Last weekend we visited Mesa to see family and friends, and mostly to attend our sweet friends' wedding. The reception on Friday was beautiful: gorgeously decorated, beautiful weather, delicious soups & salads, and good friends to socialize with. TJ even asked me to dance with him, and to that cute song from Tangled no less.
But the actual wedding....that was my favorite part.
Kyle and Katie were sealed for time and all eternity in that sacred building you see above. I've had the opportunity to attend a couple of these ceremonies (besides my own). They are always very intimate (only about 50 are allowed to attend), and always beautiful. I tend to get a little teary-eyed, and I'm always reminded of our own sealing. I wish I remembered or had written down more of what our sealer had said to us prior to the actual ceremony, but I don't think I did. This time, I paid special attention to the advice that the sealer (ceremony officiator) gave to this beautiful couple.
I don't remember all of what he said, but first, he told them to be obedient to each other's righteous desires. Fairly self-explanatory. He also reminded them that after this day, they would not be a couple, but a trio, including God as the third party in their marriage. Next, he said, "You can be an entertainment-oholic. You can be an education-oholic. But Kyle, I want you to be a Katie-oholic. Katie, be a Kyle-oholic." Although his phrasing was a little funny (and garnered some chuckling), his message was clear. He wasn't referring to obsession with your spouse, but rather that your spouse should be your priority, number one in your life, your best friend, your everything. I really liked that concept. Sometimes, it's easy for me to become a social-media-oholic or a TV-oholic. Sometimes it's easy to focus on everything going on in life and miss out on truly supporting TJ, thinking about his needs before my wants. It's easy to let life get in the way of being all that I can be for him. This gentle reminder served as a bit of a wake-up call for me. This balancing act called life can be tricky tricky.
He finished his advice with a bit of the usual (at least, what we as Latter-Day Saints are told repeatedly). Pray together, read your scriptures together (even for just a little while each day). Go to the temple, he said, "for it is a bit of heaven on earth." It's amazing to me, again, just how easy it is to let these little habits slip to the sidelines and allow other, less-important and inconsequential things take their place. It's amazing what a difference these things can make, too. TJ and I have struggled with these little habitual things at different points in our marriage...and I can point to those times and recognize how much harder life was, if simply for the fact that our perspective was not as bright and our spirits were tired.
Brother Huber had Kyle and Katie look into each others eyes, and really look at each other. Then he said that in that moment, the other person was perfect in their eyes and in the eyes of God. He reminded them to strive for that perfection, but also to remember that feeling and strive to see one another in that light. Having been married for some time now, I think what he meant was to focus on those strong, beautiful feelings of love and commitment. As time passes, it is easy to nit-pick and realize your spouse's flaws...those little things that annoy...and to let them become what you see. Of course, you know that you still love them, but sometimes it's easy to just be annoyed. Instead, focus on their virtues, on what you fell in love with about them, and what you're falling in love with about them continually.
"Choose your love, and love your choice," Brother Huber quoted. Such a powerful statement in a world where the "possibilities" for "love" are endless, and too many feel that choices are negotiable. I'm entering a stage in life where I am recognizing the true impacts of divorce, and I'm noticing that people as young as I am are divorced. Far be it from me to judge them, for I know that there could be thousands of reasons behind such a life-altering decision. However, it still saddens me...to see the "death" of a marriage, the end of what I thought had been a love story. It makes my heart break with the scary thought of what-ifs and I-never-saw-that-comings.
As I looked up at TJ, who was standing behind me, in that sealing room in that special place, I knew he had felt what I did. I knew he recognized what we both could work on in making our marriage stronger. I know that as he looked at our friends, he remembered our own special day and remembered the way we felt. I'm so grateful for that. I love my husband, and I feel blessed that we are able to feel the blessings of our temple marriage in such a real way. I'm grateful for the reminders I received this past weekend. Marriage truly takes constant vigilance, work, love, and forgiveness.
And baby, if you're reading this, I love you, my Troy James. Thank you for taking me to the temple.
[See that little family of three standing on the steps? They had just been sealed together forever, as a family. Is there anything more beautiful?]