A unified country… Is it possible? …is it even possible to have a unified home?!
My wife and I are consciously striving for the latter, a unified home and it is difficult. Am I insinuating that we are at odds ends and don’t love each other anymore, no, not at all! I love Tara more now than I ever knew I could love anyone. But what we are trying to work on is becoming more unified in purpose and having a greater peace in our home. Specifically we are to eliminate precisely what the Lord said of a Christian people who initially failed in creating a spirit of unity amongst them; He said, “Behold, I say unto you, there were jarrings, and contentions, and envyings, and strifes, and lustful and covetous desires among them; therefore by these things they polluted their inheritances (blessings)” (Doctrine and Covenants 101:6).
When Paul learned of the contentions of the members of the church in Corinth, he declared “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Cor. 1:10).
Jesus Christ and His Father exemplify the type of unity we should strive for in our marital relationships as well as all other associations we may have. In the sacred prayer uttered by the lips of Jesus towards the end of His ministry, He prayed not only for us to become unified with each other, but that we might become unified with our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. (John 17:21-23)
We learn from these verses that by exemplifying the unity that exists between Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ in our marriages and becoming unified in purpose with the Father and Jesus others will come to believe in Christ through our examples.
The perfect example of the unity I am discussing here occurred in the form of another prayer uttered by our Savior before he took upon himself the unimaginable pain associated with taking the sins of all the world upon him in the darkness of the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus prayed, “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42). As we become more unified with our Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ, our prayers will become similar to this one; we will set our own will aside and accept God’s will as our own.
Excuse the amateur artwork; I don’t include it for its quality, but to teach a principle. When we enter into a marriage relationship, we each have our own likes and dislikes, opinions, desires, wants, and beliefs of how things should work around the house. These differences are O.K. (that is usually why you married each other), but are often allowed to be a source of contention when pride and stubbornness is involved. These differences are symbolized in the picture by the distance between the Husband and wife while at the base of the triangle. When we get married, we not only commit ourselves to our spouses to serve, love, and strengthen them throughout all of life’s trials, but there is also an implicit commitment to strive to become the best that we can be. We accomplish this by individually striving to become more like our Savior and drawing nearer to Him. Notice that when each spouse depicted climbs towards the Savior at the apex of the triangle, the distance between the couple decreases symbolizing a greater spirit of unity between them as their differences melt away and they become more one in purpose.
I know that through striving to become more like our Savior we can become more unified with our spouses. I have witnessed this in my own marriage; we are far from the top, but we are closer together than when we started. I often feel my wonderful wife is much higher than myself and that just pushes me harder. I love my wife Tara, and am grateful for the wonderful woman that she is.
I want to discuss further how to rely on the Atonement of Jesus Christ and His infinite grace to progress towards a more unified home. I invite you to check back in the coming week to follow up with this discussion of unity. For now, I will end with a sentiment that Paul concluded his second letter to the Corinthians with:
11 Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect (strive to be like your Savior), be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you. (2 Cor. 13:11)