At the Top of My List
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    “At the Top of My List,” New Era, Oct. 2004, 48

    Special Issue: Dating and Temple Marriage

    At the Top of My List

    Before I married my wife, Stacey, people told me how to find the right person to marry. They said I should make a list of the qualities I was looking for in a spouse.

    My list went something like this: I want to marry a young woman who is spiritual, is a returned missionary, has a strong testimony, and wants to be a mother and raise our children in the gospel. It would also be nice if she is tall, athletic, and has blonde hair.

    As I was dating, I had a hard time finding a young woman with all of those characteristics. Young women are much more than a list of characteristics. They have different personalities, different likes and dislikes. Some are easier to talk to than others. Some are tall, some short. Some like sports, some don’t.

    I began to revise and prioritize my list.

    The most important change came from a sentence in my patriarchal blessing that says Heavenly Father was preparing a young woman for me to marry in the temple. That sentence, along with prayer and the Spirit, was my guide.

    My wife is short, has dark brown hair, didn’t go on a mission, and doesn’t play sports. But as we dated, I found that she is kind, easy to talk to, fun to be with, has a strong testimony, and wants to raise children in the gospel.

    So I decided that hair color and athletic ability weren’t as important to me as seeking to know Heavenly Father’s will in deciding whom to marry. When I was with Stacey, I felt at peace. I felt she was the one Heavenly Father had prepared for me to marry. Stacey and I were sealed in the temple.

    I’m glad I put learning and obeying Heavenly Father’s will at the top of my list.

    Photograph by Christina Smith