Each young woman will recognize ways she can prepare to become an eternal companion.
Have paper and pencil for each young woman.
Optional: Prepare a display table to illustrate the areas of preparation for marriage. The display could include scriptures, a journal, canned goods, sewing projects, or gardening supplies.
Assign young women to present any stories, scriptures, or quotations you wish.
Suggested Lesson Development
Each Young Woman Should Prepare Herself for Marriage
Tell the following story:
It was December 23rd. The day had finally arrived for Diane to come home from a distant city to spend Christmas vacation with her family. As the car pulled into the driveway, her mother and father and brothers and sisters rushed out to greet her. After many hugs and kisses, the family returned to the warmth of their home that was filled with the sweet aroma of Christmas baking. Home had never seemed so wonderful to Diane. How she had missed her family!
As she was helping her mother wash the dishes that evening, Diane talked about the many things she had learned while away. “One thing I did learn, Mother,” she said, “I’m certainly not prepared to be a wife. When you’re suddenly on your own with roommates to get along with, you learn a lot about yourself, your disposition, and your homemaking skills—or lack of homemaking skills. I wish I had paid more attention to how you do the cleaning, cooking, and budgeting. It would have been a lot easier for me. At least I’m getting a chance to practice on my roommates instead of trying everything on a new husband!
“I learned that I need to be more patient and sensitive to others’ feelings. Without you and Dad to talk to, I have to rely more completely on my Heavenly Father. My desire to study the scriptures and prepare myself to teach others about the gospel has increased. I’m going to learn as much as I can while I’m home and work harder when I return to the city to prepare myself to someday make a happy home for my family.”
What did Diane learn about herself while she was away? In what areas did she feel inadequate or unprepared?
Explain that women today fill a variety of roles. There is one role, however, that most women will take on at some time in their lives. Ask the young women what they think that role is. (Wife.) How a young woman fulfills this role will determine to a great extent her own eternal happiness and the happiness of those close to her.
President Spencer W. Kimball said: “Young women should plan and prepare for marriage and the bearing and rearing of children. It is your divine right and the avenue to the greatest and most supreme happiness” (Ensign, Nov. 1978, p. 103).
Explain that many women enter into marriage with little preparation for the demands it makes. Write the following headings on the chalkboard: Spiritual and Homemaking. Explain that there are other areas in which young women should be prepared, but this lesson will discuss only two.
In what ways can a young woman prepare in each of these areas? Write the young women’s responses on the chalkboard.
President Spencer W. Kimball said: “I tell young women … that they should do all in their power to make themselves attractive physically in dress and grooming, mentally in being knowledgeable on many subjects, spiritually in being responsive, emotionally in being genuine and worthy” (“Marriage Is Honorable,” in Speeches of the Year, 1973 [Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 1974], pp. 261–62).
Point out that the young women may not be proficient in each of these areas at the time they marry. But the better prepared they are, the more likely it is that they will have a happy marriage.
Give each young woman a piece of paper and a pencil. During the following discussion, ask each young woman to make a list of specific areas in which she needs more preparation.
Explain that if we are spiritually prepared, we will be better able to handle the challenges of marriage. It is important that women develop good habits of studying scriptures, praying, fasting, and journal writing. President Ezra Taft Benson gave this counsel to the young women of the Church:
“Young women, may I admonish you to participate in a program of daily reading and pondering of the scriptures. … The Book of Mormon will change your life. It will fortify you against the evils of our day. It will bring a spirituality into your life that no other book will. It will be the most important book you will read in preparation for life’s challenges. A young woman who knows and loves the Book of Mormon, who has read it several times, who has an abiding testimony of its truthfulness, and who applies its teachings will be able to stand against the wiles of the devil and will be a mighty tool in the hands of the Lord” (Ensign, Nov. 1986, p. 82).
How has the Book of Mormon blessed your life? How will scripture study be a blessing to you when you are married and have a family?
The following story shows how one young woman’s spiritual preparedness helped her as a new wife.
Brad and Kathy received wise counsel from the temple sealer on their wedding day: “Arguments will arise. Learn to communicate. Pray over your differences and problems. Be forgiving. Serve one another unselfishly.”
Although they appreciated this counsel, it seemed so unnecessary at the time. However, they had been married just a short time when they had their first argument. Before they were married, Kathy couldn’t imagine the two of them ever arguing. During the argument, both of them said things they shouldn’t have, and Brad stormed angrily out of the house.
Kathy had never felt such hurt inside before. Before the marriage there had always been a loving parent or friends to turn to in times of trouble, but this time she felt alone. She knelt down and poured out her feelings to her Heavenly Father. She prayed that their hearts would be softened and that harmony would return to their home.
After her prayer she knew that no matter what challenges came, she wanted their marriage to be eternal. If they would seek the Lord’s help they would be able to solve their problems. When Brad returned, they greeted each other warmly and each apologized. Together they knelt in prayer.
How did Kathy’s spiritual preparation help her to be a better wife? What might have been the results of the argument if Kathy had not prayed? What influence did a temple sealing have on this marriage?
Preparation in Homemaking Skills
Explain that a young man on a mission was asked what he missed most about being away from home. “Mom’s great cooking,” he replied without hesitation. A young woman away at school was asked what she missed most. “The happy feeling Mom created in our home. It was always tidy and was decorated with her own creations that made our home feel special to us.” A new father was asked what he missed when his wife went to the hospital to have their first child. “I guess I didn’t really realize all the things she was doing to make our home a nice place to be. With a new baby coming into our home, I am especially grateful that my wife has the homemaking skills necessary to take care of our family and household.”
What kinds of things did each of these three people miss? (Homemaking skills.) Why do you think these skills are important in a marriage and a home?
Sister Camilla Kimball, wife of President Spencer W. Kimball, said: “Anyone who would say apologetically, ‘I am only a homemaker,’ has not fully appreciated the importance and intricacy of her profession. Some of the attributes required to be successful are an unlimited amount of love and patience, unselfishness, and endurance.
“A woman should be skilled in child training, in psychology and sociology, in economics and management, in nutrition and nursing” (“A Woman’s Preparation,” Ensign, Mar. 1977, p. 58).
What areas of preparation did Sister Kimball mention? What are you doing now to prepare for the role of homemaker? Encourage the young women to discuss specific things they could do to prepare themselves to be good homemakers.
Someone once said, “There is no time to wait, only time to prepare.” This is especially good counsel when it applies to marriage. Too often young women just wait for marriage instead of preparing while they wait. Explain to the young women that if they are prepared, they will be the kind of people who are attractive to worthy young men.
Each of the young women will marry at a different time. However, if they will prepare themselves in the areas discussed in this lesson, they will increase their chances of having successful and happy marriages.
Encourage the young women to take their lists home and keep them in a journal or safe place and refer to them often. Challenge them to choose one of the things they wrote down and work on it during the coming weeks. Also challenge them to review their lists and choose additional things to work on over the coming years.