During the mid to late 1900s, a growing number of Christian parents became concerned with the increasing sexual immorality and degeneration of chastity and virtue in America. In response, many began looking back to time-tested customs and principles lost during the Sexual Revolution of the 1960s. Some adopted the purity movement, some returned to various courtship traditions and still others began searching the scriptures for guidance. However, formulas and programs do not provide permanent protection from temptation.
As Latter-day Saints, we must search the scriptures and inspired teachings for principles and doctrines from God regarding marriage, relationships, chastity, love, and so forth. The following resources contain the insights of various writers and thought-leaders to assist individuals in discovering, “How does God want me to find a future spouse?”
10 Principles for Godly Relationships
- Proper Physical Intimacy
Physical interaction at any level creates bonds between individuals. What is your conscious purpose for that bond: is it leading both parties to become more like God? Is it building the kingdom of God or is it for temporary pleasure—resulting in future regrets? Sexual attachment should only be aroused in individuals who are committed to marriage. Arousing deep emotional attachment from physical bonds with individuals who are not committed to a relationship (or are still trying to evaluate a prospective spouse) can make it difficult, if not possible, to restrain emotion from overruling reason—leading to an inability to make accurate judgements of character and compatibility.
- Choose Practical, “Real Life” Activities
Rather than spending time with frivolous activities focused on feeding a hunger for entertainment, these can be replaced by valuable conversation and practical social engagements involving the entire family and occurring in real life situations. Anyone straight out of Babylon can shine on the dance floor or in a candle lit restaurant, but the true revealer of character is practical, service-oriented projects. This real life experience can only truly be seen, understood or judged in the sphere of the home. Unexpected situations and impromptu reactions allow a couple to become acquainted with the real person behind the public mask.
- Encourage & Take Advice from Righteous Mentors & Parents
You are trying to make one of the most important decisions of your life! “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.” (Proverbs 11:14) Find wise, experienced, spiritually-in-tune men and women to give you advice when looking for or evaluating a prospective spouse. They may see evidence of God’s hand leading you toward marriage—or conversely red flags you were blind to yourself. Seek wisdom from the scriptures, righteous parents, wise mentors—but especially from the spirit of God.
- Ask Tough Questions
The foundation for a strong marriage lies with unity in beliefs, standards, and goals. Trust can only be built upon a foundation of transparency and communication. What does someone believe? How do they plan to parent? How did they gain their testimony? What are their weaknesses? What are their strengths? What is their standard in dress, music, movies, diet, financial debt, and so forth? When they face a dilemma, where do they first turn for the answer? How do they solve difficult problems?
There are no “right” or “wrong” answers to these questions. Rather, the answers reveal the true nature of the prospective spouse. Can you build a marriage of unity? Or will your marriage fall apart when you realize you are heading in different directions? To make wise decisions, the answers to these questions and far more are essential—especially before emotional attachment or commitments are made on either side. As mentioned above, some answers come through conversations, but even more will come through real life, practical activities when you can see him or her “in action.”
- Maintain Emotional Purity
Purity, honor and faithfulness begins in the heart. Learn to govern the heart and your emotions as you strive to love one another properly. When interacting with any member of the opposite gender, remember that you likely made a covenant with your future spouse before you were born. President John Taylor taught the Latter-day Saint women, “You also chose a kindred spirit whom you loved in the spirit world (who had permission to come to this planet and take a tabernacle), to be your head, stay, husband, and protector on earth to exalt you in eternal worlds. All these were arranged, likewise the spirits that should tabernacle through your lineage. . . . Thou hast chosen him you loved in the spirit world to be thy companion.” (John Taylor, The Origin and Destiny of Woman) Is your heart completely faithful to your future spouse now? How do you treat other young single adults—remembering they are future husbands and wives?
