In case you’ve been living under a rock, let me just say with emphasis, that men and women are vastly different. We all know it, and even marvel at times, that we get together at all. Everyone from philosophers to comedians have tried to figure it out-here you have two groups so disparate, so completely unalike that it has confounded the greatest thinkers for generations. It has also confounded the rest of us.
Books have been written attempting to explain the opposite sex, articles are snatched up and read if they promise even an inkling of understanding, and still we puzzle over the different wiring in each group.
Yet everywhere you go, there are couples. Elderly sweethearts holding hands in the park, college kids staring into one another’s eyes, pudgy middle-aged husbands and wives shopping together, planning vacations, dealing with teens, working in their yards. They’re everywhere, these people who manage to pair up.
Finding the right mate has even become a huge industry, responding to the public’s demand for the ideal partner. Computer dating and speed dating events promise to help men and women both, in their quest for a match. Everyone believes, in their heart, that there’s a lid for every pot.
I remember my daughter at age three, arranging a “wedding” for the salt & pepper shakers in restaurants. Wedding expos, reception sites, videographers, florists, and even TV shows about bridal gowns all cater to what seems to be a marriage frenzy. And I think it’s safe to say that 99 per cent of their clients are non-LDS, so it isn’t just Mormons who are motivated to choose a companion-it’s everybody the world over.
Why is this? A scientist might say it’s perpetuation of the species, or hormone-driven behavior. They might say you find match-ups in the animal kingdom as well. But why marriage? Why the formal union, if we’re just responding like animals?
No, it’s much more. I believe it’s a trace of memory from premortal life. Like people who encounter the gospel and say it’s what they already knew in their heart, there are certain principles we remember in a fleeting, filmy way. Like muscle memory, we encounter something that feels familiar and right.
God’s plan is about couples. Our temple sealings ensure that husbands and wives can remain together throughout the eternities, and our doctrine underscores the absolutely essential nature of these unions in the Celestial Kingdom. Covenant-keeping couples are the goal of this life, joined in a temple sealing. It’s why we search for our ancestors, and why we build temples the world over. We talk about “no empty chairs” in our desire for all of our children to make the same oaths, but when you picture the hereafter, it isn’t a big dining room table that seats you, your spouse, and your kids. People grow up, marry and have families of their own. So what about your kids’ spouses? And their kids? And their kids? And their kids? Don’t all these people want their children at the table with them, too? Where does it end? It comes back to couples. And we are then linked to other family members who have done just what we did, and become husband and wife.
So when I see a couple strolling along the beach, or riding along in a car, or sitting together at the movies, or anywhere at all, I can’t help thinking they’re responding to something they knew before. They feel the instinct to choose a companion. Not a BFF, not a flirtation, not a roommate. They are remembering something sacred, something vital to life. And something that will bring them home to their heavenly parents, as well.
Joni Hilton is “Your Youtube Mom” and shares short videos that teach easy household tips and life skills at
Be sure to read her blog at jonihilton.blogspot.com.
Hilton’s most recent LDS comedy, Funeral Potatoes-The Novel, is available at LDS bookstores. She is currently serving as Relief Society President of her ward in Northern California.