Friday, July 29, 2011

Marriage is a Place of Service

I found a reason.

Past and former readers of this blog know my strong reluctance toward marriage, mainly because I'm disgusted with the dating game. It seems fruitless to spend money on another man's wife, and I simply haven't felt the desire to be married or slog through the moments that capture perpetual YSA-hood (especially in the church).

I felt a slight change this week, though.

I've been on a cooking binge lately, trying to find new ways to use the various appliances I've purchased or received as gifts in the past few months (Yes, friends; I am a single Mormon guy and I spend a lot of time in the kitchen using cooking aides that I asked for as gifts on holidays). The experience has been a mixed review; I am by no means Emeril or Martha Stewart, but I've come to adequately use a crockpot and can grill with the best of 'em.

It just sucks not having anyone with whom to share it.

Maybe that's why marriage is such a vital institution: it gives man and woman the opportunity to serve.

President Gordon B. Hinckley spoke of the necessity of marriage in acquiring Christ-like attributes:

"There is no other arrangement that meets the divine purposes of the Almighty. Man and woman are His creations. Their duality is His design. Their complementary relationships and functions are fundamental to His purposes. One is incomplete without the other."

Service is vital to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Without it, we cannot acquire the qualities of love, hope, charity or even (to some extent) faith. By serving our fellow men, we are serving the Lord. And him whom we learn to serve, we learn to love.

I don't want to get married out of an incessant desire to be with a particular woman. I don't want to get married so that I can multiply and replenish the Earth, fulfilling one of the great commandments of the Lord. I definitely don't want to get married to aspire to leadership positions, both in a career and in the church (trust me; I abhor leadership — some might even say, fear it).

But service to your spouse should be a foundation of any marriage. Again, from President Hinckley:

"If every husband and every wife would constantly do whatever might be possible to ensure the comfort and happiness of his or her companion, there would be very little, if any, divorce. Argument would never be heard. Accusations would never be leveled. Angry explosions would not occur. Rather, love and concern would replace abuse and meanness."

How does this affect me, a Single Vegas Mormon? By preparing to serve in this capacity, I find myself desiring marriage even more. By refusing to take for granted the institution of marriage, I can avoid the pitfalls that lead to so many difficulties in early married life. By learning to serve now, I can better transition to serving my future spouse.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks counseled against a "me-first" attitude when approaching marriage:

"Modern prophets have warned that looking upon marriage “as a mere contract that may be entered into at pleasure … and severed at the first difficulty … is an evil meriting severe condemnation,” especially where children are made to suffer."

I feel this is a good time to share the church's latest "Mormon Message." In a world where marriage and family are denigrated for personal fulfillment and achievement, remember the words of an Apostle of Jesus Christ. If you have strayed from the happiest levels of marriage, you can come back. The Lord wants you to "keep our love, and our marriages, our societies and our souls, as pure as they were meant to be."

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