Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Marriage


[Kristina's hand.] Somewhere in my childhood I was taught to look forward to a temple marriage, a celestial marriage, a “marriage for time and all eternity.” I was taught to keep myself morally clean and faithful to my future wife throughout all the intervening years before I should ever meet her. Like all young people I suffered the struggles of loneliness and premature desire. I prayed to Heavenly Father and told Him that I wanted a good wife someday.

Pam and I got married December 17, 1983 and I have been saying ever since that that was the best day of my life. Our wedding and two receptions were relatively modest and I don’t remember much about the guests that attended but never before and never since have people gathered in my honor, bearing gifts, to wish me well. The very best gift of all was my beautiful bride that I unwrapped on our honeymoon night. We both stood naked, side by side, looking at ourselves in the full-length mirror. Adam and Eve.

For our honeymoon we drove from Provo to my parents’ house in Carlsbad. We planned a daytrip to see the Queen Mary in Long Beach but when we got there we thought the ticket prices were too expensive and so we gazed a few minutes at the ship from the dock and then left. Looking back I realize how poor we were then but we never felt poor because we always had hope and a plan to better ourselves and our financial situation.

Now, some 20 plus years later, my older kids are entering the age of relationships which causes me to reflect on the hazards of young people—so uninformed, so naïve, so unrealistic, so foolish, so impulsive—looking for love and companionship. I see a large segment of society has lost hope in traditional marriage yet I think most people still root for a love story with a happy ending. Worse, I see the moral attitudes of young people to be self-destructive and not leading to lasting happiness. Letting sexual impulses rule one’s life seems to be no different than letting hard drugs rule one’s life. While on TV we sometimes see advertisements that send a warning message, “Just Say NO to Drugs,” society has not yet reached the point where it can articulate the downside of misguided sexuality.

Some months ago I was reading a philosophy book by Will Durant, an atheist. Towards the end of the book Durant wrote about youth and love. Much to my surprise his words resonated with me in a way that “churchy” voices rarely do any more. I felt moved as I read his words and I felt an inner confirmation that the path that I had chosen was correct and still the best path to teach to my children.

“Youth, if it were wise, would cherish love beyond all things else, keeping body and soul clean for its coming, lengthening its days with months of betrothal, sanctioning it with a marriage of solemn ritual, making all things subordinate to it resolutely. Wisdom, if it were young, would cherish love, nursing it with devotion, deepening it with sacrifice, vitalizing it with parentage, making all things subordinate to it till the end. Even though it consumes us in its service and overwhelms us with tragedy, even though it breaks us down with its passing and weighs us down with separations, let it be first.”
-Will Durant, The Pleasures of Philosophy, Page 401

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