Preparing for marriage (while I’m still single)

Hello, my dear friends!
First of all, if you are worried or excited about me being in a relationship, the answer is that I am still as single as I’ve ever been. I am focusing on my school work for now, and focusing on applying to my new major. Not to worry! I will eventually find and marry my Prince Eric in the temple (I personally like the Manti Temple) and ride off into the sunset (or wherever life takes us), but for now I am content. However, I do feel that it is important to prepare to be my best self, which will in turn help me in marriage.
This semester I am taking a class titled “Marriage and Family Relations.” It counts towards my religion credit hours, plus it is an amazing class. I couldn’t have asked for a better professor than Ty R. Mansfield to instruct this class. I have already learned so much-and it’s only half way through the semester!
This past week in particular has given me a better look into what marriage is and how it works. More specifically, WHAT makes it work. I was able to interview 5 different couples and find out what works for them in their marriage. Not surprising to me, they each said similar things.
While I will not go into detail about what was said in the interviews-I wish to protect the privacy and the precious insights of the lives of the wonderful couples I learned from-I will let you know a little of what I got from this experience and what marriage means to me in a simple way. This won’t be a long post! (Mostly because I need to go to bed so I can study for my Physical Science midterm tomorrow…)
The basic themes that I saw from this project and through writing a paper on my findings are that love consists of trials, but that those trials can strengthen a marriage when approached with communication and faith in God. Ultimately, communication and a sense of wanting to be closer to God help the husband and wife team to grow closer and stronger with each other.
Now I will say this in referencing marriage- I believe that there is no better way to define marriage than what has been said by a Prophet of God in The Family: A Proclamation to The World. It states that “marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.” (In believing this, I do not mean to offend anyone, but my beliefs are my beliefs. If you don’t agree with me, than that should not affect our relationship. We can all love and respect each other, even if we do not agree on all levels. I will not attack you because of your opinion, so please do not attack me because of mine.)
Because I am not close (that I am aware of…) to being married, I do not have first hand knowledge of what marriage is like. I do not know what exactly it will take from me, Savannah, but I do know that it is worth the struggle. I know this because I have seen many marriages succeed and thrive when founded on correct principles. Those marriages are not made with perfect people, but with people who are striving to be the best they can be. 
Often times, I believe we see marriage as a means to and end- whether it be to “make us happy” or provide a way to have children because we are lonely, or even as a way to have sex without the guilt of being immoral. However, marriage is NOT a means to an end. Those reasons are selfish and are the exact opposite of love. For me, love means giving your all to the other person. To care for and support them through the happy and the sad times. Marriage is not for “me,” marriage is for “them.” It is a divine union between a man and a woman that helps them to become more like God and to strengthen their testimonies and relationships with Him, as well as each other.
For me, marriage is a sacred union. It is a continuation of an already blossoming relationship. It is powerful and it is SO important that I cannot begin to describe the things I feel so deeply with my entire soul about it. 
Marriage is important. If you don’t really know what it is or why it is, just talk to someone around you who is married. Find out their deep thoughts and feelings about it. Find out what makes it work for them. If you do this, you will see what I have seen. I promise you that. You will find that it is extremely hard, but that it is worth the struggle and the pain to feel the joy that comes from being one with another person in every aspect of life. And if you, like me, are not close to marriage just yet, you will become more excited about preparing for it. 
Am I afraid? Yes. Do I still have insecurities? Absolutely. Do I have doubts that I’m not good enough? All the time! I am human, despite what you may think. However, I trust that God will bless me with a good man that will encourage me to be better. Someone with whom I can continue to strengthen my relationship with God. And that just gives me shivers of excitement and hope for a very bright-even during the hard times-future. 

For now, I will say goodnight, but since this is such an important topic, I do expect to revisit it from time to time. Stay tuned-to the spirit!!
~Savannah

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