6: Laughter is vital
Missionary work is really hard. People stand you up all the time, others are rude at times, and a large percentage of individuals think you're young, innocent, and uneducated. If you add in the fact that you're always tired and and your hair never looks as good as it did pre-mission you can see how real the struggle is. As hard as missionary work is, I've been told more times than I can count that marriage and family life is harder. No matter what point you are at in life, there will be hardships and trials. Things outside of your control will always drive you crazy and often your plan will be kicked to the curb. It would be really easy to have a bad attitude about mortal life (and some people do), but it is unnecessary. I've thoroughly enjoyed every day of my mission because I've decided to. What has made it even easier though is having someone to laugh with. Sister Smith and I laugh ALL THE TIME. If we are in the car between appointments we are laughing. If we were just rejected at a door we wait until we are out of ear shot and then we are laughing. If we have the flu the day before my 24th birthday and are miserable, we are laughing. I've learned that I have to be with someone for eternity that can laugh off the bad with me because the bad will become more prevalent if we embrace it and don't fight against it.
|This was us for approximately 24 hours on the eve of my 24th birthday. Through the misery, we had many a tender memory made.|
As a child we are always told that we're like snowflakes and no two of us are alike. Blah blah blah. Well, it's true. Even though Sister Smith and I are largely the same person (as manifest by our identical interests, Spotify playlists, and love of hipster-esque items) we have differences. I'll never forget the first time we taught the Restoration lesson together and she explained the Great Apostasy differently than I do. It really caught me off guard. I had had so many young companions until that point that every one I had been with just emulated me in their teaching style. For the first time in a very long time I was with someone that taught completely differently than I did. It didn't matter though because the message was still delivered and the person heard what they needed to hear. It would be so easy to nitpick each other and point out flaws all day long. But if it doesn't affect her salvation or missionary work, then it doesn't need to be addressed. A spouse or children will never be perfect. Change yourself before you seek to change others. You can always develop more charity, patience, and love.
4: Always communicate your feelings
People can't read minds. It just isn't a thing. Yet. Science. Talk about what makes you happy, sad, frustrated, angry, confused, etc. People need to know where you're at if you want to work together to achieve happiness. People also like to hear when they're doing well. Let them know when you love them. I really struggled with this before my mission. I considered it a talent for a long time that I could hide anything. I hate emotions and feelings. They make me so uncomfortable. But if a relationship is going to be effective, you have to be an open book. I've never communicated so many emotions in my life until I became a missionary. It's always been helpful though. Never do it in a negative or a demanding way. Just let people know what you're thinking or feeling.
|Look how happy we are. After this event we communicated that to one another!|
3: Embrace the oddities
Everyone has quirks. Even people who you think are normal have them. Apparently I scrunch my nose a lot. Sister Smith shrieks and talks in a weird low voice a lot. Just love people for who they are.
|Another quirk of mine: I love taking pictures in the most random settings. She embraced it and humored me more times than I can count.|
2. Marry a best friend, not just a person you love
Love is a powerful thing, but it can't compensate for a lack of friendship. Nothing is sadder to me than married people who spend a majority of their free time without their spouse. The last three months have flown by because the Lord blessed me with a best friend companion. It is true that you can be happy with anyone if you choose to be, but why not be happy with your favorite person?
1: Anything is surmountable through Christ
At the end of the day everything is possible through Jesus Christ. Sister Smith's unwavering faith has reminded me that even through the toughest of trials He is the one that will lift you up. Center your life in Christ and find someone who will do the same and you'll always be taken care of.