In the movie, A Beautiful Mind, John Nash is a schizophrenic genius. He meets a woman who falls in love with him and they marry. She realizes that even though she loves him dearly, she is a 24-hour nanny to him and the pressure is overwhelming. Yet Alicia Nash is still able to say, “I look at him and force myself to see the man I married. He’s transformed into someone I love. And I’m transformed into someone who loves him. It’s not all the time, but it’s enough.”
Marriage is difficult. We’re not talking about those occasional issues that will—and in some cases should—break a marriage apart. Most of us are an ordinary couple who fall in and out of love regularly, but hang together doing the best we can. Marriage takes work.
The world has given us encouragement to take care of ourselves before our spouse. We’ve learned how to seek personal happiness before breakfast and, if it doesn’t come easily, to dump it before dinner. Compromise, giving and taking, seeing to another’s happiness are foreign concepts to the worldly as it teaches only to save one’s self.
Looking at the example of the faithful wives of Weinsberg, we may be reminded of what the Lord expects of us as eternal wives to our husbands.
“In the late fall of 1140 King Konrad III had been besieging Weinsberg for several weeks. The citizens were still holding out in their castle and hadn’t yet given up. But as they soon found themselves in desperate straits due to hunger and starvation, they pleaded for mercy. King Konrad, however, was enraged and did not want to grant them mercy. So the women of Weinsberg went to him and begged that they be granted safe passage, because they had not fought against him. The king took pity on them and granted their request, saying: ‘The women may leave and take as much as they can carry of the things most precious to them. I’ll give you the king’s word.’ The next day at the first light of dawn the besiegers were witness to a strange spectacle. The gate of the fortress opened and the women trudged forth at a very slow pace. They were bent double under the weight of their burdens, because the most precious objects they had selected to take with them were their husbands, whom they were now carrying on their backs. Many of the soldiers shouted threateningly: ‘Stop them!’ The king’s chancellor did not want to let them go either: ‘That is not what was intended.’ When Konrad heard of this, he laughed heartily. ‘This is not what was intended, but their cleverness should be rewarded. I gave my word as the king. Let the women go, even if the chancellor is not in agreement.'”
The most precious objects these women had were their own husbands. What would our homes be like if we performed this same act of love?
Richard G. Scott told us about his precious wife during General Conference. “I learned from my wife the importance of expressions of love. Early in our marriage, often I would open my scriptures to give a message in a meeting, and I would find an affectionate, supportive note Jeanene had slipped into the pages. Sometimes they were so tender that I could hardly talk. Those precious notes from a loving wife were and continue to be a priceless treasure of comfort and inspiration” (CR Apr. 2011).
Henry B. Eyring said, “The Savior of the world, Jesus Christ, said of those who would be part of His Church: “Be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine” (D&C 38:27). And at the Creation of man and woman, unity for them in marriage was not given as hope; it was a command! “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). Our Heavenly Father wants our hearts to be knit together. That union in love is not simply an ideal. It is a necessity.”
The temple gives even more meaning to living 100% in a marriage by teaching us to focus on our spouse, the Lord, and His gospel. Fear and doubt can go away when we recall the temple covenants we have made to one another and our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Fight the philosophies of the world and do what Alicia Nash did. Force yourself to see the man you married so that he is transformed in your eyes. Love him more than anything else you possess. And never give up working toward being one.