15: The Search for an Eternal Companion

Preparing for an Eternal Marriage Teacher Manual, (2003), 54–57


Doctrinal Overview

Marriage between men and women is ordained of God (see D&C 49:15–17). Without each other, men and women cannot fulfill the purposes for which they were created (see 1 Corinthians 11:11; Moses 3:18, 24). Only through temple marriage can men and women receive every eternal blessing (see D&C 131:1–4; 132:15–18). President Spencer W. Kimball taught:

“In selecting a companion for life and for eternity, certainly the most careful planning and thinking and praying and fasting should be done to be sure that of all the decisions, this one must not be wrong. In true marriage there must be a union of minds as well as of hearts. Emotions must not wholly determine decisions, but the mind and the heart, strengthened by fasting and prayer and serious consideration, will give one a maximum chance of marital happiness” (“Oneness in Marriage,” Ensign, Mar. 1977, 3).

Principle

Compatibility in key areas is essential to a happy marriage.

Student Manual Readings

Selected Teachings from “Mate Selection” (188)

The Family: A Proclamation to the World (83)

Note: This lesson will likely take two class periods to teach.

Suggestions for How to Teach

Discussion. Invite the men in the class to read the subsection “Counsel for Single Brethren” (in “Mate Selection,” student manual, 190) to identify traits Church leaders have counseled us to look for in a mate. Invite the women to do the same in the subsection “Counsel for Single Sisters” (student manual, 189). Write students’ findings on the board and discuss them as a class.

Suggestions for How to Teach

Discussion. Read the statement by President Spencer W. Kimball in the subsection “Importance of Choosing Wisely” (in “Mate Selection,” student manual, 188). Have students identify the most important points in the reading.

Video. To illustrate how our decision about choosing a marriage companion can affect the future, show Old Testament Video presentation 10, “Thousands of Millions” (4:48; item 53058). Discuss why making a wise decision is an obligation we owe to our posterity, not only in time but in eternity.

Scripture activity. Read Genesis 24:60 and ask students how Rebekah’s posterity could number in the “thousands of millions.” You may want to demonstrate how many descendants one righteous couple can affect. Ask: If a husband and wife have four children, and each of their children marries and has four children, and so on, how many descendants will the original couple have in the fifth generation? (256.) How many descendants in the tenth generation? (262,144.) How many in the twentieth generation? (274,877,906,944.) Point out that if each generation averages thirty years, twenty generations will span only 600 years. Ask: What does this imply about choosing a marriage companion?

Object lesson. To illustrate the ongoing impact of a couple’s decision to marry, show the accompanying picture. Or show a couple in a wedding picture, followed by pictures of the couple and their children ten years later, twenty years later, and so on. Try to find pictures that include the couple’s children and their spouses, their grandchildren, and their great-grandchildren.

Suggestions for How to Teach

Discussion. Draw the following diagram on the board. (Leave the diagram on the board for the rest of the activities in this lesson.)

Marriage funnel diagram

Explain that the diagram represents how we might choose an eternal companion. The top of the diagram represents the beginning of our search among our friends and acquaintances. The filters represent the choices we make that lead to dating, courtship, and marriage. For example, we might use filter 1, the personal qualities filter, and filter 2, the goals and values filter, to find people we are compatible with and feel comfortable dating. We might use filter 3, the shared experiences filter, as we choose a person to court more seriously. And we can seek for filter 4, inspiration to both individuals, to help us make our decision of whether to marry that person.

Explain that some of the filters may be used at more than one stage of a relationship. For example, we may want to know more about a potential date’s goals and values (filter 2) before dating that person. (You may want to add a dotted arrow to the diagram to illustrate this point.) Often, though, it is through the dating process that we learn this information.

The remaining activities in this lesson examine filters 1 and 2. Filters 3 and 4 will be discussed in lesson 16, “The Decision to Marry and Engagement.” Ask: How could studying these filters help us in our search for an eternal companion?

Suggestions for How to Teach

Discussion. Refer to filter 1 in the diagram on the board. Have students read the first statement by President Spencer W. Kimball in the subsection “Background Factors” (in “Mate Selection,” student manual, 188). Discuss this principle of compatibility. Ask students how having similar backgrounds could help a marriage relationship. Ask students what role they think cultural differences might play in a marriage. Ask them what role they think differences in education might play.

Ask: What do you think is the most important background factor to consider when searching for an eternal mate? Read President Spencer W. Kimball’s second statement under “Background Factors,” and emphasize the phrase “which almost invariably result.” Ask: In what ways are these challenges usually eliminated when both spouses are faithful members of the Church?

Express your gratitude for the blessings of temple marriage.

Discussion. Refer to the personal qualities filter in the diagram. Have students read President David O. McKay’s statement in the subsection “Background Factors” (in “Mate Selection,” student manual, 188). Discuss the importance of finding someone with a disposition (in other words, a personality and temperament) that is compatible with your own.

Have class members name character traits, and list them on the board. Include some of the following traits: kind, calm, organized, flexible, emotionally mature, happy, optimistic, confident.

Ask students to consider which of the traits listed would be most compatible with their own. Discuss why it is wise to find someone whose traits complement ours and who inspires us to be better—someone we can likewise complement and inspire. Discuss traits that we should develop so we will become a better eternal companion.

Suggestions for How to Teach

Group work. Refer to filter 2, the goals and values filter, in the diagram. Goals and values include our attitude toward gospel principles, roles and duties in marriage, work, money, children, and so on. Explain the importance of identifying the attitudes and level of commitment to the gospel in a potential marriage partner. Have students refer to “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” (student manual, 83), which lists many values related to marriage and families.

Give students copies of the handout at the end of this manual (see pp. 81–82). Explain that the questions on the handout are based on the values in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” Divide the questions equally among several groups of students. Have each group discuss why the topics of their questions are important in preparing for a temple marriage. Also have them discuss what problems might arise in marriage if spouses have differing opinions on these values. Keep the discussion general and impersonal. Let them know that some differences in values can be settled by compromise.

Read and discuss the statement by President Gordon B. Hinckley under “Mate Selection” (student manual, 188).

Conclusion

Ask students what they learned from this lesson. Read the statement by President Spencer W. Kimball in the doctrinal overview for this lesson (p. 54). Discuss why selecting a companion for life and eternity is one of the most important decisions of our lives.