I have been a bit frustrated over this past month. My grandfather proposed to a woman who he has known for quite some time, but only recently did he start dating her. It troubles me, especially because my grandmother died a little over a year ago. My question is: Why are we obligated to marry in the Temple for “time and all eternity” if we do not comprehend eternity? It’s like a contract (covenant) where you are ignorant of all the implications beyond a certain point (death).
Condolences on the death of your grandmother.
Your stated question is straightforward to answer. You seem to have another question that is much trickier, though. Let me start with the stated question.
We are obligated to marry in the temple without fully understanding what that encompasses for the same reason we are obligated to make any other covenant, such as baptism, before we fully understand it. We cannot fully understand any covenant without making and living that covenant. When I was a young pup, my mother told me that when we go on a mission, get married, or at any other major step, we don’t fit the shoes we’re given. Instead, we have to grow into them. Our Heavenly Father understands that we can’t receive all things at once.
Can you imagine if you explained to a young child all the obligations of Church membership? The poor child would not understand, and would be overwhelmed and frightened at what you were saying. We grow in our understanding line upon line and precept upon precept. Even adults who come into the Church by baptism don’t fully comprehend what is in store; they know only that they feel the Spirit and want to follow Christ. I think it’s safe to say that faithful, lifelong members of the Church are still discovering what discipleship entails.
The very same principle applies to marriage. I was married for a quarter of a century before I began discovering some aspects of what I needed to do as a husband. It didn’t matter that I already had some adult children. My education was only beginning. And you know what? It’s the same way now. The older I get, the more I discover things I never dreamed of earlier.
Now, you seem to have an unspoken question, as well, something like, “How can my Grandfather spend his life with my Grandmother and then go and marry someone else barely a year after she died?” That’s a much more sensitive question, and I can’t answer it. Even if I knew your grandfather, I probably would not be able to answer it. People’s thoughts and perceptions take place between their ears, in a place no one can reach besides themselves and God.
Think of it this way: Your Grandmother’s death was doubtless difficult for you, but it was probably much harder for your Grandfather, who lost his lifelong companion and, perhaps, his closest friend and confidante. He needs to figure out how to move past that. It’s his burden to carry, and no one else’s, though others can help. In an eternal sense, your Grandmother is neither gone nor forgotten. It’s no betrayal of her if your Grandfather remarries. If he has found someone he wants to marry and who wants to marry him, then that is how he continues progressing in this life. Give him a hug and sincerely wish him luck.