Unfortunately the year-long waiting period for temple marriage after a civil ceremony has caused me heartache on two different occasions, and once was a definitive factor in my divorce.
I married a convert who was the only member in her family. Her mother was evangelical Christian and did not look upon Mormons very favorably. When my ex-wife moved to Utah (we hadn’t met yet) her mother was not thrilled about the idea of her moving to a Mormon-dominated area. When she told her mother she was being baptized, her mother’s exact words were, “You know I won’t be able to come to your wedding right?”
We eventually met and fell in love. When she told her mother, she was understandably upset. But we decided to go along with a temple wedding and held it in Utah, not in Pennsylvania where her entire family lived. We offered to hold a wedding closer to her family, but her mother said she would not even drive my fiancé to the temple and drop her off. I was too stubborn to even consider a civil ceremony at the time.
Her mother was devastated and hurt on the day of our wedding, and it only served to harder her heart towards the church. She became more antagonistic, and when we invited her to visit us in Utah she refused, because she said that her relationship with Jesus would be damaged. She never forgave my wife for getting married in the temple.
The tension got so bad between them that I became upset and wrote my in-laws out of my life. I know this was the wrong step, but I was so blinded that I could not/would not accept that they had legitimately had their feelings hurt because of our wedding. This naturally caused tension in my marriage, and we fought about it regularly.
This was not the sole factor in our eventual divorce, but I know that it played a part in it. Had we been able to have a civil ceremony where her mother could have been invited, not only would it perhaps have softened her feelings toward the church, but it would have not caused so much tension within her mother-daughter relationship and within our marriage.
Unfortunately this policy played a part in my second marriage as well. When I got engaged, I went through the steps to get approval to get married again in the temple. This process was very lengthy and caused a lot of worry and heartache for both my fiancé and myself. We had set a date to be married, but were still waiting on a clearance for me to be wed again in the temple. My wife’s family was upset that we were even planning a wedding without having a temple date set, which caused tension between her and her parents and sisters. We were prepared to wait a year to be sealed and go along with the wedding as planned, but there was much heartache and hurt caused by this policy because of the waiting process, and because of family members who did not understand our situation. Thankfully the clearance went through, but we were prepared to live a year with people whispering behind our backs about how we had not gotten married in the temple, and being forced to explain to family
and friends that we were worthy in every aspect. Had the year-long wait not been in place and the clearance not gone through, we could have simply gotten married and then sealed as soon as we received permission and not be forced to wait a year.
I honestly believe that this policy causes more heartache and disappointment, and that the US Saints should be held to the same standards as the rest of the Saints throughout the world who do not have the waiting period.