- Understand Patriarchal Authority
See article, “Do We Still Believe in the Patriarchal Order?” https://josephsmithfoundation.org/papers/do-we-still-believe-in-the-patriarchal-order/
- Live the Law of Consecration
President Brigham Young taught, “If I spend a minute that is not in some way devoted to building up the Kingdom of God and promoting righteousness, I regret that minute, and wish it had been otherwise spent. This proves to me that the Spirit of the Lord is with me.” (Brigham Young, JD 12:217) Center dating activities and other time investments while finding a spouse on building the Kingdom of God. Not only will this bring a special spirit into your conversations—a spirit you need when discerning whether or not you are supposed to marry this particular person—but whether or not a friendship ends in marriage, you will never have cause for regret. Every date, every conversation, every activity will have resulted in some productive contribution to building the Kingdom of God. Keeping a consecration focus will also allow you to be in the right place, at the right time, in the right way, so the Lord can bring you your spouse in His time.
- Prepare for Responsibilities of Marriage
Before you are ready to commit to marriage, are you personally prepared for the responsibilities? Turn to the Lord and ask Him for guidance in this area.
- Treat Others as Brothers and Sisters in Christ
Scripture commands us to treat one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. What are the implications of this principle for single men and women? What does it mean for a man to protect, think of, and treat a single young woman as his “sister”? To protect her heart for her future spouse? To not distract her from her own covenants and responsiblities to her future family? What does it mean for a woman to love each young man in her acquintance as her “brother”? Is she supporting his future wife? Are her conversations with him drawing him closer to God, or distracting him? The most important place to begin living this principle is in the home—restoring proper love, respect, time, attention, and investment in biological brothers and sisters. Relationships there impact relationships outside the home.
- Become “Equally Yoked”
Husbands and wives were designed to be a powerful, united team to build the Kingdom of God—more effective together than apart. Christ cannot fulfill His mission without the Church, and the Church cannot fulfill her mission without Christ. While inappropriate relationships can be one of the most damaging influences in the world—conversely, pure and holy relationships can be an unparalleled force for goodness and truth. Pray for and work toward a marriage that is united in every way—the foundation for a family kingdom that can forever change the world for Christ!
Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
Mansfield Park, Jane Austen
Persuasion, Jane Austen
Emma, Jane Austen
Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell
Motion Pictures & Documentaries
Pamela’s Prayer— (film)
“This period piece motion picture portrays the unique and heartfelt story of Pamela Bucklin from her birth in 1969 to her wedding day in 1991. When her mother dies at birth, Pamela is raised by her father, Wayne. He makes a commitment to pray with his daughter each and every night. He also raises her with a very high standard of purity before marriage. In an age when purity is scoffed at by many, this movie presents the message with perspective and inspiration. Also, the prayerful commitment of Wayne Bucklin is an example for all who are in a parental role.” (Descripton from Christian Films.com)
Princess Cut— (film)
The Courtship of Peter & Kelly Bradrick—
Come What May— (film)
Eric & Leslie Ludy—When God Writes Your Love Story
Presentation lecture by Richard Little-Bear Wheeler
What Our Father Taught Us About Boys— Anna Sofia & Elizabeth Botkin
Marrying Well— 9-hour webinar series on Biblical principles in preparing for marriage and finding the right spouse. http://westernconservatory.com/products/marrying-well-practical-wisdom-for-courtship
Consequences of Moral Impurity—Abortion
As of 2021, it is estimated that at least 2,363 children are murdered each day in the United States from abortion. Every 90 seconds, a child is aborted at Planned Parenthood. This is one of the consequences of immorality and sexual promiscuity in our nation.
- Unplanned (2019)— Watch for free on Vudu. “All Abby Johnson ever wanted to do was help women. She believed in a woman’s right to choose, and as one of the youngest Planned Parenthood clinic directors in the nation, she was involved in upwards of 22,000 abortions. Until the day she saw something that changed everything, leading Abby Johnson to join her former enemies at 40 Days for Life, and become one of the most ardent pro- life advocates in America.” (Vudu.com Unplanned description)
- Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer (2018)