We are continuing our focus on the topic of marriage this week because of large marriage seminars we have keynoted last week and this week and next week in Phoenix, Ogden and Minneapolis.
All marriages go through their ups and downs, and we have become convinced that staying married and strengthening a marriage over time are often a matter of realizing just how high the stakes are and being committed enough that we fight our way through the tough times with never even the thought of giving up or throwing in the towel.
And for those of us in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, particularly those with temple marriages, the stakes are almost unimaginably high. Let us try a metaphor on you that may be helpful in grasping how much is at stake and in giving us all the long-range perspective that may get us through the rough patches that every marriage experiences.
Imagine that you have started a business. Imagine that you put everything you had into the new company, all your money and all your borrowing power, and committed yourself to make that business work.
There were some good years and some bad years, but now you have had the company for some time, and in some ways you are getting a little tired of it.
And there are problems. You get audited by the IRS and have to pay some back taxes that you can’t afford. One of your employees has been embezzling from you and it is putting a strain on everything. And sometimes you feel that you don’t even really like the product you are producing and find the day-to-day process of running the business somewhat tiring and even boring.
You keep reminding yourself how much you have invested in the company — both in money and in time, and so you keep at it, slogging away and doing your best. But it just seems like things aren’t getting any easier, and more and more often you have the feeling that you should just get out — sell the company and start over. Maybe you could build a better business the next time around, one you would enjoy more and that produced a better product.
But then something happens. You have a vision one day of what the company could be worth if you held on to it and kept it going. This little epiphany overwhelms you and you fully and deeply believe that if you persevere and give it your all, the company will one day be worth not $1 million, not $100 million, not $1 billion, but $100 billion.
Now, armed not only with the motivation of all that you have put into the business, but also the motivation of the unimaginable amount that it will one day be worth, you deepen your commitment and give all you have to making it succeed.
The business, of course, is metaphorical for our marriages and for all we put into them, and for the problems and doubts and challenges we feel, and for the tendencies we sometimes have to feel like giving up or starting over with someone else, and for the inestimably huge worth that an eternal, celestial marriage will someday have.
May we all draw from both of those motivations and make our marriage commitments absolutely firm and maximize and prioritize our constant efforts to strengthen and improve this most important union of eternity.
Richard and Linda Eyre are New York Times No. 1 best-selling authors who lecture throughout the world on family-related topics. Visit them at www.EyresFreeBooks.com or www.valuesparenting.com. Their latest Deseret e-book is “On the Homefront."