Families, communities, and nations are strengthened when children, teenagers, and young adults understand that marriage brings temporal and eternal blessings. In order for the rising generation to have this understanding, parents, grandparents, leaders and teachers must teach by word and example that marriage is a blessing. Marriage brings temporal blessings because it aids in escaping poverty, decreases crimes, and brings security and safety to women and children. Marriage brings spiritual blessings because "families can be together forever through Heavenly Father's plan" if we follow the plan set forth by our Heavenly Father.
The Anchorage Alaska Stake conference was held on Easter with the theme of the Atonement and how the Atonement can heal us in every way. In keeping with the theme, our Stake President counseled us to develop the attributes of Jesus Christ, particularly charity. He promised us that as we become more like Jesus Christ, our marriages will become happier.
Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints often speaks of his late wife Jeanene and expresses his great love for her. After listening to his counsel about marriage for many years, I feel certain that he and Jeanene achieved a happy marriage; therefore, I feel that he is qualified to give counsel to us.
Elder Scott stated, "Two of the vital pillars that sustain Father in Heaven's plan of happiness are marriage and the family. Their lofty significance is underscored by Satan's relentless efforts to splinter the family and to undermine the significance of temple ordinances, which bind the family together for eternity. The temple sealing has greater meaning as life unfolds. It will help you draw ever closer together and find greater joy and fulfillment in mortality" (Ensign, May 2011, 94).
Then Elder Scott proceeded to encourage young men of appropriate age to stop wasting "time in idle pursuits. Get on with life and focus on getting married… serve a worthy mission. Then make your highest priority finding a worthy, eternal companion."
Later Elder Scott counseled, "If you have found someone, you can form an extraordinary wonderful courtship and marriage and be very, very happy eternally by staying within the bounds of worthiness the Lord has established.
"If you are married, are you faithful to your spouse mentally as well as physically? Are you loyal to your marriage covenants by never engaging in conversation with another person that you wouldn't want your spouse to overhear? Are you kind and supportive of your spouse and children?"
Most of us understand that marriage and family life are both the most fulfilling of experiences as well as the greatest challenges. There are times when we are extremely happy and other times of testing and trial. The covenant of marriage, particularly eternal marriage, can strengthen us through the difficult times in order to move back to the happy times.
Elder Scott taught, "Marriage provides an ideal setting for overcoming any tendency to be selfish or self-centered. I think one of the reasons that we are counseled to get married early in life is to avoid developing inappropriate character traits that are hard to change."
After extending his condolences to those men and women who are not yet married, Elder Scott testified, "All things are possible to the Lord, and He keeps the promises He inspires His prophets to declare. Eternity is a long time. Have faith in those promises and live to be worthy of them so that in His time the Lord can make them come true in your life. With certainty, you will receive every promised blessing for which you are worthy….
"I know what it is to love a daughter of Father in heaven who with grace and devotion lived the full feminine splendor of her righteous womanhood. I am confident that when, in our future, I see her again beyond the veil, we will recognize that we have become even more deeply in love. We will appreciate each other even more, having spent this time separated by the veil…."