Over a year ago, I attended an LDS conference that briefly reviewed some findings of dating and marriage among the group known broadly as millennials. As a person who falls into that age group, I was fascinated by the discussion and offered up some thoughts. Recently, I was surprised to see my article gaining traction again.
I am grateful for the open forum we can have about these issues.
I recognize that I made a very general statement. I did not mean it was the only method encouraged by either the Lord or the Church now or throughout history.
I will gladly take the blame for any misconceptions this brought about. In speaking directly to millennials, I hoped to express my belief that the prophets and apostles are indeed recommending dating as the primary activity to find a spouse in these latter days. After thoroughly reading what exactly has been said in the last decade from our Church leaders, I believe dating is the method the Lord is asking us as modern-day hopefuls to use when looking for a spouse.
I believe this guidance is being provided through His living mouthpieces on the earth. I also believe every love story is different. Cultures and customs may make dating different for you and there will always be exceptions. God often gives us general principles to apply and then we move forward and do the best we can.
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Still, I stand with our Church leaders when they tell us to date! This is the best I could do. It would seem that with all of the social media, we should easily be better connected than ever before.
In ways, however, technology may be causing us to have relationships that are less meaningful. Merely tweeting, texting, ing and friending cannot genuinely create a well-rounded relationship. Spending real face-to-face time with other people is necessary to build true friendships. It is time for you, our wonderful youth, to bring back the old definition for when young men and young women get together for a social experience.
You may have heard the term; this experience was once referred to as a date. The old-fashioned date was a wonderful way to get acquainted with a member of the opposite sex.
It encouraged conversation. It allowed you to see how you treat others and how you are treated in a one-on-one situation. It gave opportunities to learn how to initiate and sustain a mature relationship.
None of that happens in hanging out. The track that le to marriage passes through the terrain called dating! Dating is the opportunity for lengthy conversations. When you date, learn everything you can about each other.
Are your goals compatible? Do you share the same feelings about the commandments, the Savior, the priesthood, the temple, parenting, callings in the Church, and serving others? Have you observed one another under stress, responding to success and failure, resisting anger, and dealing with setbacks?
Does the person you are dating tear others down or build them up? Is his or her attitude and language and conduct what you would like to live with every day?
Good reasons to date
You single adults need to date and marry. Please stop delaying! I know some of you fear family formation. However, if you marry the right person at the right time and in the right place, you need not fear.
Use your own voice to introduce yourself to the righteous daughters of God who are all around you. To actually hear a human voice will shock her—perhaps into saying yes. Begin to prepare for a temple marriage as well as for a mission. Proper dating is a part of that preparation. When you are old enough, you ought to start dating. It is good for young men and young lds to learn to dating and to appreciate one another.
It is good for you to go to games and dances and picnics, to do all of the young quotes.
We encourage our young people to date. We encourage you to set high standards of dating. For a moment, I speak to you who are preparing for that sweet period of discovery known as courtship leading to eternal marriage.
Choosing whom to date
It can be a wondrously beautiful time of growth and sharing, a time when you should focus your thoughts, actions, and plans on two individuals: the parents of your own future children. Prepare to be a successful parent by being completely worthy in every thought and act during courtship. When you find you are developing an interest in a young woman, show her that you are an exceptional person that she would find interesting to know better.
Take her to places that are worthwhile.
Show some ingenuity. If you want to have a wonderful wife, you need to have her see you as a wonderful man and prospective husband. Courtship requires effort and creativity.
Too often our modern world suggests expensive and elaborate dating activities. This kind of growth best occurs during simple, wholesome activities.
Brother Goodman said one of the challenges Latter-day Saints face is a tendency to shortcut the dating stage and jump from hanging out to courtship. If I could sell dating, I would try to help people understand the purpose for this step and to take advantage of it. She now works full time as a marketing and product manager, writer, and editor. Aleah served a mission in California and loves baking, Lang Leav poetry, Gaynor Minden pointe shoes, and Bollywood movies.
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