Dating can be one of the hardest experiences one can go through. For some it is short, my older sister was married at 18, and for others it is long, my oldest sister was married at 26. For those who end up in the dating phase of life longer than they planned it becomes one of their greatest trials to endure cheerfully.
It is extremely easy to blame all of your dating problems on the opposite gender, but that leads to nothing but bitterness. Instead, of saying “If only girls did this” or “If only guys did that” each one of us can change dating! We can each take the lead and change dating ourselves! To borrow from the wisdom of Mahatma Gandhi and adapt it “Be the change that you wish to see in dating.”
Here are six ways we can be the change we wish to see in the Mormon dating game!
1st. Ditch the lists.
Almost everyone has a list, some people write them down, others it’s only in their mind. Take a second real quick and write down what’s on your list, what are you looking for in your ideal man/woman?
Is your list good or bad? Whereas there is nothing inherently bad about making a list, most lists are becoming extremely poisonous. An example of a poisonous list is “He needs to make 100k+, he needs to go to BYU, he must be taller than me.” What makes this list bad? It focuses only on the temporal aspects of someone, not the eternal.
You are going to be sealed for eternity, instead of focusing on the temporal focus on the eternal. Take your list and put an E next to everything that is an eternal attribute or characteristic, then put a T next to everything that is not eternal. Ditch everything that has a T next to it. Or at least realize that the temporal things are only added perks. Remember the counsel that the Lord gave Samuel “man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)
“Do not expect perfection in your choice of a mate. Do not be so concerned about his physical appearance and his bank account that you overlook his more important qualities. Of course, he should be attractive to you, and he should be able to financially provide for you. But, does he have a strong testimony? Does he live the principles of the gospel and magnify his priesthood? Is he active in his ward and stake? Does he love home and family, and will he be a faithful husband and a good father? These are qualities that really matter.”
~Ezra Taft Benson
2nd. Decide that God will always be first in your life and your spouse second.
One of the keys to a happy and successful marriage is putting the needs, wants, and desires of someone in front of your own. It is learning to not be selfish, but to think of others. Your future wife/husband should always come before you. With your time actions and money never be selfish. But remember, whereas your future spouse should be in front of you, never put them in front of God.
Arguably the best dating advice was given to Moses on mount Sinai, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:3) Jesus further declared “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart” (Matthew 22:37) Learning to love God is the most important aspect of your future marriage, for your marriage covenant includes God. Decide today never to break any covenants, decide to be faithful to God under any circumstance.
If you don’t value your relationship with God and put Him above all else, nothing else will matter. The reason your relationship with God matters is because marriage is eternal, but it is only is eternal if we keep our covenants and marriage is a three-way covenant with God. Broken covenants always lead to heartache. Therefore finding someone who has the same priorities of first God, second spouse, is vital to a happy marriage.
I once heard it said, Run as fast towards God as you can and if someone keeps up introduce yourself! So if you have not found someone yet, then focus on running towards God.
“Believe that your faith has everything to do with your romance, because it does. You separate dating from discipleship at your peril.”
~Elder Jeffrey R. Holland.