Is Marriage… Worth it?
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Well into her 40’s and with the heavy weight of a chronic illness having been carried now for well over a decade. Life hasn’t been easy, but it has been good. Largely because she has been good to it. So it wouldn’t surprise those who know her that a twenty-something young man might seek her advice. But how the young man sought the advice did surprise her.
It started soon after she walked into a small bakery. With little introduction, the young man behind the counter asked…
how she liked being married.
“Well, it’s just fine,” (she said)
“Is it worth it?” (he asked)
(Resisting the urge to flippantly ask “worth what?” she assured him that marriage is a wonderful institution but, like most things in life, one gets out of it what one puts into it.
Somehow, that most important part of her message wasn’t sinking in.)
“Would you do it again?” (he asked next)
“Yes, of course,” (she replied.)
“But that doesn’t mean it has been a bed of roses.”
“Well,” (he pushed,) “are you glad you got married?”
“Yes, But why do you ask?” (she replied)
“Well, I’m thinking of getting married, so I’m taking an informal poll of customers to see if it’s really worth it.”
(She was thinking later, her full message just hadn’t sunk in.
The young man, while wise enough to at least give some thought to strengthening his love with the decision of marriage, wasn’t wise enough to realise that this “marriage stuff” just isn’t a black-and-white, yes-or-no, good-or-bad proposition.
Indeed not. For making a marriage “worth it” requires constant care and keeping — by both the husband and the wife. It is, quite literally, a lifelong journey together. Requiring our very best effort.)
“Marriage,” said Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quarum of the Twelve, “is a divine institution.”
Achieving success then is a “supernal challenge. So unless…a husband and a wife learn to work together as one, marriage can also be an infernal ordeal.”
And, adds President Gordon B. Hinckley, working together generally means thinking more of one’s spouse than of oneself.
“I am satisfied that a happy marriage is not so much a matter of romance as it is an anxious concern for the comfort and well-being of one’s companion.” he said.
Not surprisingly, that concern is more often than not shown in little things…
On gift giving occasions, she likes beautifully wrapped packages. To him, that’s a waste of time, effort and money, he prefers using newsprint. When he wraps in newsprint, she cares enough about him — not the wrapping — to be appreciative and understanding; He is just being himself.
But when he goes beyond himself — and wraps in fine paper with gorgeous generosity — he knows that his time, effort and money are actually well spent, not because of the wrapping,
But because he cared enough to do it.
Through the years, that deep care and loving concern — flowing in both directions — manifests itself in ever-more-important ways.
And, as we grow older and wiser, the Real Love that was nourished on those small things will have blossomed into something so deep and so meaningful that no labor or effort — in health or sickness — will be too difficult. As each ministers to the other, and often not in equal measure, they feel God’s Love in the “Real Love” they feel for each other.
And, Yes, Marriage, especially the “Strengthening of Marriage” is Worth It. Well Worth it!
“Therefore shall a man leave is father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” — Genesis 2:24
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