not come all at once, but line upon line, and precept upon precept, example upon example, and even then not as long as we live in this mortal life, for we will have to go even beyond the grave before we reach that perfection and shall be like God.

But here we lay the foundation. Here is where we are taught these simple truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ, in this probationary state, to prepare us for that perfection. It is our duty to be better today than we were yesterday, and better tomorrow than we are today. Why? Because we are on that road, if we are keeping the commandments of the Lord, we are on that road to perfection, and that can only come through obedience and the desire in our hearts to overcome the world. (Doctrines of Salvation, Vol.2, pp.18-19)

Resources for the study of Perfection: