by Dr. Randy Gilchrist, LDS Psychologist
www.LDSdimension.com (FREE LDS online dating site)
Dating in the LDS community is flush with emotion. Is he or she the right one? Are we really compatible? Should we get engaged? How can I know for sure? These are critical questions. No pressure, but consider this classic general authority quote from President Gordon B. Hickley: “The Lord has ordained that we should marry, that we shall live together in love and peace and harmony.… The time will come when you will fall in love. It will occupy all of your thoughts and be the stuff of which your dreams are made. … You will know no greater happiness than that found in your home. … The truest mark of your success in life will be the quality of your marriage. … This choice will be the most important of all the choices you make in your life” (Ensign, May 1998, 51). In other words, because future children are on the line, because eternity is on the line, and so much else connected to your life and lifestyle for the rest of your life, choose well. However, choose. If you are not picky enough, you can make a poor choice. If you are too picky, you could miss what otherwise could be an excellent eternal companion. So, how do you know that a dating partner is compatible? Maybe even marriage material?
Factors to Consider
There are many important factors to take into account when deciding whether to continue dating, to get engaged, and even possibly marrying your dating partner. Here are four of the most important points from my experience as an LDS psychologist:
*Church activity and worthiness: Ideally, both dating partners would be regulars at church every Sunday for 3 hours, hold and fulfill church callings and visiting/home teaching, read scriptures and pray every day, and hold a current temple recommend with a goal to only marry in the temple. When both partners basically have all of these spiritual strengths in common, a temple marriage and marital success are more likely. However, what if one or neither dating partner is living up to these ideals? Usually the next best option after the ideal is that both partners are in approximately the same spiritual level, with a mutual goal and desire to improve together towards the ideal. Warning: when one partner is notably stronger spiritually than the other, this imbalance often creates friction, resentment, and conflict/power struggles. Therefore, although some couples make their relationships work with this imbalance, I do not recommend it because it creates an uphill battle.
Conflict Communication Style: How are differences handled together? How are conflicts of interests dealt with? What is the game plan for when one person's wants, needs, or feelings directly conflict with the other's? The answer: these differences need to be navigated and dealt with. There are three main communication styles people employ with conflict: volatile (aggressive, loud, emotional), validating (assertive, open yet civil and respectful with good listening), or avoidant (shutting down, withdrawing). Any of the three conflict styles can exist in a relationship either successfully or unsuccessfully, depending on how they are executed. What matters is what style do you prefer, what style does the other employ, and how well does that combination work for you? Whatever a person's communication and conflict style, I at least request that everyone stay basically civil, respectful, and considerate.
Money and Other Practical Issues: How is money approached? Is he or she a saver, a spender, or a budgeter? Frugal? Engages in retail therapy? How important are material things to him or her? Whatever their level of income (or yours), the general approach to money will, over time, result in more or less money in the bank for two of you. The problems in this area tend to exist in the extremes: spending too much or being too cheap. A person who spends too much will eventually burn through any money coming in and put you into debt. A person who is overly frugal and into excessive penny pinching will come across as overly controlling with money, which could lead to conflict, friction, and resentment. Find someone in the middle that you can live with.
Children and Family Issues:
How big of a family did the other come from? Did the parents stay together or get divorced? Do they want children (or more children)? How many? When? Do they come to the relationship with children? How well do I get along with them? If I am coming to the relationship with children, how well would mine mix with theirs (if you also come to the relationship with kids)? What is their discipline method and how well does that mix with mine? Again, find a person whose child and family background is compatible with yours. Usually, the greater the similarities, the greater the chance for relational success.
Of course, there are other important areas beyond these, such as health issues, sex, career/profession, emotional/psychological issues, and so on. All of these issues are important and need to be taken into account to determine relational compatibility. Take it seriously and choose carefully. 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.
|2016-08-03||Randy Gilchrist||Dating, Healthy relationships, Spirituality|
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).