Today I, literally, celebrate my 34 years of marriage to my eternal companion. The older I get the more I understand how significant this accomplishment is, but even more important is its significance to my eternal progression. I will celebrate not only the temporal years that we have been together, but also the success that we have had in applying the Atonement of Jesus Christ to our marriage -- in order to have come thus far. Because, trust me, without it, the beautiful relationship that we share would most likely not have evolved to what it is today -- and that I trust it will be throughout eternity.

The greatest blessing that our Heavenly Father can bestow upon His children is that of Eternal Life - the kind of life that He enjoys -- and in His Presence. As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) we believe that this, the greatest of all the gifts of God, can only be bestowed upon a man and a woman, sealed together for time and eternity, in His Holy Temple. Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God, to bring about His Eternal Plan for our Salvation.

Knowing this eternal truth can better help us to understand why traditional marriage is under attack, and made so difficult in this life. A civil marriage is in the process of becoming eternal, and as such its success is just as important as a temple marriage. The adversary is currently doing his greatest work, affecting the outcome of marriages, in direct opposition to that of God's work. God wants to help us progress eternally. Satan wants to dam our progression and invites us to his way of life -- eternally -- by opposing God. The math is really that simple.

David A. Bednar, an Apostle of the Lord, on why Satan is opposed to marriage between a man and a woman:
"Lucifer relentlessly assails and distorts the doctrines that matter most to us individually, to our families, and to the world. Where is the adversary focusing his most direct and diabolical attacks? Satan works unremittingly to confuse understanding about gender, to promote the premature and unrighteous use of procreative power, and to hinder righteous marriage precisely because marriage is ordained of God and the family is central to the plan of happiness. The adversary’s attacks upon eternal marriage will continue to increase in intensity, frequency, and sophistication. 
Because today we are engaged in a war for the welfare of marriage and the home, in my latest reading of the Book of Mormon I paid particular attention to the ways the Nephites prepared for their battles against the Lamanites. I noted that the people of Nephi “were aware of the intent of [their enemy], and therefore they did prepare to meet them” (Alma 2:12; italics added). As I read and studied, I learned that understanding the intent of an enemy is a key prerequisite to effective preparation. We likewise should consider the intent of our enemy in this latter-day war. 
The Father’s plan is designed to provide direction for His children, to help them become happy, and to bring them safely home to Him. Lucifer’s attacks on the plan are intended to make the sons and daughters of God confused and unhappy and to halt their eternal progression. The overarching intent of the father of lies is that all of us would become “miserable like unto himself” (2 Nephi 2:27), and he works to warp the elements of the Father’s plan he hates the most. Satan does not have a body, he cannot marry, and he will not have a family. And he persistently strives to confuse the divinely appointed purposes of gender, marriage, and family. Throughout the world, we see growing evidence of the effectiveness of Satan’s efforts. 
More recently the devil has attempted to combine and legally validate confusion about gender and marriage. As we look beyond mortality and into eternity, it is easy to discern that the counterfeit alternatives the adversary advocates can never lead to the completeness that is made possible through the sealing together of a man and a woman, to the happiness of righteous marriage, to the joy of posterity, or to the blessing of eternal progression. 
Given what we know about our enemy’s intent, each of us should be especially vigilant in seeking personal inspiration as to how we can protect and safeguard our own marriages —and how we can learn and teach correct principles in the home and in our Church assignments about the eternal significance of gender and of the role of marriage in the Father’s plan." 

Marriage, as ordained of God, is the fork in the road that will either lead us to God or ultimately keep us from Him. Advocates that encourage, and/or support, same-sex marriage work against the Plan of Salvation. Granted, we each have our individual agency to do so, nevertheless it is clearly in opposition to what God teaches about marriage, through His prophets, and why.

The family is not only the basic unit of a moral society, but it is also the basis for Eternal Life. It is the foundation upon which the entire Plan of Happiness was founded and its ability to continue throughout eternity. For those who believe and/or advocate any other way for the family to perpetuate itself, clearly do not understand absolute laws that govern these eternal truths.

My marriage is the most important earthly relationship that I enjoy. I'm so grateful to be married to a person who, from day one, has put the Lord first in his life -- never once faltering. And because of that commitment, our entire family has been richly blessed.

As I reflect on our marriage, I can honestly say that I love him profoundly more than the day I was sealed to him, in the Los Angeles Temple (pictured above) 34 years ago. I could never have predicted the many challenges that we would face in raising our five children --  and everything that goes along with that!

We are now incredibly joyful grandparents to 10 perfect grandchildren. Each one a dear treasure to us. Our lives are rich indeed, because of the commitment that we share to the gospel of Jesus Christ as the foundation to our lives. We are far from perfect, but we have a deep desire to be together forever and we both share fervent testimonies of the power of eternal covenants -- made with God.

I love this quote by Dallin H. Oaks. It fits us perfectly!

"A good marriage does not require a perfect man or a perfect women. It only requires a man and a woman committed to strive together for perfection."

Happy Anniversary Sweetheart!

Kathryn Skaggs

If you're interested in learning more about what I've personally learned about having a successful marriage: The Three Pillars of a Successful Marriage - and Love, is Not One of Them! ; )

Mormon Messages Video: Saving Your Marriage

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