Last week, President Munk sent a list of 18 questions to the bishops in the stake, questions to ask newly engaged couples, or those who are about to be engaged. A few of them really jumped off the page at me. Even if you have been married for years, why not ask yourself and your spouse a few of these questions, as if you were courting again?
Spoiler alert! Brace yourself. These questions are not easy to ask or answer, but they get at the core of what is really important in a relationship. If you want a vital, healthy relationship, you've got to give your fears a rain check. Emotional pain is a gift that reminds us of where we need to place our attention, where we have conflicts (mostly inner conflicts) that we need to resolve.
Ready? Buckle your seat belt. Here goes.
How would you rate your fiancé’s testimony. Is it strong? Is it independent? Does it stand alone or does it depend upon you? Does he or she pay a full tithing, attend all meetings, fulfill callings, and obey church leaders?
Have you talked extensively about spending and money priorities? Are you on the same page on this? Do both intend to pay a full tithe? How will you calculate the tithe and how will you determine your fast offering?
Have you talked about what kind of a church family you want to be, that is, what you will do on the Sabbath? What will you do when the bishop extends a calling to you? What will your church attendance be like? How will you magnify your callings? Are you going to try to live every commandment? If not, which ones will take a back seat? Are you on the same page on all this?
Are you both happy and confident in the man’s career choice? What is it? Are you confident that this career choice will be adequate to keep the mother in the home? Are you both committed to having Mom in the home?
Have you discussed roles that each of you will play in the home and are you on the same page? Are the dishes women’s work? Is car maintenance the man’s responsibility?
Are you each making this choice to marry completely of your own free will? If between now and the marriage date you feel as though it is not right, do you feel completely free to delay until you do feel right? Is this the case even if the announcements are out? Are there any other forces at work here other than your sincere love for this person and desire to be married to him or her?
Have each of you told the other everything about your past, that, if found out later, might lead to disappointment or distrust? Many women never knew that their husbands had a pornography issue in his past until it reoccurred after marriage. I encourage every woman to ask the man point blank if he has ever looked at pornography and explore that question carefully. He owes her a complete explanation.
Do you really love each other?
Questions that make us break out in a sweat are probably good for us. There is no intent here to embarrass or ridicule. The point is to get to the truth, because, ultimately, there is only one truth in God's universe, and that truth is love. Yes, there are many expressions of that truth, but they all lead to love. Without it, what do we have? Why else would there be an atonement? marriage? children? church? heaven? It's all about love, and that love is light and the "truth is light" (D&C 84:45).
Remember, as the apostle John said, "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear" (1 John 4:18). There is a truth more important than the apparent stability of your relationship. Pursue the truth—love—fearlessly. May God bless us all to find it.