Families are strengthened when children are taught 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" (The Family - A Proclamation to the World). Children should also be taught that marriage is sacred and not to be taken lightly and that two very important reasons for marriage are for the procreation and nurturing of children and for the protection of women and children. The same proclamation on the family proclaimed that the father is responsible for protecting, presiding, and providing for his family while the mother is mainly responsible for nurturing and caring for her husband and children.
The very first marriage on earth took place when God joined Adam and Eve in holy matrimony in the Garden of Eden, and during that marriage ceremony God commanded them to have children. God created male and female in order that each could "complete" the other.
"And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness" …
"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
"And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth" (Genesis 1:26-28.)
We know that Adam and Eve were married because the next chapter tells us that they were: "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
"And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed" (Genesis 2:24-25).
The greatest joys of life are found within the family. Happy and healthy marriages and strong family relationships take great effort, but the results are great happiness in this life and joy throughout eternity.
Our Heavenly Father has a plan where all of His children can achieve eternal happiness and joy. In His plan, a man and a woman can be sealed to each other for time and for all eternity. When a marriage is performed in the proper place (temple) and by proper authority (priesthood), we have the assurance that our relationship will continue forever if we are true to the covenants we made. Such a marriage carries the promise that nothing, not even death, can separate us permanently.
An eternal marriage does not just happen. Each of us must carefully prepare ourselves for marriage and live a life worthy of such a marriage. Since marriage means we are to give our entire heart, our entire love, our entire allegiance, and our entire loyalty, we must choose our companion wisely - someone we can always honor and respect as well as someone who will complement us in our life. There is no substitute for marrying the right person in the right place at the right time and by the right authority.
Friendship and love between a man and his wife should be a cherished relationship. Our spouse is the only person besides the Lord whom we have been commanded to love "with all thy heart" (see Doctrine and Covenants 42:22).
A true marriage is a partnership of equals. Neither partner should exercise dominion over the other, but each partner should encourage, comfort, help, and be a sustaining influence to the other.
Since marriage is such an important relationship, it needs and deserves quality time. We should never give higher priority to commitments that are less important. Marriage requires that we take the necessary time to talk together, to listen to each other, and to work together towards common goals. Healthy marriages involve thoughtfulness, respect, tender feelings, and frequent affection.
We should never let anything disrupt our marriages or come between us. Each marriage will face challenges of one kind or another, but we should always be loyal to each other and faithful in our marriage covenants in our thoughts, words, and actions. This means that we should stay away from anything that could lead to unfaithfulness and we should avoid every kind of pornography. When the Lord said, "Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else" (Doctrine and Covenants 42:22), the phrase "none else" means that no person, activity, or possession should ever take precedence over the marriage relationship.
Parents should work together in managing finances and cooperate in establishing and following a budget. By handling our money wisely and staying free from debt, we can contribute to having peace in our homes.
In order to have an eternal marriage, we must center our lives in the gospel of Jesus Christ and help each other to keep our covenants. We can strengthen our marriages by attending Church and the temple together, by studying the scriptures together, and by kneeling together in prayer.
God meant for marriage and the family relationship to continue throughout all eternity and has shown us the way to make it so. Parents can teach by word and example that marriage between a man and a woman is important and sacred in the eyes of God and mankind.
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