Couple makes Christmas cookies.

The Secret 4-Ingredient Recipe for a Happy, Eternal Marriage

Just like the ingredients for cookies, each ingredient for marriage is essential in achieving the best results.

COVID-19 has brought a lot of trials, but in the Church, the pandemic hasn’t hindered (and maybe has even increased) the number of people getting married. Marriage comes with a lot of new responsibilities, the need for constant patience, and growth in love. And as with quarantining during a pandemic, marriage isn’t easy! Even those who’ve been married for years are still searching for how to improve their marriages. And, of course, the ultimate goal is a happy and eternal marriage.

A couple holding hands as they ride bikes and the quote, "Marriage can be more an exultant ecstacy than the human mind can conceive" by Spencer W. Kimball.

Photo by Everton Villa

Almost fifty years ago, President Spencer W. Kimball gave a Brigham Young University devotional titled “Marriage and Divorce.” In his devotional, he shares a “never-failing formula”—or recipe—for a happy and eternal marriage. The ingredients are as follows:

  1. The proper approach toward marriage

If you want a happy and eternal marriage, you need to be prepared—especially spiritually. You should choose a spouse who complements you and should marry him or her in the temple. Only through temple ordinances can you have an eternal marriage.

  1. Unselfishness

President Kimball says, “The marriage that is based upon selfishness is almost certain to fail.” Marriage means sacrificing, sharing, and reducing personal liberties. To have a happier marriage, you need to forget yourself and give all to your spouse and to your family.

  1. Continued courtship

Just as you courted your spouse before marriage, you should court your spouse after marriage by showing affection, kindness, and consideration. Doing so will keep your love alive and growing.

  1. Observance of  the commandments

According to President Kimball, “to be really happy in marriage, one must have a continued faithful observance of the commandments of the Lord.” To keep your relationship with your spouse healthy, you must have a good relationship with God, which can come through keeping the commandments.

Once you acquire and mix together these special ingredients, you can have a happy and eternal marriage. Just as with a batch of cookies, omitting any ingredients or using the wrong ingredients can change the results in your marriage. However, with all of the necessary ingredients properly mixed, “it is quite impossible for unhappiness to come, misunderstandings to continue, or breaks to occur.”

Read “Marriage and Divorce,” by President Spencer W. Kimball, to learn more about how to prepare for marriage, avoid divorce, and make your marriage happier.


—Kayla Orlando, Latter-day Saint Insights


Find more insights 

For a shortened version of President Kimball’s BYU devotional, read the Ensign article “Oneness in Marriage.” 

Read Marion D. Hanks’s general conference talk “Eternal Marriage” to learn more about eternal marriage and how to make your marriage happier.

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