Nurturing the Marriage Relationship

Unlike many fairy tales, when the prince and princess get married, it is not a simple matter of living happily ever after. Marriage Relationships require nurturing. Without working at it, married couples can find themselves becoming more distant; instead of growing closer together. Here are some scriptures and other information that can help us understand how important it is to continually nurture a marriage relationship.

Scriptures

  • In Matthew 19:3-9 we learn that men and women are to be companions in marriage. Once God has joined together a couple in marriage, they become as one flesh. Jesus also makes it clear that once a marriage covenant is with God, the only justification for divorce is fornication. There does seem to be an exception to this “because of the hardness of your hearts”, but Jesus further explains this is not what was originally intended.
  • In Ephesians 5:25, 28-31 husbands are commanded to love their wives as themselves. I would assume this also works both ways, as it further explains that you cannot nourish and cherish something you don’t love. It again gives the analogy of becoming one flesh.
  • Emma Smith is given a charge in D&C 25:5, 13-15 to be a comfort to her husband as he endures afflictions. She is to use “counseling words, in the spirit of meekness.” She is also told to stick to the covenants she has made, and delight in her husband. She’s promised that by doing this she will receive “a crown of righteousness”.
  • D&C 42:22 tell men to love their wifes with all their heart, and no one else. Subsequent verses refer to the sins of lusting after other women and adultery. Again I would assume this also applies to how women feel about their husbands.
  • We learn about the creation of woman in Abraham 5:15-18. Taking a rib from Adam’s side to create woman. Once again we see that men and woman are to become one flesh.

There’s a lot of references to becoming one flesh. A topic I’ll cover in another post as part of the Eternal Marriage series of posts.

The Marriage Relationship Check List

During the April 2013 General Conference, then president of the Seventy, L. Whitney Clayton, gave a speech named “Marriage: Watch and Learn,” (see Ensign or Liahona, May 2013, 83-85) The main idea from this talk are the principles President Clayton has observed in good marriages:

  1. Both husband and wife both give infinite value to their relationship.
    • No other relationship of any kinds can bring as much joy, goodness or personal refinement.
  2. A strong relationship is based on faith in Christ; which is “the foundation of every virtue that strengthens marriage.”
    • Study and follow Christ’s teachings both together and individually.
    • Teach each other and your kids in weekly family home evenings.
  3. Happy marriages rely on the gift of repentance to restore and maintain harmony and peace.
    • Spouses should conduct honest self-examinations and take necessary action to improve.
    • Be selfless, humble, meek, and understanding; helping to bless, and to lift each other.
    • You cannot change someone else, but you can use repentance to change yourself.
  4. Treat each other with respect, as equal partners, with complete transparency and fierce loyalty.
    • Make decisions unanimously, then act with full participation and cooperation (not negotiation), working side by side.
    • Focus first on the home, making family time the center of your day and the object of your efforts.
    • Retire to bed together as a couple (a good time for studying together).
    • Keep no secrets about relevant matters; including on the internet, and with finances.
  5. Live together in Love.
    • Completely devote yourself and be faithful unto your spouse and none else.
    • Serve and love each other by keeping the covenants made between each other and God.

Happy Marriage Relationship

Pulling all this material together, it seems that the answer to having a happy marriage relationship is one of complete fidelity, mutual respect, adornment, trust, and being equally committed to helping your spouse through trials as they help you through yours. Working side by side towards a common goal is the biggest strengthening bond; especially if that goal is to keep the commandments of God and striving for eternal life.

No relationship is perfectly happy all the time. We all encounter hardships. Other circumstances can occur that cause people to stay or become single again. These circumstances can change as we stay focused on our goals and continue to work together, things will improve.

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