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Nine Moons » Blog Archive : How Do You Know For Sure? » How Do You Know For Sure?

How Do You Know For Sure?

Don - September 17, 2007

One of our employees came to me the other day and asked me how I know Erlene (my wife) was the one for me.

I told her that when we were dating that was obviously an important question for us too – “How do you know for sure?” The employee knows we are L.D.S. and so I told her, the obvious answer – we prayed about it.

But for those who are not “religous”, how do they know for sure? She has some added problems, a 4 year relationship that she broke off several weeks ago, a nice young man who is in hot pursuit of her by dating as often as possible. Then the former guy calls and wants her to move back in….she’s torn doesn’t know what to do….it’s a real Ann Landers (opps Dr. Phil) situation.

So what do I tell her? and or how did you know for sure?


  1. You could quote President Kimball from the PH/RS lesson on marriage:

    “Soul mates” are fiction and an illusion; and while every young man and young woman will seek with all diligence … 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.

    (Spencer W. Kimball ”Oneness in Marriage,” Ensign, Mar. 1977, 3, 4.)

    Comment by Geoff J — September 17, 2007 @ 5:05 pm

  2. I think you should tell her to pray about it.

    Every person has the light of Christ. I have no doubt that if she sincerely prayed to God about what to do, He would tell her.

    Comment by Cheryl — September 17, 2007 @ 5:19 pm

  3. [Oh, and to add to that, after she prays, she will "know" the right answer by what she may feel as gut instinct or feeling calm. That's an easy way to describe it.]

    Comment by Cheryl — September 17, 2007 @ 5:23 pm

  4. This world is really not that mysterious. One thing I’ve learned, especially in regards to dealing with spiritual matters is that the right things make sense, and the wrong things do not.

    Comment by Dan — September 17, 2007 @ 8:14 pm

  5. The man of four years is probably just missing the sex. The young man in hot pursuit is probably hoping for some. I’d tell her to forget both of them and look for someone whose intentions toward her have her best interests in mind.

    Comment by John Cline — September 18, 2007 @ 5:47 am

  6. It’s so different for everyone. I was fortunate enough to feel “in love” with my wife after the second or third date. That feeling has developed but never changed. If I had no understanding of prayer, I still would have married her. Some people feel and need different things though. That’s why personal revelation is so valuable. Don, this sounds like a great teaching opportunity. Sharing with people the pureness of prayer(regardless of religious affiliation or belief) is – well – awesome.

    Comment by cj douglass — September 18, 2007 @ 9:50 am

  7. Geoff, I hate that quote. Not the “soul mates” part, but the rest. I think many young people in the church rush into marriage because that idea persists.

    Comment by KyleM — September 18, 2007 @ 9:59 am

  8. Um, I don’t think that’s the reason young people in the church rush into marriage. I’m betting most of them have never even heard that quote.

    Comment by Susan M — September 18, 2007 @ 10:59 am

  9. Really Susan? I heard the concept growing up quite a few times. My wife heard it growing up as well. Perhaps you’re right and it’s just for want of sex. I still think the quote underscores part of the reason young people raised in the church tend to marry young and quickly. Find a mate, and mate. You can figure out the rest as you go along.

    Comment by KyleM — September 18, 2007 @ 1:30 pm

  10. I guess I’ll have to ask my kids if they’ve been hearing that quote. I wasn’t raised in the church.

    Comment by Susan M — September 18, 2007 @ 2:17 pm

  11. #7 The problem with people applying the SWK quote from #1 is that they have the mistaken understanding that they are that “good man” or “good woman”. I think the “good” that SWK is referring to is placing one’s priority in God. Young twenty-year olds (that is not necessarily redundant) usually don’t put God first. (And no, being a missionary doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ve translated prioritizing God into a secular setting when they return.)

    Comment by jose — September 18, 2007 @ 2:42 pm

  12. No, the operative phrase is “if both are willing to pay the price.”

    Most men and women want to marry for love. They want to be in love before they marry. Very few are able to actually follow Pres. Kimball’s counsel because very few are that strong –to marry someone they don’t actually love first.

