Religion and Marriage Excellence

Religion can help you achieve the highest level of awesomeness in the Janae and John Marriage Excellence plan. I love my church but I don’t think we have any monopoly on marital happiness. The John and Janae Excellence program would have to discard and even scorn these misconceptions.

For example, one of my friends assumed that her marriage decision to marry in an LDS temple, where they teach you that your marriage will extend beyond the grave, would help her in everyday communication with her husband.

Oh dear friend, how wrong you were.

Think not of what your religion will do for you, but what fun you can have with a little creative editing of your religion. Some think that re-arranging the words of church leaders to change their meaning is the first part of apostasy. Others will say that it is what the devil does to lead you away. I will tell you it is also a super funny marital activity.

Really, if you take your religion and yourself all that seriously in marriage you will break under all the pressure. If you don’t, your spouse is lying to you about your capabilities. The people who are the most confident in their correctness and righteousness in marriage are also the most deluded.

One of my least favorite religious sermons on marriage came from the Ensign in May of 2003. I think with a little editing I learned something profoundly important about how my religion has changed my marriage.

“As is common today, when we married she registered with a local department store. Instead of listing all the pots and pans and appliances we needed and hoped to receive, she chose another course. She asked for silverware. She chose a pattern and the number of place settings and listed knives, forks, and spoons on the wedding registry and nothing else. No towels, no toasters, no television—just knives, forks, and spoons. The wedding came and went. Our friends and our parents’ friends gave gifts. We departed for a brief honeymoon and decided to open the presents when we returned. When we did so, we were shocked. There was not a single knife or fork in the lot. ...

My Wife….never went to the many ward dinners she cooked, or never accompanied the many meals she made and sent to others who were sick or needy. It never went on picnics and never went camping. In fact it never went anywhere; and, as time went by, it didn’t even come to the table very often. Some of our friends were weighed in the balance, found wanting, and didn’t even know it…. Eternal Marriage is just like that. We need to treat it just that way.”

Lessons from this religious parable:

  1. No one gets what they register for
  2. That doesn't mean you won't eventually get it. They don't give those registry completion discounts for nothing.
  3. My mom didn’t want to go camping, and my dad certainly never went on any marital picnics. Probably because it was actually against their religion. Now I know why.
  4. No spouse in their right mind makes the same pie for their small family that they will make for a group.
  5. These days no one comes to the table to eat when they could be watching T.V.

Could this famous sermon be why my mom started getting us silverware when we were 12? Maybe you got a barbie or some other age appropriate present, but I could start the judging and balancing before I was even in a relationship. and that is an eternal perspective if I ever saw one.

Want to achieve marriage excellence? Find you own personal sermon on marriage. Seriously feel free to leave it as a comment. Also, remember to use the silverware at your wedding. For eating that super expensive food.

Quotation taken from Elder F Burton Howard of the Seventy “Eternal Marriage” Ensign 2003. Out of context.

Silverware Image source here

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