Some time ago I began a list of lessons I wish I had learned and understood thirty or even forty years ago. I love my parents and am grateful they taught me the gospel, but there are some other things that I wish they'd taught me too. For the benefit of my adult children who are currently looking for companions here is my list, to date, of those lessons. (Not in any order other than as I thought of them and recorded them in my journal over the past few years.)
1. Work together at home. For example: when you finish a meal together, get up and clean up together; as you make this a family habit there won't be arguments about whose "turn" it is. If you eat, you help clean up and many hands make light work.
2. If you want your spouse to help with anything, express your expectations clearly, then don't criticize their methods. Praise the outcome and express gratitude.
3. Debt destroys your future--avoid it like the plague. Sacrifice now to be free later.
4. Experiences are more important than things; and some things are more important than others.
5. If you're a good listener, learn to be a talker; If you're a talker, learn to be a listener.
6. It takes faith, not time or money, to bear and rear children.
7. The cost of breaking the law of chastity is too high to be worth any momentary pleasure.
8. We reap what we sow. In everything.
9. Practice healthy habits from the beginning; help each other to stay slim, trim and vigorous from the start. Reward each other with service, notes, a flower, etc. rather than with unhealthy and fattening treats. Be active and work or play together rather than sitting and watching together.
10. Marry someone who inspires and encourages your best self, one who makes keeping your covenants and the commandments easier, not harder.
11. Don't marry someone who has an addiction of any kind, because often one leads to another.
a. Word of Wisdom, including or maybe I should say especially caffeine
e. Cars (or other idols)
g. Entertainment (TV)
12. Marry someone whose faith and faithfulness to it are the same as yours.
How can you learn these things about a potential spouse? Spend lots of time together in non-entertainment venues such as church or community service, work projects, family gatherings, and such. Marriage is not one long entertaining date; it is daily life with all the drudgery and non-exciting work that goes with it. You can talk about these things, but I've also learned that talk is cheap and actions speak louder than words. I guess that is number 13.