I accidently left myself all of twenty minutes to get ready for my wedding on December 16, 1977. The Oversleeper begins his day in the move-it-or-lose-it mode and my best friend and I having been “moving” with hardly a breath ever since. We married very young, with foolishly little experience or education to prepare us for the stormy weather ahead: a firstborn with severe disabilities, multiple interstate moves, repeated periods of unemployment, numerous hospitalizations and surgeries, lost pregnancies, oppressive debt, business failures, loved ones who have left the church, sibling divorces, family deaths and, for the last ten years, a job which requires frequent, unpredictable, often extended separations. There is no way our union should have survived over three decades of such dramatic ups and downs, spurts and starts, rain and sun, collisions and repairs, trouble and peace, heart-rending losses and hard-won gains. Yet our exclusive club is tighter and more exclusive than ever.
And this triumph, I believe, can be credited to the principle of "Belonging".…
In the eternities before time, we loved our Father. Our greatest desire was to become like Him so that we could serve with Him. We agreed to give up our life in His immediate presence in order to have the opportunity to gain the knowledge necessary to Godhood and to prove ourselves to ourselves, our Father and the Universe. As a result of that choice, all humankind comes into this second estate with the innate desire to "belong". It is the driving force in all our psychological landscape. What we long for is a complete sense of belonging - ultimate security and acceptance. We find this in our mother's arms as infants, but search and ache for it all the rest of our lives. It is obviously the beating of our pre-mortal "heart" - the spiritual pain at being separated from our Father in Heaven. If this sacred aching is treated with understanding and tenderness by our families, we gain some comfort and peace and relative security in this life. On the other hand, if this longing is fueled by cruelty, neglect and betrayal by our families, the hunger can become so wretchedly acute that it either drives us to sin (pride and immorality) in desperate attempts to fill it, or to depression and hopelessness. As the Spirit has helped me to better comprehend this principle, and the fact that it operates in every human heart, I feel more charitable toward people in general.
I have thought a great deal too, about how this all relates to marriage. Marriage is clearly the greatest opportunity in this life to experience, at least in human relationships, a satisfaction of our ancient longing. It is the highest, most glorious order in the hierarchy of human relationships. Sensing its potential, everyone aspires to it, in one way or another. Of course, Satan has replicated the shallowest appearances of marriage, promoting the idea there are shortcuts to achieving this great thing that we desire above all things. So people indulge in immorality, living together, etc., and for a moment in time, they feel like they "belong". But what damage is done to the spiritual heart when they discover that it’s all a sham! In their hunger for emotional security - belonging - they find that their sacred trust was established on the very principles of insecurity. The heart cannot rest or plant itself. This is not the authentic human love they were desperate for because it does not replicate God's love which is constant, committed, consistent, merciful, long-suffering, patient, hopeful, ETERNAL.
Only marriage (ultimately a celestial marriage) which pays the price of patient preparation, self-discipline and irrevocable commitment to another person's happiness can come close to God's love and therefore to the sense that we are secure in our belonging. With that security we then have the emotional freedom to share authentic human love with others - most importantly, with our children. Of course, this is the great miracle and purpose behind the Atonement - to bring us into a "oneness" not only with our Heavenly Father, but with one another. As we allow the miracle of the Atonement to plant itself in our hearts, making it the centerpiece of all our relationships - particularly our marriages - our hearts balloon with the sense of belonging, security and acceptance. Our capacity to love is magnified so that we may lead others to identify their own Need and to The Source that can satisfy it.
Above all my blessings -- which are more numerous than can ever be counted -- I thank God for my marriage. Happy Anniversary honey. Here’s to 4,000 more.