LDS Singles

Thriving and Growing as an LDS Single


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It’s Just a Date!!

The singles rep in a ward near where I used to live in California had a motto that I really liked,

“It’s Just a Date!”

His philosophy was that too many singles were, in their heads, making a date akin to marriage or at least some kind of commitment in their heads and were thus either 1.giving up on dating out of the fear of commitment, or 2. making a date out to be more than it was (getting to know someone) and thus expecting too much or scaring the other person away or getting deeply disappointed and giving up.

David Johansen, therapist and teacher of “How to Avoid Falling For a Jerk or Jerkette” in Utah County, based off of this book by John Van Epp, taught us this reassuring lesson:

What is a first date for? To see if you want a second date. What is a second date for? To see if you want a third date. ….What is a 12th date for? To see if you want a 13th date. etc.

Dating will without a doubt have its share of heartaches, but it’s supposed to be fun.

Paired off: dates don't have to be expensive.

Paired off: dates don’t have to be expensive.

I’m divorced (one of those people) and I thought it was perhaps telling that one of my friends while I was married was saying how much fun she’d had while dating. Now, she’s still very happily married and has been for over a decade now and in no way meant that she wanted anyone other than her husband….but she had fun dating, and I think she was a good example for me. I had dated a fair amount, too, while I was in college, and while I did have fun, sometimes I saw it as drudgery that had to be done before I found “the one” and “got it done.”  I think I’ve enjoyed more this time around. just getting to know people, and perhaps I’ve worried less about the outcome; especially while on first dates.

Can you imagine if, at the end of every first or second date, you had to make a decision right then as to whether or not you were going to marry that person? So, why do we do that to ourselves in our heads? If you find yourself doing it again, repeat after me:

The purpose of the first date is to see if you want a second date. The purpose of the second date is to see if you want a third date. (rinse, reuse, and repeat as often as necessary)

Chas Hathaway, author of Marriage is Ordained of God, But Who Came Up With Dating, said of his own dating years:

Marriage Dating bookI also realized that the only way to learn to play the dating game is to date, so I decided that I would go on dates more regularly. I didn’t tell myself I had to find a girlfriend right away. I just had to date. I was practicing and trying to master the dating game. I thought dating so often would be difficult and terribly stressful, but it turned out to be only challenging the first couple of times. After that, I started feeling more comfortable. Dating was fun, and it actually felt like I was making some kind of progress toward marriage.

Hathaway, Chas (2011-07-11). Marriage is Ordained of God But WHO Came Up with Dating? (p. 66). Cedar Fort, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

I think that advice pertains to singles at any age. We can get rusty/picky/lose our focus and need to start up again with a new attitude.

For those of us who are “older,” that advice can seem stale. For a lot of people, they don’t live near any viable dating prospects. For some, it seems like a good time to take a break from dating for a while. No matter what the situation, this advice can always apply in one important way: getting to know new people, even outside the dating arena, keeps our social skills polished and helps us not feel as alone in the world. At times loneliness is still going to kick us in the behind and make us feel like life isn’t that great, but we can’t give up. People are still worth getting to know and getting to know better. Whether we’re an introvert, an extrovert, or an intravert, we all need human company at least part of the time. I know singles who give up on spending time with the opposite sex or making friends of the same sex out of frustration or desperation, but don’t let yourself succumb to that. Don’t give up. man-963182_640

Hathaway also says:

That period of my dating experience was incredibly enlightening. A seminary teacher once told me, “Go out with a hundred girls before you decide on a companion.” While I would not put a number on how many people to date, I would recommend to guys that they ask out several girls before choosing one. Not only will this provide social practice, but it will expose you to young women’s many qualities that will help you narrow down what you do and don’t want in a wife. For girls, if they get a lot of opportunity to date, they might want to do the same. This is often difficult for girls, however, since they are not generally the askers, and guys should not expect them to be.

Hathaway, Chas (2011-07-11). Marriage is Ordained of God But WHO Came Up with Dating? (p. 66). Cedar Fort, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

I’ll echo what I just said: if you’re 35, 45, or 65 (or more) the same still applies. We need the company of others. If you have the means to date, just do it. If your prospects seem dim, just get to know people. Pray about it and don’t give up. Some of us will never get married, but we can still thrive with our friendships and family relationships. Pray to have what you need in your own life, even if it’s “just” comfort. clasped-hands-541849_640

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50 Shades of Destructive Entertainment

Last April I wrote a book review of Pulling Back the Shades, an excellent book by Christian author and speaker Dannah Gresh and Dr. Juli Slattery, a clinical psychologist and sex therapist. After the popularity of the book and subsequent series 50 Shades of Grey, they felt compelled to warn the Christian community (and everyone else) about the dangers of reading graphic romance/sex novels, and the dangers in particular of 50 Shades of Grey. Now that the movie is out, I am hoping that I can (even in a small way) dissuade some of you from going to see the movie, and if you already have, to help point out the dangers of believing that this movie is a good influence for any of us.

mr darcy

I won’t go into any particulars, because so many writers and bloggers have already done such a good job. So, I’ll post my brief opinion, then a few things that our church leaders have said that I believe apply particularly to this movie and book. First, what is hopefully obvious: women’s hormones are well-driven by erotic novels. But even though some are saying that women will be more affected by the book than the movie, we already know that the movie involves on screen nudity and sex scenes. Hopefully most of you have heard by now that the male character stalks the female character and is extremely controlling. Readers and viewers may feel like this is “okay” because the male character is wealthy and handsome, and comes to some kind of “redemption” by the end of the series. This is not how controlling relationships usually end. It manipulates the feelings that we often have as women to want to “save” the bad boy, when we need to be running the other way.

