After God created Adam and Eve, He instituted a special relationship, which He characterized in this way:
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
Jesus emphasized the sacred nature of this relationship when He rebuked the Pharisees for asking a flippant question about divorce:
Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,
And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?
Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.Matthew 19:4-6; see also Mark 10:6-9
Book of Mormon prophets also emphasized the sacred nature of the marriage relationship. Jacob contrasted the strong families among the Lamanites with the casual attitudes about marriage and family among his own people:
Behold, their husbands love their wives, and their wives love their husbands; and their husbands and their wives love their children….wherefore, how much better are you than they, in the sight of your great Creator?Jacob 3:7
And after the Savior appeared on the American continent, marriage was an important part of the happiness the people experienced for several generations:
They were married, and given in marriage, and were blessed according to the multitude of the promises which the Lord had made unto them.4 Nephi 1:11
Joseph Smith taught that marriages can endure beyond the grave, but only if they have been performed by the “power and keys of [the] priesthood” and “sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise.” (See Doctrine and Covenants 132:7.) I don’t think this is just about acquiring a credential which we can present in the next world to ensure that our marriages have legal recognition. I think the Lord is teaching something much more profound: If we want to have strong marriages which can endure eternally, we need God’s help. We need to be willing to humble ourselves and take the steps that will invite God’s power into our lives and into our relationships.
President Russell M. Nelson recently reminded us, “Wishing to be together forever will not make it so” (“The Temple and Your Spiritual Foundation,” General Conference, October 2021, italics in original). He urged husbands and wives to prepare themselves now to be sealed in the holy temple.
Today, I will remember the importance of the marriage relationship. I will seek God’s help to be a better husband and father, so that my most important relationships can be strong enough to overcome every obstacle and endure forever.