Eric and I have been married 3 years in July. I can honestly say that I have become more enamored with him as the months and years have gone by. I can also honestly say that those years of contained some of the most difficult, most trying days of my life.
When we were married in the Bountiful Temple, one of the things that our sealer said to us was, “Always remember – repent, forgive, and be nice.” It was one of those things that you thought sounded nice at the time, but really had no idea of how pertinent it would be over the years to come.
Repentance has required me to swallow my pride, to admit the oh-so-many times I’ve been wrong and to take those difficult steps to change myself. Repentance in my marriage has helped me to build my testimony of Christ’s atonement and to become aware of my weaknesses.
Forgiveness has meant that I haven’t left my husband after a tiny little fight got blown into a huge one. Forgiveness has helped me look past the hurt and tears and find the good and love in our relationship. Forgiveness may be one of the only reasons we’re still together. Not that love and family doesn’t keep us together. But without forgiveness, we’d both be holding onto each and every wrongdoing…and love just can’t function there.
…and Be Nice.
At the time, I found it funny that our sealer would use two obviously Gospel-related principles and then end his remarks with “be nice.” I mean, of course I’m going to be nice to my husband! We’re in love and we’re going to be nice and wonderful to each other forever and ever!
Sometimes we’re not very nice to each other. And sometimes we call each other names and get super sassy and don’t really like each other. I mean, at all. And so being nice becomes the ultimate task, the only way after we’ve said “Sorry” and “I forgive you,” that we’ll be able to be friends again. And stand being around each other.
Marriage is hard. Really hard. And the rom-com ideal that “love conquers all” doesn’t really qualify. Because in the end, being in a real, lasting, eternal relationship with someone may be the most vital thing we do in this lifetime. We’re learning to love someone beside ourselves, fully and completely, in their bad moments and their good. We’re learning to give more of ourselves than we ever thought possible to someone we have absolutely no real control over (frustratingly enough).
Going on dates helps. Keeping things sexy helps. Communication helps. But I truly believe that the counsel that we were given on our wedding day has been the most effective, lasting piece of advice we’ve ever been given.
So repent. Forgive each other. And, dang it, be nice.