Marriage Preparation – Diving Into Your Pool of Eligibles


Contributed by Thomas B. Holman and Abby Viveiros

Forget the Soul Mate Idea, Instead Dive into Your Pool of Eligibles

Do you find yourself wondering which lucky person in this big world will end up as your bride or groom? You may feel like your challenge is to “find” your one true love, your soul mate—who’s out there somewhere – before the timer rings and your opportunity is passed. No wonder dating feels so overwhelming! Take a moment and sigh with relief knowing the whole soul mate idea is flawed. Spencer W. Kimball and Boyd K. Packer make it clear there is no one and only out there for you. There are any number of people with whom you can have a successful marriage in your pool of eligibles. “My pool of what?” you say. Your pool of eligibles are people who are “eligible” for you to marry, who are “eligible” as a possible life’s companion.

The Doctrine of Creation

Before we get into who should or should not be in your pool of eligibles, you need to understand why thinking deeply about this idea is important. The question you need to ask at this point is: “What principles can help me date and find my life’s companion wisely?” Since you are in the process of “creating” a new relationship, why don’t we start with the doctrine of Creation? We encourage you to read, study, and ponder on the accounts of Creation contained in the Old Testament (Genesis 1-2).

What principles do you learn from the account of the creation of the world that help you understand how to create a successful marital relationship, starting with dating?

Here is one set of principles that Russell M. Nelson gleaned from his study of the Creation:

…scriptures teach that the Creation was accomplished in six periods of time. Principles learned from that study show that any great attainment requires proper planning, timing, patience, labor, and no shortcuts.”

Were you able to see these principles as you read, studied, and pondered the Creation? If you are like most of us, you may not have “seen” all that Russell Nelson drew out of the Creation accounts, although the Spirit may have prompted you to see other principles. But for our purposes, let’s think about the principles he noted: …any great attainment (like finding and marrying well) requires proper planning, timing, patience, labor, and no shortcuts. So let’s start with proper planning.

Clearly a great deal of thoughtful planning—with the end goal in mind to “bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man”—was put into designing the whole process of God’s Creation. Likewise, you need to start with the end in mind. Thinking about who should be and should not be in your pool of eligibles is an important part of this process. If you just date based on physical attraction, or boredom, or with little thought of where the dating could lead, you are unlikely to find yourself marrying someone with whom you can develop a heavenly relationship and establish your own successful family. It takes “proper planning” even before you date.

Who should NOT be in Your Pool of Eligibles

There are over 590 million men and 570 million women between the age of 20-29 in the world today and billions more who are 30 or older. You simply don’t have time to meet and date all of them, so how do you get this down to a manageable number?

Have you ever used a strainer when cooking? A strainer’s job is to remove the unwanted ingredients from the final dish. As the gravy-maker in our family, I appreciate this handy tool. Sometimes the gravy will have lumps in it that won’t blend, so I use the nifty strainer to remove them from my gravy. Keep that analogy in mind as we strain out some ineligibles from your pool.

First off, let’s strain off your siblings and other close relatives. We aren’t ancient Egyptian royalty after all, who wanted to keep the money and possessions in the family by marrying their siblings or children! Next, eliminate all same sex individuals. Although some countries allow same-sex marriages, we are talking about Biblical marriages here and the doctrines and statements of the prophets in the Bible make it clear that proper marriage can only be entered into by a man and a woman. And of course, sift out all individuals who are currently married.

We have strained out a lot of people from your pool with these three swipes, but there are still lots of people in there that are at least technically eligible. Now from all those who are left, whom do you want to stay in your pool of eligibles? The next article will help you make that decision.

This article is one of a series.  For others in the series, see:


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