9 Eternal Principles I Learned from My Non-Member Parents

"My non-member parents’ example stands as a beacon to us. They are righteous spirits who received divine guidance to raise a family and sustain their marriage for 45 years. I thank Heavenly Father daily for their inspiration."

My parents recently celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary. Lest you think they’re ancient, I’ll mention that they got married right out of high school! I’m the only member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in my family, but I learned some solid life lessons and eternal principles from my non-member parents. Here they are:

Love takes work

For me, 45 years is much longer than I’ve been alive, and so that kind of longevity in marriage is hard to comprehend. And if 45 years is difficult to fathom, eternity is almost impossible. There are endless General Conference talks, relationship books, and even scientific studies on how to make a marriage work. Regardless of the methodology or even the religious beliefs a couple chooses to embrace, love is hard. I know this undeniable truth from watching my parents painstakingly work through issues, make sacrifices for and try to understand each other – and sometimes fail at all of these things. Ultimately, because they each choose daily to weather the failures, they succeeded.

Charity is a way of life

We regularly went to Goodwill to donate items. I watched my dad volunteer with the Boy Scouts, the United Way, and various other organizations. I watched my mom volunteer at my elementary school, and spend hours on the phone with relatives, making them feel special. Charity of your goods, funds, or time is a way of life because you don’t have to think about it or expect a reward—it’s just what you do. You do it because you love others.

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