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HOW TO ENJOY DATING WHEN MEMBERS ARE FEW

While attending Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wis., my social life was frustrating, and I was lonely. Noticing this, my mom suggested I seek out groups relating to my talents. I met a girl who was educated in parochial schools and reared in a strong, religious family. Two weeks after we met, she asked me for a copy of the "book" I always talked about. Four years later, she was baptized, and 1 1/2 years after that, we were married in the temple.

The following is what we learned:- Seek out and marry an obedient daughter (or son) of righteous parents.

- Build on, without tearing down, the knowledge that non-members have gained in their faith. An open mind and heart will be followed by a knowledge of the true gospel of Jesus Christ.

- Bring them to Church. Activity in the choir and socials does wonders for helping others develop an understanding of and appreciation for the kind of people we are.

- Use the full-time missionaries for some of the teaching. Their teaching and insight aren't so clouded with emotions.

- Be patient. Enjoy to the fullest your life and talents within the guidelines the Lord has given us. - Don and Janis Crego, Jr., Elm Grove, Wis.

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How we did it:

Can be a missionary

What a wonderful opportunity to exercise the admonition - "Every member a missionary." Many righteous people in this world would embrace the gospel if they were introduced to it while others wouldn't. A good rule to follow is to provide a non-member you're dating with numerous opportunities to become acquainted with the gospel. If no interest is shown, it's time to look for someone else to date.

A wise LDS person would not want to become romantically involved with a non-member, unless sincere interest in becoming a member is exhibited. If this is the case and baptism follows, then all is well. The member is now dating a new member. - Glennis Y. Roper, Rainer, Ore.

Attend singles' activities

Attend single adult firesides and activities and build friendships. If you have non-member friends, invite them to attend the singles activities with you. Neither of you will have to feel awkward and uncomfortable. These friends might enjoy themselves so much they'll become members.

This way you don't have to be afraid of your date trying to pressure you to not live up to Church standards, and he can be fellowshipped without feeling awkward either. - Elsie Hydes, Jim Thorpe, Pa.

Three things helped

The following three things helped me enjoy dating before leaving on my mission:

- Had fun with friends.

- Remembered my standards, and the type of person I wanted to attract.

- Treated those I dated with the respect I would like my future spouse to be shown. - Elder Alix Whitehouse, London, England

Seek Lord's guidance

I became a Latter-day Saint at 24 and later served a mission. Two or three times a year, I would attend the Swiss Temple for a week. I was told I would never get married that way. A few months after turning 30, I met my husband during one of my temple trips. Three days later, he asked me to marry him. In a month, we were married in the temple.

The Lord is definitely involved in preparing people to meet each other. I recommend that you serve the Lord and have faith, and He will guide you. - Marie Joseph Mills, Cascals, Portugal

Associated with friends

My sister and I grew up in a small city in northwestern Florida called DeFuniak Springs. We used to drive 60 miles one way to a stake dance. Often, we talked about how there wasn't a single male in our ward who was our age, but we made a point of meeting and keeping in contact with members from our stake and surrounding stakes.

We dated when the occasion arose, and when it didn't, we'd get together with other young women in our ward and go out. Through these experiences, we grew closer to the Lord and developed lasting friendships.

Another thing that helped us in times of discouragement was to do something for others in our ward. Between our Church work, household chores, school work and doing for others we had to work hard to get it all done. We kept ourselves busy with the things that we should have been doing. - Wanda Hewett Cowart, Jacksonville, Fla.

Be good examples

Our dating-age girls are in a school where they are the only LDS students. When our oldest began dating, we encouraged her to choose to have dating relationships with those whose values reflected hers.

As a result, she has dated many fine young men who have become interested in her beliefs. She also has dated a member who still travels 130 miles one way to see her. One young man was recently baptized and is still seeing her. Another she has associated with also was baptized.

Another family in our ward whose daughter is the only LDS girl in her school has a boy friend who is a high quality young man. There are decent people who can enjoy our young men and women and benefit in many ways from a relationship with a Latter-day Saint. We are encouraging our children to be a good examples and, as a result, good things are happening. We've had young men quit bad habits in order to date our daughters. Being a good example has helped a lot. - Richard and Susan Chidester, Greentop, Mo.

Live balanced life

I suggest the following:

- Pray. Ask for the Lord's help.

- Be engaged in good causes. Volunteer, take classes, be involved with others.

- Meet new people and develop friendships.

- Be discerning of character. Seek friends who maintain your standards. Many opportunities come through "friends of friends."

- Live a balanced, quality life.

- Get to know your neighbors and people in your ward and community.

- Keep your priorities straight.

- Share personal thoughts and feelings with those you may be interested in dating. This opens the door to a closer relationship.

- Pray with your friends. This invites the Spirit and adds to the relationship. - Karen R. Trifiletti, Salt Lake City, Utah

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How to checklist:

1 Date those with similar values, interests and standards.

2 Develop friendships with members from other areas.

3 Invite non-LDS friends to Church activities.

4 Be patient, set an example and seek Lord's guidance.

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WRITE TO US:

March 5 "How to identify a spiritual prompting."

March 12 "How to draw closer as a family through family home evening."

March 19 "How to develop self-reliance and independence."

March 26 "How to improve the quality of your life."

April 2 "How to store improtant records."

April 16 "How to make time for exercise."

April 23 "How to raise a useful garden, especially with limited space."

April 30 "How to make Mother's Day memorable for your mother."

May 7 "How to grow old with a pleasant, positive disposition."

May 14 "How to prepare for natural or financial disasters."

May 21 "How to include non-member firends in a wholesome and positive graduation celebration."

Have you had good experiences or practical success in any of the above subjects? Share them with our readers in about 100-150 words. Write the "How-to" editor, Church News, P.O. Box 1257, Salt Lake City, Utah 84110. Contributions may be edited or excerpted and will not be returned. Material must be received at least 12 days before publication date.