Wedding days are filled with food, flowers, beautiful gowns and lots of smiles. The focus is on the happy couple and the love they want today and forever. Today is easy, they are in love, but what about all the days filled with children, trials, stress and change that surely is to come?
I know two couples, each dealt with heavy trials, one marriage lasted, one did not. They both experienced the death of a child, job loss, a husband's betrayal, health issues and the multiple trials daily of life. One couple was committed to the marriage. They both took steps to receive counseling and work through their problems using the Atonement of Jesus Christ. They changed and forgave. They sacrificed and worked. They made it.
The other couple tried to work on their marriage, but only one was willing. Over a dozen years passed before the wife realized she alone could not change her husbands mind, he had to do that on his own. After 17 years of marriage and 4 children, they divorced.
What does it mean to endure? Elder F. Burton Howard of the Seventy said this, "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 gleans like new. It becomes special because you have made it to, and it grows more beautiful and precious as time goes by. Eternal marriage is just like that. We need to treat it just that way".
What does this look like on a day to day basis? In discussing this with friends I had one who said this, "Whenever I get a drink I ask my husband if he wants one as well. I make an effort every day to let him know I am thinking of him". Another said, "Let's get one thing straight, the big stuff, like affairs, don't just happen. If we were to do an autopsy on the big things like affairs, we would find a trail of little things that were never dealt with that lead individuals and marriages to major failures". In my own marriage it means praying as a couple, watching movies I would never pick that he loves and making the time to cook meals as I know how much my husband appreciates it.
President Monson also believes small acts can make a huge difference, he says, "Think to thank. In these three words are the finest capsule course for a happy marriage, formula for enduring friendship, and a pattern for personal happiness".