Preparing for an Eternal Marriage and Family (David O. McKay Lesson 14)

Dealing with Marital Problems

Developing love in marriage takes effort. In answer to the teenage daughter who asked: "Mother, how do you fall in love?" the wise mother had answered: "My darling, you don't fall in love, you must keep working at it all the time." Yes, love is like faith, it isn't something you can capture today and it will remain with you always. It must be nurtured day after day by a husband who continues to "court" his wife after marriage by studiously trying to do the things that will make her happy. Someone has aptly said that "a woman happy with her husband was better for her children than a hundred books on child welfare." The flame of romantic desire in marriage is fanned each day by a wise companion who wins her man every day she lives with him. Marriages are not successful merely because these couples have fewer problems than others, but they are successful because, when problems come, as come they will, a husband and wife sit down together to solve their problems like grown-up, mature individuals, rather than with the immaturity of adolescence.

Both partners must help solve marriage problems. All married people are going to have problems. You see some who seem to be getting along all right and others whose marriages seem to be going on the rocks and you wonder if some people have more troubles than others. Well, they don't. All married couples have just as many problems as the other folks. The whole difference lies in the way they set about to solve their problems. If when the first storm clouds arise, as come they will, they kick up their heels—fight and quarrel like a couple of adolescent children, threaten to go home to Mother—that's the couple that usually winds up in the divorce court. But if when problems come they sit down like grown-up people should, talk about them, pray about their problems, even fasting and praying, only then may the rains, the storms, and the floods come and find their house still intact.

Love will increase for a couple true to their temple covenants. Sometimes, as we travel throughout the Church, a husband and wife will come to us and ask if, because they are not compatible in their marriage—they having had a temple marriage—it wouldn't be better if they were to free themselves from each other and then seek more congenial partners. To all such we say, whenever a couple who have been married in the temple say they are tiring of each other, it is an evidence that either one or both are not true to their temple covenants. Any couple married in the temple who are true to their covenants will grow dearer to each other, and love will find a deeper meaning on their golden wedding anniversary than on the day they were married in the house of the Lord. Don't you mistake that.

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