When Howard W. Hunter was 20 years old, he met Claire Jeffs at a Church dance in Los Angeles, California, while she was on a date with one of his friends. After the dance, a few of the young adults went wading in the ocean surf. Howard lost his tie, and Claire volunteered to walk along the beach with him to help find it. Howard later said, “The next time we went out, I took Claire, and [my friend] went with someone else.”
The following year they began dating seriously, and on a spring evening nearly three years after they met, Howard took Claire to a beautiful overlook above the ocean. “We [watched] the waves roll in from the Pacific and break over the rocks in the light of a full moon,” he wrote. That night Howard proposed marriage, and Claire accepted. “We talked about our plans,” he said, “[and] made many decisions that night and some strong resolutions regarding our lives.”
Their happiness as a couple was evident to their family. Robert Hunter, their oldest grandson, said: “When I think of Grandpa Hunter, I think more than anything of an example of a loving husband. … You could really sense a loving bond between the two of them.”
The Lord has defined marriage for us. He said, “For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh” (Matthew 19:5).
Life’s greatest partnership is in marriage—that relationship which has lasting and eternal significance.
Marriage is often referred to as a partnership with God. This is not just a figure of speech. If this partnership remains strong and active, the man and woman will love each other as they love God, and there will come into their home a sweetness and affection that will bring eternal success.
In the temple we receive the highest ordinance available to men and women, the sealing of husbands and wives together for eternity. We hope our young people will settle for nothing less than a temple marriage.
This is the church of Jesus Christ, not the church of marrieds or singles or any other group or individual. The gospel we preach is the gospel of Jesus Christ, which encompasses all the saving ordinances and covenants necessary to save and exalt every individual who is willing to accept Christ and keep the commandments that he and our Father in Heaven have given.
[Marriage] … is a learned behavior. Our conscious effort, not instinct, determines the success. The motivating force stems from kindness, true affection, and consideration for each other’s happiness and welfare.
Prior to marriage we looked at life from our own point of view, but after stepping over that threshold, we began to consider it from another’s viewpoint also. There is a necessity to make sacrifices and adjustments as manifestations of reassurance and love.
An eternal marriage will be composed of a worthy man and a worthy woman, both of whom have been individually baptized with water and with the Spirit; who have individually gone to the temple to receive their own endowments; who have individually pledged their fidelity to God and to their partner in the marriage covenant; and who have individually kept their covenants, doing all that God expected of them.
We hope you who are married will remember the feelings of love which led you to the altar in the house of the Lord. Our hearts are saddened as we learn of many whose love has grown cold or who through reasons of selfishness or transgression forget or treat lightly the marriage covenants they made in the temple. We plead with husbands and wives to have love and respect for each other. Indeed, it would be our fondest hope that each family would be blessed with a mother and father who express love for each other, who are deferential to each other, and who work together to strengthen the bonds of marriage.