My husband and I have four boys together, 11, 9, 8, 6. We were married in the temple 6 months after returning from our missions. My husband’s brother is the third one to get married outside of the temple. I feel very anxious about the confusion my sons may have about this. Most of my husband’s brothers are returned missionaries and should be getting married in the temple. They themselves say it’s no big deal because the plan is to get sealed later. Should my husband have a talk with our sons and and discuss what the Lord has said and make it clear what our plans for marriage should be? Or not say anything? I really don’t want them thinking that this is okay. I don’t want them thinking less of their uncles either. It would be easier if the uncles were not members or not active, then I could explain that they don’t have the same beliefs. Help.
Thank you for taking the opportunity to ask a question, and I hope my response brings you some comfort. When we consider the spiritual and temporal needs of our children I am reminded of the words given to us via The Family: A Proclamation to the World:
“Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live.”
We have been provided a blessed opportunity to be Fathers and Mothers of Heavenly Father’s children; as such, as the proclamation states we are to teach our children to observe the commandments of the Lord. One of these commandments is that we teach our children the importance of temple marriage and why it is important that our marriage begins in the temple. The Church website provides an interesting study which provided this statistic of marriages which are nontemple marriages, Brother Heaton and Sister Goodman reported:
“Nontemple marriages are about five times more likely to end in divorce than temple marriages.”
As our children are an heritage of the Lord, and our stewardship, we have a responsibility to make sure our children understand the importance of why we first marry in the temple. We have a responsibility as Joseph Smith taught, “teach true principles and let them govern themselves.” To teach our children true principles is a divine imperative, by which we who are covenant makers become covenant keepers as we obey this command. I am grateful for a mother and father who taught me collectively within our family and individually when they saw fit. I remember, in my youth, how the words of my mother were brought back to my remembrance and how these words greatly influenced my life at pivotal moments (as President Hinckley stated “switch points”). Yet, the spirit of our Lord in sharing my mother’s words (even my fathers) would have never been able to influence my life if they never taught me.
This appears to be a great opportunity for you and your husband to sit down collectively and individually to teach your children the importance of temple marriage. This appears to be a great opportunity, if you appropriately, use the examples of your extended family members and their choices. This is a great opportunity to discuss with, let them share their thoughts, them their views and opinions without prejudice. As they share openly, you will be provided with greater insight on how to persuade your children to make the decision to marry in the temple — first. Yes, indeed, this is a wonderful opportunity for you and your husband to kneel before your Creator and to plead for the gift of wisdom and knowledge in preparing your children to, as the Young Women’s Theme mentions, “make and keep sacred covenants, [and] receive the ordinances of the temple.” May the Lord bless you in your endeavors to raise a righteous posterity.