Ask A Friend: How Can A Convert Adapt To Mormon Dating?

Dear Paul,  

I am struggling and I need some advice or encouragement or wisdom, I recently got back in the dating scene. I’ve been single forever and my last serious relationship was before I got baptized in 2010. I don’t have very much experience with Mormon dating and I struggle to keep my thoughts clean. I don’t want to fall back into past behaviors and I feel like I’m having a hard time staying true to myself.

Dating guys, and being attracted to guys, reminds me of the past in relationships where I was used for sex and not valued. I’m having a hard time believing someone could fall in love with me as an EC [eternal companion]. Do those relationships progress just like non-member relationships? I just want to be myself but I’ve never had a serious romantic relationship as a member of the church…

Dear writer,

Thank you so much for your question. Your concerns and reservations are felt by many, both in and outside of the church. We all have desires for intimacy but also want to make sure that we are striving for relationships of meaning and value. As Latter-day Saints, we definitely choose to follow a strict standard of chastity, which the Lord has commanded. However, just because you are new to the church, your struggles are no different than those of lifelong church members. All of us strive to exercise faith and diligence in obeying the commandments and all of us are just as prone to the natural man as any other.

Regarding the progression of LDS relationships compared to non-member relationships, it is difficult to say because relationships are so drastically varied. The rate at which two individuals meet, court, and enter into different levels of commitment changes from couple to couple. However, there are guidelines that will make the process of Mormon dating easier, so I would encourage you to do the following:

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  1. Take an inventory of your expectations before entering certain levels of affection and commitment. In other words, set your own standards, because no one else will set them for you. If you want a guy to call you and ask you out on an official date, instead of texting you to “hang out,” then don’t date guys who do not meet that standard. If a guy texts you to hang out, communicate that you are looking for a man who appreciates traditional dating, not just hanging out.


    Dating is challenging for men as well as women, and a lot of guys have been burned, rejected, ignored, stood up and disrespected as well. Consequently, they often have no idea how to approach a woman in any particular situation. However if you make your standards clear, a guy who is really interested will respect your standards. If he’s really interested, he will call and ask you out on a date! Setting a pattern of clearly stating expectations and communicating them will provide a strong foundation for any relationship, whether brand new or seasoned. 

  1. Next, set standards for the levels of affection you are comfortable. No man has any right to your affections no matter how much money he spent on a date, no matter how much time he has spent with you, or how many dates he has taken you on. Your affection is priceless and is only to be expressed when you are good and ready, not when the man expects it or seeks for it. 
  1. The first few dates should be spent having a good time, enjoying a wholesome activity, establishing emotional and spiritual connections, and building physical chemistry and anticipation through dancing, hiking, baking cookies, rock climbing, laser tag, bowling, finger painting, and other involved, yet light-heart activities.  
  1. Regarding personal displays of affection, hugs are sufficient for the first few dates. If a man seems a little aggressive or anxious to progress to kissing and cuddling, especially while lying down, or seems to always suggest activities at night, or one on one at his house or yours, I would be cautious about his true intentions. If a man does seem to be pushing for dates that may not be wholesome in their intent, I would again recommend clearly communicating your expectations and standards. For example, saying something like, “I appreciate the invitation to come over to your house tonight, but I like to have several opportunities to spend time with a man in a more public setting before spending time one on one at their property. Let me know if you have another activity in mind that would be fun.”After three or four dates it may be appropriate, if you feel comfortable, to hold hands, and perhaps even a peck or two. These are my own recommendations for time frames that are appropriate to express affection, but of course, you may adapt them to your comfort level. I would strongly caution against any kissing in overtly intimate settings, such as lying down on a couch watching a movie, swimming alone, in the car etc. And I would definitely caution against any excessive kissing, making out, tongue kissing, necking, etc. Think of it like this: Is the kiss romantic, sweet, fun and building your connection to each other emotionally, physically and spiritually, or is it more passionate, intense and sexual in nature? The latter is best experienced a lot further down the road, and if avoided early on, would help prevent the relationship from leading to regretful behaviors that would result in guilt and shame.
  1. Regarding frequency of dates, starting out, I would recommend no more than one date a week, if not every other week. We seem to be so anxious to get into a relationship that as soon as we meet someone we like, we want to spend every waking moment with them. Although there are plenty of success stories of such romantic whimsy, I would say jumping head first into a relationship will make physical intimacy progress rather quickly, making it difficult to keep standards and commandments. If this type of intimacy occurs too quickly, when you are uncertain if you want to be exclusive with this individual, it can create confusion, shame and even guilt if the affection progresses to a point that has compromised chastity.Dating is a process, and if you respect the process and allow the relationship to grow and progress steadily, you will find yourself on far more solid ground then by going full steam out of the gate. After three or four dates, it may be appropriate to begin seeing each other once or twice a week and involving each other in activities such as family dinners, work parties or social events. This is one step away from exclusivity and as the relationship progresses, becoming exclusive would be the final step in courtship before engagement and marriage.
  1. One final word of caution, and this may seem extreme, but I would avoid any excessive making out until you are at least engaged, if not already married. Also avoid being alone in compromising situations such as a bedroom, a dark living room, etc. Remember that as much as the Lord wants us to be happy and find fulfilling eternal relationships, the adversary wants us to slip up by making bad decisions and compromising our eternal destiny.Our society seems to place sexual interaction as the most crucial and fundamental focal point of all relationships. Although it is definitely an important component, there are other aspects that are far more crucial and necessary in an eternal relationship, such as compatibility, spiritual sensitivity, a desire to live the gospel, open and respectful communication, sacrifice, patience, forgiveness, etc.  A relationship based on these attributes will have a greater capacity to last into eternity than a relationship based on making out for a couple hours after knowing each other for a week.

