Mormon Beliefs: Celestial Marriage
The union of a man and woman in marriage brings together God’s greatest creations. Marriage and sealing in the temple of our Lord is for time and all eternity. This is the ultimate ordinance and covenant that makes possible exaltation and eternal life. If we are true and faithful to the new and everlasting covenant of marriage, we can become co-heirs with Christ and share in His attributes, including the ability to create (see Doctrine and Covenants 131; 132:19). Each spouse should make his or her primary concern the well-being and happiness of their companion. In this union, the purpose is to create a family. The family should strive to live in love and harmony so as to help each member become a disciple of Jesus Christ and build up the Kingdom of God here upon the earth.
THE SCRIPTURES TEACH US
- Moses 3:24—Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh.
- The unity of husband and wife brings a oneness like unto the Godhead—one in purpose, cause, and action. President Marion G. Romney provided the following commentary on the meaning of one flesh: “They [husband and wife] should be one in harmony, respect, mutual consideration. Neither should plan or follow an independent course of action. They should consult, plan and decide together” (Ensign, Dec. 1978, p. 2.). Unity is the key. If we are not one, we are not the Lord’s” (see Doctrine and Covenants 38:27).
- Doctrine and Covenants 49:15-16—”And again, verily I say unto you, that whoso forbiddeth to marry is not ordained of God, for marriage is ordained of God unto man. Wherefore, it is lawful that he should have one wife, and they twain shall be one flesh, and all this that the earth might answer the end of its creation;…”
Marriage is not only ordained of God but is the very institution without which the plan of salvation and the purpose for which the earth was created would have been in vain. The earth is the venue for the physical creation and testing of Heavenly Father’s children.
MODERN PROPHETS SPEAK
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 (Gordon B. Hinckley, “Look to the Future,” Ensign, November 1997, 67).
If you will make your first concern the comfort, the well-being, and the happiness of your companion, sublimating any personal concern to that loftier goal, you will be happy, and your marriage will go on through eternity. (“A Three-Point Challenge,” BYU Commencement Address, April 27, 1995.)
(Gordon B. Hinckley, Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1997], 328-329.)
Marriage, designed to be an eternal covenant, is the most glorious and most exalting principle of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Faithfulness to the marriage covenant brings the fullest joy here and glorious rewards hereafter. The abuse of this sacred ordinance despoils the lives of individuals, wrecks the basic institution of the home, and causes the downfall of nations. (So Shall Ye Reap, p. 106.)
Marriage, the home, and family are more than mere social institutions. They are divine, not man-made. God ordained marriage from the very beginning. In the record of that first marriage recorded in Genesis, the Lord makes four significant pronouncements: first, that it is not good for man to be alone; second, that woman was created to be a helpmeet for man; third, that they twain should be one flesh; and fourth, that man should leave father and mother and cleave unto his wife. (See Genesis 2:18, 24.)
(Ezra Taft Benson, The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988], 534.)
Settle for nothing less than a temple marriage. In the temple we receive the highest ordinance available to men and women, the sealing of husbands and wives together for eternity. We hope our young people will settle for nothing less than a temple marriage. We hope you who are married will remember the feelings of love which led you to the altar in the house of the Lord. Our hearts are saddened as we learn of many whose love has grown cold or who through reasons of selfishness or transgression forget or treat lightly the marriage covenants they made in the temple. We plead with husbands and wives to have love and respect for each other. Indeed, it would be our fondest hope that each family would be blessed with a mother and father who express love for each other, who are deferential to each other, and who work together to strengthen the bonds of marriage. (94-11)
Eternal marriage is the most powerful principle in promoting stable homes. There is no more powerful principle of life to promote love, forbearance, and devotion in the home than that of eternal marriage. Good adjustment and performance in adult life depend largely on the quality of home life. The principle of eternal marriage is a most powerful stabilizing influence in promoting the kind of home needed to rear children who are happy and well adjusted. (72-03, p. 65)
(Howard W. Hunter, The Teachings of Howard W. Hunter, edited by Clyde J. Williams [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1997], 131.)
The prime purpose of marriage is to provide mortal bodies for God’s children. You young men must ever keep in mind that your lovely companion is possessed of finer sensibilities than you, and if your private conduct is brutal or beastly, bitterness and even disgust may drive out of her heart the affection and regard she once held for you. Both of you must remember that the prime purpose of your marriage under God’s command is to build the bridge from the eternity of spirits to mortality, over which God’s spirit children might come into mortal bodies. Your failure to remember that revealed truth will be your failure to attain the highest bliss in married life. (45-20, p. 174)
(Harold B. Lee, The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, edited by Clyde J. Williams [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], 239.)
IDEAS FOR DAILY LIVING
Here is a checklist of ten helpful hints for a successful marriage:
1. Love—Show your love, both verbally and by your actions.
2. Vision—Share with your spouse a common vision for your marriage. Counsel together often.
3. Flexibility—Always be willing to accommodate each other. Remember, if it is important to your mate, it is important to you.
4. Respect—Always remember that selfishness is the destroyer of all relationships; mutual respect is built on trust, commitment, and love.
5. Togetherness—Do things together—pray together, search the scriptures together, eat together, read together, play together, shop together, work together, raise your children together—in essence, whenever possible, do all things together.
6. Admiration—Look for the good in each other. You might even write a love letter listing all the reasons why you love your spouse.
7. Enjoyment—Go on a weekly date; have fun together.
8. Communication—Talk to each other: communicate your needs, desires, and wishes rather than experience unrealized expectations, which often results in negative feelings.
9. Joy—Write a list of things you and your mate can do that will bring joy and happiness to your marriage.
10. Goals—Set some goals and make some plans to achieve the “vision” of your marriage.
SOME MORE THOUGHTS ON CELESTIAL MARRIAGE
- “Commitment to one another makes a marriage strong. Love—the concern and service one gives—will make your marriage blossom.” —Anonymous
- “A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.” —Mignon McLaughlin
- “The Vital C’s in Marriage: Communication, Consideration, Cooperation, Companionship, Commitment.” —Anonymous
- “The highest happiness on earth is marriage. Every man who is happily married is a successful man, even if he has failed in everything else.” —William Lyon Phelps
Oh, the list of helpful hints could go on and on. The main thing is to care for each other. The world is full of divorce and separation, which always bring sadness to those involved. The world is also full of happy marriages and families, invariably based on commitment, tireless effort, courtesy, charity, and spiritual unity. Celestial marriage is heavenly marriage, eternal marriage—sanctioned and commissioned by the Almighty, anchored in covenant fidelity, vitalized by the Holy Spirit, infused with lasting bonds of love, and edified by the saving and enduring principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
*This article has been adapted from What We Need to Know and Do, by Ed Pinegar and Richard J. Allen.