What We Can Learn From How Our Grandparents Dated

Prophets and apostles for eons have been encouraging us to “turn our hearts to our fathers” and learn about our ancestors. There are so many lessons that can be learned from the stories they tell, so we asked some of our community to interview their grandparents and other family members to see what we can learn from them about dating.

Obviously, some things were very different. I mean, they didn’t have cell phones, let alone dating apps, so they had to actually leave the house to meet new people! (Shocking, right?) The most common answer we received to the question “where did you go to meet people” was “at school”, but there were also some other fun answers as well.


Marie (75): The summer between my Junior and Senior year my friends and I would go to dances at the National Guard Armory.  Sometimes we would ‘drag’ main (pile in a car and cruise along main street) and meet guys. I don’t think I actually dated any that I met that way.

Larry (72): Usually church or school dances, sometimes the library, sometimes just hanging out at the beach.

They also couldn’t just drop a cheesy pickup line in someone’s DM’s. When they wanted to let someone know that they liked them, they had to get a little more creative.


Kathi (73): Called them on the phone, write notes, tell your friends to tell them you like them.

Linda (76): You just smiled at them.

John (70): You talked to them, you smiled at them, called them on phone, ask them on dates, told them you like them.

And simpler times meant simpler DTRs.


Kathryn (72): Sometimes a guy would give you his high school ring to wear or it was just understood.

Marie (75): When we dated for a while we just started talking about getting married. For example, we would say “when we get married we will or not do specific things.”

But some things were surprisingly similar, like what they did for dates.


Larry (72): dances, beach trips, drive into the mountains, hang out listening to the latest records (45 rpm, 33 long play), watch TV.

John (70): Go to shows, go to dances, go to games, go get drinks and burgers, just drive around and visit.

Linda (76): We went to the movies, shared a hamburger (that’s all we could afford was to share a hamburger) after a football game or after a movie and we went to the canteen to dance.

And when asked what they wish they would have known back then or what they would go back and tell themselves if they could, they were full of helpful, relatable advice.

Marie (75): I wish I would have been older when I got married. I think 19 is too young to get married and been more serious about getting an education. 

Kathryn (72): To not be too concerned about being someone’s girlfriend. Associate with lots of guys and just have fun.

Larry (72): I would tell myself to believe in me more, that I was a lot better looking than I thought, that girls really did like me a lot more than I believed, and that I was really a lot smarter than I believed.

John (70): Don’t go steady. Date more girls.

Kathi (73): Don’t settle for less. Don’t rush into anything or settle for some traits that you can’t live with. If you think they will change or you will help someone change, you are only kidding yourself.

If you’re interested in learning more about Family History, check out RootsTech by Family Search: the world’s largest family history conference – March 3-5.


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