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MARRIAGES, FAMILIES NEED NEVER COME TO AN END

- Pray for help

- Don't be critical- Live within means

Marriages and families need never come to an end, said Elder Joe J. Christensen of the Presidency of the Seventy.

Speaking Sunday morning, Elder Christensen offered eight suggestions to strengthen a marriage:

- Remember the central importance of your marriage. He then quoted from Elder Bruce R. McConkie: "From the moment of birth into mortality to the time we are married in the temple, everything we have in the gospel system is to prepare and qualify us to enter that holy order of matrimony which makes us husband and wife in this life and in the world to come."

- Pray for the success of your marriage. "We should pray to become more kind, courteous, humble, patient, forgiving and, especially, less selfish."

- Make the time to listen to your spouses, even schedule it regularly. Elder Christensen encouraged couples, "Visit with each other and assess how you are doing as a marriage partner."

- Avoid "ceaseless pinpricking." "Don't be too critical of each other's faults. Recognize that none of us is perfect. We all have a long way to go to become as Christ-like as our leaders have urged us to become."

- Keep your courtship alive. "Make time to do things together - just the two of you. Scheduling it will let your children know that you feel that your marriage is so important that you need to nurture it. That takes commitment, planning and scheduling."

- Be quick to say, "I'm sorry." Elder Christensen explained that true love is developed by those who are willing to admit offenses and personal mistakes.

"Any intelligent couple will have differences of opinion. Our challenge is to be sure that we know how to resolve them. That is part of the process of making a good marriage better."

- Learn to live within your means. "Some of the most difficult challenges in marriage arise in the area of finances," Elder Christensen counseled. "Be willing to postpone or forego some purchases in order to stay within your budget. Pay your tithing first and avoid debt insofar as possible."

- Be a true partner in home and family responsibilities. "The task of caring for home and family is more than one person's responsibility. Remember that you are in this partnership together."

Elder Christensen also exhorted couples to study the scriptures together and to follow the counsel of President Spencer W. Kimball: "When a husband and wife go together frequently to the holy temple, kneel in prayer together in their home with their family, go hand in hand to their religious meetings, keep their lives wholly chaste, mentally, and physically, . . . and both are working together for the upbuilding of the kingdom of God, then happiness is at its pinnacle."