Latter-day Saint Life

Choosing Whom to Marry: 3 Research-Proven Tips to Help Create a Lasting Marriage


What a powerful thought from this Ensign article about how agency influences our relationships: "It is much more meaningful to say to the one you love, 'No, you weren’t chosen by someone else; I chose you. And I will continue to choose you every day of our life for eternity.'"

When I first began my doctoral work in clinical psychology, I was given a little assignment: read everything that’s ever been written about what predicts divorce.

Daunted but determined, I read my way through decades of research. Poring over stacks of articles, I was amazed at how well we could predict these things—multiple studies reported over 90-percent accuracy in predicting who would remain married and who would divorce. The most accurate prediction came from observing how couples resolve conflict, but a great deal of predictive power was available even before couples went on their first date.

I wondered why everyone didn’t know this. Choosing whom to marry is such an important, formative decision, and simply knowing a handful of these facts could have an enormous impact. Let me share some key principles that can be helpful to know and consider.

Stop Looking for Your Soul Mate

You might be thinking, “Isn’t our job simply to follow the Spirit to the person chosen for us in premortality?”

Although this may be a popular cultural sentiment, it does not square with the clear, consistent counsel from living prophets.

President Kimball taught: “‘Soul mates’ are fiction and an illusion; and while every young man and young woman will seek with all diligence and prayerfulness to find a mate with whom life can be most compatible and beautiful, yet it is certain that almost any good man and any good woman can have happiness and a successful marriage if both are willing to pay the price.”3 

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