Monday, February 6, 2017

Last Advice As A Single Man

On Saturday I will be getting married. This in and of itself should convince those who know me either in person or just as a reader that there is hope for anyone. As sports radio host Colin Cowherd put it a few years ago "If two women took a chance on me, there has got to be hope for you." I concur with Colin; if a woman is willing to marry a man obsessed with philosophy, science, economics, Star Wars, and video games, there has to be hope for all the rest of you. I am not being sarcastic when saying that, I do mean it. However, having done alot of dating and observation of dating culture within the LDS community, I thought I would leave a few comments that may be helpful to those who have not yet found someone.

First, the one thing I have noticed is that single Mormons often believe in what are known as "soulmates." Perhaps because this generation grew up watching Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid, Pocahontas, and other films that invoke the idea that love stories are always magical, they then take the leap that therefore their love story should be that way. Beware of this idea, there is a reason why these movies are fictional. Simply put, there are no such things as "soulmates" or "the one." There are many people in the world and the Church with whom you could be compatible; compatibility is the key. Life is not magical, it is a struggle for survival as Charles  Darwin puts it and relationships are also a struggle. Even with people you love, you will have differences of opinion, sometimes vast, and there will be arguments, debates, not talking for a little while, etc. Life is hard, so are relationships.

In speaking about soul mates, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf stated in his talk The Reflection in the Water:

I know this may be a disappointment for some of you, but I don't believe there's only one right person for you. I think I fell in love with my wife, Harriet, who is here with me tonight the first moment I saw her. Nevertheless, had she decided to marry someone else, I believe I would have met and fallen in love with someone else. I'm eternally grateful that this didn't happen.
But I don't believe she was my one chance of happiness, in this life, nor was I hers.
Another error you might easily make in dating is expecting to find perfection in the person you are with. The truth is the only perfect people you might know are those you don't know very well.
Everyone has imperfections. Now, I'm not suggesting you lower your standards and marry someone with whom you can't be happy, but one of the things I've realized as I've matured in life, is that if someone is willing to accept me, imperfect as I am, then I should be willing to be patient with others' imperfections, as well.
Close quote. This quote from President Uchtdorf  shows a discerning wisdom about this issue. There are no perfect people, but you can make a perfect effort to be the best you can with the person you choose. Notice President Uchtdorf does not state that the Lord will choose your partner; that is because that is your job. Expecting the Lord to pick someone for you is going to leave you disappointed as well because it will not happen.

My second bit of advice is that you do not have to be in a rush to get married. When you focus solely on one goal, you become myopic and fail to enjoy the time you have being single. One thing to remember is that when you are single, you have all the time you will ever have to do things that you want to do without restriction, such as traveling, hanging out with friends, and being somewhat carefree. Once you are in a relationship and a marriage, you will not have as much time to focus solely on your interests. Enjoy the time that you have as a single person because you may not have it again.

Thirdly and lastly, finding someone itself is a struggle and requires great effort. You are going to need to put as much effort into finding someone as you would into any other difficult task. This means that you will have to date quite a bit, most likely, before you find a suitable partner. Use Tinder, talk to the person you find attractive at Church, and don't be afraid to state what you are looking for early on. I stated to Eliza from the very beginning that I was looking for something serious, and because of that we knew it would be worth our time to get to know each other because we were looking for the same thing. Honesty is the best policy in relationships. If you are not looking for a relationship, it may be best to just defer from dating until you are.

There are many other things I could talk about, but I think the best advice I could give would be the things I mentioned: 1) There is no such thing as soul mates 2) Enjoy the time you have as a single person 3)Dating, like any serious endeavor, requires great effort.

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