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Marriage under covenant blessing to generations

Marrying "within the covenant" was of crucial importance to the posterity of Abraham in ancient times as it is today. Esau, the firstborn son of Isaac and Rebekah, married women who were Hittites, who did not accept the same God as did Abraham and Isaac. Esau's marrying out of the covenant was "a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah." (Gen. 26:34-35.)

Jacob, Esau's younger twin, went to considerable lengths and distance to find a suitable wife. Following the counsel of his father to "not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan," Jacob went to Padan-aram, to find a wife among the daughters of Laban, his mother's brother. (See Gen. 28.) He arranged to marry Rachel in exchange for seven years of service to Laban. Through Laban's trickery, Rachel's older sister, Leah, became Jacob's bride. Jacob contracted with Laban to serve another seven years in order to marry Rachel, whom he loved. (See Gen. 29:1-30.)Emphasizing the importance of marrying within the covenant, President Ezra Taft Benson said at the April 1979 general conference: "Now, I want to speak frankly to you young men and young women of the Church. When you marry, your decision not only affects you, but your future children and generations after you. Every child born to Latter-day Saint parents deserves to be born under the covenant of temple blessings.

"Don't trifle away your happiness by an involvement with someone who cannot take you worthily to the temple. Make a decision now that this is the place where you will marry. To leave that decision until a romantic involvement develops is to take a risk, the importance of which you can't calculate now.

"I would urge you further to pray about this matter. Obtain the testimony of the truth of these things before a romantic involvement can take root. Covenant with your Heavenly Father that you will do His will. Live a clean, moral life, and be worthy of His spirit to bless you.

"No sacrifice is too great to have the blessings of an eternal marriage. To most of us, a temple is easily accessible, perhaps so conveniently that the blessing is taken too casually. As with other matters of faithfulness in gospel living, being married the Lord's way takes a willingness to deny yourself ungodliness - worldliness - and a determination to do our Father's will. By this act of faith, we show our love to God and our regard for a posterity yet unborn. As our family is our greatest source of joy in this life, so it may well be in the eternity."