My Daughter just turned 18 and is going to marry someone outside the Mormon Church. I feel as if I have failed Heavenly father in someway. I know her life would be so much easier if she married within the church. He is a nice young man and has high standards, but my heart is broken that she is not getting married in the temple. Everyone keeps putting pressure on me to talk her out of it because she is young. Is there a certain magical age the Lord would have someone get married?
It is interesting how mothers generally assume the blame for any perceived faults in their children. Let me ask you a couple of questions in this regard. Did you ever do anything when you were a teenage that was contrary to the will of your parents and may have caused them some embarrassment, heartache or concern? I imagine that if you are like most people the answer will be Yes. Next question: for those things that you did that were contrary to your parents’ wishes, do you blame them for your actions or yourself? Do you think that your parents failed you because you sometimes did not follow their counsel, advice or beliefs? I though not. So why would you blame yourself for your children’s recreant actions? If you had taught them to do evil, that would be one thing. But if you taught them righteousness and they disobeyed, that is their problem and their responsibility, not yours.
The second this is that when such disappointments occur we immediately believe that such conditions are cast in concrete and that they will never change for the better. This is never the case, and there are specific things that you can do, that would tend to lead your daughter back toward your expectations of her continued faithfulness.
Number 1. Accept, respect and honor her decisions, and let her know it, and let her know that you love her and that you will support her in any course that she decides take in managing her own affairs. Such an attitude on your part will generate feelings of gratitude, love and respect in return; and she will be much more willing to listen to your suggestions than if you demonstrated and voiced your disapproval of her actions. She well knows that you disapprove of them without you having to tell her so. But she may question your love for her if you treat her in a disapproving manner.
Number 2. Pray constantly to your Heavenly Father in her behalf. He loves her more than you do, and He will listen to and honor the prayer of faith. Faith is demonstrated in never giving up; in having the confident expectation that in the Lords’ own time, she will have provided such a powerful influence for good, and will have demonstrated the great blessings that come to those who love the Lord and who keep His commandments, that he husband, who is a nice young man with high standards, will be impressed by the Spirit and receive a testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel. Think of the example of the wicked Alma the younger and the power of prayer of his righteous father—
And again, the angel said: Behold, the Lord hath heard the prayers of his people, and also the prayers of his servant, Alma, who is thy father; for he has prayed with much faith concerning thee that thou mightest be brought to the knowledge of the truth; therefore, for this purpose have I come to convince thee of the power and authority of God, that the prayers of his servants might be answered according to their faith. (Mosiah 27:14)