At a recent single adult barbeque, a group of strangers began talking. The conversation quickly turned to the topic of dating. Several ideas including asking the right questions, what imperfect attributes do your family members have, and how are you applying Christ to your dating relationship, were discussed. It’s pretty incredible the depth and honesty a conversation can have when no one really knows each other.
First, we discussed the need ask the right questions. All of us will be marrying a mortal being. It is important to understand that no one is perfect. Knowing that imperfections exist, it is important to inquire well so that you will understand fully what you are committing yourself to. Sometimes as young adults we ask the wrong questions. Some better options might be: what are the deal breakers really? Can you live with someone who has self-esteem issues? What about sickness? Disease? Addictions? Be honest with yourself. What can you really handle? While the person you are dating at the time may not suffer from any of these things there is a real possibility that it may come out in the future.
Over the course of a life time many things occur that are beyond your control. There is a possibility that your spouse will have problems having children or miscarry a baby. Maybe they will lose a job, or a family member. Maybe you will have a child with a special need or suddenly be taking care of an aging parent or loved one. You see, you need to love someone in such a way that you can love them through their trials.
What imperfections do you have yourself? What weaknesses do you have? Be honest. You yourself aren’t perfect either. At a recent meeting for the men at church the stake president said, “You all think that you are tens, but the truth is most of you are really only fives.” I don’t think that was meant as disrespectful, but more as a wakeup call that you may be on the search for perfection because you think that you are so great. (This is also true for women.) If you are honest with yourself, you will not exclude potential companions as readily.
What have you learned about yourself and your limitations and strengths from your current family situation? Each member of a family has strengths and weakness too. What drives you the most crazy about your brothers or sisters? What things do your parents do that you wish they wouldn’t? Don’t you still love them? That you do is evidence that you can love imperfect people, and that imperfect people can love you. As you learn to give and accept love in your family you will be better able to love and accept love from a spouse in the future.
If you are banking on yourself, you will fail! You have to rely on Christ. We often forget that in dating. The atonement is in play all the time. With our imperfections and the imperfections of others, dating and marriage would be impossible without God. The Savior makes us for all of our weaknesses and imperfections. In a very real way that Savior’s love and sacrifice are what provide the miracles of successful marriages. We learn in Phil 4:13 that we can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth us. That is true. As we pray to see others as God sees them and work with others as He works with them, and to love them as he does we will have greater success.
As we practice asking the right questions, learning from our families, and applying the atonement of Christ to our efforts of dating we will see greater success as this group of strangers discussed. God didn’t put us on the earth to fail, even in dating.
Ashley Dewey is extremely talented at being single. Hobbies include awkward conversations with members of the opposite sex, repelling third dates, talking to boys about their girl problems and to girls about their boy problems. In her spare time she also has a very fulfilling school life, work life, and social life. Besides being a professional single, Ashley is also a BYU graduate with a degree in linguistics (Aka word nerd). She enjoys studying other languages, particularly American Sign Language, and finds most all of them fascinating. She is currently pursuing a masters degree in Teaching English as a Second Language. Ashley works most of the time and has often been accused of being a workaholic. Currently she works full time as a merchandiser and supervisor in a retail store, and part time doing social media work. On her day off she works (really it doesn't feel like work) in the Provo LDS temple. The only kind of work she finds difficulty focusing on is house work. Her favorite activities in her free time are reading, writing, creating social experiments, and spending time with great friends and family. Specific activities with those family and friends include: going to concerts, plays, dance recitals, BYU basketball and football games, and watching sports on television.