To the degree that a couple uses the basic principles of genuine Christianity in their marriage they will be blessed in their marital relationship. The Lord has taught us so much about forgiveness, going the second mile, and faithfully fulfilling our duties and our promises. When we apply these same teachings to marriage we set a course toward happier lives. There is no better opportunity to become a spiritual person than in learning to live, work, and play together with a life-partner. It is often said that charity begins in the home, and when we learn the art of love with our spouse, we are in turn blessed with a rich and meaningful companionship. The Lord has said, "Give and it will be given unto you." This is true in marriage as in any other relationship.
Marriages have their challenges. If a couple believes they will get by on love alone, they may be in for some rough realizations. Love needs to be clothed in truth. The teachings of the Lord's Word are that clothing. They give a person structure for that love, and like clothing, they protect the love from harm. For instance, many marriages are challenged by times of temptation. Whether these temptations entail sexual allurement, power struggles, or conflict of values, shunning selfishness and wandering lusts as sins against God and as hurtful to marriage guards against the destructive forces that would harm our love relationships. People make mistakes, and everyone has their ups and downs in marriage, but when religion and marriage walk hand in hand, the means for continued development remain at hand.
In fact, the New Church teaches that if a person would only look to the Lord as a power greater than self, pray for help, and shun selfish thoughts and desires as sins against the Lord, he or she will find the path to heaven. Jesus said, "The kingdom of God is within you." We create our own state of heaven or hell right now, while we are on earth, and this state follows us after death and comes into its fullness. That is why married couples who use the tools for spiritual growth given to us in the Bible and in the teachings of the New Church create within themselves and within their relationship a heavenly state and way of life, and this heavenly marriage continues on into the life after death.