Dating and Marriage

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Faith has everything to do with your romance.

“Believe that your faith has everything to do with your romance, because it does. You separate dating from discipleship at your peril. Or, to phrase that more positively, Jesus Christ, the Light of the World, is the only lamp by which you can successfully see the path of love and happiness for you and for your sweetheart.”

“How Do I Love Thee?” BYU Devotional, February 15, 2000

Love is what you go through together.

“I still think the best definition of marital love is James Thurber’s, who said simply that love is what you go through together. I will be eternally grateful for what Pat was willing to go through with me—that she did not feel I had to have my degree and a car and a home and a career all in hand before we could marry.”

“Be Not Afraid, Only Believe” CES Devotional, February 6, 2015

Good marriages require all our consecration.

“No one would wish a bad marriage on anyone. But where do we think ‘good marriages’ come from? They don’t spring full-blown from the head of Zeus any more than does a good education, or good home teaching, or a good symphony. Why should a marriage require fewer tears and less toil and shabbier commitment than your job or your clothes or your car? Yet some of you will spend less time on the quality and substance and purpose of your marriage—the highest, holiest, culminating covenant you make in this world—than you will in maintaining your [car]. ‘You must not give half-hearted compliance to a marriage,’ said President Kimball. ‘It requires all our consecration.’”

“However Long and Hard the Road” BYU Devotional, January 18, 1983

Find all 10 at Aggieland Mormons.

Claire Pincock in the hometown of her grandfather

After a lot of prayer and fasting, I was told not to serve a mission.

Accepting the answer “no” was extremely difficult, but at the same time God told me that there were reasons why, and that I would know what they were in due time. Let me tell you the reasons why I’m so grateful I listened.

**Editor’s Note: This article was written by Claire Pincock and has been published in full by her request. 

God Still Used Me As an Instrument to Bless His Children
Pretty soon after I would have left on my mission, I met a boy with serious depression. While he had had people to support him, at that point he felt very alone because he was tired of hurting his friends. Four months into my “mission”, I was able to calm him down twice from suicidal thoughts. Throughout our relationship I helped to show him God’s love for him. I helped to show him that he was worth love and life and that he deserved happiness. God put me in his life, and I was an instrument in His hands to bring my friend happiness.

I Still Learned A Lot About Myself
I dated a lot while on my “mission”. I moved into a very social single’s ward and went on more dates than I can count. Most of them were just casual, fun, friendly double dates. I learned so much about the difference between what I thought I needed and wanted in a man and what I actually needed and wanted. I also learned my strengths in relationships. I learned not only who is good for me, but who I am good for. This has been instrumental in my life.

I Married My Best Friend
Because I didn’t get to serve, I diligently wrote a lot of my friends who did. I told them that I wanted to have the mission experience through them. I developed wonderful relationships with them and got to know who they were very personally. I would email one of my friends back and forth when he was online until his mission disallowed that. A year into my “mission”, that friend came home. I was so ecstatic. I couldn’t get to my hometown until nearly 10 at night, but we talked until 2 in the morning. He was just as ecstatic as I was. Because of that night and more dating experiences shortly after, I realized that this man, who had been my friend my whole life, was exactly who I was looking for. We were engaged before I would have gotten home.

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Claire and Seth on their wedding day
Claire and Seth on their wedding day

I Learned a Foreign Language Anyway 
There were many other wonderful advantages from listening to God’s plan for me. I found a major I love, and I have had irreplaceable experiences in my classes and doing research in my field. I went on a study abroad and learned my grandpa’s native language. I got to see the house he was born in and learn more about his culture. I got really into family history and have taken countless names to the temple with my friends and family. I developed a really close relationship with my mom as we would do this work together. I wouldn’t trade that year-and-a-half for anything.

Claire on her study abroad in Copenhagen
Claire on her study abroad in Copenhagen

I Felt Misunderstood and It Wasn’t Easy

It hasn’t always been easy. It was extremely difficult to say goodbye to all of my friends. I was sad to watch them go and a bit jealous that I didn’t get to. I’ve been in a room filled with just RMs and me, and it can be difficult while everyone shares in their wonderful experiences. I’ve been rejected by boys who want an RM. I’ve been looked down on by my leaders for not serving (very rarely, and not intentionally, but it’s happened). I’ve been asked countless times why I’m not on my mission. I’ve even had people question my answer. I’ve been told that God would never say no to a mission, so maybe I’m interpreting Him incorrectly. I’ve been told that I know less about the gospel because I didn’t serve a mission. People don’t mean to hurt. They don’t really understand that fight that I went through. They don’t understand how badly I wanted to go, and they don’t understand why these things could be hurtful. It’s always been clear to me that the church does not see us as second-class members, but people aren’t perfect, and sometimes you might be treated that way.

