“I am being told to prepare to be a mother and wife instead of going on a mission. Which is more important?” New Era, Jan. 2009, 35
President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008) said, “We need some young women [on missions]. They perform a remarkable work. … [But] young sisters are not under obligation to go on missions. … Missionary work is essentially a priesthood responsibility. … We do not ask the young women to consider a mission as an essential part of their life’s program. … To the sisters I say that you will be as highly respected, you will be considered as being as much in the line of duty, your efforts will be as acceptable to the Lord and to the Church whether you go on a mission or do not go on a mission” (“Some Thoughts on Temples, Retention of Converts, and Missionary Service,” Ensign, Nov. 1997, 52).
Serving a mission can be a rewarding and life-altering experience. If you feel the desire to go on a mission, pray about it. If that desire persists, talk to your parents and bishop about serving.
In terms of preparation, marriage and a mission are not mutually exclusive. Preparing for the one can help you prepare for the other. And, of course, you should prepare to enter the temple no matter what you decide. Ultimately, you should never feel pressured to go on a mission. The decision is between you and the Lord.