As stated in the “The Family:  A Proclamation to the World,” marriage is ordained of God.  Obviously marriage and family are key to Heavenly Father’s plan.

There is much emphasis in the church for members to strive for temple marriage, and I think this is as it should be.  But, from my limited experiece and observations,  I believe that for many of us, over time, our focus on marriage often shifts to other aspects of life.

Good and important things such as careers, education, children, and callings require our time and efforts, but if we are not mindful, I believe these and other activities can easily replace the time and effort that we once dedicated to our marriage.  Without proper nourishment, our marriages that were once alive and thriving can then begin to wither and atrophy.

It is not surprising to me and is even some comfort that one of the church’s emphasis, especially in recent years, has been to simplify our lives, to focus on the family, and to choose wisely our activities so that we can invest our time and energy where it is most important- our family.  In a future post (or posts) I hope to discuss other related principles such as agency, accountability, and stewardship.

As an individual, I strive to continue learning, growing, and progressing.  I believe this growth process is also critical for couples- that husband and wife not only support one another in their individual interests and pursuits but also that they work together as a couple to strengthen their relationship.

I realize that I tend to be too idealistic, but here are some traits that I believe define a celestial marriage:

  • The marriage consists of equal partners.  In my opinion, this is more than just sharing tasks.  To me, this also means that husband and wife are “equally yoked” within the marriage itself- that the marriage relationship has similar importance to each spouse, and both partners demonstrate that the marriage is a high priority for them.
  • Similar to being equal partners in marriage is the concept of interdependence.  Each spouse realizes that alone he or she is incomplete and that only together can they really be whole and perfected.  Each spouse has a healthy dependence on the other; neither spouse is more important than the other.  Elder and Sister Hafen’s article here describes these first two concepts much better than I can.
  • Partners in celestial marriages think and act in terms of “win/win.”  They seek for compromises that are mutually beneficial.  Both focus more on what they can give or do for their partner than on what they can receive from their partner.

There are obviously many other characteristics of celestial marriage, but in essence, I believe the common denominator is the synergy that results from both partners making the relationship a high priority in their lives.

For the few (if any) that may read this, I’m interested in your thoughts- how do you view marriage, what do you do to strengthen your relationship amidst the many other demands on your time, etc.?