A common refrain I hear in the LDS singles community goes something like "all of the good ones are already taken", "all of the good ones are already married", "there's nobody left", etc. That's not really true, but the assumption exists for a reason. It's true that when we pass our early 20s, the remaining singles will have lived more life and accumulated more experiences. These additional life experiences generally include marriage, divorce, children/potential blended families, sexual experiences and repentance processes, and other experiences that often occur over the years as we press forward and experience life. Sometimes these experiences are referred to cumulatively as "emotional baggage". Others are sometimes referred to as "damaged goods". I don't see any benefit to such labels. Life seasons all of us, and it is true that the older we get, the more seasoning we experience.
But is life seasoning a bad thing? It depends. If we have been traumatized by our circumstances, we may need the support of a bishop and/or a licensed psychotherapist to work through our issues and challenges that might otherwise interfere with our ability to meet, commit, and enjoy a healthy, happy marriage. But otherwise, for the most part, experience leads to knowledge, wisdom, and smarter ways to approach life. Innocent openness gives way to strategic, smarter choices. We've "been around the block" and we are now ready to choose and live well.
Finding A Healthy Person
It is true that it's a challenge to find another good, healthy person, at any age. Someone who meshes well with you and feels like a natural match. Someone comfortable that your life fits together with. When we are younger, there tend to be bigger numbers of available singles in that group. However, this advantage is often counterbalanced by lower wisdom, knowledge, and life experience to make the wisest choices. At younger ages, excitement, hormones, and popularity often lead to dating and marriage choices. In the late 20s and beyond, LDS singles have usually by then "been around the block" more, often with a divorce in their history. They better have an idea of what they really want and perhaps as importantly, what they don't want.
In general at any age, a healthy match to look for will have a number of traits that show you that emotionally, practically, and spiritually, your lives synch well together and you bring out the best in each other. There are many dimensions of health or concern to consider beyond the scope of this article. However, from my experience, there are a number of healthy traits I would recommend developing yourself and looking for in another.
Emotionally and psychologically, it is important to be stable and self sufficient. Able to handle the stresses of life reasonably well through positive spiritual and personal coping skills. Relationally, a spirit of kindness, consideration, empathy, and warmth is important. Good, assertive communication and listening is important. Spiritually, regular scripture study, prayer, church attendance, and guidance from the Spirit is essential. Practically, having your financial affairs in order and possessing the ability to potentially join with another person.
How Healthy and Prepared am I?
There is a saying: to find the right person, be the right person, and eventually another right person will come along. To best assess where you are at in the important areas of preparation, along with consulting with your bishop and going to a qualified, licensed psychotherapist, I suggest taking the "READY" questionnaire. It is a self assessment tool giving you a decent overall view of how ready you are for a relationship at this time across a number of important dimensions. This questionnaire was prepared by the Brigham Young University Family Science Department as an extension of their RELATE questionnaire (their classic marriage preparation questionnaire).
To take the READY questionnaire, go to www.relateinstitute.com and go to the "single assessment". Review the findings and work to improve and refine any special areas of concern or challenge. Later when you are dating, feel free to take the joint RELATE questionnaire together, which will give ideas of joint strengths and areas of concern and focus for your relationship.
In short, it is true that there are quantitatively more young adult singles available between 18-25, and after that, the numbers are somewhat fewer but the wisdom to make a better choice increases. Please continue trying. Continue searching. Do not give up. All it takes is one good, decent fellow partner who is the in the same place as you. The Lord will support and guide you, but this will not be done for you. An assertive, regular effort in this area to find another is required. Pace yourself and resist discouragement. Remember that result will be worth the journey. Because "…neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord" (1 Corinthians 11:11).
**To readers: to submit a question to Dr. G for a future Q and A column, please send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, please register for a free account at www.ldsdimension.com for access to previous and future Dr. G articles.
|2016-11-14||Randy Gilchrist||Dating, Healthy relationships|
About the author
Hello, my name is Dr. Randy Gilchrist (aka "Dr. G"). I am a licensed clinical psychologist, a licensed marriage & family therapist, and a certified hypnotherapist in private practice in Roseville, CA (www.dr-rg.com), practicing since 1997. Also, I am happily married in the temple (Manti) since 1996 and have 4 sons. I am a volunteer writer and contributor to LDS Dimension. I use my training, education, and experience to share insights with LDS Dimension on all things of interest to the LDS dating community. Please read my articles and columns on this site to assist you in your online dating journey. Also, to be considered for an answer in a future Q and A column, please email me your dating/relationship oriented questions to email@example.com. Finally, I also offer a powerful, effective worldwide custom hypnosis recording service just for LDS Dimension members for weight loss, pornography, and many other issues of concern to those in the LDS dating community (please learn more now at www.dr-rg.com/lds; email me questions to firstname.lastname@example.org).