Marriage Isn’t As Big a Deal As You May Think

help my marriage


It was late, and my wife and I were getting ready to go to sleep. I rolled over and looked at her.


“What?” she asked, smiling at me.


I asked her a simple question: “How do you know that I love you?”


Certainly, I thought, it is going to be the surprise cruise honeymoon that cost thousands. Or maybe the book of 100 reasons why I love her that took over 10 hours to make. Or maybe the rose petals I saved from our proposal and pressed for Valentine’s Day. Surely, one of those things is how she knows I love her.


Her response left me speechless.


“Because you brought me my water bottle.” I had completely forgotten that I had grabbed her water bottle on the way to bed and handed it to her. She usually keeps it on her nightstand, but it happened to be in the kitchen, so I just brought it in.


“And because you did the dishes.” But she had cooked . . . isn’t that normal if she cooks and I clean?


“And because you text me during work.” Doesn’t everyone?


“And because you give me kisses.” Isn’t that for me too?


To be honest, I was a little bugged at first. She had mentioned so many little things that I hadn’t even thought about that I felt like my grand gestures hadn’t been appreciated. But then I remembered something I had read when we were engaged: “Marriage isn’t any big thing, it’s a lot of little things. Acts of kindness every day create a happy marriage” (John Bytheway, What We Wish We’d Known When We Were Newlyweds).


It wasn’t until my wife answered her own simple question that the quote made sense. That’s when I stopped looking for one really big way to yell “I LOVE YOU!” and instead made a goal to find lots of little ways to say the same three words.


But this advice isn’t just about marriage—it’s about all relationships, even those in our business and personal lives. Studies have shown that…



To read the rest of this post visit (source of picture as well).



3 Habits That Could Make You Lose Your Testimony Without Realizing It

This post had over 200k visits to Read the whole post there.


losing my testimony


It was a blistering hot day in NYC.


I was 23 and had graduated from BYU two months earlier. Now I was nearing the end of my summer internship at a very fast-paced advertising agency.


From my apartment window, I looked out over the Hudson River where a city that shimmered with opportunity lay before me. The whole world was looking bright, but inside, I felt…cloudy.


I had doubts.


I wasn’t sure where to live after my internship, what to do for work, and worst of all, I went from having a huge support system in Utah where everyone encouraged me to choose the right and where gospel conversations were a norm, to a bustling city where my thoughts rarely fell on the gospel. And when they did, it was mainly questions about Church history. I began doubting whether or not I believed in the Church anymore.


But how could I—someone who prayed every day, hadn’t skipped a day of reading my scriptures since I was 15—have doubts? In my mind, doubts were for those people who had serious struggles in life or who chose paths that took them away from the Church—not for an active returned missionary like me. Right?


It was at this time of great confusion that my friend called me from the airport, en route to his mission. After a few minutes of talking he said, “Zack, you don’t sound good.”




To read the rest of the post and the three things that that might make you be losing your testimony, go to



Grow, Don’t Just Go

Climbing the tree

A man was hiking through the forest when he saw something half-way up a tree.


Looking up, he saw another man climbing.


“What are you doing up there?” the grounded man inquired.


“Trying to get to the moon,” came the matter-of-fact response.


Baffled, the hiker furrowed his eyebrows before informing the climber that he was never going to get to the moon up there.


The climber snickered at this lowly man’s apparent ignorance. “What do you know? I’m higher than you and still have higher to climb!”


Many of us are just like the man in the tree. We think that moving is getting us somewhere.


Our lofty goals and ambitions cause us to start racing through life, or climbing a tree, never giving thought to whether or not we are actually going towards a finish line. As Stephen Covey put it, “if the ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step we take just gets us to the wrong place faster.”


So often in life, we make a goal to get married, but we go on tons of dates instead of really getting to know someone.


We want to have a successful marriage, but when we go to dinner with our spouse, we are on our phones the whole time.


We desire to do more with our lives, but we read self-help books as procrastination for actually helping ourselves!


