“What kind of person do you think would make an ideal wife for your son?” New Era, Oct. 1972, 39–40
Answer/DeWitt J. Paul
As a Latter-day Saint parent contemplates the new permissiveness between the sexes, the rising divorce rate, and the breakdown of the home, he cannot help but be deeply concerned about just what influence this trend might have in relation to the marriage of his own sons and daughters. Under these alarming circumstances it is more important than ever to choose a proper mate.
I have five sons. If society gave me, as their father, the responsibility of selecting their respective wives, I would look for a faithful, active member of the Church. Ideally this someone would understand what a faithful, active Latter-day Saint home is like. Although such a daughter-in-law would very likely fall short of the model helpmate I am about to describe, I feel certain that the above background would help her come the closest to it.
It would ease the problem of adjustment and compatibility if my son and his wife had a number of common interests and, in addition to their common religious background, somewhat comparable backgrounds educationally, socially, and economically. A girl with a college degree and a specialized vocation would be desirable, but more important than this would be her desire for continual growth and development. It would be good if she possessed certain talents and skills—an interest in music or other art forms and the ability to sew and cook. It would be worthwhile, too, if this bride-elect knew the value of a dollar.
For a son of mine I would select a wife with a cheerful, happy personality, one with warmth and affection and the ability to show it at appropriate times. I would look for someone from a loving home. She should be understanding, kind, and thoughtful, but most of all unselfish. I would like her to be intelligent and spiritually minded. She should be without hang-ups, healthy, and physically attractive. This latter attribute means different things to different people and does not necessarily mean being a beauty queen; but certainly this prospective wife should be pleasing to her husband’s eye. Ideally she might be a little younger than the man she is to marry.
In the final analysis I would want my son’s wife to be primarily a homemaker. Thus she should not frown upon housework. Motherhood should be her highest priority—her principal mission. Hence she should love children and have a strong desire to raise a family of her own. To be ready for this she must be mature enough and her mother sensible enough to loosen the bond that has held them so closely together.
I would hope that this sweetheart and my son would fall hopelessly in love with each other—a love so beautiful they would want to seal it in the temple of the Lord for time and all eternity. I would not want them to miss the joy of the romantic love of youth, but I would want them to realize that this is only the first step to a mature partnership in which they will work together with the Lord in fulfilling his great purpose of immortality and eternal lives.
I have taken personal purity for granted from this faithful Mormon girl. Have I assumed too much in this generation when premarital indulgence is widely condoned as a desirable trial before entering into a permanent, certificated marriage relationship? I think not, for this ideal mate I have pictured would have no need for this approach. She and my son would have formed their courtship, engagement, and eventually their marriage on a sounder foundation, part of which would have been to call upon the Lord for guidance in the decision as to whether they were right for each other.
And now, after all these words, I’ll say once again, simply and briefly, if I were to choose a wife for one of my sons, I would choose a good Latter-day Saint girl who is loving, healthy, and intelligent. But even more simply I would say to my sons, “Your choice is mine.”