A few Sundays ago, we had an American visitor in English language Sunday School. He was starting a three-month trip around Scandinavia and the Baltics. Travelling around for thee months sounds good to me, but he felt the need to tell us the motivation for his journey: ‘I’ve come here to find a wife.’
It would be funny if he were the first one. I can count six such searchers in the last seven years (not including former missionaries who have come back for the summer). Of these six men, one was French and one was Irish: the rest were American. Their ages have ranged from late 20s to late 40s. They all had some reason for choosing Finland as their happy hunting ground. One guy came here on holiday and ‘couldn’t believe how beautiful the women were!’ Another saw pictures from a friend’s mission and ‘just fell in love with Finnish women!’ A third was on Temple Square and met a sister missionary from Finland and said, ‘The Holy Ghost told me I would find my eternal companion in Finland!’ And I have to emphasize this point: the single brothers shared these stories of romantic inspiration in priesthood meetings and Sunday School classes. 
So for anyone thinking about going to another country on an active wife hunt, let me give a couple of pieces of advice.
- Don’t do it. There are several reasons why this is a bad idea; let me run through a few. First…how can I put this gently? The issues that may have made dating and marriage challenging wherever you’ve come from won’t disappear in another country. Second, while there may possibly be some countries where being American may be a strong draw for a woman, Finland is not one of them — in fact, its more likely to be an impediment. Third, different cultures have different concepts of dating, and ‘the direct approach’ that seemed to work out for your friends at BYU may annoy and alienate everyone who meets you, male and female alike. Fourth, while in your head it may sound really flattering to say that the women of a country are very pretty thus you want to marry one, coming out of your mouth it’s creepy and idiotic.
- If you do go abroad looking for a wife, don’t tell everyone you are looking for a wife. If you’re unable to see that for yourself, I don’t really know how to explain why this is a really bad idea. You’ll have to trust me. Instead, tell people that you want to see the world, or you want to learn a language, or you’re doing research for a book, or you’re collecting butterflies for crying out loud, but never ever announce that you are looking for a wife. Even in priesthood meeting. It may seem odd to you, but many of the men in priesthood will talk to women, and word will get around.
In the interest of full disclosure, I have an admission to make: I did come to Finland single, and I did marry a Finnish woman. My wife is beautiful, intelligent, strong and kind, and we have a nearly idyllic family life. If you are looking to me as a success story to emulate, let me make this part perfectly clear: I did not come to Finland to find a wife, and this is important, I never at any time stood up in a church meeting and said, ‘I have come to Finland looking for a wife.’
I hope this is helpful.
 What do the first five men have in common? They all left Finland without a wife. I’ll let you know about number six in late July.