Preparing for An Eternal Marriage “Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a [marriage], even a [marriage] of prayer, a [marriage] of fasting, a [marriage] of faith, a [marriage] of learning, a [marriage] of glory, a [marriage] of order, a [marriage] of God” D&C 88:119 [“marriage” replacing “house”] “…if ye are prepared ye shall not fear.” D&C 38:30
The Most Important Things in this Life • Marry the right person • Marry at the right time • Marry in the right place by the right authority • Keep the marriage covenantPresident Gordon B. Hinckley & Elder Bruce R. McConkie (see text, pg. 32)
The Right Person Being A Right Person “Be the kind of person the kind of person you would want to marry would want to marry.” • We tend to attract who we are (“light cleaveth unto light” D&C88:40)
Looking for Another Right Person • “The One and Only” vs. A Good Match (Soulmates and Superlatives vs. Essential Attributes and Direction) “I suggest that you do not ignore many possible candidates who are still developing these attributes, seeking the one who is perfected in them. You will likely not find that perfect person, and if you did, there would certainly be no interest in you. These attributes are best polished together as husband and wife.” Elder Richard G. Scott • Look for a square (see Luke 2:52) • Virtues can become vices • “Make a decision.” (President Hinckley)
Common “Must Haves” Emotional Health Strong Character Energy Level Intelligence Financial Security Verbal Intimacy Conflict Resolution Skills Good Personal Habits Spirituality/Religion Shared Interests Similar Political/Social Views Interest in Parenting and ability to do it well Personality Values Skills Ambition Age Race Education Sexual Chemistry Height/body shape Facial Features Clothing Style Common “Can’t Stands” Lying Cheating Dominating Financial Irresponsibility Anger Mismanagement Pornography Excessive Drinking or Drug Use Smoking Gambling Sexual obsessiveness Sloppiness/Laziness Procrastination Gossiping Inappropriate behavior Penny-Pinching “Foul” Language Dependent on others Arrogance Extreme shyness Different music preferences Spiritual intolerance “Political Correctness” Reckless Driving Fanaticism
Looking For the Right Relationship • Look to marry marriage not just a person. [Systems thinking: The whole is greater and DIFFERENT than the sum of it’s parts.] • Important Relationship Qualities: • Background (context is important) • Love (intentional, not fortuitous; it’s a verb!) • Communication (motive and depth are more important than skill)
How to Look: Something better than dating? • The problem of purpose: Most people do not move beyond superficial factors before deciding to marry! • The problem of place: Most people don’t experience a potential spouse in a variety of circumstances to see their true character manifest. • The problem of pool potential: “[There are] insufficient institutional mechanisms for circulation.” (Norvell Glenn)
The Right Time The A-B-C/D-E-F Model Forever Engagement Decision Commitment Build-up Bonding AcquaintanceAttraction Deterioration Ending (Finished)
Decision Time: Seeking Spiritual Confirmation • Live worthy of inspirationPray continually throughout dating and courtship! • Study it out in your mind.(D&C 9:8) • get to know each other well being open and honest with each other • carefully weigh the strengths and weaknesses of your relationship • consult with parents and those you feel impressed to counsel with • do not ignore warning signs • don’t rush • Exercise agency.Make the decision. (D&C 58:26-27) • Ask in faith. Trust that the answer will come in the Lord’s time and way. (see D&C 9:8-9) • Seek multiple witnesses. • Discern between inspiration, infatuation, and desperation. • Confirmations should be sought by both.
Engagement Time: Preparing Well • Prepare for your marriage, not just your wedding. • Plan your wedding as a fitting spiritual start to eternity. • A successful engagement leads to a successful marriage (that may be with the person you’re currently engaged to, it may be with someone else!!)
Pressures Against Ending An Engagement • Social Pressures: • Announcements may have already gone out • The embarrassment of ending an engagement • You may be pressure from your fiancé not to end it • Family or friends may say “everyone gets nervous” • Personal Pressures: • You don’t feel you will ever find anyone else who will marry you • You are worried about your age • You love the person, even though you know it is wrong • Practical/Economic Pressures: • The wedding may already be paid for • Plane tickets may have already been bought • You have already bought a ring/dress/tux However, an engagement is NOT a marriage and a decision to become engaged need NOT bind you to marry this person at this time. You still have your agency!
The Right Place and Authority “If a man marry him a wife in the world, and he marry her not by me nor by my word, and he covenant with her so long as he is in the world and she with him, their covenant and marriage are not of force when they are dead… …Therefore they cannot be enlarged, but remain separately and singly, without exaltation, in their saved condition, to all eternity; and from henceforth are not gods, but are angels of God forever and ever.” D&C 132:15,17
Keeping the Marriage Covenant LDS couples entering marriage have trouble with: • Unrealistic Expectations (71%) • Communication (69%) • Money (58%) • Problem Solving (54%) • Power Struggles (53%) • Sex (50%) (percentages as estimated by members of AMCAP)
What Can Help “Considering the enormous importance of marriage, it is rather astonishing that we don’t make better preparation for success…Too many people are inadequately prepared for this lofty responsibility.” Elder David B. Haight Ensign, 1984, May, p. 13 • Couples who participate in some kinds of premarital education programs are generally better at resolving problems, report higher quality relationships, adjust better to married life, and have lower divorce rates, at least in the first 3 years of marriage. (Carroll & Doherty, 2003) • BYU/LDS Resources: * RELATE (self-guided, pre-marital relationship assessment) * Before Forever web site (http://marriageinfo.byu.edu) * MFHD 301: Marriage Preparation * Comprehensive Clinic/ Counseling Center
Recommended Reading • The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, John Gottman and Nan Silver. The most important research on what makes marriage work and why it doesn’t, written for a lay audience, with lots of exercises to do as a couple. The authors are not LDS, but the material is generally compatible with LDS values. • Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts, by Dr. Les Parrott III and Dr. Leslie Parrott. Seven important questions that should be asked and dealt with before (and again after) marriage. The authors are not LDS, but the material is generally compatible with LDS values. • The Act of Marriage: The Beauty of Sexual Love, by Tim and Beverley LaHaye. A Christian perspective on sexual relationships in marriage. The authors are not LDS, but the material is generally compatible with LDS values. • The Heart of Commitment, by Scott Stanley. A combination of solid research and Christian perspectives on the meaning and importance of commitment. • For Love & Money: A Guide to Finances and Relationships, by Bernard Poduska.A short, cheap, valuable primer for understanding how money affects relationships and relationships affect money, and how to be wise temporal stewards. • Starting Out Right in Marriage, BYU Family Studies Center (free). Issues that dating couples face, including common myths and misconceptions.