In a faith that emphasizes family and with a world culture that can make dating and marriage difficult, finding an eternal companion can seem like an insurmountable task. But with the right perspective based in Gospel teachings and some basic know-how, you can feel more confident. These three tips are here to help you get on the right track.
TIP ONE: Don’t be deceived. Keep an eternal perspective about why dating and eternal marriages are still relevant today.
When Jesus was upon the Mount of Olives his disciples came to him privately and asked a question that many today would like to know the answer to: “Tell us … what is the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world, or the destruction of the wicked, which is the end of the world?”
Of all the hundreds of signs and events the Savior could have talked about He chose to share this one, “Take heed that no man deceive you; For many shall come in my name, saying –I am Christ— and shall deceive many.” (JS-Matt. 1:4-5). Later in vs. 22 He made the warning more personal for today’s Latter-day Saints. “For in those days (today) there shall also arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch, that, if possible, they shall deceive the very elect, who are the elect according to the covenant.”
Satan “…maketh war with the saints of God, and encompasseth them round about.” (D&C 76:29) There is nothing the Destroyer desires more than to keep eternal families from being formed in temples or to break up those that have already started down the path to an eternity of being with God and eventually becoming like God. (see Moses 1:39 and D&C 132:19 or the last chapter in #Eternity)
Lucifer’s misinformation campaign is masterful and extremely effective today. Maybe the wicked in the days of Noah were as confused about “marrying and giving in marriage” as our world is today (JS_Matt.1:38), but I don’t think they were any more mixed up then we are. Fewer people marry today than at any time in our nation’s history. Of those who do marry, fewer stay married than ever before.
Traditional marriage that includes the love of a man and a woman is being redefined and afforded legal status to the point that the institution of marriage is now considered irrelevant to a majority of America’s young adults. In nearly all state sponsored institutions of higher learning social science classes teach there is no advantage to a traditional one-man one-woman relationship over a multitude of alternatives being practiced today. Satan’s deception campaign has made great progress in making people believe that marriage and commitment to relationships mean nothing in our new, enlightened post-modern world. Today’s higher learning about relationships reminds me of Paul’s description of our times in a letter to Timothy, we are “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (2 Timothy 3:7)
Tip one is straight from the Savior: don’t be deceived. Study and pray and learn the truth about the great plan of salvation, the place in it for an eternal marriage and family and believe in the promises made to the faithful. Then never let anything you don’t fully understand cause you to lose faith in that which the Spirit has taught you is true.
TIP TWO: Understand and memorize the most profound gem of truth ever written about marriage.
I call it the golden sentence. It is a pearl of great price penned by the combined effort of fifteen prophets, seers and revelators. The wisdom of this principle comes from God, through the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve apostle to us. The golden sentence is found in paragraph seven of The Family: A Proclamation to the World:
“Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
There is no greater truth to be found on earth about what helps form eternal relationships and maintains them so as to go the distance… all the way to eternity.
What is there in the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ that makes such a great promise possible? The authors of the Proclamation on the Family do not leave this to chance. They follow up the golden sentence by giving us nine more eternal principles taught by the Savior that if lived, greatly increase our chances of finding and keeping an eternal mate:
“Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.”
TIP THREE: Become the type of person you want to marry.
The only way to fully understand paragraph seven of the proclamation and the principles it takes to form and maintain an eternal marriage and family is to make each principle part of you. This is done in five steps first taught by Elder Richard G. Scott:
- Understand the principle. For example, what does faith mean and what can it do for you in finding an eternal mate?
- Value the principle. Once you understand how faith works in establishing and maintaining a relationship you then value the principle enough to become committed to living your life by faith.
- Obey the principle. Next we consistently do those things that demonstrate we understand and value faith. We also do not do those things that show a lack of faith.
- Remember the principle. Do you remember any unfulfilled new years resolutions? Why are the gyms of America full of those trying to get into shape the first few weeks of every new year and mostly empty the rest of the year? Because most people don’t value, obey and remember the physical fitness principle enough to endure to the end and get in shape.
- Expand the principle. A principle is a gospel truth that gives us counsel and guidance for conduct. Principles help us apply the doctrines of the gospel to everyday living. Elder Scott said, “Principles are concentrated truth, packaged for application to a wide variety of circumstances. A true principle makes decisions clear even under the most confusing and compelling circumstances.” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1993, 117; or Ensign, Nov. 1993, 86)
#Eternity: A LDS Guide to Dating and Marriage for Young Adults defines each of the ten principles to help the reader better understand them. Each chapter gives examples of the principles from real life to help us value it. Understanding and valuing each principle will help us all to obey that principle and make it part of our character. When we live a principle and make a conscious effort each day to evaluate our behavior in each of these areas we will remember them. Understanding, valuing, obeying and remembering each principle will invite the Spirit to teach us many different ways to apply each principle in our daily lives.
As you understand and apply the ten principles taught in paragraph seven of the Proclamation, you will become the type of person you want for an eternal mate. Some say that opposites attract, however, there is no empirical evidence for this and the truth is it is just the opposite. Those of similar values are attracted to one another. #Eternity can help make this possible.
Prepare yourself for a love that lasts forever! This ultimate guide to dating and relationships will help you become the perfect partner, wisely seek out true love, and nurture your relationship with ten sacred scripture principles as your sure foundation. Perfect for teens, young adults, and newlyweds, this book will help you find happiness now and eternally.
Terry Baker taught LDS seminary for 4 years and institute for 41 years in California, Texas and most recently at the University of Utah. He was an LDS Army Chaplain from 1970 to 2000 and served in Viet Nam and then in the National Guard. He has a PhD from BYU in Family Studies and Marriage and Family Counseling. He wrote college curriculum for the Church Educational System from 1995-2000. Terry retired in 2010 but still teaches Institute and Know Your Religion classes in Salt Lake valley. He has co-authored four books on the subject of dating and marriage.