Elder Erich W. Kopishke of the Seventy promised a “direct German approach” to his remarks on the importance of marriage and family as he gave a devotional address on Tuesday, December 2 at Brigham Young University. Reflecting on how the lights and warmth of the Holiday season invite us to reflect on the light of Christ and on our lives, he noted that this time of year is, for many, “a time of good intentions that end with sudden death after the New Year.” We ought to try to do better, Elder Kopishke noted, especially if we know the importance of our commitment to follow Christ and if we are motivated by the knowledge of who we really are.
Growing up, Elder Kopishke often asked himself the question, “Where will you be ten years from now?” He does not ask himself that question so much now that he is older, he noted with a touch of humor. The point he made to the audience assembled at the Marriott Center was that his goals and vision for his future affected his decisions. He illustrated this with an example from his own life. He had a favorite aunt in his childhood who was energetic and lively and spent much time playing with himself and his cousins. He made the decision that he wanted his future wife to have a similar approach to taking care of children, and he internalized this desire to the point that he found a spouse that exactly fit this vision. Dreams and visions for the future, Elder Kopishke said, are important, because they determine what we become. He quoted the scripture in Proverbs 29:18, “Where there is no vision, the people perish,” and suggested that the phrase could be reversed to read, “Where there is vision, the people flourish.”
Elder Kopishke asked the BYU students present to ask themselves two important questions, 1. What is your personal vision for your life? and 2. What will you do to fulfill it? He taught that true joy and happiness are inseparable with keeping the commandments and come from having a relationship with God and Christ and being in tune with their will.
The doctrine of the family is central to finding true happiness in this life, and Elder Kopishke said that success in family life is based on a husband and wife having a vision of their roles in it. Latter-day Saints might be tempted to allow the desire for personal ease and comfort take priority over the needs and wants of the family. However, marriage and family life were never intended to be easy. Instead of waiting for financial security or finding a “soul mate” as the world approaches marriage, marriage requires sacrifice and faith and worthiness to enter the marriage covenant as a foundation for creating a gospel-centered family.
While some families or individuals may believe that they are “exceptions” to certain expectations of the gospel, Elder Kopishke cautioned that we should learn the rule first and deal with the exception later. Husbands and wives should have the faith to establish their families and act upon their vision for their lives, trusting that the Lord will provide for their needs. Sometimes couples will be required to put in more time and effort to accomplish their goals for their family. Elder Kopishke promised that as we aim to build eternal families,
He will help you to do His will in His way according to His timing.
Elder Kopishke challenged the BYU students present at the devotional to come for themselves to know what really matters. He counseled them to treat every date as a future eternal companion and to not do anything with a date that would compromise their divine birthright or worthiness to enter the temple. If repentance is needed, do not procrastinate, he said. Faith in Christ enables us to pursue our vision for what we seek in this life and in the life to come. While not all adults in the Church will be able to find an eternal companion in this life, the ultimate goal is still the same, and we should strive for the ideal.