Building Things of Lasting Value

Published May 19, 1983. Susan has often said that when it comes to doing romantic things, I am long on promise and short on delivery. Like many other husbands, my intentions are good, but I don’t always follow through.

So last week I followed through. I called the bishop, fire department, poison control center, emergency ward at the hospital, and local police and told them my wife and I were going to be away for a day or two. I also asked if they would keep an eye on our children.

Robert Goulet has always been one of our favorite singers, so when I found he was coming to Salt Lake to sing in Symphony Hall, I got tickets and made reservations at the Marriott Hotel across the street from Symphony Hall.

We only had minimal problems in getting away. There were slight innuendos of child abuse from our six kids. Tammy, age 14, agreed to watch the other children. Brian and Jon, 12 and 10 respectively, stated they would protest by riding their bikes up the canyon and spend the day shooting their BB guns. Jason, 6, and Kris, 3, agreed we could go if we would leave an ample supply of peanut butter and honey to assure them they would not starve during our two-day absence.

Our only major concern was our 16-year-old son. Doug, who that very day had received his driver’s license. After a few white-knuckled rides during the two previous weeks, he had proven to me he could, indeed drive. And during our absence he wanted to drive the rest of the children downtown for ice cream cones. Questioning his sudden altruism, we finally agreed, said prayers both vocal and silent, and left.

We arrived at the Marriott in time to change clothes and walk over to the beautiful Symphony Hall. Not only did we like Robert Goulet, but the two numbers performed by the Utah Symphony Orchestra at the beginning were also enjoyable.

Getting away as husband and wife is something we wait too long to do, and then we don’t do it often enough. Perhaps other husbands are like myself—long on promise but short on delivery.

Our room at the Marriott was on the 14th floor facing north. What a spectacular view that was of downtown Salt Lake late at night. And most impressive to me was the view of the beautiful LDS Temple on Temple Square.

As I looked at the Temple late at night, I wondered why its construction took 40 years to complete. Given the fact that we now have more modern construction techniques, I also realized a few other things.

One was the relative destitute condition of the few thousand Mormon pioneers who started the edifice in 1853. Second was the fact that at least twice, the Mormon pioneers had to start over on the construction project. This occurred once during the Utah War of 1857 when Johnston’s Army threatened to enter the Salt Lake Valley. Brigham Young ordered the workmen to cover the foundation and encouraged the saints in Salt Lake to vacate the valley and move south.

After the Utah War Crisis was over, the soil was removed from the foundation, and construction on the temple was started once again.

Not long afterward, Brigham Young determined the foundation was insufficient and again ordered the workmen to reset the foundation. He announced the Temple must stand for a thousand years, even through the Millennium. So once again, they started over.

Finally, I realized that things of lasting value usually take a long time to build. And the same is as true of marriages as it is of temples. If they are to endure, they must be built on a solid foundation.  The construction of both will take skill, time, effort, knowledge, and patience.

It may be that after a few years of marriage, we may face difficult times and be tempted to give up. But like the Mormon pioneers and the Salt Lake Temple, we may have to start over, working together on the marriage.

Things of lasting value usually take a long time to build.

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