Luckily, there have also been a countless number of people who respect my decision and respected me for it. There have been so many people who see the reality of my spirit and my love of this church despite not serving. I’m actually grateful for those dating rejections because even if I had served a mission, that isn’t the kind of person I needed to marry. My husband looks up to me as I look up to him. He respects my spiritual insights despite the fact that he had I name badge and I never did. I’m also so grateful for my friends and family who did serve, especially my fellow sisters. It hasn’t always been easy, but I’ve learned to set aside my pride and rejoice at every call my friends receive. I rejoice in their service and in their joy, just as I hope that they rejoice in mine even though it’s different.

God Knew I Didn’t Need a Mission. I Needed to Stay Home, and That’s Okay
Six months after I would have gotten home, I’m so glad I didn’t serve. God had a much more beautiful plan for me. I didn’t need a mission. I needed to stay home, and that’s okay. Every member needs to pray and find out for themselves. While I would have been serving, I’ve almost finished my education, I went through the temple for this first time, I got married to the love of my life, and I’ve done so many other wonderful things I wouldn’t trade for the world.

Most Importantly, I Listened to God
So, if you’re a guy or girl who came home early or couldn’t serve, if you got the answer no and listened, or even God told you it was your choice and you chose no, as long as you are listening to God’s plan for you, you will be happier than if you had followed the plan which you made for yourself. Even if it’s nothing like His plan for me (if it doesn’t include dating or marriage or an education), you will be happier than if you hadn’t have listened.

Image via In The Head of Al

I think people are surprised when they hear I work full time and Ben stays home with our daughter (and soon to be son). Ben is a hard working, multitasking, full time student who choose to finish his degree online when our first child was born to be home with her and have the freedom of more time together as a family. Though I know he is anxious for the day that those roles are reversed, it wont be quite yet, he embraces and loves how things are now, too.

I think it’s awesome in our culture there is so much, and well deserving, praise for motherhood and absolutely everything that comes with it for the rest of their lives. But I’m bummed when I think of the just as deserving, if not more deserving in some cases, role of fatherhood who don’t get any or enough credit.

And to do so, hopefully, like Elder Christofferson saysTo praise and encourage fatherhood and fathers is not to shame or discount anyone.”

As I’m in the home stretch of this pregnancy with only several weeks left, it has become harder to be comfortable and sleep through the night. Today actually, I’ve been awake since 4 am because of it—laying in bed hoping I’d fall back asleep before my alarm goes off to get ready for work, but I don’t. So here I am at work, feeling like actual living-dead, with bags under eyes that are hitting my chin, mascara on from yesterday, about to head into another meeting. And I can’t help but think of how awesome Ben is and always has been.

I come home from work and the dishes are done, not because I asked him to do them or because I’m pregnant, but because he simply saw that they were there. Dinner is cooking. I find where he is in the house by following the sound of laughter and the trail of Legos and toy animals from the animal kingdom they built that day. I’m shown pictures of Gracie feeding a horse that’s in our neighborhood and another bottle gone from blowing bubbles in the backyard.

Read the full article at In The Head of Al.

Image via LDS Living

Saturday night, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf addressed the men in Priesthood session about building stronger marriages and families. Shortly after giving this talk, his mind turned to his sweet wife, Harriet, prompting him to share their incredible love story on Facebook. From love at first sight to unrequited love, the Uchtdorf’s have a story to match that of any romance.

“Tonight I spoke about saving and enriching our marriages and families. As I spoke, I thought of my beloved wife Harriet.

“I think I fell in love with her from the first moment I saw her. Unfortunately, this beautiful young woman didn’t seem to feel the same about me. But time passed, and eventually I was married to the woman I had loved ever since I first saw her. The process hadn’t been easy—there were moments of suffering and despair—but finally my happiness was full, and it still is, even more so.

“I have learned that in God’s plan of happiness, we are not so much looking for someone perfect but for a person with whom, throughout a lifetime, we can join efforts to create a loving, lasting and more perfect relationship.

“To all, married or single, I say: let the pure love of Christ fill your heart. Whatever problems your family, marriage, or relationships face—and whatever you must do to solve them—the beginning and the end of the solution is charity, the pure love of Christ. “Charity never faileth.” It is true for saving marriages! It is true for saving families!”

Read the full article at LDS Living.

Image via SheTraveled.

I used to have this delusion that once you put a name tag on you undergo a fundamental internal change, as if you have a new identity—all desires to do wrong disappear, all knowledge of the scriptures floods your mind, and every romantic inclination is whisked away with one handshake from your mission president. 


This is not the case. I felt nothing but culture shock when I put my name tag on, having just arrived in South Africa at the Missionary Training Center. Unfortunately, though you are a set apart servant of Jesus Christ, you are still merely a young single adult, one of “the weak and the simple” (D&C 1:23), and hormones do not take a break for 18-24 months. Navigating your romantic feelings on a mission can be one of the more challenging things you may face.

