My wife and I went on a date last week. It wasn't an expensive date—in fact, it was the kind of date we used to go on when we were teenagers, when we had little money. We just went to the city park and walked around on the grass, circling it several times, holding hands and talking. I came away feeling like it was the best date I've ever had.
I have some decisions to make, problems to solve, answers to find. Decisions that will affect our future, decisions that have a lot to do with my work and income. You see, I have learned after long experience that the best way for me to get answers to serious questions is to talk things over with my wife. She is the best counselor I could hope for.
One bit of advice she gave me was for us to go to the temple together every day for a week. That's what we did over the last five days. Each day we had a theme. For example, Tuesday our theme was gratitude—just being grateful for whatever we have or are experiencing, no matter what. At the end of each temple session, we went to the celestial room, sat on the couch and talked (whispered, actually). It was one of the most worthwhile and productive weeks of our lives together, in terms of unity, understanding, seeing the big picture and the path ahead of us.
Sometimes life is difficult to understand. You do your best and then find within yourself something better than your best. You pray and fast and reach beyond your limits. You hit the road running (sometimes face first). You put everything on the line. You give and then you give more, and when you think you have nothing left, God asks you for more. And even then, the results are perplexing. You feel lost, unsure whether to run away or hide or give up.
But all our trials are gifts. The lessons that come from severe trials are usually permanent, meaningful, and ultimately refining, if we let them be. Seeking answers and making decisions is much easier, much more fulfilling, when your trials strip away superficiality.
This week, we received a special gift. After many years of trials and perplexities, clear answers came and, as a couple, we found complete unity. The answers came with a price, of course, but the price was worth paying. What we have lacked in this world's goods for a time, God has more than compensated us with the best, most important things in life. I can't say all the reasons why, but I might be the happiest husband on earth. I could not be that happy without the difficulties that prompted us to ask questions in the first place, nor without my wife by my side.
It hasn't always been so. I'll tell you why next time.