Inspirational Messages

    Marriage and Divorce


    Elder Dallin H. Oaks testifies that the Atonement of Jesus Christ can heal the pain of a troubled or broken marriage for all who humbly seek His help.


      [MUSIC] We live in a world in which the whole concept of marriage is in peril and where divorce is commonplace. Some even refer to a first marriage as a "starter marriage," like a small home one uses for awhile before moving on. There are many good people who have been divorced. I speak first to them.

      We know that many of you are innocent victims whose former spouses persistently betrayed sacred covenants or abandoned or refused to perform marriage responsibilities for an extended period. Those who have experienced such abuse have firsthand knowledge of circumstances worse than divorce. When a marriage is dead and beyond hope of resuscitation, it is needful to have a means to end it. All who have been through divorce know the pain and need the healing power and hope that comes from the Atonement. That healing power and that hope are there for them and also for their children.

      Now I speak to married people, especially to any who may be considering divorce. I strongly urge you and those who advise you to face up to the reality that for most marriage problems, the remedy is not divorce but repentance. Often the cause is not incompatibility but selfishness. The first step is not separation but reformation.

      Divorce is not an all-purpose solution, and it often creates long-term heartache. If you are already descending into the low state of marriage-in-name-only, please join hands, kneel together, and prayerfully plead for the help and the healing power of the Atonement. Your humble and united pleadings will bring you closer to the Lord and to each other and will help you in the hard climb back to marital harmony.

      Whatever the outcome and no matter how difficult your experiences, you have the promise that you will not be denied the blessings of eternal family relationships if you love the Lord, keep His commandments, and just do the best you can. From personal experience, I testify to the sweetness of the marriage and family life that the family proclamation describes as founded upon a husband and wife's "solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children."