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. However, I was also surprised at how many people disagreed when I said the Lord’s method for finding a spouse was dating.
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.
Still, I stand with our Church leaders when they tell us to date! Many people have asked me to “cite my sources” for my original statement that dating is the Lord’s method for us today. This is the best I could do.
Larry M. Gibson – What about Dating?
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, emailing 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.
Dallin H. Oaks – Dating versus Hanging Out
Simple and more frequent dates allow both men and women to ‘shop around’ in a way that allows extensive evaluation of the prospects. 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.
Robert D. Hales – Meeting the Challenges of Today’s World
The track that leads 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. 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?
M. Russell Ballard – The Greatest Generation of Young Adults
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. In fact, many problems you encounter will be avoided if you are “anxiously engaged” in righteous dating, courting, and marriage. 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.
Thomas S. Monson – Preparation Brings Blessings
Begin to prepare for a temple marriage as well as for a mission. Proper dating is a part of that preparation.
Boyd K. Packer – You’re in the Driver’s Seat
When you are old enough, you ought to start dating. It is good for young men and young women to learn to know and to appreciate one another. It is good for you to go to games and dances and picnics, to do all of the young things. We encourage our young people to date. We encourage you to set high standards of dating.
Richard G. Scott – Receive the Temple Blessings
For a moment, I speak to you who are preparing for that sweet period of discovery known as courtship leading to eternal marriage. 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.
Richard G. Scott – Eternal Blessings of Marriage
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.
Jonn D. Claybaugh – Dating: A Time to Become Best Friends
Courtship requires effort and creativity. Too often our modern world suggests expensive and elaborate dating activities. But depth and meaning emerge in a relationship only when two people converse, exploring each other’s feelings and aspirations and sharing concerns and perspectives. This kind of growth best occurs during simple, wholesome activities.
Michael A. Goodman – Taking the Fear out of Dating and Courtship for You or Your Loved Ones
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.
“It does one of two things,” he explained. “It either prevents people from ever dating because they’re scared stiff, or it gets people stuck together before they’re ready. They don’t know enough, they don’t have that closeness yet. If I could sell dating, I would try to help people understand the purpose for this step and to take advantage of it.”