I’ve read accounts online of LDS women who have read the book to see what the hype was about. If you haven’t done so, please don’t. There are many reviews online from psychologists, feminists, and other bloggers who will tell you what is in the book and what is in the movie, and give you specifics, so you can understand the fuss/controversy without having to deal with the book. I won’t judge those who have already read the book, but receiving pornography in any form will dull your spiritual senses.

Morality in Media Criticizes R-rating for Fifty Shades of Grey

Psychologists Find a Disturbing Thing Happens to Women Who Read ‘50 Shades of Grey’

WHAT DO PSYCHOLOGISTS THINK OF ‘50 SHADES OF GREY?’

Even the co-stars of the movie think 50 Shades of Grey is awful (and maybe even a bit like Hitler)

From Elder Oaks, in a Priesthood Session, but we women obviously need it too:

Last summer Sister Oaks and I returned from two years in the Philippines. We loved our service there, and we loved returning home. When we have been away, we see our surroundings in a new light, with increased appreciation and sometimes with new concerns.

We were concerned to see the inroads pornography had made in the United States while we were away. For many years our Church leaders have warned against the dangers of images and words intended to arouse sexual desires. Now the corrupting influence of pornography, produced and disseminated for commercial gain, is sweeping over our society like an avalanche of evil.

Patrons of pornography also lose the companionship of the Spirit. Pornography produces fantasies that destroy spirituality….Some seek to justify their indulgence by arguing that they are only viewing “soft,” not “hard,” porn. A wise bishop called this refusing to see evil as evil. He quoted men seeking to justify their viewing choices by comparisons such as “not as bad as” or “only one bad scene.” But the test of what is evil is not its degree but its effect. When persons entertain evil thoughts long enough for the Spirit to withdraw, they lose their spiritual protection and they are subject to the power and direction of the evil one.

…Consider the tragic example of King David. Though a spiritual giant in Israel, he allowed himself to look upon something he should not have viewed (see 2 Sam. 11). Tempted by what he saw, he violated two of the Ten Commandments, beginning with “Thou shalt not commit adultery” (Ex. 20:14). In this way a prophet-king fell from his exaltation (see D&C 132:39).

But the good news is that no one needs to follow the evil, downward descent to torment. Everyone caught on that terrible escalator has the key to reverse his course. He can escape. Through repentance he can be clean.

President Hinckley: do all that you can to avoid pornography. If you ever find yourself in its presence—which can happen to anyone in the world in which we live—follow the example of Joseph of Egypt. When temptation caught him in her grip, he left temptation and “got him out” (Gen. 39:12).

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Book Review: “Pulling Back the Shades”

pulling back the shadesSince the release of the book 50 Shades of Grey, the popularity of what is called “erotica” or “graphic romance” novels has skyrocketed.  It is often claimed that while women may not be at first drawn to pornography like men are, romance novels can be what draw them in. What authors Dannah Gresh and Dr. Juli Slattery show us in this book is that we don’t have to be completely drawn into the world of pornography for the world of graphic romance novels to cause us problems spiritually and for them to damage our happiness and sense of gratitude for what we have.

Moody Publishing has offered to give one reader a copy of the book Pulling Back the Shades, which boldly gives us a perspective of the possible dangers of reading books like 50 Shades of Grey and why they can be as dangerous for women as pornography.

This book is written from a Christian perspective, and while the authors aren’t LDS, I don’t think it takes away from the message for those of us who are, as with any book or anything that is “of good report or praiseworthy.” The Bible verses they quote aren’t from the King James version, so it takes some getting used to, but it’s a fun opportunity to look them up in the KJV and thus help lock the verses in your own memory.

It’s a quick and engaging read.  Gresh and Dr. Slattery use many real life examples from women they know and have met.  I think my favorite example was a woman who read so many Christian romance novels that she held real men to an impossible standard.  I have no issue whatsoever with Christian/LDS romance novels, in fact I’ve read some myself and (gasp) enjoyed them, but I think the principle follows that the best ones invite us to an escapism that isn’t so far out of reality that we no longer appreciate reality, or that we expect our own lives to follow an unreal standard after reading even the best-written ones.

Dannah Gresh is a Christian author and public speaker and the founder of Pure Freedom, an organization that teaches young girls about chastity. You can read more about her here, or at the Pure Freedom website.

