Lesson 11: Preparing for Eternal Marriage

The Eternal Family Teacher Manual, 2015


Introduction

As young single adults live the gospel of Jesus Christ, they can look forward to the future and live their lives with hope. Heavenly Father will guide them in their decisions about eternal marriage as they seek direction from Him. This lesson will help students approach marriage with greater confidence, knowing that they can receive divine assistance from the Lord.

Background Reading

Suggestions for Teaching

Doctrine and Covenants 88:40

Preparing for marriage

Ask students to raise their hands if they have created a list of characteristics they are looking for in a future spouse. Invite a few students to share some of the characteristics on their lists.

Display the following statement by Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and ask a student to read it aloud:

Elder David A. Bednar

“Some young people seem to have a shopping list of characteristics they want in a companion and measure their potential: ‘Do you have all the things that I require?’ If you hope to have an eternal companion who has certain spiritual qualities, then you must strive to develop those spiritual qualities in yourself. Then someone who has those qualities will be attracted to you” (“Understanding Heavenly Father’s Plan,” LDS.org).

  • What principle do we learn from Elder Bednar’s statement? (Make sure students identify the following principle: “If you hope to have an eternal companion who has certain spiritual qualities, then you must strive to develop those spiritual qualities in yourself.”)

Ask students to read Doctrine and Covenants 88:40, looking for how this verse supports the principle just identified.

  • How might individuals who are pursuing marriage apply the truths recorded in this verse?

  • How have you seen the truths in this verse apply to the choices made by young people about their friends?

Ask students to consider the qualities they would like to see in their future spouse. Invite students to consider whether they possess those same qualities. Ask them to consider how they might use the principles in Doctrine and Covenants 88:40 to better prepare themselves for marriage.

Mark 5:35–36; Doctrine and Covenants 6:36

“Be not afraid, only believe”

Ask students:

  • What are you looking forward to about marriage?

  • What are some things that can cause young people to be fearful of marriage? (List responses on the board.)

Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and ask the class to listen for reasons why some young people are fearful of marriage.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

“In extreme cases [young people] are fearful that the world is about to end in blood and disaster—something they don’t want to take a spouse or child into. In less severe, more common cases, they are fearful that the world will just get more difficult, that jobs will be too hard to find, and that one should be out of school, out of debt, have a career, and own a home before considering marriage. …

“Furthermore, so many young people I talk to fear that if they do marry they will be just another divorce statistic. … Couple that leeriness about the success of marriage with the tawdry, foul, often devilish mocking of chastity and fidelity and family life so regularly portrayed in movies and on television and you see the problem” (“Be Not Afraid, Only Believe” [evening with Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Feb. 6, 2015], lds.org/broadcasts).

  • How many of you know someone who is fearful of marriage because of one of the reasons mentioned by Elder Holland?

Invite students to read Doctrine and Covenants 6:36 and consider how the Lord’s counsel to Oliver Cowdery applies to preparing for eternal marriage. Then invite a student to read Mark 5:35–36 aloud. Explain that Jairus, the ruler of a synagogue, came to Jesus hoping that He would heal his daughter. Ask the class to consider how the Savior’s encouragement to Jairus might be applied to those preparing for marriage.

  • How can looking to the Lord “in every thought” help us to “doubt not, fear not” as we consider our future?

  • How can the Lord’s counsel to Oliver Cowdery and to Jairus help individuals who have fears about getting married? (As students respond, write the following principle on the board: As we look to Jesus Christ in faith, we can overcome fear and have confidence in the future.)

Share the following statement by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. Ask the class to listen for why Elder and Sister Holland needed faith to choose to marry when they did.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

“When [Sister Holland and I] got married we were both still undergraduates at BYU, with neither set of parents able to help us at all financially, no way to imagine all the graduate education we had yet ahead of us, and this with $300 between us on our wedding day! Now that may not be the ideal way to start a marriage, but what a marriage it has been and what we would have missed if we had waited even one day longer than we did once we knew that that marriage was right. … I tremble to think what we would have lost if we had taken ‘counsel from our fears,’ as President James E. Faust would later tell me over and over and over that I and no one else should ever do” (“Be Not Afraid, Only Believe”).

  • How was Elder and Sister Holland’s situation similar to the situation of many young people today?

  • What does it mean to take counsel from your fears? Why is this a poor way to make decisions?

Invite a student to read aloud this testimony and promise from President Thomas S. Monson:

President Thomas S. Monson

“My beloved brothers and sisters, fear not. Be of good cheer. The future is as bright as your faith” (“Be of Good Cheer,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2009, 92).

  • What thoughts and feelings about the future do you have as you ponder this prophetic encouragement?

Help students contemplate how they might apply this portion of the lesson by asking them to consider whether they have any fears about getting married. Invite them to ponder how they might replace any fears about the future with faith in the Lord.

Doctrine and Covenants 6:22–23; 8:2–3; 9:7–9; 11:12–14

Seeking divine direction in choosing whom to marry

Display the following statement from President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008), and ask a student to read it aloud:

President Gordon B. Hinckley

“This will be the most important decision of your life, the individual whom you marry. There is no substitute for marrying in the temple. … Marry the right person in the right place at the right time” (“Life’s Obligations,” Ensign, Feb. 1999, 2).

  • How can you correctly make this most important decision about whom to marry?

Divide the class into pairs. Assign each pair to read the following scripture passages together: Doctrine and Covenants 6:22–23; 8:2–3; 9:7–9; 11:12–14. (These verses are examples of the recurring theme of how to receive personal revelation, which is found in many early sections of the Doctrine and Covenants. “Themes are overarching, recurring, and unifying qualities or ideas” [David A. Bednar, “A Reservoir of Living Water” (Brigham Young University fireside, Feb. 4, 2007), 6, speeches.byu.edu].)

Ask students to consider the following scenario as they study the verses from the Doctrine and Covenants: Imagine that your friend has been dating someone for some time and comes to you for counsel about whether he or she should marry that person. What would you counsel your friend to do?

After the students have had time to study the scriptures, ask one student in each pair to play the part of the friend who is in the dating relationship. Ask the other student in each pair to explain how these verses could help the friend to make a decision. After this activity is complete, make sure the students understand the following principles about making decisions: We should “study out” a decision in our minds, make the best decision we can, and then ask God if the decision is right. Then, if peace and joy come to our hearts and minds, the decision is a good one. Emphasize the following principle: As we seek the Lord’s guidance as we make our decisions, He will speak to our minds and fill our souls with peace and joy when our choices are right.

  • How have you come to know the truthfulness of what these verses teach about receiving personal revelation?

Ask students to consider how they would respond to the following scenario: the person you have been dating explains that he or she has followed this process for making decisions and has received an impression that the two of you should be married.

Display the statement by Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and ask a student to read the statement aloud:

Elder Dallin H. Oaks

“I have heard of cases where a young man told a young woman she should marry him because he had received a revelation that she was to be his eternal companion. If this is a true revelation, it will be confirmed directly to the woman if she seeks to know. In the meantime, she is under no obligation to heed it. She should seek her own guidance and make up her own mind. The man can receive revelation to guide his own actions, but he cannot properly receive revelation to direct hers. She is outside his stewardship” (“Revelation” [Brigham Young University devotional, Sept. 29, 1981], 6, speeches.byu.edu).

Testify that students will feel peace as they look forward to eternal marriage with an eye of faith. Encourage them to use the principles discussed in this lesson to prepare for the glorious opportunity of eternal marriage.

Student Readings