Yesterday I gave a lesson in church on the principle of Eternal Marriage. I struggled with how to teach this lesson to the women. I have taught the principle to the young women several times. But it is different teaching the women, most of whom have some experience with marriage.
So I worked and struggled with it and put it aside and then talk to a friend and reworked it and then presented it to Jonathan who within a minute told me "No no no. You are doing it all wrong." Then he described how he thought I should teach it. I told him his way sounded like how I would teach the young women, but that these women have experience with marriage and know it isn't all roses and chocolates. He said that was all the more reason to remind them of what it is supposed to be and can become. Then with a sly little smile he told me I was the perfect person to teach this lesson because maybe then I would fall a little deeper in love with my husband. :)
We laughed a bit and he went up to bed. And I rewrote my lesson. Actually, I wrote an objective for my lesson. The lesson manuals for Young Women's instruction have these but the Women's manual does not. So I wrote my own Objective for the lesson.
I started the lesson by asking the class how the world views marriage today. I wrote the responses on the board. Then I told them that this is how Satan has colored marriage. I shared with the class the following quote by Boyd K. Packer, an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ; "The single purpose of Lucifer is to oppose the great plan of happiness, to corrupt the purest, most beautiful and appealing experiences of life: romance, love, marriage, and parenthood."
Then I held up my sunglasses and told the class that today my objective was to remove Satan's sunglasses from our view of marriage and to help us see it in the light of the Lord's lenses for the beautiful, appealing, pure and purifying experience that it is and can be. I invited them to join me in their comments in attempting to inspire one another to want that ideal eternal marriage, to prepare for it and seek it out if we are not married, and to do our best to create as close to it as we can in our own home if we are married.
We began with the first marriage of Adam and Eve, performed by the Lord. We noted what a gift Eve was to Adam so that he would not be alone on the earth. I referred to THIS talk and the parable at the end to illustrate how temple marriage is essential to gain the full inheritance the Lord has waiting for us.
I shared my personal experience attending a marriage in the temple for the first time. It was the wedding of my dear friends Emily and Aaron Sherinian. I tried to verbally paint the picture of the sealing room with the alter in the middle and the bride on one side, the groom on the other and mirrors behind each of them that show them going on forever.
Through the lump in my throat I shared how blow away I was by the power of the Spirit in that room. It wasn't even the wedding of a family member but I felt such a powerful presence of the Spirit there. I really was overwhelmed and shocked by it. It was so very different than any other civil wedding I had attended.
I shared the feeling at my own wedding of knowing that my deceased grandparents were present and the feeling that there was no roof on the temple because it seemed all of heaven was in attendance. I shared how significant it was that those mirrors also represented all the generations past and all the generations future who were in attendance that day and would be affected by the union being made in that room.
We had some comments on how after the wedding day comes the hard work. We heard about how humbling marriage can be and how committed we have to be to stay in when it is easier to walk away. I pointed out that the hard parts of marriage are there to refine us and make us more Christ like. I asked the class for examples of how marriage has done this for them or others they know. We had some really good comments.
I shared how I have seen in my parents marriage the rough spots of each of my parents get smoothed over time and how they have taken the good the other person brought to the marriage and become more like that themselves.
Then I ended with noting how I just attended a funeral and how grateful we will be when we reach that point of separation we will be for having and Eternal marriage sealed in the temple. Death has a way of really sifting through what emotions are important and what matters. I shared my own feelings of how grateful I was for my marriage and the covenants I made in the temple on my wedding day that ensure me a full measure of the Lord's inheritance for me as long as I live worthy and keep my covenants, even if my children or husband decided to do otherwise some day.
In all it was a lesson taught not by notes or even bullet points. I said I was flying by the seat of my pants but really it felt more like I was just going along with the flow of where the Spirit took the lesson. And that is the best kind of lesson to teach.