Dating Counsel From My YSA Bishop
That Every YSA Needs To Hear
Dating advice is the most frustrating thing ever, everyone gives conflicting advice! One person will say “talk more”, another “talk less.” One will say do something “spiritual” and someone else “something non-churchy.” In the middle of this I turned to my YSA Bishop and asked him for his advice and he gave me the following amazing points, the more we talked the more I realized how powerful this counsel was and how everyone needs to hear it!
Special thanks to Bishop Huish of The Ranches YSA Ward for helping write this.
1). Don’t seek perfection, seek potential.
Within dating, we often have unrealistic expectations. Sister Holland at an address at the institute at UVU warned us about making composite expectations from those around us. An example of this is when a guy wants a girl who looks like Jennifer Lawrence, is as kind as our mother and as spiritual as our Mission President’s wife. Or ladies want a man who looks like Chris Hemsworth, has a job that pays 100k+ a year, is as kind as her dad, and a spiritual giant like her grandpa.
She warned us that this habit is dangerous because it is unrealistic to expecting a 20-year-old to have the qualities and attributes that often take decades to develop. She repeated Elder Hales “none of us marry perfection; we marry potential.” We’ve all heard President Uchtdorf’s famous line to the brethren “if there were a perfect woman, do you really think she would be that interested in you?” But the lesser known variation is President Hinckley’s counsel to the women of the church.
“This includes young women who are still in school or who are working. You are single. You are hoping to catch that perfect man. I have yet to see one who is perfect. Aim high, but do not aim so high that you totally miss the target. What really matters is that he will love you, that he will respect you, that he will honor you, that he will be absolutely true to you, that he will give you freedom of expression and let you fly in the development of your own talents. He is not going to be perfect, but if he is kind and thoughtful, if he knows how to work and earn a living, if he is honest and full of faith, the chances are that you will not go wrong, that you will be immensely happy.”
~Gordon B. Hinckley
2). Seek for someone who brings out your best.
When you date ask yourself, is this person encouraging me to become the best version of myself? Or are they trying to change me? God made you with certain attributes and skills, don’t try to hide or change those for a girl/guy. Just thinking about the person you date should make you want to become a better person. Something I noticed in my mission presidents marriages is that BOTH of them would say “I married up” and that the other person inspires them. We should seek someone who brings out the best in us! President Benson counseled the brethren.
“One good yardstick as to whether a person might be the right one for you is this: in her presence, do you think your noblest thoughts, do you aspire to your finest deeds, do you wish you were better than you are?”
~Ezra Taft Benson
3). Date. Don’t rush but don’t hesitate!
When you are dating don’t rush into things. Often people start pressuring you after only a few weeks of dating the endless “So…When are you getting married?” comments will come, don’t let them phase you. But if you find that individual that brings out the best in you, don’t hesitate to pray and ask for the Lord’s permission then act accordingly! Doing the right thing at the wrong time is still wrong, so don’t rush, but don’t hesitate!
“the most important single thing that any Latter-day Saint ever does in this world is to marry the right person in the right place by the right authority”
~ Elder Bruce R. McConkie
4). Always protect your date.
Have fun on your dates, but always remember you are on a date with one of God’s choice sons or daughters, remember to protect each other’s virtue. This same also applies to when someone asks you on a date; before you reply, realize they are a son/daughter of God, He loves and cares about them, always be honest and kind.
“In dating, treat your date with respect, and expect your date to show that same respect for you. Tears inevitably follow transgression. Men, take care not to make women weep, for God counts their tears.”
~President Thomas S. Monson
5). Have fun, but date with a purpose.
Seek activities that will allow for you to talk and get to know each other, sure watching a movie might be fun but when you first start dating seek for activities that will allow you to get to know the person. How can you realistically decide if you like the person and would like a second date if you actually did not get to know the person! So plan a fun activity but make sure it allows you a chance to get to know them.
“Dating is the opportunity for lengthy conversations. When you date, learn everything you can about each other. Get to know each other’s families when possible. 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?”
~Elder Robert D. Hales
6). Remember this is a Gospel matter.
The most important characteristic of your future spouse is going to be their loyalty and faithfulness to God, don’t let physical appeal and looks distract you from this requirement. Never forget the ultimate reason you date is to seek for a spouse and the reason you marry is to forge an eternal family! If you are not temple worthy, always look and work towards the Temple, as your family can only be eternal if you get sealed!
Because dating and discipleship are interconnected, treat dating like every other gospel matter, make it a matter of prayer! Pray for opportunities to find the right companion. When you pray with a purpose your eyes become focused on looking for the opportunities in the most unexpected places to meet others.
“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.