To the Happy Couple: Consider Yourselves Warned

target engagement

The MMM family is going to have another wedding! Yes, Alex, (FOML3) has found himself a winner. Her name is Madi, and she is a catch.

About 3.5 years ago, FOML2 got engaged. Back then I was in the land of anonymity, so I didn’t use anyone’s names. But a short time after that engagement was made official, I sat Taylor and his future wife Mallory down at the kitchen table and had a visit with them to give them some observations. (“Observations” was code for the speech that I had written in my head over the previous few days.) I had a captive audience, and it was my kitchen table…

I decided to re-post a modified version of that speech for several reasons:

1) Alex and Madi can read it. (because all engaged people become kind of stupid absent-minded, and they need it, too.)
2) I have 3 more unmarried kids, and this way I can refer back to it, as needed.
3) Many of you, or your kids, might need it one day.

So, here’s the speech…

You know we are thrilled that you two are getting married. We could not be happier that you found each other, that you are so right for each other. We are happy that you both have prepared, and are worthy, to get married in the temple. We are incredibly proud of you, and we know that Madi’s parents are too. We are confident that your Heavenly Father is pleased as well.

However…not everyone is pleased. The adversary is not. He hates both of you. He hates the fact that you are on the verge of creating a new eternal family unit. He hates you – he hates eternal families – and he hates the temple. Effective now, you both have targets on your backs, and he will do everything in his power to stop this from happening. He does not want you to enter the temple to be sealed together – it goes against everything he stands for.

• His first line of attack will be to destroy.

If he can provoke you into doing something that will keep you out of the temple, he will. He would love for you to give in to temptation – to sacrifice your purity, so when the time comes to get that recommend to enter the temple, you would be judged as unworthy. He would love that, because he knows that many engagements cannot survive the damage of immorality. He would like to see you “Spiritually Stupid” so that the decisions you make during this time are bad ones.

So be smart. Don’t put yourselves in situations where you might slip.  I know you are both smart, and strong – but the two of you aren’t bulletproof. We love and trust you, but that’s the reality of it.

• The second line of attack will be to diminish the experience for you. If the adversary is unsuccessful in getting you to blow this thing up, he will try and make it a less-than-wonderful experience. Remember, the actual SEALING ceremony will only be a few minutes long. There are no flowers, decorations, and only one color – white.  Everything and anything beyond that you are planning and preparing for is not your wedding. It is bonus stuff. A really fancy party – but not a wedding.

If the adversary can get you to put a huge amount of time, energy, money and focus on all of the extra stuff, he can diminish the singular importance of the actual wedding. If he can’t stop it, he will do what he can to make it seems insignificant – and society and culture – inside and outside the church – are more than happy to help him. Remember, what you will be taking away from the events surrounding your wedding will be photos, memories, and relationships. (And maybe, just maybe, a box of wedding stuff that could hypothetically sit in your garage for 30 years without ever being opened. Hypothetically speaking, or course.)

The memories you create now and up through your wedding day will be immortalized in your memory and personal history. Satan would really like those memories to be bad, and forever taint your temple experience. And the most effective way of doing that would be to stir up contention.  What better way to diminish the glory of your wedding than to taint the memory with anger, disagreement, contention and tears.

Fifty years from now, do you want to look back at your wedding and remember that you fought with each other about what you are going to wear, or what food to serve, or who to invite? Protect your relationships during this time. Engaged couples are notorious for being INCREDIBLY self-centered. (I know, because I was there once.) Fight this instinct.

Contention with each other, or with your families, can bleed into the temple, and deny the Holy Spirit of Promise from sealing that sacred ordinance. If you are fighting with your mom or your dad, or each other, it will diminish, and cheapen what you experience the next few months, the adversary can count that a partial victory – and he’ll gladly take it. Don’t just pick your battles wisely. Avoid them at all costs. Remember, the colors, the flowers, the clothes, the food, the music, the invitations, etc., are NOT the wedding. The wedding can, and should be, a short, pure, spirit-filled, sacred event. All the additonal stuff is merely stuff – a party – and it can either enhance the experience, or diminish it. Your choice.

Speech is over. Thank you for humoring an old man.  We love you, and are your biggest fans. We will do our best to not diminish your experience. We want it to be a spiritual, and joyful day – the best day of your life – not just this life, but your eternities as well.


And the happy couple, Alex and Madi:
Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 7.28.06 AM

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  1. Congratulations! They look so sweet!
    I love the “target on the back” analogy. Great visual.

  2. Wow, huge paradigm shift for me. This will go in the keepers file for future use. Thanks so much and congratulations to the happy couple! !

  3. Ummm this is perfect and just what I needed to hear 15+ years ago (darn…would I have listened?) and what I have been thinking about ever since then. All of what you said is so. very. true.

  4. “You come from a long line of love” (Michael Martin Murphey). Please down load it for your son and crank it up for him to enjoy…you’ll love it too!

  5. We call all the stuff that happens for a wedding outside the temple The Pagan Rites. With more RM brides, I hope there will be less and less angst about colors, venues, cake, etc. All my girls lost interest in that as soon as they knelt at the altar. I tried to warn them that Pagan Rites would be insignificant to them that day, but with little to no experience with the Temple sealing, they couldn’t quite catch that vision.

  6. What a nice little speech you gave them…I love how you are so direct and to the point. Great advice, thanks for sharing it. And Congratulations to your son, daughter in law to be and entire family, weddings are such happy events! Have a beautiful day 🙂

  7. Oh. My. Stars. This is brilliant. Thank you. When my next FOML gets engaged, he/they will get this. Grazie. Gracias. Merci. Danke.

  8. This is such beautiful counsel! Thank-you for sharing your insights and your love for your children.

  9. I tell all young men and women getting Mission calls and engaged couples in our Ward the same thing. To young men I advise that their is nothing more attractive than a young man with a mission call. They will get more attention from the opposite sex than ever before. Satan is very good at his craft and will do all he can to destroy! Being careful is sound advice.

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