Dr. Juli Slattery is a clinical psychologist, sex-therapist and coauthor of Passion Pursuit, written with Linda Dillow, her cofounder of Authentic Intimacy,  “a non-profit organization designed to minister to women on all topics related to intimacy in marriage and intimacy with God.” (website)

 **Drawing over

Congratulations Krystine on winning the drawing!

I’ll be contacting you with more information.

 


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The Price of a First Kiss, and a Short Poll

big bang kissFirst of all, people can be so judgmental.

How often have you noticed people making comments on a news story or article when it’s obvious they haven’t even read the article first? Or even the first few lines of it? That seems to be the case with this article as well.  Big surprise.

This article comes from Doug Robinson in the Deseret News and is talked about in this opinion piece in LDS Living as well.

A mother jokingly offered her kids $10,000 to make it to their 18th birthday without kissing anyone. She was surprised when they expressed interest in the idea, and so far two of her kids have both earned the $10,000.

We won’t go into whether or not I was in the “VL” (or “Virgin Lips”) club when I turned 18, although I will say that I wish my parents had done this so that I could have cashed in.  However, they helped pay for both college and my mission, and they’re helping me out a great deal with my health issues in my adulthood, so I have no reason to wish further. My own two kids are in this age range, as one is 12 and the other 16.  My 16 year old has a girlfriend who I think is a sweetheart.

I reviewed a great book called How to Avoid Falling in Love with a Jerk Avoid Jerk that talks about the benefits, even for adults, of waiting to kiss someone until several months into a relationship, which has garnered somewhat strong opinions from a few friends of mine when we’ve discuss the idea.

What do you think? How long do you wait until you kiss someone that you’re dating? Do you think this mother, quite by accident, stumbled on a good idea? It seems as though, at least, her two oldest kids think so. I’d love to hear your opinions, whether for or against.

And a couple questions for you:

 


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Recommended Book

I highly recommend this blog to single parents, especially if you’ve recently become single/divorced. However, it also has good tips for those of us who have been divorced for a while. He’s a Christian minister who regularly posts short and concise but helpful tips. This one is a book recommendation. I haven’t read it, but I remember that during the early years of my separation and divorce, learning to handle well what the author calls “The Switching Hour” being crucial for the well being of my kids during what was a very difficult time for them. It’s still a skill that I need to pay attention to, even though my divorce was almost nine years ago. (yikes)

JAMES CRUISE Ministries Blog

“The Switching Hour” by Evon O. Flesberg

The Switching Hour is the time both hoped for and dreaded, when children go from one world to another as they shuttle between divorced parents.

Some 20 million children in the U.S. are shuttled between divorced parents. At each change, at each “switch” of location, children confront burdens and fears visible only to themselves. In this practical book, Dr. Flesberg reveals those burdens and fears to the parents, grandparents, teachers, and counselors who wish to help. Volney P. Gay Ph.D., VanderbiltUniversity

This book is endorsed by Linda Ranson Jacobs, Executive Director of DivorceCare for Kids

The switching hour

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Book Review: “How to Avoid Falling in Love with a Jerk”

Avoid Jerk

How to Avoid Falling in Love With a Jerk revolves around the premise of how often people fall for someone only to find later that they have been holding back their “true self” as a “jerk” until we are already hooked emotionally, and then we wonder how we could have possibly missed it earlier, or where we went wrong.  He then goes on to elaborate on what it  means to be a “jerk.” A jerk can be either the other person, or it can be us. A jerk is someone who, when presented with a flaw or inherent selfishness, refuses to change either for the benefit of the couple or even oneself.  Someone who is a jerk to the extreme may be able to hide their selfishness even until marriage.

So what can one do about it?  (Hint: read the book.)

(Note:  “Jerk” can refer to either a male or a female.)

I happened upon this book last fall while playing around on Amazon.com.  I was intrigued, even though I tend to be picky about what books I buy. I now have two hard copies, one for me and one for my teenage son, as well as the Kindle version!)

While I was still just partway through the book, a friend at church started talking about a local class she had taken that is based on this book. These classes are offered all over the U.S.  Even better, where I live, the classes are offered free, because they’re sponsored by corporations who have an interest in lower divorce rates.  (If you’d like to search for a class near you, try the Love Thinks website.  The military in particular likes to sponsor classes based on this book.  If you’d like information on the classes given for free in Utah, check this site, and I will also be doing a post on my experience taking it from two different teachers locally.)  But whether or not you can find a class local to you, I highly recommend buying the book.  I can’t recommend it enough.

Dr. Epp’s book is based on plenty of well-researched studies, all of which are well cited.  His “RAM” board (Relationship Attachment Model) has already been helpful to me in analyzing my own past/present relationship mistakes, and in considering the experiences of friends, both positive and negative.  About 10-15 of my fellow single’s ward members have taken the class now, some of us twice, and all have given it rave reviews.

You can get the book on Dr. Van Epp’s site by clicking on the picture of the book above, or on Amazon or other major book sellers.

If you have read the book or attended the class and have any comments, for good or for ill, please comment below! Thanks.