Dear 100 Hour Board,
Someone I talked to recently mentioned doing something every day to work towards getting married if that's your goal. Seems reasonable enough. What are different things I can do to work towards that goal? I've got going to FHE, church, and institute and following the commandments (scriptures, prayer, temple, Sabbath day observance, etc.) on the list, but what else?
hoping for love in 2018
Study marriage. Look up talks from General Conference, BYU devotionals, old editions of the Ensign or what have you that deal with Eternal Marriage. Focus on what about your daily scripture study could potentially have to do with marriage. And realize that regardless of finding love this year or not, you are amazing, and there isn't necessarily anything wrong with you for not getting into a relationship (perhaps you don't need this addendum to my answer, but I've found this to be a common sentiment among singles in Provo, and I wanted to take this small opportunity to speak out against it).
Dear Seeker of Love,
One of the best pieces of advice that I have ever heard about getting married is from John Bytheway. In his talk "What I Wish I Had Known When I Was Single", Brother Bytheway counsels to "focus on what you can control.” Set goals to simply be the best version of yourself that you can. The list that you have is a great starting point. Adding in different goals to help you be better in social situations, and grow mentally and emotionally will also help you, both in your quest for marriage, and in life overall.
Brother Bytheway also points out an important aspect of marriage that we often forget about. He says, "Marriage is the only commandment that you can not fulfill by yourself." We can plan and hope for marriage as much as we want, but it requires someone else to also use their agency to decide to get married. Living your life as well as you can, without allowing a desire for marriage to consume you, is one of the best things that you can do.
This is a really interesting question. I really liked the other writers' responses—especially Luciana's. In addition to all the fabulous advice and perspective offered by the other writers I would like to suggest three things that you can do right now to prepare for marriage. The first two deal with the practical matters of being married and the last deals a little more with the relationship side.
1. Learn to use a budget. Financial issues are one of the leading causes of relationship issues and divorce. Learning to use a budget will be very useful in marriage. Even better than learning to use and living by a budget would be to review your budget with a family member or close friend every month. If can learn how to discuss finances with others now, you will be better prepared to discuss finances with your future spouse.
2. Learn household skills. One thing that will help you save money in marriage is to learn basic household skills. Cooking, sewing, basic home repairs, basic auto repairs, cutting hair, and gardening are just a few examples of skills that will be extremely useful both now and in married life. Quite often, married life eventually includes home ownership and the best time to prepare is before it actually happens.
3. Talk to someone new every single day. The purpose of talking to someone new everyday is not to increase the odds of meeting your future spouse. The point of talking to someone new every day is to get you to look outside yourself and communicate with others. Last semester as part of a class project I made a goal to talk to someone new everyday. The point of this goal was to practice networking skills, but later on I realized the true value of talking to someone new everyday. Talking to someone new every will can help you listen better, consider the perspectives of others, be open to new experiences, empathize, communicate your own feelings better, be a little kinder, be more comfortable in social situations, feel more cheerful, and think outside of yourself. Babalugats mentions keeping your heart open by using it. Simply starting up a conversation with a stranger isn't anywhere near the same level as serving people and loving them, but it's a step in that direction. The best way to learn how to love someone is to love people; and getting to know people is the first step.
Plus, think of all the people that you'll meet! Last semester talking to someone new everyday led to me to make new friends, go on dates, network, find internship leads, and find study partners for my classes. Three of my good friends/study partners right now are people I met last semester. Do you know how valuable friends/study partners are? They're worth their weight in gold. Marriage aside, talking to people will help you be the best you. And who knows, you might even meet your future spouse.
Thanks for asking this question, I enjoyed answering it and reading the other writers' responses. I hope this helped give you some ideas. Good luck in preparing yourself for marriage!
My effort to prepare for and facilitate marriage is pretty synonymous with my goals for personhood in general. My highest goal right now is to be really honest and eager about loving people. I had a Stake Relief Society President speak about this topic and it has really impacted me. She is an older single woman so she has had a lot of time to find purpose in the waiting/preparing while still being happy as a single person. She talked about how important it is to keep our hearts open to love even when we get hurt. She said the best way to do that is to practice using our heart on everyone in our path. We have to actively love our friends, roommates, family members, and potential significants. Practice using your heart by loving as deeply and openly as you can. Compliment people. Share your food. If someone is important to you tell them why. If you're attracted to someone let them know. I catch myself always trying to be 2 kewl 4 skool and I become cold in an effort to impress people. Give that up FOREVER. It's trash. Because I know that cynicism, self-absorption, and underrappreciating is a problem for me I started a daily exercise that has made me much more loving and positive. When I have a minute to wait or think, I try to pick a person I know and just actively love them for a minute in my brain. I think of who they are and enjoy that they exist. I should do it more often, and with a better variety of individuals, but it has been really helpful to prepare me for when I see that person again.
I feel like a giant ham writing this. But, seeing as how the point is to stop being ashamed of my love for other people, I shan't go back now. Love people really a lot all the time. Then you will be a great friend, family member, and eventual spouse. It will bring you closer to marriage because you will meet more people and be more communicative and genuine in your friendships. Marriages come from relationships and relationships come from friendships and everyone is happier when they are loving.
The intent behind your question is good and wholesome and wonderful, but I find the reasoning behind it vaguely questionable, so I wanted to provide a perspective slightly different than my fellow writers.
The desire to get married is a natural one, and especially in Mormon culture, a difficult one to avoid. Marriage is a truly wonderful thing, and wanting to commit to someone and build a life together is one of the most beautiful parts of life.
But somehow it rubs me the wrong way to think about changing yourself for the purpose of attracting a spouse.
Obviously all the actions on your list are good things to do, and will hopefully be beneficial to you in many ways regardless of whether you get married. But I really don't like the idea of reading the scriptures or attending church in order to make yourself a more marketable spouse. I'm sure you aren't actively thinking of it that way, but it sounds like an unhealthy approach to dating and marriage and an unhealthy approach to the gospel. I would imagine you're considering this goal in the context of becoming the best person you can be, in order to make you a better spouse in the future. And of course being a good, righteous spouse is a good goal, and by attending church and living the commandments to the best of your ability, hopefully you'll end up with a spouse who shares that commitment to the gospel.
But I still think that trying to improve yourself in order to gain the approval of other people isn't a goal worth pursuing. Spiritual goals should be pursued in a different manner, and self-improvement should be based on your personal happiness, not on the potential approval of a stranger.
I'm not trying to imply that you shouldn't strive to improve yourself, or try to develop habits or qualities that will benefit your life. I do think it's important to examine your reasons for doing so, however. If you want to get married, I'm assuming you want someone to love you for both who you are and who you aspire to be. If you're not naturally outgoing, you don't have to force yourself out of your comfort zone just because there are attractive people around. If you really dislike rock climbing, then you don't have to do it every weekend just because a person you're interested in is a fan. There are healthy ways to seek self-improvement, and there are ways that will lead to frustration and a lack of self-confidence.
A potential spouse who is worth your time and energy will love you for you, and they'll be there to support you as you seek to be the best you can be. You don't have to be perfect in order to find a spouse, nor should you feel the need to significantly change yourself in the pursuit of love. You're amazing the way you are, and the right man/woman will see that.
I pray for this specifically every single day. I figure that's the most important thing I can do. Sure, I also try to not neglect doing my part, but finding a happy, eternal marriage will be a miracle, and I keep letting God know that I need His help. He knows, and it will work out in time.