It can be agonizing to give our lives an honest look, only to see that our current course is not going to get us where we truly desire. But at times, going backward is what will ultimately propel us forward.


The most successful people I’ve observed do two things very well: they work hard and they work smart. If one of those is missing, then you will also miss your end goal.



To read the 5 steps to grow and not just go and read the conclusion of this article, to go!

5 Relationship Questions You Didn’t Realize Were Answered in Alma 32

Shot of an affectionate young couple relaxing at home

Alma gives a beautiful dissertation about the seed of faith in Alma 32.


But as I read this chapter recently, I realized that the advice and principles in it are just as true if you change the word “faith” to “relationship.” Here are the answers to five common relationship questions, as explained by Alma 32.


1. How do I know if I’m dating the right person?

“Now we will compare the [relationship] unto a seed. Now if ye give place, that a [relationship] may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true [relationship], or a good [relationship], if ye do not cast it out by your [pickiness, laziness, busyness, fear of commitment, etc.]…it will begin to swell within your breasts…”


Jonn D. Claybaugh said, “Some people expect the Lord to provide a dramatic revelation about their eternal mate, but what usually happens is that we drop our defenses and communicate with a potential spouse, we experience subtle, ongoing spiritual promptings about the relationship. Inspiration can come only when we are honest with ourselves, our potential mates, and the Lord” (“Dating: A Time to Become Best Friends,” Ensign, Apr 1994)


2. Once I’ve found a good relationship, then what?

“As the [relationship] beginneth to grow, ye will say: Let us nourish it with great care, that it may get root, that it may grow up, and bring forth fruit unto us.”


Spencer W. Kimball said, “The successful marriage depends in large measure upon the preparation made in approaching it…One cannot pick the ripe, rich, luscious fruit from a tree that was never planted, nurtured, nor pruned” (The Miracle of Forgiveness, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1969, p. 242).


3. The relationship is dying after it was growing. Not my fault, right?

“But if ye neglect the [relationship]…when the heat of the sun cometh…it hath no root and withers away…Now, this is not because the [relationship] was not good…but it is because your ground is barren.”


Yikes! We must remember that who we are affects how our relationship grows.

5 Relationship Questions You Didn’t Realize Were Answered in Alma 32

4. How do you know when the seed has grown into “true love?”

“…ye will begin to say within yourselves—it must needs be that this is a good [relationship]…for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.”


David O. McKay said, “‘How may I know when I am in love?’ That is a very important question…in the presence of the girl you truly love you do not feel to grovel; in her presence you do not attempt to take advantage of her; in her presence you feel that you would like to be everything that a [great man] should become, for she will inspire you to that idea. And I ask you young women to cherish that same guide. What does he inspire in you?” (“Chapter 14: Preparing for an Eternal Marriage and Family,” Teachings of Presidents of the Church: David O. McKay)


5. Is all this work worth it?

“But if ye will nourish the [relationship]…as it beginneth to grow, by your faith with great diligence, and with patience…behold, by and by ye shall pluck the fruit thereof, which is most precious, which is sweet above all that is sweet.”



(To read the actual commentary and not just quotes AND a nice little ending, read the full article (3-min read) at!)


Why We’ll Never Be Prepared for What’s Next—And That’s Okay

running dating


A few years ago I signed up for a marathon.


When I decided I would run the 26.2 miles, I couldn’t even jog for one mile without stopping. But, I decided that regardless of what was expected or how hard the inclines, I would finish the race.


However, whenever I start a significant event in my life, feelings of personal insignificance usually quickly follow.


Like when I was set apart as an elder.

Or when I received the first investment dollar into my company.

Or when I started my MBA.

Or when I proposed a few weeks ago.


Every one of those events didn’t change who I was but rather explained who I was and made me more committed to climb.


I realized that even though I had prepared for each of these steps, when they finally did come, I wasn’t ready. I had no sudden epiphanies or magical wand that transformed me into a member, an elder, a student, or a husband. I was still just . . . me. How was I ever supposed to measure up and succeed at tasks so above my head?


But isn’t that the way it goes? Isn’t that how God works?


