A while back I asked a question about dating on facebook. I got quite the epic reply from a friend named Becky that gives great advice to both boys and girls. I thought it was so insightful that I saved what she said and used it as a reference on multiple occasions. I have now decided to post it here for people to read. Enjoy:
WARNING: long and opinionated. If you don't want to know what Becky thinks, please pass by.
So here's a link to a facebook picture someone posted about a boy named Brad I went on a date with on my recent adventures in Texas. It would be impossible for me to "get the wrong idea" about this guy because he goes on a date every week! (Or more in his case.)
I think obedience is always on our side, you guys learned this over and over on your missions, why should it be different now?Remember 1 Ne 3:7, when the Lord gives the commandment, if you are obedient, he always opens the way for you to achieve it. That doesn't make it easy, but it makes it possible! We cannot receive the full blessings of a commandment, or a promise from the Lord if we do not obey it to the very fullest.
I don't know about you, but if I were chastised by my Stake President (aka the Man (or God) he represents) I would get my tail into gear as quickly as I could.
I also saw this example in my brother who got married only a year ago at age 29. He literally took a girl out each week for almost all of his young single adult life (minus his 2 years in Russia!) He is an incredible, talented and very handsome young man that most any girl would want to go out with anyway. And of course all the girls he asked out loved him and were falling for him (not only because he was so cool, but also because he was probably the only one asking them out), but he did not have the same problem as those who timidly, occasionally obeyed the commandment to date.
Girls knew he was wonderful, and that THEY were worth something because a wonderful guy cared to ask her out, but they knew they were one of the dozens he had gone out with that year, so that awkward expectation for another date didn't always follow. (That wasn't true in every case, but in most cases it was, but that's just what comes with obedience. Ammon had to cut off peoples arms.)
Both he and the girls were blessed. I saw him grow and be blessed in ways that those who are not obedient can never know because they didn't earn it. He also had a lot of pain and heartache, but he didn't give up!
Maybe what the Stake President is trying to teach is a principle that is above just the young men. Might I propose that dating is not for the Young Man alone,
-but it is for every young woman who has never been asked out on a date ever.
-For those who have grown up in abusive situation and who need to gain faith that there are good men out there who will not physically or mentally abuse them.
-For the girls who have ended relationships and afterward feel worse than dirt because they don't match up to the pornography their boyfriends have looked at.
-For the girl that because of physical or health or family or money limitations, will never look as pretty or be as attractive as the "four or five girls in the ward that most guys want to go out with".
-For the girl who realistically and painfully realizes she will probably never get married in this life. But that I believe deserves to have at least one happy memory of her young adult life before entering that ever lonely state.
-For the new convert or the foreigner who has come here out of great expense with high expectations from a place with few or no other members and has been taught to marry another member in the Temple, but who cannot get a date because they are not the "physical or cultural ideal".
I have seen each of these situations while I have lived in this stake. I have heard the heart ache of many girls who, because they aren't perfect now, are passed by.
Might I suggest that dating isn't just about finding an eternal companion. It isn't about making us feel good. It is about making others feel good. Dating is a gift. It may be what we covenant to do in this stage of life. To bear one anothers burdens. To give those blessings to another.
GIRLS this is just as pertinent to you. Let's say there are 50% of girls in a ward who routinely do not get asked out ever. I would say there are likely 50% of guys who for many various reasons do not routinely ask girls out. I know many who:
-have been burned so badly by a terribly inconsiderate girl that the thought of trying again is so painful they are not willing to try.
-Who are avoided like the plague, because they lack proper hygiene, social skills, experience, attractive clothing, a car, or good job or education prospects.
-Who has a bad reputation because they hurt one of your roommates or friends.
-Who is so painfully shy that girls are not willing to make the effort it takes to get to know him. To meet him half way.
-Guys who are not aware of what they are doing to constantly drive girls away.
-Who could do it if they just had a little sincere encouragement from someone he admired.
What does it hurt to be kind and honest at the same time? What does it hurt to go out with someone YOU don't think will be your eternal companion? Just to reassure him that his efforts to be obedient are righteous and noble. How can we expect to be asked out on more dates when we aren't cherishing the dates we get, however goofy or awkward or not ideal to us they may be?How can we expect them to be obedient to their call if we are not encouraging and making effort to be available and asked out? How can we expect a guy to penetrate the ever-intimidating ever-thick roommate barrier--the girls who go everywhere in a cluster of gossip and giggles, making it hard to reach a girl alone for 2 minutes to ask her out--Why would a guy single you out of that knowing he will be talked about for the next 2 weeks? How can we expect to be attractive to a guy if we are not giving our very very all to be the very best us? What can we do to improve ourselves?How can we cast a blaming stone at a guy when we are guilty of the not-available or willing sin ourselves?
I am striving to always be grateful for an invitation and a free meal!
Lets please all remember what sister Hales said to those girls in the elevator who eyed Elder Hales saying "I want to marry somebody just like you!" She said "Get your own! He wasn't like this when I married him."
Sisters, men are boys, not apostles, when we find them (even if they don't know it at the time) We are the ones who help inspire them into what they can be. They need you. And they aren't perfect when first discovered. It requires finding a righteous, willing and obedient boy with flaws and perhaps no direction, and encouraging him to make good choices until he becomes what Elder Hales is today. Behind every good man is a solid, patient, loving, willing, incredible woman.We all know that guys can use some help. You may not be going on your dream date each week, but by accepting "less-than-ideal dates", you are helping some sister's future husband to gain courage and to be better prepared to love her. Shouldn't this be what dating is all about?
So why don't we start suggesting outings to guys of all backgrounds, not just those who are dreamy, but those who may never get the courage otherwise? You never know what might happen.
If any of you have sawed wood with a two-man saw (like on Legacy) you know that in order to go smoothly both sides pull when it is their turn. If you push the saw gets stuck. But in order to complete the task, it takes equal pulling effort on both sides of the saw.
So let's take Courage! Everyone! To do what we have to to be obedient to the commandment of dating.
One more note to guys:I went on a date while in the 77th ward. My first in several months. I was very grateful to be asked on a date and I did all I could to be helpful to him as he was hosting a large group of couples at his house. It was simple and fun, and I got to know him a little better. I was not necessarily super interested, but I would have gone out with him again.
A few weeks after the date I got an email from him and at that time realized that I hadn't seen or heard from him since the date. He wrote about how uncomfortable he had been knowing that I was super interested and was reading too much into a simple date.
I laughed out loud!
That was not my intention at all! He was so paranoid that I liked him that he translated my "trying to be helpful and supportive" into being super interested.
Brothers, don't be paranoid! Chances are she doesn't have it as bad as you think.
Remember, the Lord will prepare the way.
To answer your question Adam, I think both our sisters and our Elders need to have a little more courage and a little more faith, and to do a little more pulling. :)