Marriage is work. There. I said it. I remember when I was dating in college I kept thinking, “I can’t wait to be done with this and be married! That will be much easier.” And to a point, it is easier to just be dating my husband instead of dating around – but I feel like I was tricked! All the movies, the lifestyle blogs, and people I followed on Facebook totally fooled me. Heck, they fooled us all. It doesn’t all just come together within seconds after the marriage, it is constant work.
Now, I know work has a bad connotation. That isn’t what I am trying to say. Marriage is the good kind of work. It is the kind of work that you look forward to going to and that you cannot wait to tell people about. There will be good days and bad days, but there is a way to have more of the best days. And it is as simple as including the gospel in your life and in your marriage every single day.
This is something I struggled with at first. My family was not awesome at scripture study or Family Home Evening. We were, however, great at saying family prayers in the evening. I have always known it is something important and something wonderful – to say prayers together morning and night, to read the scriptures together, to have Family Home Evening, and all of the above… yet I didn’t know how great it was until Adam’s first summer away.
Before my husband left for summer ball we were really great about doing including all the testimony building parts of the gospel into our marriage. He was great at remembering and reminding me reading scriptures. I always made sure we said evening prayer. And we set aside a special day to go to the temple on a regular basis. Then summer came, Adam got drafted, and routines turned into memories.
At first we were great at reading and praying over the phone. Then there were late nights when we didn’t have time or we were too tired. And it got to the point where it was all individual if at all. By the time summer ball was done and he came home any and all habits had faded and we were just getting used to being together again. But we forgot to include the gospel – besides church on Sunday – back into our routines. And marriage became work.
It wasn’t until one day when I completely lost it that I realized what was different. We weren’t reading scriptures together. We weren’t consistently praying in the morning in the evening together. We most definitely had not attended the temple together in months. My heart sank. The hard work in our marriage was a reflection of the lack of the spirit in our home. Adam agreed. We have since made a more conscious effort, whether we are together or apart to put the gospel priorities back in our life.
When we are together we pray in the morning and night, we attend the temple together on a regular basis, we patriciate in the ward, and we read scriptures as a family. When we are apart we pray at least once a day over the phone, we keep each other on track reading the scriptures, and we support each other in magnifying callings. Almost instantly after we put in an effort and prioritized the gospel in our life, there was a lightness to our marriage.
Keeping the gospel in our marriage is the best thing we have done. Whether Adam is gone for summer ball or I am off traveling for work, we have made the gospel in our marriage a constant priority. And I honestly believe that is why we have more of the good days than the bad days. It is still work – there needs to be communication, trust, and adventure. But the gospel makes the work easier.