Monday, May 12, 2008

Lesson 3-18 "Temple Marriage"

This lesson points young women towards temple marriage as a life goal, stressing the blessings that come from living worthy before marriage and making God an integral part of the marriage relationship afterwards. There are no guarantees, but if faithfully followed, this path can lead to happiness on earth and the promise of eternal families and exaltation.

I prepared a supplement to another lesson that never got used, so I'll bring it into this lesson; it was a handout I made for lesson 3-4 on preparing to become an eternal companion. I didn't end up using it then, so I'll hand it out this week and ask them to hang onto it in their files for when they're seriously considering marriage.

It begins:
If You're Thinking About Getting Married, You Better Have the Right Answers to these Questions (Or I will track you down and talk some sense into you).

  • Does he bring out your best self?
  • How does he act around family, and around children?
  • Can he hold a good job, does he have plans for the future, and does he use his money wisely?
  • Does he keep his promises to you and to others?
  • Do the two of you share values that matter to you?
  • Does he want the best for you, want you to achieve an education and will help you meet your own goals and aspirations in life?
  • Can you talk easily? Are there some things that you avoid talking about together? Could that develop into a problem later?
  • Some major danger signs = if he only thinks about himself, gets angry easily, can't handle changes in plans, doesn't consider your feelings or needs, treats you like a toy for his fun, bosses you around, is suspicious and paranoid, doesn't trust you, or doesn't share your educational/life goals.
I then summarize some of the relevant parts of Douglas Brinley's online article about how to build a solid marriage right from the start.

As in my post for lesson 3-4, really there are two considerations here - 1) skills that will help in any marriage, and 2) why temple marriage should be a goal (with the acknowledgement that it will not be available to everyone). I will absolutely go on record saying it is better to marry the right person outside the temple than the wrong one in it.

What do you think of this "sacred triangle" analogy? God and the two spouses as the points of a triangle - how a marriage in which God is not a working partner is not reaching its potential. And, as usual, I fret about how to word what I say, how to emphasize the ideal and celebrate God's plan without discouraging those whose current families don't match it.


  1. I just taught this lesson last Sunday. All of our girls are converts to the church, so we spent a lot of time talking about what temple marriage is, and comparing it with civil marriage.

    I started the lesson by setting out a bowl of chocolate chips and telling the girls that they could feel free to come have some throughout the lesson and to have as many as they like. I then told them that they should also know that I had a better treat for them at the end of class, but they could only get the better treat if they didn't eat ANY of the chocolate chips. Then, for the ones that didn't eat any of the chocolate chips (which was all of them), I gave each of them a baggie with fresh baked cookies inside and a cute note on it that said, "Why settle for just a chip, when you can have the whole cookie? Make the decisions today that will take you to the Temple tomorrow." (I found this idea online with a jpg of the note for the cookies)

    We focused on the importance of making the decision today that we will be married in the temple and then continue to have a temple marriage. I did use the sacred triangle from the lesson, and started the lesson by playing 20 questions like the lesson suggested. I like the sacred triangle analogy. We went back to it several times in our discussion.

    Since most of our YW are converts with non-member families, I always worry about offending or making them feel bad that their family is not all living these principles. But I try to just focus on them and on the future (not on their current family situation and their parents decisions). That's what we are trying to teach them, anyway, is what the ideal is and what their potential is and how to achieve it. I really like the next lesson (19) about "Heritage". When I first heard the title I was afraid, because I thought we would have to focus too much on their heritage and less than ideal situations. It, once again, focuses on the YW and their futures... what can they do to be goodly parents and leave a good heritage for their posterity.

    Anyway, our lesson (18) went great. I could have easily taken a few Sundays to teach it and get into details about what exactly needs to be done now to prepare for temple marriage. But I went with the flow of where their questions and discussion led us.

  2. One thing I have come to realize is that when we are married in the Temple, we promise our spouses nothing. All our covenants and promises are made with God. Therefore, the absolute most important relationship to work on is God's, and then find someone to marry who has done the same. If you can do that, lots of problems in marriage will be healed.

  3. that is the one lesson that I was taught by my stake president before I got married is the sacred triangle! He pointed out that the closer you move toward God at the top of the triangle, you are automatically closer together. The actual distance between you and your spouse is less! That was a great lesson for me!

  4. Cool suggestions. I teach this lesson in two weeks and I'm a little concerned. First, since this is my first comment, let me tell you a bit about our unit. We are a branch. We typically have six girls (total) on Sundays so we meet all together. I am the YW president and I teach twice a month with my counselors each taking one lesson a month. Yesterday when I taught about temples and the endowments we got side-tracked on "why should I get married in the temple when it means that my family and friends can't go to my wedding?" This is hard for me to answer. My first counselor has told them of her temple wedding with neither sets of parents and how she is so glad but it doesn't seem to resonate. I know this will come up again when I teach Temple Marriage and I want to be prepared with a good answer that actually makes sense to them.

    Any suggestions?


  5. I would stress the fact that a wedding can be celebrated in many ways that can include all our friends and family. I have attended weddings where there was an extra ring ceremony outside the temple (in a home) with a couple of talks about the sacred nature of the temple ceremony that was designed for the family members who could not attend the temple. It worked out really well. They can find ways to help their families understand. I would stress the fact that if YW choose now to start their marriage in the temple, it will help them bring God into their relationship so as to have a successful relationship. They wouldn't want to keep Him out of it just to accommodate people who won't be part of the relationship.


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