While these feelings are natural, Satan uses them as a tool to make you feel guilty or inadequate—feelings that are already pervasive when you are part of something so much bigger than your mortal shortcomings can amount to. The truth is, when you are surrounded by young men of your same age and stage striving with all their might to serve the Lord, it isn’t easy to suppress feelings of admiration and love.

As you come closer to the Lord it is in the very order of the universe that “virtue loveth virtue” and “light cleaveth unto light” (D&C 88:40). But the beauty of a mission is that it challenges you to learn to harness those feelings and control your passions; to accept God’s will for you and His timing (for there is “a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing” (Eccl 3:5)). The skill of self-control will bless you throughout your life, both as a single and married person. 

Read the full article at SheTraveled.

Image via Scott Assante

A few weeks ago, Nate Jensen came up with the clever idea for a parody of Disney Pixar’s “Inside Out,” only to create a hilarious anecdote for dating.

Jensen enlisted the help of his friends in the Provo YSA 26th ward to create the hilarious parody. The 11 minute video takes viewers inside the head of a young adult as he attempts dating.

Read the full article at LDS.net.

 

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Call this a disclaimer if you will- I have the highest respect for returned missionaries. I myself served a full time mission. I was 19. I loved it. It became one of the most defining periods of my life. My mission meant everything to me. It shook me awake and stripped me of selfishness and naivete (Well somewhat. I still have those things) I could write volumes on how much I loved my mission but you get the idea I hope.  

My husband and I met at a church dance. I know, it’s pretty cliche. We were married exactly 90 days after we met. I know, even more cliche. I never expected that to happen, I’m a slow mover and somewhat of a skeptic, but I got ‘swept off my feet’ (I’ll try and cool it with the cliches here.) I knew I had met the man I was going to marry, but I had one itching concern. He wasn’t a returned missionary.

On our first date I asked him if he served. He said no, and explained himself in a short story that I knew he must have recited many times in response to that frequently asked question. He had all the qualities I could have hoped for but no missionary plaque to show for it. He did not serve a mission due to personal circumstances. The decision was made with much prayer between him, his bishop, and the Lord. I don’t feel it’s necessary to go into the details here, but I support the choice he made and I’m proud of his character.

Read the full article at LDS Smile.

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Whether you like it or not, you get dating advice from everyone. My personal favorite is when a single person gives me advice on finding a wife… I think to myself “hows that working for you?”

But then there are some people that you respect, and when they give advice you follow it. I can not think of any group I respect more than the Apostles, so I started to search for dating advice from the Prophets and Apostles. I was shocked with all the advice I found! Here are 14 dating tips from the Prophets and Apostles.

1. Ask her with Your Voice

“Don’t text her! 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.”
~Elder M. Russell Ballard

2. “When you date, learn everything you can about each other.”

“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? 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?”
~Elder Robert D. Hales

3. The myth of “soul mates”

“‘Soul mates’ are fiction and an illusion; and while every young man and young woman will seek with all diligence and prayerfulness to find a mate with whom life can be most compatible and beautiful, yet it is certain that almost any good man and any good woman can have happiness and a successful marriage IF BOTH ARE WILLING TO PAY THE PRICE” (emphasis added).
~President Spencer W. Kimball

To read the full list, click here

LDS Missionaries - She Traveled - When someone is waiting for you

I dated a wonderful man for two years before I left on my mission. He was determined to wait for me while I served because he was certain that he wanted to marry me when I got home. I was thrilled that he felt that way, in fact, I felt the same, but I worried about the logistics of maintaining a long-distance non-relationship as a full time missionary. What were the odds this was really going to work out?

My first Sunday in the MTC, our Branch Presidency held a devotional. One of the members of the Presidency, Brother Stoddard, got up to speak to us. “I’m not here to give a traditional talk about a gospel principle,” he said. “I’m here to address any Elder or Sister who has someone waiting for them at home.” I was stunned. I couldn’t believe this issue, the very one I was facing, was being addressed. I knew the Lord was aware of my circumstances and I was eager to hear the message. “Most people will tell you to write them off, call it off, break up with them, and just focus on your mission, and they might be right,” he continued. “But I’m here to tell you that if you do it right, if you maintain a proper relationship and do this the right way, having that person at home can and will make you a better missionary.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing! I was so excited to hear that I wasn’t making a mistake, that I could still be a good missionary even if I had someone at home. Just when I was feeling on top of the world, Brother Stoddard brought me back to reality. He informed us that statistically speaking, only 3% of “waiting-for-a-missionary” arrangements actually end up working out and leading to marriage. That was a punch to the gut, to say the least, but he followed up that disheartening fact with what he called his three ways to be a 3%er. These three tips remain, to this day, some of the greatest pieces of advice I have ever received. So, if you have someone waiting for you at home, or are planning to have someone wait for you, and you want to have a successful mission and a successful relationship, here are the three things you may want to consider…

READ THE REST AT SHE TRAVELED 

To Our Daughter about to Marry: 7 Ways to Happiness
(Image via ldsmag.com)

(Source: Meridian Magazine; By: Maurine Proctor)

Dearest daughter,

In a few days you will be married and I will watch you close the door on your childhood with poignancy. You will pack your youth away like a dress you outgrew, and I confess I will miss everything about your presence in this house. I think I will run into your room to tell you something, and I’ll be surprised that you’re not there.

