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It's no stretch to say that a person has a serious advantage in life if they come from a loving, supportive home. Many people still succeed though they come from less-than-ideal family situations, but having our basic needs met, knowing that our parents love us and learning life lessons at home make all the challenges of day-to-day living that much easier to face. Likely, as an adult you want a happy home for your family.
This is no coincidence. God organizes us into families so that we can grow up in happiness and safety, and so that we can learn to love others selflessly—the key to true joy. Within the family is the best place to learn to love others the way Heavenly Father loves each one of us.
God's Church exists to help families gain eternal blessings. We believe the greatest blessing He gives us is the ability to return to live with Him in heaven with our families. We follow our Heavenly Father's will because that is how we earn this blessing.
When we call a fellow Church member "Brother" Lee or "Sister" Brown, we really mean it. We believe that each of us—including those who aren’t members of our Church—is a literal son or daughter of our Heavenly Father (Hebrews 12:9) and therefore, our heavenly siblings. We were loved and taught by our Heavenly Father as part of an eternal family before coming to earth. So we share a bond that transcends this life. Think about it, if you truly thought of your neighbor or coworker as your brother or sister, would you treat them any differently? In the same vein, knowing that your earthly family has eternal significance might help you treat them better as well.
Maybe we are one of the lucky ones who was raised in a happy and secure family with two loving parents. Maybe we weren’t, and growing up was tough without the love and support we longed for. Likely, as an adult you want a happy home for your family. Living peacefully in a family isn’t always easy, but in God’s restored Church, marriage and families are the most important social unit now and in eternity.
People who have lived through a disaster never say, "All I could think about during the earthquake was my bank account." They almost always say, "All I could think about was my wife and children." It shouldn’t require a disaster for us to know this truth. But too often, we let earning money, chasing pleasure, or even the needs of people outside our families divert our attention. In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints families come first.
Happiness within our family will most likely be achieved when it’s founded on the teachings of Jesus. That means being unselfish, honest, loyal, loving and a whole host of other virtues, not to mention a lot of effort. A loving and happy family doesn’t happen by accident.
Thinking back on our own family. There were times that were happy and times that weren’t. What were the happiest moments? Most likely they were when we felt loved. When our Dad cried because we were sick. When we saw our parents laugh and smile, and could see how much they loved each other. When my sister gave me a high five for scoring a goal, or vice versa. When I broke a window and my parents forgave me instead of yelling at me. When the car slid off the road during a blizzard and our family had to walk several miles for help. We held hands and sang to make the time go by faster. Our family pitched in to dig someone else out of the snow. My family suffered through my high school musical even though I was just a stagehand. Maybe our family prayed, sang songs, or attended church together. We can recreate those happy times today within our own family and marriage. If our family didn’t have many of those happy moments when we were young, then we want to make things different now.
Think of the parts we play, or will play, in our family, and all the responsibility that goes along with each one. A parent, a spouse, a sibling—even little children have a lot to do. The effort we put into strengthening our families is the hardest and most significant work any of us will do on earth. Keeping a peaceful home and putting others' needs first has a refining effect on us, and it is no coincidence that these things can sometimes be grueling. God meant for us to be tested so we could grow and master skills we wouldn't learn any other way—skills like patience and unselfishness that will help us become more like God and prepare us to live with our families throughout eternity.
We shouldn’t get discouraged. No matter how hard we try, our marriage and home won’t be perfect. But if we build them around Christ’s principles including faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work and wholesome fun, home can be a place of refuge, peace and immense joy.
Most people think of a marriage made in heaven as a rare occurrence in which both parties are deeply in love and highly compatible. We like to think that all our marriages are made in heaven. When a man and woman enters one of our holy temples to be married, they covenant (or promise) they will stay together forever—on earth and in heaven after they die, if they are faithful to each other and their promises to the Lord. A temple marriage doesn’t include phrases like, "Till death do you part" or "So long as you both shall live." If we keep these promises, our children also become part of this heavenly promise—sealed to us forever.
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