Latter-day Saint Life

5 tips for happy marriages we heard in general conference

Dancing wedding cake figurines
After this general conference, I feel more motivated than ever to improve and strengthen my marriage relationship.
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As I watched general conference this time around, one topic that seemed to keep coming up was the beauty and power of a strong marriage. Perhaps I noticed it because my husband and I celebrated our 10-year wedding anniversary earlier this year. When I was newlywed, I may have thought I’d have marriage all figured out by the time we hit 10 years, but I’ve realized there is always more to learn about this special aspect of our lives.

And after this general conference, I feel more motivated than ever to improve and strengthen that relationship.

Here is some of the most poignant marriage advice I took away from conference.

Praise and Pray

“Pat was the greatest woman I have ever known—a perfect wife and mother, to say nothing of her purity, her gift of expression, her spirituality. … She was a complete daughter of God, an exemplary woman of Christ.” —President Jeffrey R. Holland, “Motions of a Hidden Fire

President Holland has never been shy in his praise for his wife Patricia (which is a marriage lesson in itself). And since her passing last fall, it has become even more evident how much he loved her.

President and Sister Holland have also been vocal throughout the years about how their marriage and family life was not perfect—they too had moments of anxiety, stress, frustration, and fear in their relationship. But at the end of the day, President Holland can always say that his beloved wife “was the greatest woman I have ever known.” And that is the kind of marriage relationship I strive to have—one where we can look past imperfections or worldly pettiness and see each other as God sees us.

President Holland went on to give us counsel on prayer—how to pray, when to pray, who to pray for—and I think his wisdom is how we can see each other as God sees us.

President Holland said, “There are no limits to when, where, or about what we should pray.” And I like to think that includes praying for our spouse, praying for our own heart to be softened in heated moments, and praying to see—and be grateful for—all of their best qualities.

Cleave and Counsel

“God has counseled us to ‘love [your] wife [or husband] with all [your] heart, and … cleave unto her [or him] and none else.’ For those who are married, to cleave unto her or him and none else means you counsel together in love, you love and care for each other, you prioritize time with your spouse over outside interests, and you call upon God to help you overcome your weaknesses.” —Elder Matthew L. Carpenter, “Fruit That Remains

The principle of cleaving to your spouse feels like such an Old Testament phrase to me. It’s not a term we often use today and a concept I don’t feel like I’ve fully grasped. But I loved Elder Carpenter’s modern-day application of the word cleave: counseling together, loving and caring for each other, prioritizing time with your spouse, and calling upon God to overcome weaknesses.

Those all feel like actions I can add to my marriage in 2024, and I easily see how they would make a difference.

Cherish Covenants

“Honoring marriage and family covenants made in temples of God will provide protection from the evil of selfishness and pride.” —President Henry B. Eyring, “All Will Be Well Because of Temple Covenants

This statement felt like an exclamation point from President Eyring. It’s a simple commandment—“honoring marriage and family covenants made in temples of God”—that comes with a huge payoff—“protection from the evil of selfishness and pride.”

How many times can I look back and see how selfishness and pride played a role in a disagreement or misunderstanding? President Eyring’s words make me want to dive deeper into the “how” of honoring my marriage covenants to make sure I’m taking full advantage of that incredible promised protection.

To help me do that, I revisited a talk President Russell M. Nelson gave in 2006 called “Nurturing Marriage.” He gives three action verbs to strengthen any marriage—to appreciate, to communicate, and to contemplate.

“I invite each marital partner to consider these suggestions and then determine specific goals to nurture your own relationship. Begin with sincere desire. Identify those actions needed to bless your spiritual unity and purpose,” President Nelson said.

I look forward to taking his invitation and seeing my family’s spiritual unity and purpose deepen.

Find Peace in Christ

“Getting married, forming a family, and having children brought to us the greatest moments of joy we have ever experienced in our lives but also the most profound moments of pain, anguish, and grief.” —Elder Mathias Held, “Opposition in All Things

This was a moving reminder for me personally and an important one to hear. It was validation that family relationships are hard. One moment they are incredibly joyful, and in the blink of an eye everything can flip on its head. The idea that “opposition in all things” exists in our marriage and family relationships too is not necessarily a comforting thought, but it is comforting to hear that anyone—even our Church leaders—can experience this duality of emotions in their marriage.

And when (not if) those hard moments arise, we can always find peace—“not as the world giveth”—but so much greater and more lasting—in the Savior Jesus Christ. President Holland once said, “Help and hope are dearly needed because in this world today are many who struggle with any number of challenges—physical or emotional, social or financial, or a dozen other kinds of trouble. But many of these we are not strong enough to address in and of ourselves, for the help and peace we need is not the kind ‘the world giveth.’ No, for the truly difficult problems we need what the scriptures call “the powers of heaven.”

► You may also like: President Russell M. Nelson: 3 ways to find peace in Christ

Remember God’s Love

“The sealing power is supernal evidence of how much God loves all of His children everywhere and wants each of them to choose to return home to Him.” —President Russell M. Nelson, “Rejoice in the Gift of Priesthood Keys

One central theme I noticed throughout general conference was how much God loves all His children. Quotes like Each person on earth is a beloved son or daughter of God,” “God is in relentless pursuit of you,” and “Christ is eager to accompany us on the journey of our lives” were regularly shared, and President Nelson’s closing remarks were no different in tone. But his emphasis on the sealing power and accompanying marriage covenants as a witness of God’s love for His children was not an idea I’d considered before, and one I hope I won’t take for granted in the future.

For me, President Nelson’s talk was the perfect conclusion to a powerful conference weekend, and I came away feeling better equipped to strengthen my own marriage, more deeply respect the temple covenants I’ve made, and seek out the promised blessings that are sure to come by following the counsel of our Church leaders.

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