Last night at Institute, in commemoration of our dear Elder L. Tom Perry, we studied his talk from April's general conference talk, Why Marriage and Family Matter--Everywhere in the World.
Brother McMullen started the class by asking us, "why marriage?"
Being the only one in our study group who was engaged, everyone turned to me to answer first. I knew the answer, but I almost felt hesitant to.
"I am marrying Alex, not only because we love each other, but because marriage is about more than just us".
I stumbled explaining myself (you guys, I'm the worst at presenting my thoughts to people. This is why I am a blogger and not a public speaker haha). After I said it and attempted (and failed) to explain myself, the group gave me a look and carried on with the discussion.
I asked myself if I really meant what I said. I have been so stressed the past few weeks that sometimes I forget the reasons behind what I am doing.
As the class went on, my friend Sammi Padron made the following comment in relation to last week's lesson on The Music of the Gospel:
We need a dance partner. We need someone who will go through the steps with us. Our partner is the one who helps strengthen us when we are weak."
I then started bawling my eyes out. As she said that I thought about how hard it was coming home from my mission and not having a companion. It wasn't until I no longer had a companion that I realized how important it was to have one to progress. For a whole month I felt stagnant, trying to figure out myself without a partner and without companion goals.
And then I met Alex. As we got to know each other, all of a sudden pieces of my life started falling into place. Work, school, callings...you name it! We weren't even officially dating, yet things were finally making sense.
I got emotional for two reasons:
1. I felt an overwhelmingly amount of gratitude for Alex. I don't know how to express how much of a blessing he has been since coming into my life. Alex and I may have opposite personalities, but we compliment each other. I thought about all the times when I have been weak or have showed a lack of faith. Alex has been there to encourage, uplift, and strengthen me, and put me in my place when needs be.
2. I was extremely grateful to Heavenly Father for giving me Alex. There is not a morning or evening prayer I say where I don't start out thanking my Father in heaven for the man I am about to spend eternity with. This gratitude came to the extent of tears because I know how much I don't deserve this.Throughout my mission I was very stubborn about my choice of who I was going to marry. I was stubborn even though the Spirit had clearly said and shown me time and time again that who I wanted was not the right one. And when the time came that I finally let go, I showed a lack of faith and trust in my Father's promises of my patriarchal blessing being fulfilled.
Yet here I am, preparing to marry this incredible man in 56 days.
It is a huge testimony to me of my Father's love.
No matter how stubborn, how unfaithful, how rebellious, or how doubtful I can be sometimes, He still loves me. He blesses me in ways that I can't even begin to think how to give back.
And so, I want to take this opportunity to expand on what I have originally said:
I am marrying Alex, not only because I love him, but because marriage is about more than just us. Together, I know we can reach a potential that Heavenly Father wants for us. There is nothing I desire more than to raise children in the gospel and help build the kingdom of God. I know with Alex as my eternal companion, we can get that done. Why? Because we have the same eternal goals. Eighteen months dedicated to the Lord as a missionary does not mean the rest of my life's time isn't. This is still His time, it is still His work. I am forever indebted to my Saviour. I choose the path of making the next covenant (promise) with my Heavenly Father. I choose the path of dedicating all my efforts to building the kingdom of God. This is how I give back to Him. That is why eternal marriage has always been my goal. It is another important step in the process of becoming more like the Saviour--for myself, for my spouse, and most importantly, for our children. Embarking on this journey with someone I love with my whole heart, and I know loves me the same, is a huge blessing added on to something already incredible.
So why marriage?
Because marriage is not only about our love for each other, but a duty to the One who loves us more.
Ariana Rae Limas (soon-to-be del Mundo).