With the directive to "watch and learn," Elder L. Whitney Clayton of the Seventy shared five principles he has learned from examples of faithful marriages.
1. Treasure. "I have observed that in the happiest marriages both the husband and wife consider their relationship to be a pearl beyond price, a treasure of infinite worth. … They know that no other relationship of any kind can bring as much joy, generate as much good or produce as much personal refinement," he said. "Watch and learn: the best marriage partners regard their marriages as priceless."
2. Faith. He said successful eternal marriages are built on a foundation of faith in Jesus Christ and His teachings. Husbands and wives share a "mutual quest" to be obedient and good. "They do not consider the commandments to be a buffet from which they can pick and choose only the most appealing offerings," he said.
Explaining that faith strengthens marriage and faith grows as individuals keep the commandments, Elder Clayton declared, "Thus keeping the commandments is fundamental to establishing strong eternal marriages. Watch and learn: faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the foundation of happy eternal marriages."
3. Repentance. Elder Clayton said repentance is tied to humility. "Repentance helps restore and maintain harmony and peace" while humility "means that both husbands and wives seek to bless, help and lift each other, putting the other first in every decision. Watch and learn: repentance and humility build happy marriages."
4. Respect. He said this comes as husbands and wives "treat each other as equal partners" and "make decisions unanimously." Elder Clayton said husbands and wives "never do or say anything that approaches the appearance of impropriety, either virtually or physically. Watch and learn: terrific marriages are completely respectful, transparent and loyal."
5. Love. "The happiest marriages I have seen radiate obedience to one of the happiest commandments — that we 'live together in love,' (Doctrine and Covenants 42:45). … Watch and learn: successful couples love each other with complete devotion."
To those who are single, divorced, single parents or for various reasons are not in a position to marry, Elder Clayton counseled, "Seek after the ideal of forming an eternal marriage, including by striving or preparing to be a worthy spouse. … One day every promised blessing concerning marriage will be yours."
In conclusion, Elder Clayton said, "Marriage is a gift from God to us; the quality of our marriages is a gift from us to Him."
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