Lesson 6 – Righteous Unity in Marriage
“Be determined in one mind and in one heart, united in all things” (2 Nephi 1:21).
“And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness” (Moses 7:18).
Achieving a righteous unity with our spouse increases the likelihood of success in marriage.
“A husband and wife must attain righteous unity and oneness in their goals, desires, and actions” (Ezra Taft Benson, “Salvation—A Family Affair,” Ensign, July 1992, 2; or student manual, 283).
- What are examples of righteous unity in a marriage?
-Sister Soares last night said that consistently doing FHE can help you become one as you receive Heaven’s help. She also said that consistency in not only FHE, but also scripture study and prayers build faith and unity. Elder Christofferson said that about half of the active members of the church don’t do these things consistently, and he pleaded for us to be part of the people that do.
-Elder Christofferson spoke of the importance and great blessing it is to counsel together as husband and wife. He said we should listen very well to one another, and then we can realize how wise our spouses are.
- In what ways might righteous unity help prevent or resolve problems in marriage? Do you think any type of unity will improve relationships, or does it have to be a righteous unity? Why?
- Sister Christofferson last night said that there was a focus group done on families who were struggling, and one common issue is that they weren’t reading the Book of Mormon.
Ecclesiastes 4:9 Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.
Synergy: The interaction of two or more agents or forces so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects.
What are some examples of how this works in marriage?
Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: “Marriage allows [our] 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” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1996, 101; or Ensign, Nov. 1996, 74; student manual, 345).
How can natural differences benefit a marriage? How can we make sure our differences don’t stop us from thinking, acting, and rejoicing as one?
In the couples’ conference last night, Sister Soares said that a perfect marriage starts with two different and imperfect people. She said differences can bring you together. She said that you should do things your spouse likes, even if you don’t, to show you love and care for him, and want him to be happy.
Selfishness can diminish unity in a marriage:
President David O. McKay
“I know of no better way to bring about harmony in the home, in the neighborhood, in organizations, peace in our country, and in the world than for every man and woman first to eliminate from his or her heart the enemies of harmony and peace such as hatred, selfishness, greed, animosity, and envy” (Gospel Ideals, 292).
President Spencer W. Kimball
“It all comes back to one word, doesn’t it: Selfishness” (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, 313). “Every divorce is the result of selfishness on the part of one or the other or both parties to a marriage contract. Someone is thinking of self—comforts, conveniences, freedoms, luxuries, or ease. Sometimes the ceaseless pinpricking of an unhappy, discontented, and selfish spouse can finally add up to serious physical violence. Sometimes people are goaded to the point where they erringly feel justified in doing the things which are so wrong. Nothing, of course, justifies sin. . . .“The marriage that is based upon selfishness is almost certain to fail. The one who marries for wealth or the one who marries for prestige or social plane is certain to be disappointed. The one who marries to satisfy vanity and pride or who marries to spite or to show up another person is fooling only himself. But the one who marries to give happiness as well as receive it, to give service as well as to receive it, and who looks after the interests of the two and then the family as it comes will have a good chance that the marriage will be a happy one” (“Marriage and Divorce,” 148–49).
Elder Spencer W. Kimball
“Selfishness so often is the basis of money problems, which are a very serious and real factor affecting the stability of family life. Selfishness is at the root of adultery, the breaking of solemn and sacred covenants to satisfy selfish lust. Selfishness is the antithesis of love. It is a cankering expression of greed. It destroys self-discipline. It obliterates loyalty. It tears up sacred covenants. It afflicts both men and women” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1991, 96; or Ensign, May 1991, 73).
Elder Neal A. Maxwell
“In our failures, there is usually disguised selfishness, the overreaching for ‘a bridge too far.’ Whether in financial or civic ruin or in infidelity and divorce, proud selfishness is usually there. Lack of intellectual humility is there among those who have deliberately cultivated their doubts in order, they think, to release themselves from their covenants. Some nurture their grievances assiduously. Were their grievances, instead, Alma’s seed of faith, they would have long ago nourished a mighty tree of testimony” (Meek and Lowly, 6–7).
Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin
“I believe we must constantly nourish the seeds of love, harmony, and unity in our homes and families. Fathers are to preside over their families in kindness, remembering that ‘no power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned’ (D&C 121:41). Husbands and wives are to love each other with a pure love that transcends selfishness” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1989, 8; or Ensign, May 1989, 8).
Conduct that Brings Unity
- Be willing to put one’s spouse’s interests above one’s own.
- Believe in the truths the Savior taught.
- Accept the ordinances and covenants offered by His authorized servants.
- Keep the promises made during the sacrament (take His name upon us, always remember Him, and keep all of His commandments).
- Put Him first in our lives.
* Elder Christofferson last night said that our primary relationship must be with God, even before our spouse. This is the key to our personal salvation and also marital unity. He said that the closer we are to God, the closer we come to each other (like a triangle where God is on top and the husband and wife are at the bottom corners). God is our marriage partner.
- Want what the Lord wants rather than what we want or what the world teaches us to want.
*Elder Christofferson last night said that family is the hope of Heaven, society and individuals. The world teaches, rather, that we should do what we want, and not be bogged down by the responsibility of marriage and family.
- Speak no ill of anyone.
- See the good in each other and speak well of each other whenever we can.
* Elder James E. Faust said, “It is far more difficult to be of one heart and mind than to be physically one. This unity of heart and mind is manifest in sincere expressions of ‘I appreciate you’ and ‘I am proud of you.’ Such domestic harmony results from forgiving and forgetting, essential elements of a maturing marriage relationship. Someone has said that we should keep our eyes wide open before marriage and half shut afterward (Magdeleine de Scudéry, in John P. Bradley, et al., comp., The International Dictionary of Thoughts [Chicago: J. G. Ferguson Publishing Co., 1969], p. 472). True charity ought to begin in marriage, for it is a relationship that must be rebuilt every day” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1993, 46; or Ensign, May 1993, 36).
- Stand against those who speak contemptuously of sacred things (without being contentious).
Principles of Unity
- Righteous unity in marriage is necessary for exaltation: “Be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine” (D&C 38:27).
* Elder Henry B. Eyring said, “The Savior of the world, Jesus Christ, said of those who would be part of His Church: ‘Be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine’ (D&C 38:27). And at the creation of man and woman, unity for them in marriage was not given as hope; it was a command! ‘Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh’ (Genesis 2:24). Our Heavenly Father wants our hearts to be knit together. That union in love is not simply an ideal. It is a necessity. . . .”
- Satan plants seeds of discord that separate us from loved ones.
- The gospel of Jesus Christ allows our hearts to be made one.
- The Atonement makes it possible for us to be sanctified and live in unity.
- Where people have the Spirit, there is harmony.
- As long as we love the things of the world first, we will have no peace or unity.
- Surrendering to the authority of Jesus Christ binds us as families, as a Church, and as the children of Heavenly Father.
- We must stay clean and not love the things of the world to keep the Spirit, and without the Spirit we cannot be one.
- Pride is a sure source of disunity.
- Service is a protection against pride.
- A husband and wife learn to be one by using their similarities and differences as they serve each other and those around them.
Conclusion: We are more likely to be united when we focus on spiritual oneness and do things that invite the Spirit into our marriage. In so doing we automatically eliminate selfish conduct that can place wedges in our marriage.