Lesson 2 – The Joy of Marriage
“Happiness in marriage and parenthood can exceed a thousand times any other happiness” (James E. Faust, in Conference Report, Oct. 1977, 14; or Ensign, Nov. 1977, 8).
Principle: If couples obey the gospel principles that lead to marital happiness, marriage can bring a more “exultant ecstasy than the human mind can conceive.”
The world today often teaches that marriage and families are outdated and even can hinder happiness.
Here are some things that prophets of God have said about happiness in marriage and family:
President David O. McKay
“In the teachings of the Church of Christ, the family assumes supreme importance in the development of the individual and of society. ‘Happy and thrice happy are they who enjoy an uninterrupted union and whose love, unbroken by any complaints, shall not dissolve until the last day.’ It will not dissolve when a worthy couple is sealed by the authority of the Holy Priesthood throughout all eternity. The marriage ceremony when thus sealed produces happiness and joy unsurpassed by any other experience in the world” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1966, 108).
“‘How, then,’ you ask, ‘may you tell whether or not there is any consanguinity [feelings of affection], that something which will make you at least congenial in each other’s company?’ ‘Is there,’ you ask, ‘some guide?’ Though love is not always a true guide, . . .yet certainly there is no happiness without love” (Gospel Ideals, 459).
President Spencer W. Kimball
“Honorable, happy, and successful marriage is surely the principal goal of every normal person. Marriage is perhaps the most vital of all the decisions and has the most far-reaching effects, for it has to do not only with immediate happiness, but also with eternal joys. . . . “. . . Marriage can be more an exultant ecstasy than the human mind can conceive. This is within the reach of every couple, every person” (“Oneness in Marriage,” Ensign, Mar. 1977, 3–4).
President Boyd K. Packer
“The ultimate purpose of all we teach is to unite parents and children in faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, that they are happy at home, sealed in an eternal marriage, linked to their generations, and assured of exaltation in the presence of our Heavenly Father” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1995, 8; or Ensign, May 1995, 8).
Elder Boyd K. Packer
“Some marriages do bend, and some will break, but we must not, because of this, lose faith in marriage nor become afraid of it. “Broken marriages are not typical. “Remember that trouble attracts attention! We travel the highway with thousands of cars moving in either direction without paying much attention to any of them. But should an accident occur, we notice immediately. “If it happens again, we get the false impression that no one can go safely down the road. “One accident may make the front page, while a hundred million cars that safely pass are not regarded as worth mentioning. “Writers think that a happy, stable marriage does not have the dramatic appeal, the conflict worth featuring in a book or a play or a film. Therefore, we constantly hear about the ruined ones and we lose our perspective. “I believe in marriage. I believe it to be the ideal pattern for human living. I know it to be ordained of God. The restraints relating to it were designed to protect our happiness. “I do not know of any better time in all of the history of the world for a young couple who are of age and prepared and who are in love to think of marriage. There is no better time because it is your time. “I know that these are very troubled times. Troubles like we have now are very hard on marriages. “Do not lose faith in marriage. Not even if you have been through the unhappiness of a divorce and are surrounded with pieces of a marriage that has fallen apart” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1981, 15–16; or Ensign, May 1981, 14–15).
Satan works very hard to destroy marriages: In 1900 in the United States there was one divorce for every twelve marriages. By the year 2000 this rate was estimated at one divorce for every two marriages. The trends for divorce are similar in many countries throughout the world.
President Gordon B. Hinckley
“Perhaps our greatest concern is with families. The family is falling apart all over the world. The old ties that bound together father and mother and children are breaking everywhere. We must face this in our own midst. There are too many broken homes among our own. The love that led to marriage somehow evaporates, and hatred fills its place. Hearts are broken; children weep. Can we not do better? Of course we can. It is selfishness that brings about most of these tragedies. If there is forbearance, if there is forgiveness, if there is an anxious looking after the happiness of one’s companion, then love will flourish and blossom. “As I look to the future, I see little to feel enthusiastic about concerning the family in America and across the world. Drugs and alcohol are taking a terrible toll, which is not likely to decrease. Harsh language one to another, indifference to the needs of one another—all seem to be increasing. There is so much of child abuse. There is so much of spouse abuse. There is growing abuse of the elderly. All of this will happen and get worse unless there is an underlying acknowledgment, yes, a strong and fervent conviction, concerning the fact that the family is an instrument of the Almighty. It is His creation. It is also the basic unit of society. “I lift a warning voice to our people. We have moved too far toward the mainstream of society in this matter. Now of course there are good families. There are good families everywhere. But there are too many who are in trouble. This is a malady with a cure. The prescription is simple and wonderfully effective. It is love. It is plain, simple, everyday love and respect. It is a tender plant that needs nurturing. But it is worth all of the effort we can put into it” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1997, 94; or Ensign, Nov. 1997, 69).
President Gordon B. Hinckley
“There may be now and again a legitimate cause for divorce. I am not one to say that it is never justified. But I say without hesitation that this plague among us, which seems to be growing everywhere, is not of God, but rather is the work of the adversary of righteousness and peace and truth” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1991, 97–98; or Ensign, May 1991, 74).
Elder Boyd K. Packer
“The single purpose of Lucifer is to oppose the great plan of happiness, to corrupt the purest, most beautiful and appealing experiences of life: romance, love, marriage, and parenthood [2 Nephi 2:18; 28:20]. The specters of heartbreak and guilt follow him about [Alma 39:5; Moroni 9:9]. Only repentance can heal what he hurts” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1993, 27–28; or Ensign, Nov. 1993, 21).
Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin
“We live in a day when Lucifer’s influence is greater than we ever have known in our lifetimes. In terms of the sin, evil, and wickedness upon the earth, we could liken our time to the days of Noah before the flood. No one is immune to affliction and difficulty, whether it be economical, emotional, or spiritual. Immorality, violence, and divorce, with their accompanying sorrows, plague society worldwide” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1993, 4; or Ensign, Nov. 1993, 5).
President Spencer W. Kimball:
“Satan is very much a personal, individual spirit being, but without a mortal body. His desires to seal each of us his are no less ardent in wickedness than our Father’s are in righteousness to attract us to his own eternal kingdom” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, ed. Edward L. Kimball , 35).
“There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—“And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated” (D&C 130:20–21).
“Happiness is the object and design of our existence; and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 255).
The Family: A Proclamation to the World: “Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
The scriptures and the words of the living prophets are the best way to know the teachings of the Lord, Jesus Christ.
Look for principles in these verses to help us see insight into marital happiness:
- Job 6:25 – Arguing isn’t good.
- Proverbs 15:1- Give patient responses.
- 1 Nephi 1:20 – If families are faithful, they will be delivered from their trials.
- Alma 41:10 – Wickedness will never be happiness.
- 3 Nephi 18:19-21 – Pray to the Father with your families and you will be blessed.
- Doctrine and Covenants 42:22–23– Cleave to your spouse. Do not lust after another.
- Doctrine and Covenants 50:28 – Repent of your sins to become pure.
The law of witnesses – topics related to marriage that have been discussed by multiple prophets are discussed here.
Elder Henry B. Eyring said: “Looking for the path to safety in the counsel of prophets makes sense to those with strong faith” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1997, 32; or Ensign, May 1997, 25).
We can find true marital happiness in this life by learning and living correct principles and by seeking the influence of the Holy Ghost in our marital decisions. If we live by these principles, we will greatly increase our likelihood of achieving happiness in marriage in both this life and the next.