Those temple trips were one of my fondest childhood traditions. On select Friday nights, my parents would pile us four kids into our trusty Volvo station wagon, suitcases packed and snacks stashed, and we would drive several hours from our home in Wisconsin to Glenview, Illinois. Of course, at the time I mostly loved going because it meant eating at TGI Fridays, splashing with my siblings at the Marriott swimming pool, and leaping from bed to bed in the hotel room—things that certainly didn’t happen at home.

But it was more than a family vacation. I remember the special feeling—that anticipation—of spotting the angel Moroni as we drew nearer to the city late in the evening. “Look everyone, there’s the angel Moroni!” my mother would say. Because we were too young to babysit ourselves, one parent would attend the temple that evening and the other would dutifully arise early the next morning and participate in an endowment session before we even awoke.

I can’t imagine that it was easy or convenient for my parents to attend the temple when it was several hours away and they had a herd of little kids in tow. But I’ll always remember their example. It’s become a poignant reminder to me of the importance of keeping temple covenants, and I’m grateful.

If we always understood—and remembered—the importance of keeping temple covenants, we’d undoubtedly attend the temple with more urgency. In his November 2005 devotional, “Temple Blessings,” Elder Robert D. Hales reminded us of the why and how of keeping eternal covenants made in the temple.

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Temples help us know who we are and how we should live. “Temples are the greatest university of learning known to man, giving us knowledge and wisdom about the creation of the world,” he said. Even more, our temple covenants help strengthen our families and marriages and provide us with blessings of an eternal nature.

Elder Hales offered a few suggestions to help us best keep our temple covenants, especially those made in a temple marriage:

  1. Know who you are—a son or daughter of God. Set eternal goals to return to live with Him again.
  2. Understand the doctrine and importance of temple covenants in reaching these eternal goals.
  3. Have the right perspective. The possessions of this world are only temporal, while the blessings of heaven are eternal.
  4. Realize that a marriage is eternal. In describing the outlook of successful couples, Elder Hales said, “[T]hey have chosen an eternal companion—their courting days are over! There is no need to look any further!”
  5. Put others before yourself. Selfishness can be detrimental to our spiritual sensitivity.

Life isn’t always easy, but our temple covenants strengthen us and our families. I no longer live two hours from the temple—in fact, it’s just down the street. Each time I attend, I’m reminded of the temple covenants I’ve made and the importance of keeping them.

And the effort is always worth it.

—Margaret M. Willden