As I contemplate the upcoming nuptials of my oldest son, the lessons I've learned in more than 3 decades of married life surface. So many people get married under the mistaken impression that they can change their parter over time. While people do change and grow, it doesn't happen because of pressure from their spouse. In fact pressure causes resistance.
Some young people have multiple friends of the opposite sex and want to continue these relationships after marriage. This isn't wise. The spouse should be the best and most cherished friend. "Thou shalt alove thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else," Doctrine and Covenants 42:22. Nothing should take higher priority than this primary relationship. Loyalty and faithfulness are of utmost importance in marriage. Pornography and flirtations weaken the foundation of trust.
Others want to be the boss. The most successful marriages are built upon a sense of equal partnership with differing roles. Instead of playing the 'I did more--I worked harder' game, learn respect, encouragement, active, respectful communication, and selfless service.
When things get rough due to finances, illness, child rearing, and so forth, some escape with divorce. A commitment as big as marriage shouldn't be thrown away on a whim. Unless abuse or addiction are present, don't allow issues to end your marriage. Determine to make it work. Fiercely protect it. 1 Corinthians 11:11
On that note, work together to manage finances, keeping a workable budget. Only someone as wealthy as Bill Gates can buy whatever they want. Without exception, successful, self-made, financially-free people are frugal and careful. Plan for your future. Spend only for modest needs. Save like crazy. Although I never went to the same extreme, I like the Tightwad Gazette and Your Money or Your Life. Recently, Dave Ramsey's stuff is pretty good, too. Plant a garden. Grow fruit, nuts, and berries. Avoid debt like the plague and the jailer that it is. Always have a years supply of food, clothing, sundries, and so forth; peace of mind is worth the sacrifice.
"We encourage you to grow all the food that you feasibly can on your own property. Berry bushes, grapevines, fruit trees… Grow vegetables and eat them from your own yard…. We encourage families to have on hand this year’s supply; and we say it over and over and over and repeat over and over the scripture of the Lord where He says, ‘Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?’ [Luke 6:46.] How empty it is as they put their spirituality, so-called, into action and call him by his important names, but fail to do the things which he says…Should evil times come, many might wish they had filled all their fruit bottles and cultivated a garden in their backyards and planted a few fruit trees and berry bushes and provided for their own commodity needs. The Lord planned that we would be independent of every creature, but we note many...homeowners buy their garden vegetables from the store. And should the trucks fail to fill the shelves of the stores, many would go hungry,” Spencer W. Kimball, 1976
Child rearing can be stressful if parents are not a united front. Always be gentle and charitable dealing with each other and the children. If no consensus can be reached on an issue, take turns being the one who is 'right.' Then stick with the decision and don't undermine the other spouse. Genesis 1:27-28
"I don’t believe that children need to be beaten, or anything of that kind. Children can be disciplined with love. They can be counseled—if parents would take the time to sit down quietly and talk with them. Tell them the consequences of misbehaving, of not doing things in the right way. The children would be better off, and I think everyone would be happier.
My father never touched us. He had a wisdom all his own of quietly talking with us. He turned us around when we were moving in the wrong direction, without beating us or taking a strap to us or any of that kind of business. I’ve never been a believer in the physical punishment of children. I don’t think it is necessary." Gordon B. Hinckley, October 2003
“Bring up your children in the love and fear of the Lord; study their dispositions and their temperaments, and deal with them accordingly, never allowing yourself to correct them in the heat of passion; teach them to love you rather than to fear you” (Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe , 207).
Children are gifts from our Heavenly Father. “Children are an heritage of the Lord,” Psalm 127:3. When earthly parents welcome Heavenly Father’s children into their homes, they assume responsibility to love them, cherish them, teach them, and lead them to eternal life. Be prayerful if you ever feel the need to permanently limit your ability to have children. You never know what the future holds; these permanent choices often cause later sorrow and regret.
While peace in the home is furthered by the above, building the family around the gospel of Jesus Christ with church attendance, scripture study, family prayer, gospel teaching in the home, and decided gospel living will allow God to guide and bless the family with peace and joy. Such a commitment will sweeten your lives and make the decision to marry a cherished one.