Saturday, January 24, 2015

Why I Don’t Date Outside the Church


I have great friends. Several of them are intensely interested in my dating life. They’re occasionally giving me a gentle nudge.  OK, some are outright shoving.  I know they’re doing it out of love and concern, and for that I love them deeply.  The two biggest criticisms I get are 1. I don’t put myself out there and 2. My standards are too high. While I realize I am under no obligation to justify my behavior, I wondered if there were other singles going through the same thing. Here are my reasons.

As my beautiful friend Emily once told me, “You’re not going to find someone hiding under a rock.” First of all, I’d never go under a rock.  There are worms there.  I understand her point though. While that is true it is easier to meet someone if you do things like go out in public, I’m just  not in a position to yet. During the day, I homeschool my children. In the evening, I work…yep, from home.  My computer screen and I are tight.  Yes, I realize the church has singles conferences everywhere (except here apparently), but there are reasons why I’m not dashing off to them.

I spent nineteen years serving my (ex) husband and children instead of building up my marketability and resume. I don’t regret that at all, however the end result is I’ve had to  start from scratch earning a living. That takes a lot of time. I’m in survival mode. Singles conferences are expensive and time consuming. I have children to care for and that leaves me little time for traveling.  If I did earn enough to travel, I’d take my lovely children on one of those things called family vacations.  I hear they’re awesome.

Let’s face it, even if I did go, I know me enough to know I wouldn’t get the full value. I’d spend my time terrified, wishing I had my books with me. I won’t flirt. My adorable friend Jen tried to get me to flirt with my nuclear medicine doc because he liked talking to me about what books I was reading. I couldn’t do it. I don’t know how.  While she gave some hilarious suggestions, one including a glow stick under my shirt during scans, it just isn’t me. I think she’s still mad at me for not trying.

The biggest criticism I get, however, is my standards.  A few of my friends are worried that I have impossible standards to meet. One is concerned I’ll never find someone  intelligent enough to make me happy. Several think, because there aren’t many single LDS men my age in this area, who are also righteous, I should look outside the church and convert them.

I don’t think that is wise. Here’s why. First let me say, if you are dating someone outside the church, I am not judging you. This is my personal standard.

The purpose of dating isn’t just to have fun.  I have lots of guy friends, that I don’t consider relationship eligible, that I have fun with all the time. We talk, we do silly things, we watch movies.  See…fun (within my limited time availability). Dating is different. The ultimate purpose of dating is to find an eternal partner. I would never marry someone who is not a member, so why date them? Would you really want to spend your life with someone who doesn’t love the Savior and the gospel as much as you do?

I had a lovely friend suggest I join Mensa and start conversing with some guys with similar interests as me. I was really tempted.  I crave thoughtful conversation. I might even meet someone much smarter and could challenge myself to even things up a bit. I wouldn’t mind that at all.  I’d gone as far as to look up joining on their website, but changed my mind.  Why?  What if I fell in love? I’ll say it again, I don’t want to spend the rest of my life with someone who doesn’t love the Savior and the gospel as much as I do.

I can hear the naysayers now…. “But, you could convert them.”

Possibly, but what if I can’t? Then I’m left with two devastating choices. Break my own heart by ending the relationship or break my own heart by violating my standards and conscience. Not to mention the horrible example such a compromise would be to my children. 

I’d also be afraid that someone would appear to convert just to retain the relationship, but not have a real testimony.  How long do you think he’d be able to hold out faking it once the honeymoon was over and real life set in?

No thank you.

I’m perfectly happy to be friends with non-member men. I always talk about the gospel anyway. If  they convert and I’m interested, fine. If not, we’re best just as friends.

Honestly, I don’t mind waiting.  You don’t have to worry about me pining away at home wishing I had someone.  I promise. The occasional exception being after watching a Jane Austen movie.

In reality, I’m more tired than lonely. I’d rather wait until the Lord sends someone I can respect and trust to lead our home in righteousness than compromise for the temporary pleasures the world has to offer.