In an imperfect world with imperfect people, how can we choose a partner with whom we can have an eternal, celestial marriage?
Marrying a perfect person is impossible—it’s a hard, cold truth that not a single person on this earth is perfect. In fact, we believe that the journey to becoming perfect is the main reason we came to this earth. And yet it’s not uncommon for us to endlessly date and search for someone who has never sinned and who matches every item on the list we made when we were thirteen. But to be honest, I didn’t know anything about dating or about who I wanted when I was thirteen. I was still under the illusion that love played out like High School Musical: boy meets girl, they fall in love, and everything plays out with little effort (even the one heartbreak is solved with a short song and dance).
But I was wrong. I was very, very wrong. Marriage is the highest covenant that we can make on this earth, and when I started dating I quickly learned that it’s the very thing that Satan attacks the most. I’m convinced that the beginning of this attack starts even before we start dating. It’s easy for Satan to convince us to have unrealistic expectations or to date people we ultimately know we can’t be happy with. But as Elder Kim B. Clark states in “Embrace the Plan,” a BYU devotional address, “We do not ‘find’ the perfect partner for eternal marriage; nor are we on our own or trapped by the past mistakes of others. The partnership of an eternal marriage is something we build together with the Lord.”
Elder Clark provides additional insight on marriage, explaining that we become more-perfect partners through a lifetime of dedicated discipleship. Doing so takes a lot of practice and will include many mistakes and, therefore, a lot of forgiving—of both ourselves and other people. It’s definitely not the easy fairy-tale I imagined as a child.
But making mistakes and forgiving in marriage are part of the plan of salvation, which is focused on the Atonement of Jesus Christ. As Kiersty Lemon, a speaker at a BYU Religious Education symposium, said: “The marriage covenant is possible because of Christ’s Atonement.” Without Christ’s Atonement we wouldn’t be good enough to achieve a celestial marriage because we wouldn’t be able to repent of our mistakes. With the Atonement, we have the opportunity to work with our spouse to create a celestial marriage through repentance and forgiveness.
So whether you’re married or looking for the person you want to marry someday, be kind. Be forgiving, And remember to always keep Heavenly Father in the plan.
Source: BYU Devotional Speeches
—Miranda Christensen, Mormon Insights
feature image by tanja heffner
Find more insights
To learn about using the Atonement to forgive other people, read James R. Rasband’s address “Faith to Forgive Grievous Harms.”
Discover more of the doctrine about the Atonement and marriage by checking out Kiersty Lemon’s article “Covenant Relationships through Christ’s Atonement.”