Last week we discussed the need for LDS singles to expand their casual dating pools to include everyone — well, almost everyone; jerks, stalkers, and criminals need not apply. Many LDS singles resist expanding their casual dating pools because they inappropriately pre-judge potential dating partners by filtering for marriage material.
Superficially, that seems to make sense. Dating leads to marriage, and we don’t want to end up with someone we don’t really want. Plus spending all that time and money with someone who won’t be with you in the end seems wasteful. Isn’t it better not to start if you won’t finish?
This logic prevalent among LDS singles keeps many of them single longer than needful — in some cases, much, much longer. Here’s a more effective approach: Apply standards to where you are in your dating journey. Don't reject a date based on your standards for marriage. Reject a date based on your standards for dating.
Know where you are
Effectively applying standards to dating requires you to understand where you are on the map of your dating journey. With that in mind, let’s review what we’ve learned recently about the stages of the dating journey.
Know your next step
You don’t need a map to know where you’re going. But a map becomes very useful to tell you how to get there.
Understanding the different stages of the dating journey helps you know where are on the map. That begs the obvious question: How do I get where I want to go?
You don’t climb a mountain by constantly staring at the peak. You climb a mountain by looking where your feet you are and taking a step forward. Your focus, then, should be on the next step in front of you, not the end goal.
Once you know where you are in your dating journey, your next step will be to secure the agreement for the next stage. If you don’t have the necessary agreement, you don’t progress. Period. That’s why this is your next step.
Be where you are
That’s harder to do when you’re staring constantly at the summit and never on where your feet actually are. How long will it be before you trip and land on your face?
Many LDS singles find dating disagreeable because that’s exactly what they experience. They keep tripping and landing on their face. If that’s your experience, here’s some free advice: Stop looking at the summit! Be where you are.
If you focus on where your feet are and take the next step directly before you, and then the next one, and so on, eventually you’ll climb the mountain. So focus on where your feet are: Apply standards of dating to dates.
This of course means you might date someone you wouldn’t marry. So what? That’s perfectly normal; everyone dates people they never marry. Only by dating lots of people will you better know that right type of person who demands more serious consideration.
Because you’ll date people you’ll never marry, your standards will change with each stage of the dating journey. You’ll casually date people you won’t commitedly date. And you’ll committedly date people you won’t marry.
Recognizing these truths makes it easier to be where you are. You can better enjoy someone’s company irrespective of whether or not you’ll marry that same person when you focus on that moment rather than on some agenda to achieve a future goal.
Applying standards of dating to dating helps you to be in the place where you are. This in turn helps you to live more fully in the moment and makes you more attractive to someone who can help you be where you want to be. And that will bring more joy in your journey.
Howdy! I'm Lance, host of Joy in the Journey Radio. I've been blogging about LDS singles life since 2012, and now I produce a weekly radio show to help LDS singles have more joy in their journey and bring all Latter-day Saints together. Let's engage a conversation that will increase the faith of LDS singles and bring singles and marrieds together in a true unity of the faith.
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