In the current turbulent discussions surrounding marriage, it can be pretty hard to know what that relationship should really look like. Fortunately, we can look to the temple.
With so many models of marriage being proposed today, it can be hard for any of us to understand what an ideal marriage should look like, especially if such a marriage wasn’t exemplified in our homes. Luckily, we need look no further than the temple itself.
Elder Bruce C. Hafen, an emeritus member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, explains several ways the temple teaches us about marriage. His article, “The Temple and the Natural Order of Marriage,” was published in the September 2015 issue of the Liahona and Ensign.
First, we learn about the Savior’s Atonement and the spiritual progress Adam and Eve enjoyed in their marriage. Elder Hafen says, “The temple’s primal story is quite consciously the story of a married couple who help one another face continuous mortal opposition.” We also learn that couples are not meant to be dependent or independent (two worldly extremes) but interdependent.
Second, we learn from the symbolism of the temple altar. Though we no longer offer animal sacrifices, we do still make an offering: “a broken heart and a contrite spirit” (3 Nephi 9:20). When a couple kneels at the marriage altar, they are figuratively placing “upon that altar of sacrifice their own broken hearts and contrite spirits—a selfless offering of themselves to each other and to God in emulation of Christ’s sacrifice for them.”
Third, through the sacrificial view of marriage, we learn about authentic joy. Sacrifice is one of the main ways we come closer to and become like God. It is only through truly giving ourselves to someone else in sacrifice and love that we become more like Christ and our lives take on a deeper meaning. We even discover our true capacity to love as we learn to love Christ. Within such a marriage, true joy is not only possible—it’s promised.
—Leah Welker, Mormon Insights
Find more insights
Read “The Proclamation on the Family: Transcending the Cultural Confusion,” the first of Elder Hafen’s two articles commemorating the 20th anniversary of “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.”
Learn more about the importance of the family at Gospel Topics: Marriage and Family.