“Marriage is a perfect laboratory for personal growth.”
- Celeste Davis
Think about your wedding day.
What were some of the feelings and emotions you were experiencing?
If you’re anything like me, I felt an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. Getting married was the day I had looked forward to ever since I was a little girl. Everything I did in life somehow related to this goal of finding my one true love and sealing our lives together for time and all eternity.
In my mind, August 19th, 2016 would forever go down as the moment I had finally arrived. I made it! I reached my ultimate goal!
Though it’s only been two short years since that day, it didn’t take me long to realize how wrong I was.
Marriage is not a destination.
It’s not about the wedding rings, the venue or the photographer. It’s not about what song you had your first dance to, or the flavor of the cake you smooshed in his face.
That stuff is only the beginning. It’s only the first step.
Marriage is everything that comes after all that!
Though I had been preparing myself to get married my whole life, there was no way I could be 100% ready for what actually came next.
If there is one thing we’ve learned from all the couples we’ve met and interviewed, it’s that there are as many recipes for an extraordinary marriage as there are couples who have one.
Each marriage is unique and different; each couple has their own challenges and obstacles to tackle. One thing that works well for one couple, might be a source of argument and disaster for another.
Growing up as a Latter-day Saint, there was no shortage of cookie cutter advice on what made a marriage Celestial. You’ve all heard things like “put Christ at the center of your relationship,” or “pray and read scriptures more together.”
What if you’re doing all those things and you still feel stuck?
What if you’re in the midst of everyday life and wondering why your marriage doesn’t quite live up to the cultural ideal?
What if your partner just isn’t living up to their potential.
What if you want so much more, but you don’t even know where to start?
Let’s see what Alma had to say about this:
“But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words.” -Alma 32:27
In other words, if you’ve got a desire to have an awesome marriage, then you’ve already begun. The next step is to slap on those rubber gloves and protective goggles and start experimenting.
ex·per·i·ment \ ikˈsperəmənt \
noun: a course of action tentatively adopted without being sure of the eventual outcome.
verb: try out new concepts or ways of doing things.
My favorite part of this definition is, “without being sure of the eventual outcome.” Sometimes you need to step out of your comfort zone and give something a try even if you have no idea what is going to come out of it. (See 1 Nephi 4:6-7)
In this week’s episode of the podcast, we sat down with Celeste and Rich Davis from the Marriage Laboratory to talk about the importance of experimenting.
They gave us an example of an ongoing experiment they have in their own marriage.
Before they were even married, they tried to have weekly “Companionship Inventories.” At first, they were terrible at it! They weren’t sure what or when to bring up sensitive topics and often took things personally.
After ten years of consistent trial and error with this experiment, they’ve created a habit that has enriched their marriage in so many ways.
What would have happened if they gave up the first time it didn’t work out as they had planned?
What if you give something a try but then fall flat on your face or everything explodes into flames??
Great! Make a few tweaks and adjustments to the experiment and then try again.
Don’t ever stop experimenting!
Remember, no one starts out marriage out as an expert. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t work yourself up to eventually become one.
Experiment —> Experience —> Expert
Each of these three words originate from the latin word “experiri” which simply means,”to try.”
When you allow yourself to try new things, you gain experience and wisdom, until you can finally say, “I got this!”
Trust that all the experiments you conduct out of your righteous desires will eventually work together for your good, (D&C 122:7) even if they don’t always work out the way you imagined they would.
Faith in yourself, faith in your spouse, and faith in the process.
Who knows the amazing discoveries that await you?
About Our Guests
Celeste and Rich Davis from Marriage Laboratory
Rich and Celeste started dating after Celeste had a long-standing, celebrity-like crush on Rich for three years. They've been married now for 10 years and have four kids. They are big believers that marriage is a laboratory and just because something isn't working doesn't mean there is something inherently wrong with us or our spouse, it just means we need to keep experimenting! They do just that on their blog Marriage Laboratory where they hold a love experiment every other month. They also just started a podcast called Marriage Theraoke (therapy + karaoke) where they give therapy to love songs and then re-sing them with more emotionally healthy lyrics. When they're not podcasting, their favorite past time is laughing at YouTube videos together while eating cereal. It's a simple life they lead.