Q&A: How Can I Trust My Choices?

Q&A: How Can I Trust My Choices? Question:

Hi Randy: How do you get over the discouragement and mistrust of your own judgment? I did everything I was ever supposed to do and still ended up married to a very not good person. I've never had a drink, a cigarette, done drugs, always been active in church, did my callings, served a mission, stayed chaste, I knew my husband for over a year before we got married, and we were married in the temple. I even did therapy to deal with past trauma before marriage. I did everything I was ever asked and it still ended up badly. I am not angry at God but I am very discouraged in trying to move forward. How do you trust yourself to choose a good person when it seems like you did everything right the first time and still ended in flames? Thank you.


Thank you for your question. One of the biggest challenges of marrying is choosing a good quality person, especially if we have tried and failed to do so in the past. But how can you know you made a good pick? Especially since many people can be on their best behavior during the dating period? The answer is not easy, but there are some things you can do to give you a better chance for success. Here are some suggestions:

*Observe how they handle stress, frustration, and not getting their way. Observe how they handle disagreements, differences of opinion, and different belief systems. Time pressure moments are also revealing, as well as how they handle anger and fear. See them during all of these times of challenge to learn how they handle those moments. Under duress, the other’s guard tends to lower and their true reactions and coping mechanisms become revealed. Especially with some time and across different situations. Don’t be afraid to have some challenging conversations and to introduce some challenging situations to help reveal what they are truly about. Driving in heavy traffic, going camping, and being around their parents can be revealing moments. Take note. Believe what you see them do more than what they say.

*Spiritually, see what they do on their own. What do they recommend and initiate? What a person chooses to do on their own spiritually without any prodding or guidance reveals their level of spirituality. What are their true habits with scriptures, prayers, church attendance, and fulfilling callings? Do they just “virtue signal” around others but do little on their own spiritually? Or do they willfully engage in spiritual activities as a part of their regular personal habits? Also, observe their religious attitude. Do they have a good attitude about church and our religion? Or do they complain, criticize, and whine? How do they react when you suggest doing spiritual activities together, such as scriptures, prayer, firesides, visiting the temple, etc.? Again, believe what you see them do more than what they say.

*The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. Yes, people can change. However, unless the person you are with has made some notable efforts to change and improve, such as through therapy, meeting with the bishop, utilizing self-help materials, and so on, you can probably assume how they have acted in the past will largely predict how they will behave in the future. Therefore, it can be useful and helpful to learn as much as you can about the other person’s past, as well as what if any efforts they have made to change and overcome any problems. You can ask them about their past—good and bad. You can also pay attention to what they reveal on their own, as well as taking note of things mentioned from their family and friends about their past.

*Get some spiritual direction and instruction. Read relevant conference talks, read related scriptures, pray for direction, guidance, and instruction, and seek the Spirit. Remember than since this is the plan of agency, you ultimately decide whether you will commit to someone or not, and that there are no “wrong people”. We are all worthwhile children of God who fulfilled our first estate. Therefore, the choice is ultimately yours. Nevertheless, the Spirit can still help guide and direct your choices. For more ideas and information to get effective spiritual guidance with your decisions—relational and otherwise—I recommend reading the classic book Drawing on the Powers of Heaven by Grant Von Harrison.

*Learn all about healthy versus unhealthy relationships and marriage to strengthen your understanding of what to look for. Educate yourself. This will help you to better identify and choose well as a more educated person, based upon the signs showing healthy versus unhealthy promise. A good resource to learn about healthy versus unhealthy relationships is Why Marriages Succeed or Fail by John Gottman. You can also look up some good relationship articles through www.psychologytoday.com.

Final Thoughts:

Picking well is the most important aspect of a healthy relationship, followed closely by the positive efforts you make from there to nurture and support the relationship. For more information on picking well, this article will give some additional ideas as well: https://www.ldsdimension.com/articles/picking-well-227. Finally, remember that “…neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.”—1 Corinthians 11:11.

Dr. G
P.S. If you can questions, comments, or a future article request for me, feel free to contact me at drgilchrist@yahoo.com.

2021-02-01 Randy Gilchrist Dating, Marriage preparation

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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 drgilchrist@yahoo.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 drgilchrist@yahoo.com).