We lived in heaven a long time ago with our Heavenly Parents. While we were there, Heavenly Father called all His spirit children together in a big family council. There He presented a plan for our eternal happiness. He told us that we needed to gain knowledge and experience in order to become like Him and that He planned a special place for us to prepare. Our mortal life on earth is like a laboratory, and part of the experience is living in families.
Elder Richard G. Scott spoke about the joys of living the great plan of happiness in the October 1996 General Conference. (See “The Joy of Living the Great Plan of Happiness,” Ensign, November 1996. He began his talk by speaking of the creation of man and woman. “This was done spiritually in your premortal existence when you lived in the presence of your Father in Heaven. Your gender existed before you came to earth.” He said that Heavenly Father endowed His sons and daughters with unique traits especially fitted for their individual responsibilities as they fulfill His plan. To follow His plan requires that you do those things He expects of you as a son or daughter, husband or wife. Those roles are different but entirely compatible. In the Lord’s plan, it takes two – a man and a woman – to form a whole. Indeed, a husband and wife are not two identical halves, but a wondrous, divinely determined combination of complementary capacities and characteristics.
“Marriage allows these different characteristics to come together in oneness – in unity – to bless a husband and wife, their children and grandchildren. For the greatest happiness and productivity in life, both husband and wife are needed. Their efforts interlock and are complementary. Each has individual traits that best fit the role the Lord has defined for happiness as a man or woman. When used as the Lord intends, those capacities allow a married couple to think, act, and rejoice as one – to face challenges together and overcome them as one, to grow in love and understanding, and through temple ordinances to be bound together as one whole, eternally. That is the plan.”
Marriage and family life bring us our greatest joys and deepest sorrows, depending on how well individuals in our families live the gospel of Jesus Christ. When all members of a family are trying to live the Lord’s plan, there is love and harmony in the home, but the atmosphere is usually very different when commandments are being broken and not fixed. The Father has a plan for our happiness, and we can find joy by living the great plan of happiness.