I appreciate your openness and your concerns. Have faith that God will bless you if you are obedient and set up boundaries to help protect your virtue, the law of chastity and the sanctity of the priesthood that the men you will be dating hold. When a man recognizes your standards and you carry yourself with respect and dignity, he WILL respect your standards and will never do anything to compromise his chances with you. If he is truly interested in you as a person and as a prospective eternal companion, if he makes a mistake, he will recognize his error and will seek your forgiveness.

You made such a courageous decision to be baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ, great blessings await you as you continue to be faithful. You need not fear Mormon dating, God is aware of your concerns and He will bless you and guide you as you seek to find a man worthy of enjoying the blessings of eternity by your side.

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Paul Green

Paul Green

Paul Green, is a real estate broker and professional improvisational comedian, actor and trainer. He has trained thousands of professionals and teenagers on principles of leadership, communication, team building and creative thinking and has provided heart-filled advice and encouragement to all who he has had an opportunity to interact. His greatest passion is helping individuals find creative and uplifting solutions to the many challenges of life by applying the principles and doctrines of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He looks forward to hearing and understanding the challenges of his readers and helping them to overcome these challenges.  For his full bio, click here

To submit an anonymous question to Paul:

1. Send a message to the LDS Single Friends Facebook Page or send an email to paulgreencanhelp@gmail.com

 

2. Please “like” LDS Single Friends on Facebook and invite your fellow LDS singles to join our online community! 

3. If your question is chosen, look for Paul’s response on this blog and on LDS Single Friends. To make sure that you never miss an advice column from Paul, you can subscribe to this blog through the form below. 

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Ask A Friend: I’m Aging Out Of The Single’s Ward And Feel Like A Failure


Dear Paul,

I’m aging out of the single’s ward and I feel like a failure because I’m still unmarried. I’ve made good choices throughout my life and I’ve worked hard to put myself out there in the dating scene. Despite my best efforts, nothing significant has happened to me in terms of relationships. The gospel is supposed to make us happy, but it’s hard for me to feel that way when each Sunday, I’m constantly reminded that I lack the blessing I want most in my life. How can I motivate myself to continue being active in the church when I feel like a failure?

Dear Writer,

Thank you so much for your question. I can understand the feelings and frustrations you are experiencing. Two weeks before I turned 31, the church organized five single stakes in my area and then reemphasized the church policy that singles wards are for those aged 18-31. I remember sitting in that stake conference surrounded by literally 1000’s of attractive singles, and facing the reality that in two weeks, I would no longer be a part of those single’s stakes. 

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Transferring to the family ward at 31, never having been married, was a tremendous challenge. Not only had I never been married, but in ten years of attending a single’s ward I had never even had a committed girlfriend and now I was being cut from one of the most significant sources of dating prospects, the single’s stake. My last Sunday in the single’s ward was so hard on me. I met with the Bishop in tears, not understanding why I had never even come close to finding a spouse, or even a girlfriend! I went home discouraged and sad. 

However, I received a text message that afternoon from a friend, inviting everyone to a birthday party for her roommate. Even though I didn’t know the roommate, I figured that I was no longer in a position to turn down opportunities to associate with others singles and determined I would go to the party. There, I met a very beautiful girl named Amie who recognized me from one of my comedy performances. We began chatting that week and enjoyed some fun conversation. I mentioned to her that my first Sunday in the family ward was coming up and that I was feeling a little apprehensive about moving on from the single’s ward. 