    I knew someone who married for the reasons Pres. Kimball stated. And they paid the price. It was hard, but now they are very, very happy together. But she didn’t love him when they married and he knew it.

    If anything, I think the quote has freaked people out and that’s one of the reason’s they aren’t getting married. Or at least not young. However, it’s not Pres. Kimball’s fault if they won’t follow his counsel. If his counsel was so “off”, then I doubt he would have given it. Ooh! Which makes me think of another example (since I can’t seem to keep this comment short, anyway):

    My friend grew up in Afghanistan and she married a child-hood friend. She said (QUOTE): “It was arranged, but it wasn’t bad because I had known him as a child. I already knew who he was.” I, of course, couldn’t fathom an arranged marriage. I was madly in love with my husband when I married him –what in the world would it have been like if he was a stranger?
    However, arranged marriages worked (and still do) because people followed/follow the counsel of Pres. Kimball (inadvertently). They had common ground, marriage was sacred, there was usually religion involved, and they grew to love each other. Of course, it’s not always perfect, but nothing rarely is…

    As for Don’s friend –I stick with my first thoughts. She should just pray about it. Who knows? Mayber her answer will be “Neither, they’re both idiots. Now, go join the Mormons.” That would be suh-weet.

    Comment by Cheryl — September 18, 2007 @ 3:04 pm

  13. I NEVER understood that SWK quote to mean that you should just find a woman/man with a temple recommend and it can work out. No, I always understood it to directly correlate with his same counsel (In Miracle of Forgiveness) that if a woman gets pregnant out of wed lock she should either marry the father or give the baby up.

    Comment by cj douglass — September 18, 2007 @ 8:48 pm

  14. I didn’t know for sure that my wife was “the one for me.” Even after I married her, I didn’t know the answer to that question. I knew there was good chemistry, I knew she was great with kids, I knew we were both totally at ease with each other. Conversing came easy, and even when we were dating, we acted like we’d already been married a couple years.

    But was she “the one?”

    Gee, I don’t know. I guess I still don’t.

    But I knew she was the one I had chosen. And that was ultimately good enough for me.

    Quit moping around about it. You waiting for a bus or something? Find a nice girl and build a life together. Don’t sweat the metaphysical stuff.

    Undoubtedly, somewhere out there is a sweet girl who is perfect for you in every way. Your very own “true love.”


    Your chances of ever actually meeting her are statistically nil. So, in the meantime, why not propose to that nice girl you’ve been dating and get moving with things?

    Comment by Seth R. — September 18, 2007 @ 10:09 pm

  15. If I were still a single young man, one route to an answer would be for her to go on a date with me. There are about four women for whom I was the last man they spent an evening with who wasn’t their future husband. Something about the time we spent together made a future with those other guys a clearly good thing.

    Comment by John Mansfield — September 19, 2007 @ 8:37 am

  16. Kyle M.,

    They don’t “rush into” marriages because Pres. Kimball made that quote. They rush in because they want to have sex. Most normal Mormons don’t even know Pres. Kimball said that.

    All clear now?

    Comment by Seth R. — September 19, 2007 @ 9:02 am

  17. Seth, I acknowledged the possibility that the horndog factor could be the only factor in #9.

    Are you saying I’m not a normal Mormon? ;-)

    Comment by KyleM — September 19, 2007 @ 9:40 am

  18. Someone from India once said to a Westerner “You marry the one you love. We love the one we marry.”


    #15, John Mansfield, I think I get what you wrote, but I’m not clear. Can you spell it out?

    However, it (#15) sounds like what someone said once of Madonna. There were four celebrities whom she dated during her single years (after Sean Penn), who then went out and married the next woman that they dated. Warren Beatty was one. His girlfriends are listed alphabetically here,
    But I remember reading that Madonna was his last before marrying Annette Bening.


    In regards to president Kimball’s quote in #1:
    a) What president Kimball calls a “good” man or woman, most of us would call perfect. Very few of us live up to his ideals.

    b) Most of us are not willing to pay the kind of price and make the sacrifices that he’s referring to. I want someone who will be easy to be married with, not difficult. There are enough unforeseen challenges to marriage, that it seems unwise to enter marriage with someone who you know has challenges or will present challenges that you are unprepared for.

