by Dr. Randy Gilchrist, LDS Psychologist
www.LDSdimension.com (FREE LDS online dating site)
One of the challenges of single LDS dating life is determining if the partner you are dating is indeed, a good person to commit to, which can make dating a stressful time at points. Determining along the way if a relationship is good and healthy enough to proceed with to the next level can be daunting. Questions like, “should I date this person exclusively?”, “should I get engaged to this person?”, and the big one, “should I marry this person?” are huge decisions.
In a famous quotes by President Gordon B Hinkley, he counseled that marriage “will be the most important decision of your life. … Marry the right person in the right place at the right time.” And that the right place is, of course, the temple. “There is no substitute for marrying in the temple,” counsels President Hinckley. “It is the only place under the heavens where marriage can be solemnized for eternity. Don’t cheat yourself. Don’t cheat your companion. Don’t shortchange your lives.” (“Life’s Obligations,” Ensign, Feb. 1999). So, marrying the right person at the right place at the right time is the goal. And, of course, if you can’t get married in the temple, at least have that as the clear joint goal going in. All of that has been made clear. So, how to decide?
Inspiration and Hormones
Hormones, excitement, passion, and lust (generally synonyms) play an important role in helping a couple get together in the first place. Such magnetism helps give a couple to have the fuel, energy, and desire to go from strangers to transition over to a married couple. These passions are good when utilized for proper purposes within the constraints and limits clarified by the church (i.e., the law of chastity). So in short, hormonal excitement is a good thing for what it is: a vehicle to get people together. And, hormones and sexual attraction also help promote a later eventual healthy sex life for continual bonding and closeness. However, and this is a big however, hormonal and emotional attraction alone are not enough to mean two people should marry each other. I will simply say when it comes to sexual and emotional attraction: they are essential and at the same time alone, are inadequate to fulfill all of the needs a married couple has. So, I suggest adding hormonal excitement together with spiritual confirmation.
In addition to, “am I emotionally and physically attracted to this person”, another question to ask yourself is, “is this right to pursue?” An excellent way to help determine if this person is right for you is to seek inspiration from the Lord in prayer. A confirmation by the Spirit through prayer is just that: a confirmation that this is right and correct now to pursue for you. It doesn’t guarantee success—that will be up to you and the other person’s choices—but skipping or dismissing spiritual direction and inspiration almost always seems to result in eventual frustration and failure.
To pray, explain and plead your case to the Lord and ask for confirmation if this is right to pursue and continue with. Even though there are many fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) and people can feel it in different ways, one of the most clear road maps for clarifying your answers to prayer is found in Doctrine & Covenants 9:8-9, which states: “But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right. But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong…”. And then when you get your answer, please accept it and believe it either way. From Doctrine & Covenants 6: 23 it reads “Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater witness can you have than from God?”
Practicalities and Agency
Along with physical attraction, emotional connection, and spiritual confirmation, this brings us to the principle of agency. There is not just one right person for us. It can be right for you to pursue a number of possible people over your single life. So even with attraction and spiritual confirmation, you still have a decision to make and that decision is up to you. Some factors that you will need to consider in your decision include how well and how easily your life and the other person’s life will merge together. The more you have in common and the more practically prepared you are for marriage (i.e., physically, financially, spiritually, emotionally/psychologically), the easier the transition will be into each other’s life. Conversely, the more troubled and/or less prepared a person is in those ways, the more difficult merging and keeping your lives together will be. Consider all of these factors and always remember that the ultimate decision, given all of these factors in this article, will be up to you. You have your agency, so please use it! Make the right choice and follow through. And remember that "…neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord" (1 Corinthians 11:11).
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|2018-03-05||Randy Gilchrist||Dating, Marriage preparation|
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).