When I showed up to church, it was overwhelming for sure. I sat in the overflow by myself surrounded by happy families with their rows of children and wondered why the Lord would have allowed me to end up in this position. It was then, out of the blue, that Amie came walking in and sat next to me. That was the first time I had seen her since we met at the party and ultimately ended up being our first date. Amie also became my first girlfriend. So think of that, for ten years I had been in a single’s ward and NEVER had a girlfriend, yet on my first Sunday in the family ward, at age 31, I had my first date with my first girlfriend.

To me it was the Lord teaching me that He was still aware of me, that He knew who I was and that He had a plan for me and perhaps most importantly that He had not forgotten me. Amie and I dated for two months and had a wonderful relationship. We ultimately determined that it was not to lead to marriage and we went our separate ways, but have maintained a warm friendship since then.

I have now been in that family ward for two years, and there are a few things that have helped me stay in my ward and find peace and joy in my circumstance that I would like to share with you:

1. It is sometimes easy to view the church and the gospel as something that is supposed to serve us and give us happiness. We want blessings, opportunities, joy, a family, financial stability and often feel that it is the obligation of the church and the Lord to give us those things. When we are lacking something such as an eternal family, it is easy to become frustrated and blame the church and the Lord for not providing these blessings, especially when we have always lived the gospel, paid our tithing, served in the church, etc. And why shouldn’t we expect those blessings, didn’t the Lord say, “Whatsoever thing ye shall ask in my name it shall be given you?”      

Whenever I would feel this way, I would be reminded of the great words of Jesus Christ, “He that findeth his life shall lose it; and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it” (Matt 10:39). These words remind me that I was put on this earth to be a blessing to others and to serve others and the Lord. That also means being willing to accept whatever calling and position the Lord sees fit to give me. If that means I needed to leave the single’s ward so I could serve in my family ward as a single person, then so be it, because it’s not about me. The church is not here to serve me, I am here to serve the church, God and His children. Reminds me of the famous JFK quote, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” (Can you hear JFK’s voice in your head when you read that?? 🙂 ) Think of that same quote but with the church, “Ask not what your church, ward, and stake can do for you, but what you can do for your church, ward and stake.”    

As I changed my focus to how I can use my talents, gifts and my situation to serve my ward, not only did I feel peace and joy restored to my heart, but I was able to see more and more the wisdom of the Lord and His timing, which leads me to my next point.

2.  It is human nature to want what we want, and to want it right now! Elder Maxwell delivered a speech that had a great impact on me, which I think about often when I begin to feel impatient with my situation as an unmarried, mid-30’s man in the church.

He said, “Patience is tied very closely to faith in our Heavenly Father. Actually, when we are unduly impatient we are suggesting that we know what is best—better than does God. Or, at least, we are asserting that our timetable is better than His. Either way we are questioning the reality of God’s omniscience as if, as some seem to believe, God were on some sort of postdoctoral fellowship and were not quite in charge of everything.”

As difficult as it may be sometimes when I am feeling unhappy with my circumstances and that the blessings I have not been promised have not quite been realized, I remember to have faith that if I remain true to the gospel of Jesus Christ, that Heavenly Father will order all blessings for me when I am ready to receive them, when they would be of greatest value to me, and when they would allow me to fully become who He has envisioned for me to become. I have to remember that I am a child of God, not an “adult.” I am learning, growing, and progressing, but as a child I do not fully understand or comprehend all things that my Father does. Think of a child who at a very young age wants to play with matches, but a loving parent who knows best hides the matches. When the child is a teenager, now the parent gives the child matches and teaches how to safely build a fire. There is wisdom and order in our progression through mortality, and God is our perfect Father who knows best when to bless us with certain opportunities.

Learning to submit fully to His will and trust that He really does love me, and knows what is best for me, and wants to bless me in the way that He feels is best is always challenging, but as I have allowed myself to grow in faith of God’s power and knowledge, I have felt the reassurance that His blessings will be realized.

3. As much as I would LOVE to be married to a special woman and have the blessings of children and a family, I recognize that there are many opportunities that are available to me as a single person, which would not be available if I had the responsibilities of husband and father. I decided I would take full advantage of those opportunities. I started my own business, joined a jazz band at the community college, took a stand up comedy class, started producing comedic videos, auditioned for commercials, joined a gym, started a basketball group that plays several times a week, etc. If the Lord doesn’t want me to be married right now, then I sure ain’t going to waste my time as a single person! 

