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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“Take a man out….” We did it!

Remember this?

Remember this?

Thanks to James Kiing of the Facebook group Married in 2015 who came up with this idea, and Matt Campbell of several LDS single’s Facebook groups who passed the idea along, this motivated several friends and I to “Just Do it!” We picked a date and my friend Christine picked out a simple but fun activity: picking pumpkins at a pumpkin patch, carving them, and playing games at her place. The original idea came from another apartment of awesome women in our ward, but James’ meme, and the amount of traffic it generated here, was the last push we needed, and we had a great time.

I keep preaching that “It’s Just a Date,” because really, that’s all it is. (More on that later.) It’s so easy for me to use my health as an excuse to not date, but really, if the point is just to get to know someone better, than “It’s Just a Date” cancels out that excuse.

It’s here where I have to give kudos to you men who do this on a regular basis. I had decided that I needed to ask someone that I already knew pretty well. I was still terrified, in fact, more terrified than usual. My roommate was cool as a cucumber and just called and asked someone she’d met recently, and didn’t seem flustered at all. Another friend did the same thing, but then he had to back out at the last minute. Part of dating life. Last but not least, Christine decided to let another friend and I set her up.

Everyone proclaimed they had “a lot of fun,” and seemed to mean it. We all got to know each other better.

Verdict? Our women friends who couldn’t make it last time all want to do it again this next month. I must admit that I was hoping for a break (yes, men, I’m a wimp). Not from the date, but, you know, having to figure it all out again. 😉 We already have our activities planned. So, single men and women, you really can “just do it.”

 It’s just a date. 

Results of our work of that night, and refreshments:
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Christine’s caramel apple slices

It's just a date. (A fun, low key date).

It’s just a date. (A fun, low key date).


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Elder Christofferson to Singles: Care for Each Other

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In case you missed it, from the Church News:

Urging a group of more than 1,200 young single adults to care more about each other and make a “magnificent difference,” Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke at a devotional held in the Tempe Institute of Religion at Arizona State University on September 20.

“Please look out for each other,” he said. “In your wards, in your associations, your circle of acquaintances and friendships, care about each other, look after one another, and when someone seems weak or discouraged, put your arm around them. And when you are in that position, others can do the same. All of us need that at one time or another.”

He counseled them to do more by serving.

“But don’t just let it go; don’t just focus on yourself and say ‘I’m OK, I’m sorry for her’ or ‘I’m sorry for him,’” he counseled. “Do more than that, even though it may seem like a small thing. … You can truly minister to one another and make a magnificent difference. The power, as the scriptures says, is within you.”

Read more at the Church News website here.


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Elder Ballard on Texting

photo by Kamyar Adl

photo by Kamyar Adl

Want to ask someone out? Picking up your phone to text them to do it? Pluck up your courage and just call them instead. Elder M. Russell Ballard spoke to institute students at Weber State a few days ago, and among the things he said was advice on this subject.

The Apostle recalled that when he was a young college student and courting his future wife, Barbara, he always asked for dates either face-to-face or over the telephone. Texting an invitation for a date was not an option then—and it remains a poor option today, he said.

“Pick up the telephone and be a real live person on the other end.”

He also said to:

“…look out for people who are alone and need a friend,” he counseled.

“There shouldn’t be anyone on this campus that is lonely,” he said.

Ditto that in singles wards and family wards and at work and with our families.

For a lot more from his excellent talk, check out this excerpt from the Church News. 

I have to admit that on the few times in my adult life that I’ve asked men out, I’ve taken the “easy way out” and sent them e-mails. Have any thoughts? Post them below.

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Parenting Teens: advice from 11 o’clock Mom and Elaine S. Dalton

315023_2524310076394_1512639107_2680208_1084520890_nAs a single parent (albeit one with lots of help) it’s not hard to have an almost instant connection with other single parents.  I also treasure my friendships with married friends with children with whom I can commiserate with and get advice from. It’s not that I don’t appreciate single friends without children/friends without children, I just need the bonding time with other parents as well.  It seems that for me, lately, much of my time is spent with singles who don’t have kids, and I often find myself trying not to talk about my kids *all the time* and annoying them.  Even though they don’t seem annoyed.

My first “blog advice link” today come from a friend that was in the same ward as me in my last ward in California, Becky Davidson.  She and her husband and kids are pretty awesome.  Becky is a “stay at home mom” with all the understatement that phrase gives.  She has four kids, three of them teens and one of those on a mission, and is a once and sometime literature professor with a very fun to read blog.  Her husband Aaron is a successful entrepreneur.  They are quite the hard-working, fun, creative family.  They are currently spending a year in Spain (minus the missionary, who is serving in Arizona) “just for fun.”

In this installment, she lauds the amount of quality blogs dedicated to parenting small children, but laments, in comparison, the lack of such for parents of teens.  She then asks the question,

How Do You Know If Your Teenager’s Friend Is A Good Fit?

What do you think?  Answer here, or I’m sure she’d love a comment on her blog.  And what has been your favorite advice on parenting teens?

Her question must have been timely, because I received my new April 2013 Ensign in the mail today, and it contained this article, and a link to another on the same subject in the New Era:

~The Importance of Good Friends

~What Is a True Friend?