    His quote seems like one of those things for which there are a myriad of unspoken exceptions. And in fact, he himself mentioned plenty of such exceptions or reasons why two people should NOT get married in many of his other teachings. Such things include incompatibilities in education and career, family background, etc.

    Comment by Bookslinger — September 19, 2007 @ 6:07 pm

  19. Someone from India once said to a Westerner “You marry the one you love. We love the one we marry.”

    That’s what they say, but the sad fact is that 1 out of 25 arranged marriages ends in divorce.

    Comment by gst — September 21, 2007 @ 4:12 pm

  20. Most men and women want to marry for love. They want to be in love before they marry. Very few are able to actually follow Pres. Kimball’s counsel because very few are that strong –to marry someone they don’t actually love first.

    Thank goodness! And, fwiw, that’s not what SWK was saying.

    gst: awesome!

    Comment by MCQ — September 27, 2007 @ 8:15 am

  21. What do you mean, “how do you know”? You know when you know.

    No one can tell you you’re in love, you just know it, balls to bones.

    Just a litte wisdom from two of my favorite movies.

    Comment by MCQ — September 27, 2007 @ 8:19 am

  22. And, fwiw, that’s not what SWK was saying

    MCQ, enlighten me (I mean this sincerely).

    Comment by Cheryl — September 28, 2007 @ 9:54 am

  23. Cheryl:

    After reading that lesson several times (which included that quote from SWK, along with many others), reordering the lesson into an outline (which I posted on my blog–if you’re interested), and teaching it to my EQ, I cannot imagine in my wildest dreams that SWK would ever advocate marrying someone you don’t love. For example, here are some additional quotes from SWK (emphasis mine):

    We need a loving companion with whom we have suffered and wept and prayed and worshipped; one with whom we have suffered sorrow and disappointments,

    one who loves us

    for what we are or intend to be rather than what we appear to be in our gilded shell.

    In selecting a companion for life and for eternity, certainly the most careful planning and thinking and praying and fasting should be done to be sure that of all the decisions, this one must not be wrong. In true marriage there must be a union of minds as well as of hearts. Emotions must not wholly determine decisions, but the mind and the heart, strengthened by fasting and prayer and serious consideration, will give one a maximum chance of marital happiness. It brings with it sacrifice, sharing, and a demand for great selflessness.

    Sweethearts should realize before they take the vows that each must accept literally and fully that the good of the little new family must always be superior to the good of either spouse. Each party must eliminate the “I” and the “my” and substitute … “we” and “our.

    Total unselfishness is sure to accomplish another factor in successful marriage. If one is forever seeking the interests, comforts, and happiness of the other, the love found in courtship and cemented in marriage will grow into mighty proportions. Many couples permit their marriages to become stale and their love to grow cold like old bread or worn-out jokes or cold gravy. Certainly the foods most vital for love are consideration, kindness, thoughtfulness, concern, expressions of affection, embraces of appreciation, admiration, pride, companionship, confidence, faith, partnership, equality, and interdependence.

    Love is like a flower, and, like the body, it needs constant feeding. The mortal body would soon be emaciated and die if there were not frequent feedings. The tender flower would wither and die without food and water. And so love, also, cannot be expected to last forever unless it is continually fed with portions of love, the manifestation of esteem and admiration, the expressions of gratitude, and the consideration of unselfishness.

    Based upon these quotes, and reading the original quote in context, it seems obvious to me that SWK is saying that, while it is not the only factor, emotion (or love or the heart) is definitely an important factor in determining whom to marry, and, of course, in maintaining a sucessful marriage.

    Comment by MCQ — September 28, 2007 @ 11:08 pm

  24. Sorry, those quotes are a litlle messed up, but you get the idea. The paragraph beginning “Love is a flower…” should also be in block quotes.

    Comment by MCQ — September 28, 2007 @ 11:11 pm

  25. MCQ-

    Comment by Cheryl — September 29, 2007 @ 3:11 pm

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