As my MBA Professor Grant McQueen reminded me at our class convocation,

When God wanted an ark, He didn’t look for a boat builder.

When God wanted Goliath killed, He didn’t look for a giant slayer.

When God wanted the Church to settle in the West, He didn’t look for a frontiersman.

So when God wants an incredible life to be lived, He is looking at you.


Why do you think that Christ told Peter and Andrew, “I will make you fishers of men?” (Matthew 4:19) Because they were just men who fished before Christ.


Maybe you’re like me and often feel a sense of doubt about your abilities, but even Shakespeare decried such notions! “Our doubts are our traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing the attempt (Measure for Measure, act 1, scene 4).


To read the conclusion of this article and my favorite Neal A. Maxwell quote, continue reading at


The Only Thing That helped When I was TICKED!

hand and holding


I was fuming.


The details are not important, but I was treated so rudely by a potential business partner that I was left in shock. I had never had someone be so inconsiderate to me before.


But since I only allow myself 10 hours a year to feel frustrated, and it was only March at the time, I didn’t want to waste my frustration too early.


I tried to blow off some steam.


I went for a run in the desert, but it didn’t help.

I called my mother and it just got me more worked up.

I went to the temple, but didn’t have the right attitude.


As I was sitting in my kitchen looking for something to make me happy (realizing that I had already eaten up half of my year’s frustration time, which only made me more frustrated), I started eating some Goldfish. I started to think about how I loved Goldfish and that they are, indeed, “so delicious.” Then, I remembered hearing a sentiment described in the book Flourish, where Martin Seligman recommends all readers try an experiment: “Find one wholly unexpected kind thing to do tomorrow and just do it. Notice what happens to your mood.”


So I did just that.


I called the 1-800 number on the Goldfish box and told the lady who answered that I had a comment I wanted to make. I could feel her eyes squinting on the other end of the phone, ready for a deluge of disapproval.


“I just want to say thank you for such a great product. I seriously love your Goldfish!”
[silence] “Um…Oh, okay…well thank you for saying so.”


“Yeah,” I responded. I hadn’t really thought through what else I would say past that point.


“Well,” the woman answered much more cheerfully, “what is your address and I’ll send you some coupons to get a free box of Goldfish!”


And while of course I was excited for free Goldfish, I honest to goodness felt so, so, so much better after saying something nice in an unexpected way.


Truly, when we do something nice with no thought of reward, we can improve our hearts. And, because God is so giving and so good, we’ll often find we still receive blessings in turn—like free Goldfish.


To read the conclusion of this article, check out

Why I’m Afraid of Marriage: Confessions of a Single LDS Man

happy newlywed


At the start of this year, I got tired of not being able to see the world. So, as some of you may know, I’ve been traveling a lot lately.


When I share this with my married friends, they usually say, “Get that all out of your system now, because when you’re married . . .”


Then they trail off into an assumed negative statement of common knowledge about how marriage means that life isn’t fun or something. (I’m not sure because no one ever finishes that sentence.)


Sure, it becomes more expensive and more difficult (especially with kids). But does excitement have to be drained out of a relationship because of family?


In pondering over that question, I realized one of my biggest fears about marriage is that life will become audaciously ordinary, banal—dull. 


Of the couples I have observed, there are very few marriages which look enjoyable to me. (Now admittedly, the couples in those relationships may be perfectly content; it just doesn’t seem like it would work for me.)


Not great odds. But determined to beat the odds, I started to consider the commonalities between the marriages I admired.

There were two factors I’ve noticed in marriages I admire:

1. They have respect for each other. They are friends.

2. They work for adventure. Not that they spend thousands of dollars a month traveling, but they share new experiences with each other.


To read the conclusion of this post, go to

3-Word Formula to Choose Your Love

Young couple holding hands

“Choose your love and love your choice.” When Thomas S. Monson made that statement, I thought I understood what he was saying.


I still think that I get the second part—love your choice. To me, that means being committed.


But what does that first part mean? How do we choose our love?


