Today's Family: Bring Happiness into Courtship and Marriage

“There is no scene so sweet, no time so sacred as that very special day of your marriage. Then and there you glimpse celestial joy,” says President Thomas S. Monson, sharing his deep feelings about temple marriage. He adds, “You … have an important responsibility in choosing not only whom you will date but also whom you will marry.”

“The most important day of my life was the day when my sweetheart, Dantzel, and I were married in the holy temple,” says Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “Material possessions and honors of the world do not endure. But your union as wife, husband, and family can. The only duration of family life that satisfies the loftiest longings of the human soul is forever. No sacrifice is too great to have the blessings of an eternal marriage.”

Get to Know Each Other

Before you make eternal marriage covenants, Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles advocates learning as much as you can about your potential spouse. “If you wish to marry well, inquire well,” he says. “There should be dating, followed by careful and thoughtful and thorough courtship. There should be ample opportunities to experience the prospective spouse’s behavior in a variety of circumstances.” At the same time, he cautions, as we get to know possible eternal companions, “we should realize that a good marriage does not require a perfect man or a perfect woman. It only requires a man and a woman committed to strive together toward perfection.”

“Please date extensively,” Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles urges, echoing Elder Oaks’s advice to spend time getting to know potential spouses. “Please know the kind of person you want to be with. … Make sure that you know before you get married what that person really wants to be. You can do that by seeing if he or she goes to his or her meetings and has a testimony and can talk to you about eternal goals now.”

Seek Essential Attributes

“As you seek an eternal companion, look for someone who is developing the essential attributes that bring happiness,” Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles teaches. This person should have qualities including “a deep love of the Lord and of His commandments, a determination to live them, one that is kindly understanding, forgiving of others, and willing to give of self, with the desire to have a family crowned with beautiful children and a commitment to teach them the principles of truth in the home.”

Elder Scott also suggests that those seeking a spouse should look at themselves to be sure that they are the kind of person they want to marry. “When you find you are developing an interest in a young woman,” he told young men, “show her that you are an exceptional person that she would find interesting to know better. … If you want to have a wonderful wife, you need to have her see you as a wonderful man and prospective husband.”

Be a True Disciple

“Do you want capability, safety, and security in dating and romance, in married life and eternity?” Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles asks. “Be a true disciple of Jesus. Be a genuine, committed, word-and-deed Latter-day Saint. Believe that your faith has everything to do with your romance, because it does. You separate dating from discipleship at your peril. Jesus Christ, the Light of the World, is the only lamp by which you can successfully see the path of love and happiness.”