The “M-Word.

Not to state the obvious or anything, but marriage is kind of a big deal in the BYU-Idaho culture. It’s a huge decision, one that impacts every day of your life for eternity.

There’s a plethora of articles, papers, books and more with advice about marriage in all its different stages. There’s a page on thespruce.com that explains how marriage has distinct phases, each with their own impact on partners individually and as a couple. Marriages go through the phases of romantic love, then reality, followed by transformation, which leads to mature love and then the final stage of widowhood.

Marriage is a dynamic relationship that changes and evolves over time.

Jared and Taylor Leifer, both seniors studying exercise physiology, were married in the Columbia River Washington Temple on April 8.

Sam Murphy, a senior studying mathematics education, and Carlee Murphy, a junior studying computer information technology, were married in the Los Angeles California Temple on Nov. 15, 2014.

Brian Page, a professor in the business department at BYU-I, and Kathy Page were married in the Jordan River Utah Temple on July 6, 1984. He and his wife have four children and four grandchildren.

These couples were all asked the same questions regarding the dynamic of their individual marriages, and were asked to share advice and lessons they’ve learned from their experiences together. The following are the questions and some of their answers.

What is one of the most important lessons you have learned together so far?

Taylor Leifer said thinking about your partner is important, especially in daily interactions.

“You have to consider what they might think of it or how they might feel about it,” Taylor Leifer said.

Sam Murphy said the patience and humility to forgive is crucial.

“I have a piece of advice from my dad that he wrote on a quilt that just says, ‘Marriage is a union between two good forgivers,’” Sam Murphy said.

Brian Page said totally trusting that your companion has your best interests in mind eliminates a lot of potential conflict.

“If I make a mistake, and do something dumb — which I’ve done — she knows that it’s not because I’m being mean, I just made a mistake,” Brian Page said.

What has changed most in your relationship since your wedding day?

Jared Leifer said they have both been busier and have seen less of each other since being married.

“Our time together is a little bit more important to us than it was before the wedding,” Jared Leifer said.

Carlee Murphy said the dynamic of being a union feels different than that of a relationship.

“We’ve had to adapt and grow into having one life instead of two different lives, Carlee Murphy said.

Kathy Page said over time, she and Brian have chilled out as a couple and as parents, especially now that their kids are grown.

“We’ve adopted a saying: ‘Because we can,’” Kathy Page said. “Everyone’s gone so it’s like ‘Let’s have cold cereal for dinner…because we can!'”

What advice do you have for people that are approaching marriage?

Sam Murphy said a lot of issues in marriages arise from differences in core beliefs.

“Make sure you know where their values are and how they match with your values,” Sam Murphy said.

Taylor Leifer said your expectations need to be realistic, and to remember that not everything will be perfect.

“That way you’re prepared when something does go wrong, and you’ll know that it’s part of life,” Taylor Leifer said.

Brian Page said it’s important to discuss important things in your lives, and truly learn about each other.

“A lot of times when you date, you’re just doing fun stuff, but to actually take time and just sit and talk and understand is important,” Brian Page said.

What do you do to handle challenges that one or both of you face?

Carlee Murphy said they don’t have a fixed plan for handling challenges.

“If Sam gets mad, I like to make him laugh, because that helps him,” Carlee Murphy said. “Or when he’s sad I like to make him laugh. Or when he’s happy I like to make him laugh.

Taylor Leifer said those moments are when service becomes particularly important. She said the key is “doing things without being asked.

Kathy Page said the executive council she and Brian Page have every week is crucial.

“The thing that we always try and do is just asking ‘how are you doing?’ and ‘What can I help you with this week?'” Kathy Page said.

Marriage is unlike any other relationship we can share with others here on earth. It tests and stretches us beyond what we may feel we are capable of. Regardless of the stage of marriage, inspired leaders have counseled the world of the blessings it offers and the happiness it can bring.

The Family: A Proclamation to the World” stated “Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.”