We often get so lost in trying to understand what it means to choose our love, that we never gain what we want (or at least want to want): marriage. Or better-put, a great marriage.


For years I was convinced that I was doing my part to get married, until I realized recently that there was a three-word formula. It is a formula for helping us all to choose our  love—not just waiting around for him or her to appear.


  1. Open.
  2. Service.
  3. Time.


See, not long ago, I met this girl. She was pretty, smart, and motivated, but we weren’t really one another’s type. I thought she was a little too high-strung, and I could tell she thought I was immature (turns out one of us was right–her). I never asked her out, but we became good friends. Then one day, I thought to put the “choose your love” counsel from President Monson to the test and see if I could really like her. So I decided I would make myself vulnerable and not even care if she didn’t like me back. Every time I saw her, I would give her a compliment, try to make her day a little better, and be more eager to help her out. Basically, I served her. Not in a creepy way, but in a way to help her day be a little bit better.

Over time, something happened.


Week 1: I did not feel much of a change.

Week 2: I started to notice myself glancing at her more often.

Week 3: I caught myself thinking about her randomly.

Week 4: I noticed butterflies.

Week 6: I was looking forward to seeing her.

Week 7: I really liked her . . . a lot.


I realized this was the same lesson I learned on my mission with difficult companionships, but I didn’t think it would translate into romantic relationships as well. But why shouldn’t it?


Gordon B. Hinckley said, “If every husband and every wife,” (and I don’t think he is excluding singles,) “would constantly do whatever might be possible to ensure the comfort and happiness of his or her companion, there would be very little, if any, divorce” (“The Women in Our Lives,” General Conference, Oct. 2004).


To read the conclusion of this post and my epiphany on how this relates to the Atonement, continue reading at <–click that!

God’s 3 Steps to Successful Dating and Marriage

A loving young couple spending time together at home


I had just received the news through some not-so-subtle hints.


She wasn’t interested.


(Insert disappointed sigh here.)


Not that I was counting on it working out, per se, it’s just that . . . well, I was really hoping it might have. Yeah, it was just a crush; yeah, we might have only gone on a couple of dates; yeah, I wasn’t super emotionally invested . . . but I was at that point in life where it seemed that nothing was working out. (You know what I mean.) I was frustrated because whenever I liked a great girl, they weren’t interested; and when a great girl liked me, it didn’t seem right.


I was standing on a packed train when I had a prompting to open up to Doctrine & Covenants Section 90. I was not sure exactly what was there, but when I came across verse 24, I realized that God had put in a formula so that my relationships—in my dating life and in my future marriage—would really work! He packaged it up in three simple steps that could help me keep perspective. It filled my heart with hope—and it can fill your heart too.


  1. Search Diligently
  2. Pray Always
  3. Be Believing


This is just a summary of this article. To get the full punch:




6 Words from a Dying Man that Changed My Perspective on Love

holding hands

Death was slowly reaching out his shaky fingers toward my Great Uncle Paul.

This dear man, a silent example of charity, was nearing the end of his year-long, bed-ridden battle with a degenerative nerve disease in his home—a home he built with his own hands for his barely budding family ages earlier. His body was feeble, and his words were scarce. In fact, he would say maybe three or four sentences a day.

I tried to visit him and his sweet wife, Della Mae, as often as I could—always finding myself a better person when I left for just being around their fairytale-like love (some people just have that effect on others, I guess).

When I stopped by one day, almost a week before he passed away, I had a life-changing experience (completely unexpected, as most are).

Della Mae was busily tiding up the living room around Paul’s bed. Unassumingly, quietly, and deliberately, Paul raised his gentle hand a few inches from the sheets where it lay.

“Della Mae . . .” It was too quiet; she didn’t hear. He rattled out a raspy cough. “Della Mae . . .”

She turned and rushed to his side, eager to accomplish any need of her beloved spouse.

“Yes, Paul?” she cheerfully asked.

I assumed he wanted something to eat, or some medicine, or just have his pillow rearranged.

But what he said surprised me. And his words forever changed me.