Sunday, February 13, 2011


As we live the Gospel of Jesus Christ we make covenants which ask us to sacrifice. When Jennifer and I were married in the temple, we promised God to have a covenant marriage. Thus we sacrifice for each other.

Elder Bruce C. Hafen has made various comments that ring true to me about what it means to have a covenant marriage from the extraordinary to the mundane. On one extreme he shared a story of "A husband whose wife suffered for years from a disabling emotional disorder; but to him it was always “our little challenge”—never just “her illness.” In the realm of their marriage, he was afflicted in her afflictions, just as Christ in His infinite realm was afflicted in our afflictions" (Bruce C. Hafen, April 2004 General Conference). Because this husband was willing to sacrifice for his wife and be afflicted in her afflictions it wasn't her "big problem" but their "little challenge."

On the other extreme, Elder Hafen speaks of how we can sacrifice for each other in the mundane with the following story:

While on a long distance road trip with a tight schedule a wife leaves her purse in the gas station. She doesn't realize this until 30 minutes have passed, meaning that an hour of driving time they didn't have time for has just been added onto their trip. "He might justifiably chide her for not remembering, as he wheels the car around and begins to backtrack along their traveled route. He could point out, perhaps more than once during the day, that her failure to remember the purse made them late for an important commitment. He could exonerate himself to the people who are waiting for them by telling them that the reason they're late is because she, not he, forgot the purse.

"But if he accepts the idea of "be you afflicted in all her afflictions," he will know that she is at least as embarrassed as he is, and she really doesn't need him to point out her oversight. When he remembers this perspective, he will behave as if he had left his wallet in the men's room; and that will change the tone and spirit of their conversation. Neither the purse nor the failure to remember it is just her problem--it is their problem. Once this is clear, both will lift up their hearts" (Bruce C. Hafen, Covenant Hearts: Marriage and the Joy of Human Love, p 101-102).

Elder F. Burton Howard said "If you want something to last forever, you treat it differently. You shield it and protect it. You never abuse it. You don’t expose it to the elements. You don’t make it common or ordinary. If it ever becomes tarnished, you lovingly polish it until it gleams like new. It becomes special because you have made it so, and it grows more beautiful and precious as time goes by. Eternal marriage is just like that" (F. Burton Howard, "Eternal Marriage", Ensign, May 2003, 92–94).

And I would add that if you want something to last forever, you sacrifice for it. I have a seen the power of the Lord come into my marriage as my wife and I have sacrificed for each other in big and small ways. As we have been afflicted in each others afflictions we have found greater joy in each others' joys.

Jesus Christ Changes Lives

I have found the story of Jesus Casting the devils out of the man into the heard of swine to be particularly moving of how Jesus Christ can changes lives. The story centers on a man who lived in the tombs and who cut himself. People had tried to use physical means to help him to change, including chains. Perhaps this man too had tried to find a physical or temporal solution to his problems. But none of those things had worked.

But everything changed when the Savior came into his life. He cast out the devils into the heard of swine and healed the man spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. The Savior then said to this man, "Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee" (Mark 5:19).

I wonder how often we are like this man and those who had tried to tame him. When we face problems, do we seek to find temporal solutions to them? Do we rely on the strength of our own arm instead of the strength of the Lord? We would do well to remember the lesson of this story: everything changed when the Savior came into this man's life. We too can have our lives changed if we will let the Savior into our lives by living His restored gospel.

I have a testimony of Christ's power to change lives because He has changed mine. Like the man in this story, Christ has healed me mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.