Written by Liv Talley, LDS Dating Coach & Expert
In a culture so focused on marriage…has the pressure started mounting against us?
I have seen singles, over and over, getting in their heads and psyching themselves out of even spending time with anyone because they don’t know after one date if they will get married.
If you’ve done that, or it’s happened to, I’m going to seriously need you to chill out.
Stop looking at everyone as your potential spouse. They aren’t. And you can’t reasonably determine that based on a single date.
Your first date is not about deciding if you can or will marry the other person. It’s the opportunity to learn if you want to go on a second date…and then a third. Over time, you’ll even get the chance to decide if you want to get into a relationship!
AND THEN, if your relationship is fun, stable, healthy, and the one you want to commit to building forever–you determine if you’ll get married.
Investing too much, too soon is desperate. It speaks to your fears and doubts that you can’t have what you want unless you force it.
You owe yourself more than that!
Marriage is ultimately the end goal for everyone.
But when you get down to semantics, the reality is: dating = going on dates with someone until you don’t want to anymore, OR you reserve a date at the temple.
Say yes to dates with people you want to spend time with. Say no to dates you don’t want to go on.
Go on quality first dates. Learn if you get along. If you do, GREAT! Ask to go out again. And if you don’t, don’t sweat it and try not to take it personally. One date won’t break you, I promise.
Remember, you aren’t picking your eternal companion after one date. You aren’t even choosing them as someone to commit to. And if you try before you either of you know each other at all, you’re probably going to sabotage the potential.
The beginning stages of dating are about CONNECTION.
This is where you learn whether or not you are compatible, if you have fun spending time together, and if you’re both interested in investing in a relationship. It’s testing the ground to learn if it’s a good spot to even lay a foundation!
Think about it like the building of temples. The Church doesn’t just build a temple anywhere.
“After…locating an appropriate area, an exploratory team is sent out to find a specific site. The First Presidency again gives prayerful consideration before the final site is chosen and purchased. Then the designing stage begins with thorough research…”
Prayerful consideration, high-quality materials, unique and appropriate design, and a lot of research determine how and where temples are built.
The ground has to be on a hill, and it has to have a capable foundation before construction can even start.
Look for a place to build a good foundation, before you start building your temple…
These beginning stages are when it’s exciting! You feel butterflies and every accidental touch is magnetic. Every joke is hilarious. It’s just supposed to be fun!
It’s not a time to be in your head about whether or not you’ll marry them.
While some people do move quickly (and that works out for them,) usually on your first date, you don’t know the person well enough to know if you COULD marry them. And they don’t know if they can marry you.
Because you don’t know each other. So how could you decide to put the kind of trust required to marry someone, based on a first date?
In my professional opinion as an LDS dating coach, that is self-sabotage in action. Don’t ruin the present by trying to force a future that you don’t really even know you want yet!
If you grew up in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, or you’ve been dating as a YSA (or SA) long enough, marriage is inevitably always going to be in the back of your mind.
But that has almost become a filter through which you see EVERYONE, and it’s hurting you.
It’s ruining connections that may take more work or time. It’s stopping members from creating connections with non-members.
AND it’s why the most common thing singles say about Happy Valley is: the dating environment is just competitive and overall unhealthy.
While there’s nothing wrong with *some* competition, the depth at which it runs in places like Provo prevents friendships and leads to so much insecurity for both the men and women living there.
Getting married is important. Love will propel you through life in ways you have never imagined.
Our faith is centered on eternal marriage and families. So it’s no wonder we’re all so concerned about it. And it’s common that the longer you’re in the single’s ward–the faster you want to get the h*ck out of there.
However, when marriage becomes your only focus, it inhibits you.
It’s already so easy to start imagining reasons and intentions for someone else’s behavior. That’s what the majority of singles tend to do in dating. (My clients don’t do that, though. They know better;). )
How often have your actions been misinterpreted?
Understanding the reasons behind the behavior is important IN TIME, but before you even know someone, you have to reflect on how they make you feel. When they make you FEEL cared about, safe, and trustworthy, then you have the foundation to ask the deeper questions of patterns/pasts/goals for the future.
It’s so easy to rush into ideas and fantasies when we meet new people, but that’s getting too far ahead of yourself.
Trust and relationships are built over time–and before you start freaking yourself out about whether or not a first or second date will determine if you’ll marry that person…just take a step back.
- How have YOU shown that person that they can trust you?
- Have you built consistency you both can depend on?
- Do you KNOW how to handle conflict effectively together?
- Are you both openly and vulnerably communicating?
Relationships and marriage take time, effort, and patience.
In the same way that you don’t get offered the position of CEO on your first day as an entry-level employee, you don’t GET a spouse just because you go on one date with them.
You have to put in the proper (internal) work and investment. You WILL get rejected. Failure is part of the journey–in fact, it’s imperative to your success.
Embrace the start for what it is: potential.
It’s your first day at Vasa, learning which machines you like.
It’s your internship opportunity.
This is the possibility of falling flat on your face.
And guess what? Everyone is just as scared as you!
The next time you get in your head about a first date, remember that the saints laid the foundation for the Salt Lake City Temple in 1853, only to be removed and replaced nearly 10 years later because it was inadequate.
You can’t build a structure that “will endure through the Millennium” (Brigham Young) without a solid and sure foundation.
Look for the right place to lay your cornerstones, move forward in faith, and the construction will follow.
Good luck dating!
Liv Talley Dating Coach