At Eric and Tanya's ring exchange ceremony, the words of advice that Bishop Rands gave them moved me in such a way that I asked for a copy of his talk and he graciously handed his papers right over to me. Score! Here is a snippet of my favorite parts that apply to dating couples, anyone thinking about getting married, are engaged, newlyweds, have been married for a short while, or a long while. Basically everyone in a relationship!
"In the classic movie Shanendoah, Jimmy Stewart plays the father of a very large family during the civil war. Early in the movie a young man comes to ask him for his oldest daughter's hand in marriage. Jimmy Stewart asks him why he wants to marry his daughter. The boy replies that it's because he loves her. Jimmy Stewart tells him that lovin' his daughter isn't good enough and then in his folksy way explains the importance of liking your spouse. It's a powerful point. Being good friends is critical to success in marriage. You must continue to cultivate your friendship. It will be very easy to get caught up in trying to manage all the complexity of your lives. But you must find the time to continue your courtship.
Do things together.
Don't spend Friday and Saturday night studying, working, or just watching TV.
Have fun together.
Don't let the familiarity which inevitably comes with marriage result in boredom.
No matter what, don't be boring!
Involve each other in your lives.
Share little successes and failures of each day with each other.
Praise each other for doing good and listen and empathize when the other is struggling.
Don't be serious all the time.
Find activities and hobbies that you both enjoy and do them together.
If you do these things you won't take each other for granted but will look forward to spending time together.
Recognize that now is the time to start your new family out on the right path. It's a lot easier to do things right from the beginning than to change mid-stream. Begin immediately working on the traditions and patterns that will define your family.
Attend church every week.
Always respect each other and never use harsh language with each other or your children.
Whether you end up rich or poor, appreciate all you have been blessed with.
Read the scriptures as a couple, and later with your children, every day.
Genuinely express your love and appreciation for each other each day.
Pray together daily.
Establish these and other righteous patterns in your family life and you will find great happiness as a couple as well as a family.
Much is said regarding communication in marriage and most of it is ignored. Focus on communication.
Be open and vulnerable to each other.
Share your feelings and thoughts without worrying about what the other will think.
Embrace your differences because they can actually make you stronger as a couple
Don't compete with each other.
Counsel with each other, don't argue. The difference is when you argue, if there is an outcome, there is usually a winner and a loser, and more often than not a loser and a loser. On the other hand, when you counsel together you seek to genuinely understand the other's perspective. You reach a unified agreement knowing that you've together considered everything. When you counsel together it should be impossible to determine who 'won'."
I'm inspired to work a little harder and be a little better at being a wife and all that entails.