Make Your Search for a Celestial Spouse Systematic

Dating and Marriage is too Important to be Left to Chance or Happenstance

Jacob Wackerhausen/E+/Getty Images

Eternal marriage in a temple should be your goal. Until you achieve it, you need to view the search as a process rather than an event.

Admittedly, using the term dating is a bit dated. However, no other term adequately conveys the same meaning. The process of spouse selection will always exist regardless of what it is called.

There is a lot of dating advice out there. Truly useful dating guidelines will remain accurate over time and across cultures.

By backing up and looking at principles instead of rules, you should be able to apply the dating advice to your particular circumstances.

Instead of seeking a list of possible dating ideas, construct your own that is consistent with gospel principles. What follows should help.

Turning 16 is Not an Obligation to Date

Turning 16 is not an obligation to date. It is an approximate age where you might think about starting the process of eventually finding an eternal companion. You should not feel any pressure.

You should not unnecessarily postpone spouse selection; but there is no reason to unnecessarily advance it either.

There is nothing magical about the age. You do not have to take a flying leap into the dating process when you turn 16. Just take small steps out of your comfort zone, while developing your new skills.

Consider Where You are Right Now

Are you 16 or 60? If you are older, then finding a suitable spouse should be more pressing.

When young, your motives should be social skills, friendships and wholesome fun.

Developing social and relationship skills can be done in many different environments, including your family, roommates, mission companionships and more. These skills are not exclusive to dating.

How Should the Dating Process Evolve?

In brief, your dating activities should evolve like this:

  • Group activities
  • Pairing off
  • Steady dating

Getting acquainted is often easier and less stressful in groups. What is more, group activities can help you decide when to pair off and with whom. Jumping straight into steady or casual dating can cause problems, especially if you do not have the social and emotional maturity to handle the situations that arise. Besides, it unnecessarily limits the people you get to know, especially when you are young.

Principles for Righteous LDS Dating

For the Strength of Youth is a great resource for dating counsel and advice. It suggests that righteous dating includes something that:

  • is safe
  • is positive
  • is inexpensive
  • helps you get to know one another
  • brings you and others closer to the spirit

In LDS culture, men are expected to initiate most of the dates. Elder Dallin H. Oaks counsels that real dates require the following:

  • Planned ahead
  • Paid for
  • Paired off

He calls these the three p's. He also stipulates that ideal dates are:

  • Simple
  • Inexpensive
  • Frequent

Cautions and What to Avoid

  • Maxims and cliches
  • Hanging out and hooking up
  • Elaborate and expensive dates
  • Refusing to commit

How your date treats his mother MAY be an indication of how he would treat you; but it certainly is not a fail-safe indicator.

Do not treat red flags as rules. Maxims and cliches sound cute, but they do not necessarily convey sound wisdom.

Just hanging out with the opposite sex is unstructured and lacks focus. It is not real dating. Too many people rely on it for their entire social life. Elder Oaks cautions us to avoid such persons. They are social freeloaders. He suggests we lock the pantry and bolt the front door against them.

Hooking up endangers your virtue. It has almost no other purpose. Do not do it.

Elaborate and expensive dating, like most prom practices, should always be avoided. It discourages dating because it requires so much. Ultimately, expensive and elaborates dates will severely limit your dating activity.

Commitment is the Goal!

Ideally, the skills you develop from wholesome dating will help you in mortality and eternal life, even if you remain single on this earth.

Dating requires progressive commitment until it culminates in the ultimate commitment, eternal marriage. Anyone evading commitment should be avoided. Mormons intend marriage to last for eternity. That is a long commitment!