There is a lot of pressure regarding who we pick to marry as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Not only do we have a very marriage and family centered church, but temple marriages are, ideally, supposed to last forever when we are sealed together. In fact, a famous quote by Elder Bruce R. McConkie states the following: “The most important single thing that any Latter-day Saint ever does in this world is to marry the right person, in the right place, by the right authority. It is the gate to eternal peace and love here and eternal peace and love in the mansions on high.” So, no pressure!
With so much on the line—both in this life and for the life to come—why do we sometimes pick poorly? Why do we sometimes choose a spouse that is unhealthy, lazy, disrespectful, and treats us poorly--even abusively? Especially when we understand the immense importance of this decision? This brief article will explore this subject, along with offering some ideas and suggestions to improve our picking abilities.
Why We Pick Who We Pick:
As a general rule of thumb—and I agree there are exceptions to this—we tend to be similar in personality, temperament, and habits like one of our parents and then choose a spouse with similarities to the other parent. Or, said another way, we often pick someone like whomever the parent you are similar to tends to be attracted to and choose to date and marry. This “type” of person your parent is attracted to and chooses may be numerous similar kinds of people the parent has dated or married if they have had many relationships. Why do we do this—role model after choices from a parent we are similar to? Because such relationship choices are what we are comfortable with. What seems familiar. What we are used to. What we relate to and makes sense to us. What we have experience dealing with and have cultivated coping mechanisms for.
Conversely, even when another person we could date or marry is very healthy and treats us well, this may seem rather weird, foreign, and uncomfortable. We may not be used to such a good, nice person treating us like that. Therefore, in response, we may friendzone them, feel bored by them, “not feel a spark”, and push them away. We may even tell ourselves, “he/she is a nice/good person, but they just seem like a friend”. Or “I know I should date a person like that, I’m just not interested I them for some reason”. Even though the good, healthy person may treat us well, this is often foreign. Therefore, our natural default reaction is to push such people away and seek instead for more natural, complimentary matches to what we are used to.
Suggestions for Picking Better:
*Develop an acquired taste for a better quality person: Just because a healthier person who treats you well (i.e.: a “giving”, “considerate” person) may seem foreign and weird, you can adopt and cultivate an acquired taste for them. Remember that choosing a healthy person is much better and superior to simply choosing a comfortable and familiar but less healthy person in the long run. Simply put, your prospects for a happy, healthy life are far better with a person who treats you well versus someone who does not. Therefore, if you are at least physically attracted to another person and you know the other to be a good quality/character person, give them a chance. Spend some time with them. Get to know them. Have some different experiences together. See them at their best and their worst. Find activities that you like to do together and start building common interests together. Bond. Have conversations. See how well you can physically, verbally, emotionally, and behaviorally connect. And remember, a “healthy match” is superior to a “natural match”.
*Reject troubled individuals: Conversely, when you meet others who are comfortable, familiar, natural matches with you relationally that don’t treat you well, please do not date such individuals. As soon as you discover that they do not behave kindly and respectfully, please move on. Such individuals will eventually hurt you. These relationships tend to last as long as you hold them together, based of how much mistreatment you are willing to endure and absorb over time. Just because you may be attracted to someone does not in and of itself mean that they would be good for you. Imagine and project what such people would be like in 1, 5, 10, and 20 years from now. What is their dark side and how bad is it? When it is bad enough to constitute a notable unhappy, unhealthy relationship dynamic, please end your relationship prospects with them. Attraction alone does not equate to happy or healthy. Consider their character, their personality, and how they act towards you and others more than anything else.
In short, pick well. Pick someone who treats you with a good amount of decency, civility, consideration, and respect. Someone who is kind, giving, and affectionate. Someone who collaborates with you and makes joint decisions. Someone you can have good, easy conversations with. Someone who wants the best for you and looks out for your best interests. Someone with decent emotional stability and self-control. Then after you pick such a person, nurture that relationship as well as you can from there. Treat them like gold and make the best of the relationship. Hold onto such individuals tightly. And as you do, you give yourself the best chance and opportunity for a happy healthy relationship and marriage in this life and the life to come. Because “…neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.”—1 Corinthians 11:11.
P.S. If you can questions, comments, or a future article request for me, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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).