When it comes to directness and inspiration—saying things how they are while still providing encouragement—no one can top Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. His extensive vocabulary, common sense, poetic language, wisdom, and faith just immediately put things into perspective.
Take, for example, the recent marriage advice he shared on social media this week, which demonstrates the real work, real frustrations, and real laughter that go into every marriage:
Keep a sense of humor in your marriage, because you can’t survive without it. You’re going to have to laugh at some of the problems and some of your reactions and some of your spouse’s reactions. You’re going to have to see the bright side of things. I’ve always tried to do that with Pat and she with me.
But also, in marriage, there is nothing tentative. We must sit down, buckle up, and get on the road. Do not leave yourself an escape route. Don’t say every 20 minutes, “Well, I’m not as excited about this as I thought I’d be! This isn’t how they told me it would be.”
It’s not fair to anybody—it’s not fair to you, it’s not fair to your spouse, it’s not fair to God—for you to keep asking that question. We ask it once, in a sense, when we make the decision to marry, and then we buckle down and stay true to our eternal covenants.
It is a gospel truth that you can make the marriage you want. That’s the issue of agency. It doesn’t mean that bad days won’t come, because they will. It doesn’t mean there isn’t going to be sorrow and sadness and arguments, some highs and lows, and some things that don’t work out. That’s life.
I would not want anyone to misinterpret what I’m saying—I realize there may be an abusive or violent situation giving a legitimate reason to get out of a marriage. When there is a legitimate exception, you’ll know, your priesthood leaders will know, and God will know. But the rule is, you work and pray and serve and love and laugh and forgive and hang in there. That’s the rule. You can make the marriage you want. That is a gospel truth.
Lead image from Elder Holland's Facebook