Families, communities, and nations are strengthened when couples know the key to having a successful marriage. Most people desire a happy and successful marriage, but many people have no idea how to create one. In fact, there are numerous people who do not know anyone who has a successful, long-term marriage.
Some young men and young women grow up with the belief that people get married and automatically “live happily ever after.” This is not the case in many marriages, but it is true is just as many. So, what is the secret or key to a happy and successful marriage? A happy and successful marriage is one where husband and wife have been one in marriage.
President Spencer W. Kimball taught, “True marriage is based on a happiness [that] comes from giving, serving, sharing, sacrificing, and selflessness” (“Oneness in Marriage,” Ensign, October 2002).
While marriage is difficult, and discordant and frustrated marriages are common, yet real, lasting happiness is possible, and marriage can be more an exultant ecstasy than the human mind can conceive. This is within the reach of every couple, every person. “Soul mates” are fiction and an illusion; and while every young man and young woman will seek with all diligence and prayerfulness to find a mate with whom life can be most compatible and beautiful, yet it is certain that almost any good man and any good woman can have happiness and a successful marriage if both are willing to pay the price.
President Kimball said that there is a “never-failing formula that will guarantee to every couple a happy and eternal marriage.” However, he warns that the formula must be closely followed, and the “principle ingredients must not be left out, reduced, or limited.” Here is his formula for a happy and successful marriage.
First, there must be the proper approach toward marriage, which contemplates the selection of a spouse who reaches as nearly as possible the pinnacle of perfection in all matters which are of importance to the individuals. And then those two parties must come to the altar in the temple realizing that they must work hard toward this successful joint living.
Second, there must be a great unselfishness, forgetting self and directing all of the family life and all pertaining thereunto to the good of the family, subjugating self.
Third, there must be continued courting and expressions of affection, kindness, and consideration to keep love alive and growing.
Fourth, there must be a complete living of the commandments of the lord as defined in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Saying that these ingredients must be “properly mixed” and “continually kept functioning,” President Kimball said, “it is quite impossible for unhappiness to come, misunderstandings to continue, or breaks to occur.” He said that such a marriage “means sacrifice, sharing, and even a reduction of some personal liberties. It means long, hard economizing. It means children who bring with them financial burdens, service burdens, care and worry burdens; but also it means the deepest and sweetest emotions of all.”
Since “love is like a flower [and] needs constant feeding,” President Kimball said that it must be nourished continually. “If one is forever seeking the interests, comforts, and happiness of the other, the love found in courtship and cemented in marriage will grow into mighty proportions.” He counseled that there must be total fidelity in marriage, and marital partners should cleave unto each other and “none else” – meaning that the spouse comes before mothers, fathers, children, or anyone else.
President Kimball closed his talk by saying, “Brothers and sisters, may I say this is the word of the Lord. It is very, very serious, and there is nobody who should argue with the Lord.” He asked each of us to be sure that our marriage and life is right before the Lord and that we are doing our part in creating a happy and successful marriage. If we will follow the formula described by President Kimball, we can create happy and successful marriages and strengthen our families, communities, and nations.