“Don’t you feel awful for giving up the chance of eternal marriage?” is a question that my LDS friends and family ask me fairly often, usually accompanied by a look of deep concern. I can understand the question: I’ve asked the same thing myself.
When you’re LDS the pinnacle of your religious experience is a temple marriage, and the thought of spending your eternity with your spouse, and family. (How that actually works out is a bit more complicated because presumably each of your children and their spouses will have their own eternity together so they can’t possibly be with you since they’ll be with their spouses, and then there’s the in-laws—like I said, it’s a complicated matter, but it’s still a nice thought if you have a good marriage.)
This Valentines Day I was thinking about this whole topic, and decided that I really would like to share why the loss of a temple marriage and eternal family really isn’t a loss at all.
A Christian marriage is based on the premise that God created that marriage—that He ordained the concept of marriage from the very beginning. God saw that Adam was alone, and decided that “It is not good that man should be alone.” Because of that, He created Eve. It’s also based on the premise that God made marriage for this lifetime, and He’s planned something really amazing and great for the next one. The terms the Bible uses are things like “eternal life,” “the kingdom of God,” “living water,” and “life,” and the converse as “the wrath of God” and “death.”
Nowhere in the Bible though, does it teach that this eternal life has anything to do with an eternal marriage. In fact, the Bible teaches explicitly against eternal marriage in Matthew 22:30.
A Christian marriage therefore is a marriage for this life only, and yet that thought isn’t sad. Instead, the Christian knows that God has a far better plan, a plan that is better than the human mind can imagine. It lies in the character of God, and in a Christian’s relationship to God. God, to a Christian, really is unfathomable. Truthfully we just can’t imagine His greatness, but occasionally when we least expect it, usually, God gives us a peak into Him, and when He does we see something desirable, something amazing, something beyond our biggest dreams and we know instinctively that this Something will fulfill our every desire much, much better than any earthly thing ever could.
Truthfully we’ve experienced human marriage: even good ones, and even those heavenly moments when we think we’re already in eternity. But, when compared to what God—the God who created the universe—has for us, well we know that there really is no comparison.
So, the next time someone asked me that question, I think I’ll point them to this blog, and ask them: which would you rather have, a earthly imitation, or the Real Thing?