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Elder and Sister Bednar share lessons, advice on finding a spouse, making marriage work at BYU-Idaho

Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Susan Bednar, shared lessons they've learned in their marriage and in overcoming difficulties, answered a few questions and shared some advice Tuesday at Brigham Young University-Idaho during a date night hosted by university President Clark Gilbert and his wife, Christine.

Elder Bednar pointed to how much work goes into a marriage when he was asked how he and Sister Bednar have grown in their marriage.

“Marriage is fun and demanding,” he said. “It can be sad, and it requires relentless work. Early on we tried to figure out how to do that work and enjoy that work.”

Elder Bednar said one thing that has helped them in their marriage is to learn how to address problems when they don't always see things the same way.

“We can come to an agreement, that’s what’s amazing about this whole thing,” Sister Bednar said. “Even though he has a perspective and I have a perspective, we can talk about things and we can come to an agreement.”

Sister Bednar said she learned from her experience of raising three boys that men and women really are different. She said they had to learn to work through those differences.

“You do not find the marriage you hope to have, you create it,” Elder Bednar said. “Creating it implies some of the work that’s required. A male and a female are supposed to complete each other and complement each other. If you take those characteristics of a female and of a male, then joined together they create a whole.”

When they were asked about the traits in their spouse that they were attracted to, Sister Bednar recounted watching her husband pass the sacrament when they were in a student ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“I could tell that it was meaningful for him to do that, and I admired that,” she said. “I just watched and observed to see how he honored his priesthood. That was the most important thing. Because I think if you honor your priesthood in the way God expects you to honor it that you will be a good provider for a family, you will be a good presider, that you will preside in righteousness with your wife as an equal partner and you will be a good protector.”

Elder Bednar told the students that what attracted him to Sister Bednar is her virtuousness.

“When you look at Susan, yesterday, today and forever, if you want to see the face of virtue, that’s it,” he said. “There is a light in her countenance that is the personification of virtue.”

During the discussion, the Bednars also offered some advice to those searching for a spouse.

“In a world with technology, many young people engage in an endless search for that perfect person which will guarantee, ‘I won’t have that heartache in my life,’” Elder Bednar said. “Question, if you found that perfect person, why would he or she want to marry you?”

It is up to each individual to become the kind of person that someone with the characteristics he or she wants in a spouse would be attracted to, he said.

“There is no perfect mate, there is no soul mate,” Elder Bednar said. “Get to work and quit worrying about it.”

Elder and Sister Bednar were also asked about the things they did to ensure they didn’t end up going down separate paths in their marriage.

“There were times when we would just have time to talk,” Elder Bednar said.

Elder Bednar recounted a story when he was in graduate school working on his doctorate. They had two small children, he was called to be an early morning seminary teacher and even his professor told him he didn’t think he could finish his degree.

One evening, he told Sister Bednar that he didn’t think he would be able to do it.

“I think some guys would be afraid to say that to a wife with two kids," he said. "But we could talk about that stuff. The fact that I could talk about that at that time with her was all I really needed.”

Before the date night ended, Elder and Sister Bednar shared some advice.

Sister Bednar pointed to some guidance from the late LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley.

“You make the comfort and the well-being of your spouse your highest priority,” Sister Bednar said, citing President Hinckley. “He explained how if both spouses would do that, you would be successful. I pray that for you, that you will make the comfort and well-being of your spouse your utmost priority.”

Elder Bednar counseled the students to not take things too seriously.

“Have some fun,” he said. “You’ve got to be able to giggle. You’ve got to be able to laugh. You’ve got to be able to laugh at yourself. You’ve got to be able to laugh at some of the stupid things that you do, and you learn from some of the stupid things that you do. This is serious business, but don’t be so serious that it’s just all business.

"Look unto the Savior 'in every thought; doubt not, fear not,'" he continued, quoting Doctrine and Covenants 6:36. "Don’t spend an inordinate amount of your time stressing over things you cannot control. Do your best. Be loving and forgiving. Laugh and love, and pray for the assistance of the Holy Ghost, and I promise that you will receive inspiration to know how to create the happy marriage and home you hope to find.”