For this post on this day, I want to turn to the subject of dating. In this day and technological age, traditional dating is quickly becoming a thing of the past, and that makes me very sad. We have a dating culture "that lacks socially defined norms, rituals, and relationship milestones [that] guide young people toward marriage" (Hawkins, 4).
The concept of traditional dating is in trouble. It is "the most endangered part of the modern context of dating" (Hawkins 12). This leads me to why I chose the title for this blog post. I want my kids to know the importance of dating in their lives. I want them to understand how following "a divinely directed approach to dating and courtship" will help them in their quest to establish and maintain their own eternal family relationships (Hawkins 12).
WHY I WANT YOU TO DATE...
For you, dating is something that will prepare you for marriage, not to mention it will be a way for you to develop ideas of what kind of a person you will want to marry. One of the main reasons that the disappearing dating culture is a problem is that it robs you of the important knowledge and experiences that dating can bring to your life. This could lead you to premature exclusive dating or engagement which could be a problem and cause problems later in marriage (Hawkins 12).
I mentioned that dating will prepare you for marriage. Maybe you've thought about getting married and have some ideas about what your future spouse will be like. I want to just offer some words of prophetic counsel that will help you as the process of dating leads you to the one you will want to marry.
From Elder David A. Bednar-
You must work on 'becoming'--on having maturing and growing experiences so that you can be ready for marriage and then be able to commit to that relationship when you have made the decision to marry (Hawkins 6).
Have I convinced you of the importance of dating yet? I hope at the very least, you are feeling a little more confident in your knowledge of why dating is an important step in a relationship.
Maybe you're feeling a little scared or apprehensive about dating and marriage. That's perfectly okay and totally understandable. These are big decisions that you are facing in your life and with every big decision comes a mountain of uncertainty and anxiety. Elder Holland offers some words of advice to help you manage those feelings.
Dating prepares you for exclusive dating. Exclusive dating prepares you for engagement. Engagement prepares you for marriage and marriage prepares you to live in an eternal marriage relationship. It's a recipe to follow and if you leave an ingredient out, the cookies will just not taste as good as they could.
Now that we've had a little chat about how important dating is, I want to spend just a moment on how to choose your eternal companion when that time comes. It can be a daunting task if you let it, but once again...trust in the Lord and all will be well.
WHEN FACED WITH "THE BIG DECISION"...
I know that Hollywood has romanticized the idea of finding your soul mate, but you have an opportunity to have something even grander than a soul mate. You have an opportunity to become an eternal companion. "While soul mates are found, eternal companions are chosen and made..." (Hawkins 11). Follow the pattern of divine dating that I talked about above and I have no doubt that you will find a companion whom you can learn and grow with.
It all begins with dating and so I come back to my original request... I want you to date.
A FEW WORDS OF ADVICE FROM A PROPHET...
Because decisions determine destiny...we must look ahead to the type of marriage we want, set a course toward that goal, and then "prepare every needful thing" (Hawkins 16).
I am so proud of you all for the good decisions you have made thus far in your life and I have no doubt that as you stay close to the Savior, He will lead and guide you through the exhilarating and scary world of dating, courtship, and marriage and bless you with the absolute love of your life.
Hawkins, A. J., Dollahite, D. C., & Draper, T. (2012). Successful marriages and families: Proclamation principles and research perspectives. Provo, UT: BYU Studies and School of Family Life, Brigham Young University.
WHY ETERNAL FAMILIES?
This page is dedicated to sharing information regarding God's plan for families, how we can strengthen our family relationships, and how the Savior can heal even the most broken of hearts.