The top 3 things to look for in a spouse while you date? Look for 3 types of craziness. Other than those, it really doesn’t matter who you choose – God’s children can be compatible with each other if these 3 things are present.
- Crazy for you 2. Crazy for Jesus 3. Crazy for Mormonism. Now granted if she is crazy for these and you aren’t crazy for them, that won’t work either.
Now item 1, the craziness for the other spouse, that will wane, at least the physical aspect the physical need for the other surely dies down after 6 months to a year, but the respect for the other must be strong from the beginning, and it will likely last, notwithstanding resolving hard issues together. As a brilliant Jewish politician Ben Shapiro said, “though physical attraction has to be there, who you want to have sex with really has nothing to do with who you choose to marry.” He also gave wise council in saying that marriage is serious business, not just about fun.
Now on to the last 2 points, the religiosity aspect. Granted, if you’re not Mormon or Christian, don’t marry someone who is, it’s extremely hard to mesh faiths. Faith is a heavy thing. It’s hard for a non-Mormon to understand how and why God asks so much of Mormons. The non-latter-day saint spouse will not likely follow the latter-day saint spouse to the climbs the latter-day saint is want to make. Same chaos with the Christian and non-Christian.
People can be happily married outside of religious faith or inter-faith (though in my opinion and the opinion of religious people everywhere, not as happy). I know lots of interfaith couples and I love them all. I’m just speaking about statistical chances for happiness as measured in the social sciences. Statistically speaking, same faith couples do better than inter-faith couples, and when that same faith couple is a Mormon couple, they do even better yet! But hey, maybe that’s your calling, don’t ask me. Just know I’ll never give a Latter-day Saint council to marry a non-Latter-day Saint.
So back to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I’ve separated items 2 and 3 (craziness for Jesus and craziness for Mormonism) because a person at times will have a hard time following the councils of Mormon prophets, but their faith in Jesus can pull them through that trial of faith victorious. Jesus is the head of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but it can be hard to recognize that at times for some people.
Joseph Smith taught (in “Lectures on Faith”) that a religion which doesn’t require someone to give their all doesn’t have sufficient power to save them. That’s a high bar! As a Mormon family follows the prophets and follows their conscience (within the parameters of the councils of the prophets), only God knows the astounding things the couple will be called upon to do.
We are familiar with the concept of a calling in the church which must be magnified to gain exaltation. Less familiar is the idea that we have callings in the gospel, which also need to be magnified to gain salvation. How is a calling in the gospel different from a calling in the church? It’s similar to the old testament concept of a “free will offering” – you choose what it looks like. You choose what sign you want to give to God. The calling in the church is about doing well with a very specific assignment given to you from priesthood leaders. A calling in the gospel is doing well with yourself and your family in obeying the whispered instructions of the Holy Ghost (which always fall within the parameters of the teachings of the prophets).
This brings us to point 1, crazy for your spouse. This is important here because when your spouse comes to you and says something like “I feel prompted to do the following thing which is in the parameters of the teachings of the prophets…” you must be open to that.
As your spouse approaches you with this type of an idea, you pray about it yourself for confirmation of the idea, wherein you’ll get one of the following answers:
- “it doesn’t matter”
- “not good”
- “you decide, it’ll be fun for all of us to see where this goes” (“God, you speak southern!? This keeps getting better!”)
- “hm… you might not be ready for this… ask later. And in the meantime, READ THOSE SCRIPTURES! PS I love you & I’m proud of you!” (“God, well is it written of thee that thou art a Lord of hosts of armies and a God of mysteries! PS Thanks for the compliment!”)
- “I respect you and your wishes. Do it if you wish, much good can come of it, but know that it’s not strictly required of you”
- “Try 7” (God can give us specific answers! He isn’t limited to yes or no questions!)
- DISCLAIMER: Though God certainly has a sense of humor, prayer isn’t this casual and jovial (usually).
So, I’m not suggesting one spouse blindly follow the other because of their “craziness” (deep respect) for them, but that without the craziness-respect factor present, a spouse will shut down the other spouse without further contemplation when these types of ideas are presented.
This is why I say make sure your marriage candidate is crazy, they must be willing to do hard things! I once had a debate with a protestant wherein he said, “that’s not reasonable, reason has never been on the side of Mormonism”. First off that’s a stupid debate tactic, but second off, the wisdom of God is far different from the wisdom of man! I’m proud of the fact that I belong to a church that looks different from society at large! It wasn’t reasonable for Noah to build the ark. Wasn’t reasonable for the early pioneers to give up their property and trek into poverty in Zion. Wasn’t reasonable for John Tanner to give up his fortune to save the temple then in construction. Wasn’t reasonable for Cowdry to go wander looking for Joseph Smith for a reason he knew not. There are plenty of examples where we can see in hind sight that crazy actions for the sake of church and gospel callings turned out to be the means of saving many souls. Granted keep all this in wisdom and order, but within the parameters of wisdom and order there’s plenty of room for bold, daring, and what others would call “unreasonable” acts of faith.