I’ve always felt like I was being prepared for something. Seemingly insignificant moments in time have turned out to be turning points in my life. As I have listened to the Spirit, my life has been guided in a direction that I had not planned, or even anticipated to be an option. For example, the Spirit guided me to marry my husband.
I had not planned to marry an older man—especially one who had been divorced and had a son. My brain repeatedly told me that this was a mistake, and that it couldn’t possibly work. The Spirit told me something different. I’m known for my stubborn nature. I admit that I gave back the engagement ring three times. The Holy Ghost can be stubborn too. You know that “still small voice” that everyone talks about? I must be a great frustration to the Holy Ghost, because he yells at me—often.
How different my life would have been if I had not listened to the Spirit and married my husband! I would not have found my way back to the Church. If I close my eyes, I can see myself alone in a dark room with empty bottles of booze. My life would most assuredly have been cut short from a combination of loneliness, alcohol, and depression. Keeping my eyes closed, I don’t see my children, or my grandchildren.
Heavenly Father has a plan, and a basic principle of that plan is eternal marriage and family.
This plan was presented while we lived as spirit children with our heavenly parents. How we must have loved Them and wanted to be just like Them! Their perfect love for each other and for us is eternal, and They want us to have all They have.
Do you understand why “marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and . . . the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children”? We are here to experience in a mortal and imperfect way what we may one day receive in a perfected and immortal realm! Family life prepares us for eternal life (Larry M. Gibson, Fulfilling Our Eternal Destination, Ensign (Feb. 2015), quoting The Family: A Proclamation to the World).
Brother Gibson goes on to explain the two greatest companionships in our lives; the Holy Ghost and a loving spouse.
It has not been easy for me to rely on the Holy Ghost as I am by nature rebellious and stubborn. Fortunately, my husband has been a great example to me in this endeavor. I’m quite certain that’s one of the reasons the Holy Ghost was so adamant that I marry this man. As I have watched my husband follow the promptings of the Spirit, I have begun to trust that I can also follow promptings instead of relying on logic and worldly knowledge. Sometimes what seems logical at the moment isn’t logical in the eternal scheme of things. Relying on the Holy Ghost means I have to trust someone other than myself.
The Spirit moves us to do things that will keep us on the path to eternal life and exaltation. Eternal marriage and family is the very essence of Heavenly Father’s plan. This plan is for everyone; there are no exclusions. As grateful as I am for my own marriage, I’ve spent a good deal of time worrying about single sisters close to me who have not had the opportunity to marry. One day I was standing at the grave of my husband’s best friend who was killed in Vietnam without having had the opportunity to marry. After a brief moment of sadness for him, I had an epiphany. I thought about all the thousands upon thousands of young valiant soldiers who never saw marriage or children. In my mind, I pictured valiant, covenant, single sisters greeting them on the other side of the veil.
Heavenly Father wants us all to come back—every single one of us. He gives us eternal companions and the Holy Ghost to make that happen. As Brother Gibson said in the above Ensign article, “He has made eternal marriage essential to His plan for His sons and daughters so that we may work together to achieve our eternal destiny: the continuation of the family into eternity and the glory and power that our heavenly parents enjoy.”
I will always be grateful to the Holy Ghost for not giving up on me, and for being not only patient, but incredibly persistent in seeing that I married my husband and eventually made my way back to the Church and to a sealing room in the temple. If I didn’t already know that my Heavenly Father loves me, that one single act would convince me. He loves me enough to allow the Holy Ghost to hang out with me at times when He had every reason to walk away and not return. He has been a wonderful companion to me; but I have not always been a good companion to Him. When He has been absent; it is because I was the one who walked away.