The Apostles’ 7 Tips on Preparing for Marriage

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Transitioning from young adulthood into starting a family can be difficult. Fortunately, the inspired words of our apostles lay a useful road map to follow. These 7 tips can help you get your family started off in the right direction!

Date for the Purpose of Getting Married

Image via LDSLiving.com awkward date at the movies.
With eyes set on marriage, dating plays a central role in the social culture of LDS young adults.

Apostles frequently speak about relationships. Six straight General Conferences have had speakers talk about dating! Young adults feel the pressure put on them to date. However, it’s not just any dating that the apostles encourage young adults to do, but a very specific kind of dating. As Elder Dallin H. Oaks said “It’s marriage time.”

He encouraged young adults to move away from the group dating style of their youth and onto pairing off, saying “it is time for you to grow up”.

Traditionally, it falls to the boys to take the initiative to ask a girl out on a date. For those who don’t, Elder Oaks says, “You men should get on with it”. He also offered 3 “P”s of dating to help those struggling to do that, and for those who aren’t even sure what constitutes a real date.

  1. Planned ahead
  2. Paid for
  3. Paired off

Keep the Law of Chastity

Keeping relationships within the proper bounds is one theme the apostles repeat often.

At every general conference, there is at least one apostle who talks on chastity. For young adults, it is a line that they must draw in their physical relationships.

As Jeffrey R. Holland said, “In matters of human intimacy, you must wait,” pinpointing that sexual activity is to begin at marriage. God created us and has given us analogous creation powers. We must exercise those powers with care. Otherwise, we are, according to Elder Holland, playing a game of “emotional Russian roulette.”

Sexual relations are, according to Boyd K. Packer“to be shared solely and only with that one who is your companion forever.” After all, saving yourself for marriage is a reflection of pure love.

Let Your Mission Prepare You

two LDS missionaries smile
One of the best marriage prep courses out there is the mission field.

For 18 months or two years, missionaries spend every hour of every day learning from a companion how to communicate, compromise, and how to go through the tough times together. Richard G. Scott taught that “such experiences will develop a foundation for the later blessing of your being a strong [spouse and parent].”

Elders and sisters live very high standards on the mission. As Dieter F. Uchtdorf taught, holding to such standards on and off the mission will open up the way to more “opportunities and responsibilities.” With our future families in mind and hearts set on the temple, we will want to “organize and plan [our lives] based on the same standards.”

Be Worthy to Go to the Temple

family at the temple in white
The temple must be central for your future family.

Our future realities begin with the goals that we make today. We are regularly encouraged to make it a goal to marry in the temple. L. Tom Perry has taught that “there is no other way to start an eternal family unit than to be married in the proper place, at the proper time, by the proper authority.”

To enter into the House of the Lord, we must qualify for a temple recommend by maintaining high moral conduct. As we prepare in this way, the temple already begins to bless us. One blessing, as noted by Russell M. Nelsonis that we will “find inner peace and spiritual strength” as we strive to become and stay worthy to enter in the temple.

“The way you feel in the temple is a pattern for how you want to feel in your life” ― Neil L. Andersen

Develop Self-Discipline and Selflessness

young man and elderly woman

M. Russell Ballard counseled that we need to “have the proper attitude” and “learn to reach our goals.”  Accomplishing that requires “applying the ingredient of self-discipline.” He emphasized that sometimes that can be a high price to pay, but if we do it, we will be able to accomplish anything.

One point given by D. Todd Christofferson was that the word “discipline” shares the same root as the word “disciple”. Therefore, turning to Christ and striving to be like Him is the ideal discipline for us to live by.

After all, our self discipline should be based off of moral standards. We “choose the right because it is right, even when it is hard” and we “[reject] the self-absorbed life in favor of developing character worthy of respect and true greatness through Christlike service.”

A part of the price that we pay in a relationship is ourselves. Henry B. Eyring spoke on selflessness by saying that it “is the key to complementary marriage between a man and a woman.” Being selfless would “help [to] create a renaissance of successful marriages and family life.”

Stay Away From Addiction

Game controller
Addictions make starting and maintaining a family much more difficult. Avoid dependencies while you are young.

Sadly, one thing often claims the ability for a relationship to function is an addiction. Addictions come in many forms and many different degrees of harm.

David A. Bednar shared his concern for “the addicting effect of excessive video gaming or online socialization” stating that some “waste countless hours, postpone or forfeit vocational or academic achievement.” By allowing an addiction such as this to be a distraction, we “ultimately sacrifice cherished human relationships because of mind-and-spirit numbing and online games.”

An addiction to video games may seem minor compared to a drug addiction. It can still play a big role, little by little, in the break-up of a family. It is important that we are willing to put our families  before our hobbies and lusts. We will then, as Quentin L Cook put it, “avoid spiritual, physical, and intellectual bondage as well as the lamentation of wandering in our own wilderness.”

Stay Out Of Debt

money in pocket
“Live within your means!” the apostles tell us over and over.

Robert D. Hales emphasized the need to “break the cycle of debt and our uncontrolled wants.” Doing so would take self-discipline and selflessness, crucial elements of a relationship.

One of the best ways that we can be selfless is to not become overcome by our wants. There are things that we just don’t need. Sometimes we struggle to see the difference. Here are five common wants that can contribute to debt if we are not careful:

  • Expensive clothes
  • Constantly eating out
  • Paying for an entertainment system
  • Buying a new car when we don’t absolutely need one
  • Costly hobbies

We may want some of these things for ourselves or for those around us, but as we stay debt-free we provide ourselves and our loved ones with something more important: security.

Kings Island Roller Coaster
The twists and turns of family life are many, but with proper preparation you can go forward with faith.

Life is like a roller coaster, especially when it comes to starting a family.

Our lives ahead are going to be exciting, scary, overwhelming, joyful, and amazing all at the same time. By heeding the counsel of the apostles we will be able to maintain a firm foundation through all of the craziness that is life.

Think back to a time when you have faced some of that craziness. Perhaps your parents were unemployed, you were failing school, or had just broken up with your boyfriend or girlfriend. Whatever it was, which apostles’ teachings have helped you get through those times? Which gives you the most confidence in preparing for your future family?

 

Hadley is a writer at LDS.net and a student at BYU majoring in Print Journalism and minoring in Political Science. Her LDS mission to Oklahoma turned her into an avid OU fan. She enjoys speaking Spanish and cooking Thai food.