I want to give you a parting gift—my thoughts on how to be joyfully happy in marriage. These keys are easier to say than to accomplish, but I trust that in the journey ahead you will understand what to do—and perhaps in just the right moment they will come back to you.

This counsel I give to both.

Marrying across an Altar

The altar in the temple at which you will kneel is profoundly significant. It is an altar that symbolizes the great, atoning sacrifice of our Savior. Why would the Lord have us sealed across this altar? This is the great secret.

You know that His atonement means at-one-ment, and it is through this stunning, unimaginable gift that we can again be reconciled to God, made at-one with him, our face turning home again, the veil rent.

Surprisingly, it is also through the Lord’s atonement that we become one with each other, that two who have lived their lives separately and singly can be joined for eternity, never to be entirely separated again.

Oneness in marriage is actually made possible through the atonement and the gradual change and expansion in us that is promised if we accept this gift. We are to leave behind our old, smaller selves.

Satan’s work is to scatter and divide us. The Greek word for Satan is “diabolos” meaning to divide or separate. This name means “He who places division.”

It was Satan’s work to scatter the Children of Israel, and the Lord’s to gather them in one again. Those who ultimately live in Zion will be of one heart. Satan sows division. The Lord invites us to oneness.

So there you’ll be, kneeling across an altar symbolizing that opportunity for the oneness you seek—and it will come if you are both willing to accept the Lord’s gift of grace that this altar symbolizes.

We come to each other in marriage incomplete and somewhat fragmented. We are still children about so many things. The Lord says, “I will take you on a journey to wholeness. The broken things in you I can mend. The incompletion, I can complete.”

The promises for this journey are more than finite minds can comprehend, but the sacrifice is not just Christ’s–it will involve your sacrifice as well—the sacrifice of a broken heart and a contrite spirit. You must be willing to grow, discard the parts of you that are small and contracted. You must shed parts of yourself that are burdening the way—even your favorite, most habitual, and long justified weaknesses.

Oh, that is hard! Happiness is built on repentance and changing–and expanding yourself is happily not your job alone. Christ has taken that on long ago.

It may be tempting to think that you have come to this altar to change your new husband. If you don’t think it now, there may be times in the future you might be convinced that is your job.

It is tempting to think you have a better plan for his way of being. But be very wary of having a plan for how anyone can change. When you are dealing with another person’s identity, you are on sacred ground. Take off your shoes where you stand.

If you will both remember this temple altar and be devoted to the Lord who unites you, He will change both of you as you submit your heart to Him. You don’t need to do His work for your spouse.

A repenting couple is a happy couple–repenting particularly in the sense that you are both humble and willing to enlarge your understanding and perspective, willing to change what is trivial and weak about yourself.

Both of you can remember that you are coming to marriage to take a journey together back into the Lord’s presence. That means you are both committed to finding an expanded, better version of yourself and you trust that the Lord’s gift can work this in you. It is, in fact, only the Lord’s gift that can work this in you.

Create Holy Habits

Couples create a culture together. It is their own new world that they create. You’ve seen couples who become fat together or sloppy together or mean spirited together.

From this moment onward, you will be the greatest influence in each other’s life. Decide to become devoted disciples of Jesus Christ together. Pray together morning and night. Life will be hectic and demanding. You may feel that there is so much to do that you have to just hit the ground running to even survive. But build into your very system this unshakeable habit of talking to the Lord together.

This comes with some really practical advice. Go to bed at the same time. That bedtime practice matters because this is your time to talk, to download your day, to share your sorrows and find your solutions—and, of course, say your prayers.

In your prayers remember to express your gratitude for each other in the most specific ways. Be grateful for the gifts you gave each other that day and the service that was rendered. Watch each day for the inspiration that the Lord has given you. Remember it and thank him aloud and specifically in your prayers for His gift to you this day.

Of course read your scriptures, attend the temple, watch for opportunities to serve. Say to yourselves from the beginning, this is who we are, this is what we do.

This is like a mission statement for you as a couple. Put it in place as a foundation and then when the winds blow, when life is wearying, when you are overwhelmed, you have these holy habits in place—and then everything is easier.

Read more at Meridian Magazine