The bride and groom stood outdoors in front of nearly 200 guests to say their vows as the officiator encouraged them to love, honor and respect each other throughout their lives. Each pledged devotion to one another as well as their love as they recited their prepared remarks.

The ceremony closed as the minister invoked God's blessing on the couple and pronounced them husband and wife.

While this ceremony was not performed in a temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it did remind the bride and groom that their marriage included someone beyond themselves — God.

Marriage is ordained of God, and remains a stabilizing influence in the world. That it has come under attack, or is treated casually by many who enter into it, is well-documented.

As the proud father of this bride noted in his toast to the couple: "According to the Internet, if you have more than 150 people at your wedding, the likelihood of divorce is almost nil."

Obviously celebrity-studded weddings often are performed in front of many more than were in attendance at the outdoor one described above, and those marriages seldom endure longer than a few years. Some even fail within months. What determines a long-lasting marriage has more to do with the sacredness of the event and the couple's determination and devotion to one another than the words recited or how many people witness the event.

The scriptures declare: ". . . for marriage is ordained of God unto man. Wherefore, it is lawful that he should have one wife, and they twain shall be one flesh, and all this that the earth might answer the end of its creation And that it might be filled with the measure of man, according to his creation before the world was made" (Doctrine and Covenants 49:15-17).

God has prescribed marriage to men and women for His righteous purposes. Such a union, when sanctified by the Holy Spirit in the House of the Lord, binds not just husband and wife but also entire families together throughout the eternities. Those who enter into such a sacred covenant are assured their marriage will survive long after one or the other dies.

President Gordon B. Hinckley has said, "I am satisfied that God our Eternal Father does not love His daughters less than He loves His sons. Under the gospel plan the wife walks neither ahead nor behind her husband, but at his side in a true companionship before the Lord" (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley, p. 326).

The Proclamation on the Family issued by the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles proclaims that marriage between a man and a woman is "the fundamental unit of society." Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and their children.

"Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity."

The Proclamation continues, "The disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets."

President Spencer W. Kimball counseled: "If two people love the Lord more than their own lives and then love each other more than their own lives, working together in total harmony with the gospel program as their basic structure, they are sure to have this great happiness. When a husband and wife go 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, so that their whole thoughts and desires and love are all centered in one being, their companion, and both are working together for the upbuilding of the kingdom of God, then happiness is at its pinnacle" (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p. 309).

Commenting on his own parents' relationship, President Hinckley remarked: "We knew that our father loved our mother . . . I have no recollection of ever hearing him speak unkindly to her or of her. He encouraged her in her individual Church activities and in neighborhood and civic responsibilities. She had much of native talent, and he encouraged her to use it. Her comfort was his constant concern. We looked upon them as equals, companions who working together and loved and appreciated one another as they loved us. She likewise encouraged him, did everything in the world to make him happy" (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley, p. 328).

Marriage is a full-time commitment that cannot be entered into lightly and long succeed. Like anything worth cherishing, marriage must be nurtured, supported and nourished.

President Kimball prescribed a recipe for success: to love the Lord more than we love ourselves and to put our companion and the Lord first in our lives. That helps ensure our marriage remains strong and we are able to withstand together the buffetings of modern life.