I was teaching a courtship and marriage Institute class for young single adults when I first read The Family: A Proclamation to the World (hereafter referred to as the Proclamation). In 602 words, 15 prophets, seers, and revelators gave us the Lord’s priorities for achieving successful, happy relationships. After studying this inspired proclamation, I felt it was perfect to use with my students. I explained to them that this proclamation was a revelation from God and therefore doctrine for the Church. It was a guide for them to make a proper choice in a marriage partner in order to achieve a successful and happy marriage.
Here are five guiding principles from the Proclamation that can help young single adults prepare for and find their eternal marriage partner.
Principle One: Put your faith and confidence in the Lord’s eternal plan of salvation.
Ask yourself: “Am I deliberately delaying marriage and avoiding it by personal choice?” “Am I actively preparing and seeking to find a compatible marriage partner?” “Do I need to reconsider my priorities?”
In recent years, some Latter-day Saint adults have been postponing marriage until their later 20s and early 30s. President Thomas S. Monson, among other leaders of the Church, has counseled single adults of marriageable age to marry and have children. He said, “I realize there are many reasons why you may be hesitating to take the step of getting married. If you are concerned about providing financially for a wife and family, may I assure you there is no shame in a couple having to scrimp and save. It is generally during these challenging times that you will grow closer together as you learn to sacrifice and to make difficult decisions. Perhaps you are afraid of making the wrong choice. To this I say that you need to exercise faith. Find someone with whom you can be compatible. Realize that you will not be able to anticipate every challenge which may arise, but be assured that almost anything can be worked out if you are resourceful and if you are committed to making the marriage work.”
How can single adults aspire to follow the counsel of our Church leaders to marry? One answer is to have faith in our Heavenly Father’s plan. The Proclamation uses the phrases “the Creator’s plan,” “the divine plan of Happiness,” and “His eternal plan.” Here is the reason: faith in the plan of God gives you an eternal perspective about marriage and family. This plan teaches us that unless we have a marriage sealed in a holy temple and continue faithfully living the commandments of God, we will not qualify for exaltation—the highest degree of the celestial kingdom.
Apostle David A. Bednar said: “The doctrine of the plan [of salvation] leads men and women to hope and prepare for eternal marriage, and it defeats the fears and overcomes the uncertainties that may cause some individuals to delay or avoid marriage.”
Principle Two: Strive to become a true follower of Jesus Christ.
The Proclamation states: “Happiness in family life is most likely achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Making Jesus Christ the focus of your life by keeping His commandments and remembering Him in your daily life qualifies you for His guidance, grace, and support.
Regarding this principle, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said, “You want capability and safety in dating and romance, in married life, and in eternity? Be a true disciple of Jesus. Be a genuine, committed word-and-deed Latter-day Saint. Believe that your faith has everything to do with romance because it does. You separate dating from discipleship at your peril. Or to phrase it more positively, Jesus Christ, the Light of the World, is the only lamp by which you can successfully see the true path to love and happiness for you and your sweetheart.”