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The Celestial Relationship

by Jennifer James, LCSW

As Latter-day Saints we have a huge opportunity, and an even larger responsibility, when we enter a temple, to understand the workings of the Celestial Relationship. The Celestial relationship is not an "event." It does not happen overnight. It is a process that invites two people to work daily towards a union that blesses each others' lives and creates a oneness as Heavenly Father intended. As we date to find our Celestial Relationship here on LDSSO we should be looking for the kind of partner who is not only willing to couple but has the confidence and ability to couple celestially!

Here is a check-list that describes what to look for in your potential companion and what to strive for yourself:

Are you equally yoked?
Both the man and the woman must be willing to wear the harness of partnership, pull equal weight, and bring equal strength to the cause of the relationship. Our partner should have complimentary rhythms and expectations in life. Much like the oxen yoked inside a harness together, each should have a matched energy, gait, talents, abilities, loyalty, dedication, love, and a desire to accomplish the task ahead.

Do you come to the altar with equal offerings?
Do you each honor the strengths and weaknesses that are present in each of you? All too often, one will "give" much more in the relationship, creating a "taker" out of the other. The imbalance can derail a potentially great relationship. Make sure each of you gives in ways the other feels and appreciates it.

Do you know that the marriage partnership is sacred above all other relationships?
One of the primary ways we undermine a celestial relationship is to allow other needs to come before that of our sweetheart. Whether it's work, extended family, hobbies, pastimes, projects, ambitions, children or friends, no one should have more of your quality time than your partner. It's ironic that many of us will put our relationships on emotional "hold" while seeing to the needs of many extraneous and frivolous life demands. Protect your relationship from worldly interference and the temporal things that divide eternal relationships.

Can you endure the trials of your faith together?
In dating situations, many of us go through the fun, calm, easy waters of romantic courtship. Nothing is allowed to interfere. We splash and have a blast, protecting our relationship from anything that would cause harm. That's not necessarily the real world. Enjoy your dating partner long enough to see them in rough waters. Welcome trials to show each of you how you react in crisis or when problems arise. In calm waters, every ship has a good captain, so the old saying goes. How do they pilot the ship when the hurricane hits? Is it "all-hands-on-deck?" Or "every-man-for-himself?"

Is your relationship a pearl of great price?
Remember those two simple verses from Matthew 13:45-46? If we consider the kingdom of heaven to be like a celestial relationship, and we want to purchase it, what are we required to give? We must be willing to give our very best to the cause of our relationship!

Do you/they have eternal playfulness?
One of the most precious tools we bring into a celestial relationship is playfulness. Do you both have fun together? Is there laughter, joyful moments, ease in expression between you both? It's often when we are comfortable enough to be playful with our companion that we expose ourselves emotionally, our "walls" disintegrate, and our facades crumble. Are you/they willing to be that trusting and vulnerable? Don't be afraind to get goofy, grubby, weird and enjoy some silly moments....those in celestial relationships never lose their sense of humor!

Are you willing to cultivate a celestial intimacy?
Many mistakenly assume that intimacy only involves our physical bodies. Physical intimacy is heightened and expanded when the emotions and the Spirit are involved. Celestial intimacy involves two people pleasing each other and caring for the other's experience more than their own. As we develop the proper mind-set to nurture a celestial oneness, the possibilities for inspired union are staggering. The fusion of the intellect, the spirit, the body and the emotions can elevate an average relationship into an eternal one.

Is there open, mindful communication and resolution of problems?
Follow the many "C's" of celestial relationship: caring, compassion, concern, consideration, compatibility, communication, coupling, commitment, conflict resolution, communion. Each of these is a vital part of vital eternal partnering. Of all the elements of an eternal relationship, communicating well and being devoted to solving problems are the most important in the long run. Does your dating partner have the skills to resolve issues with you easily and forgive readily? Do you?

Are you/your dating partner prepared?
Timing, preparation and our offering are the three components that complete a relationship and give it the energy necessary for great success in marriage. So many of us may find a wondrous celestial mate and the timing is off because either they or us are not prepared yet. Don't let that happen!! Begin now to become the great eternal offering you were destined to be, and allow the Spirit to guide that precious soul into your life who shares, loves and cares the way you do.

Jennifer James, LCSW is the author of "Latter-day Divorce and Beyond: Surviving Singlehood," and is a popular speaker. Jennifer gives relationship seminars to help singles in their quest for wholeness and fulfillment inside dating relationships. You can contact Jennifer on her website www.ldsbrokenwings.com, email Ldsbrokenwings@yahoo.com, or visit her publisher at www.cedarfort.com.

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