Think of any married couple you know with children and think about all of the opportunities they forfeit on a daily basis! Granted, we all would gladly make those sacrifices when we have a family, and we certainly should not procrastinate having a family for those options. But if you aren’t married, enjoy being single and explore all of your talents and gifts! Join a pottery class, learn how to draw, try yoga, join toast masters, take a road trip somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit, start a community outreach program, run a marathon, join a book club etc! The possibilities are endless!

And think about it, what could be more attractive to a possible future spouse than those who are well-rounded, out enjoying life, exploring new activities, gaining experience, and learning how they can improve themselves? Even if you’re a single parent, bring your kids along with you, explore these opportunities when your ex’ has the kids, or drop them off at grandmas one night a week! Enjoy the fact that if nothing else, you do not have to answer to a spouse and ultimately can come and go as you please!

It’s a tough time my dear friend, my heart goes out to you. I know what it’s like to spend countless evenings alone, feeling unloved, undesired and unwanted. I know what it’s like to sit in sacrament meeting completely alone and to see family after family fill the pews with their children, all smiles and giggles. I promise you the Lord loves you and is aware of you. You will feel His love and guidance as you seek to lose yourself for His sake by serving others. Trust that God is infinitely wise and learn to have patience in His timing, and finally just live it up as a single person, worthily of course!! Go enjoy all the opportunities that you can enjoy that would be nearly impossible if you had the responsibilities of a spouse and/or children.

You’re going to make it through. I bear my witness that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church of Christ, and that the 1st Presidency and Quorum of 12 Apostles are inspired by God, even when it comes down to a policy such as the age limits on singles wards. There is purpose, and a reason for all things. Live the gospel my friend, and you will find what you seek. 

Editor’s note: There are also midsingle’s wards available for LDS single adults. You may find a list of midsingle’s wards at http://midsingles.wordpress.com/midsingles-wards-list/

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Paul Green

Paul Green

Paul Green, is a real estate broker and professional improvisational comedian, actor and trainer. He has trained thousands of professionals and teenagers on principles of leadership, communication, team building and creative thinking and has provided heart-filled advice and encouragement to all who he has had an opportunity to interact. His greatest passion is helping individuals find creative and uplifting solutions to the many challenges of life by applying the principles and doctrines of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He looks forward to hearing and understanding the challenges of his readers and helping them to overcome these challenges.  For his full bio, click here

To submit an anonymous question to Paul:

1. Send a message to the LDS Single Friends Facebook Page or send an email to paulgreencanhelp@gmail.com

2. Please “like” LDS Single Friends on Facebook and invite your fellow LDS singles to join our online community! 

3. If your question is chosen, look for Paul’s response on this blog and on LDS Single Friends. To make sure that you never miss an advice column from Paul, you can subscribe to this blog through the form below. 

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Introducing Paul Green, Advice Columnist for LDS Single Friends


We’re pleased to introduce Paul Green, our new advice columnist for LDS Single Friends. Paul has been well prepared by the Lord to take on this role and we hope that the LDS single adult community will take advantage of his insights and expertise. Here’s his bio below:

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Paul Green

Paul Green

Paul Green is a renaissance man in every sense of the word, he is an entrepreneur, actor, comedian, musician, athlete, humanitarian, writer and much more. He served a full-time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) in Cleveland Ohio and upon returning noticed a cultural shift in the church regarding marriage, divorce, dating, relationships, and parenting. Through his experience serving in the LDS church, he had the opportunity to meet and associate with many single adults from a variety of circumstances. Many of these singles would confide and open up to him, helping Paul gain a greater and deeper sympathy for the tremendous and heart wrenching challenges associated with being single parents and divorcees and the struggles of trying to date again after having extremely traumatizing experiences in their first marriages.    

As he learned how to listen with his whole heart to the challenges of others, Paul was also facing his own challenges as a single man in the LDS church. At the age of 33, Paul has never been married and has faced his own set of challenges as a single man, striving to live the gospel and serve in the kingdom of God while lacking one of the most significant pieces of a truly gospel centered life, a spouse and children. After struggling with dating and relationships after returning from his mission, he spent several years in intense study of relationships, communication, and human interaction to better understand why dating is such a challenge for so many, while it seems so natural for others. After many personal discoveries he began blogging some of his discoveries in a blog entitled, “dating difficulties.” This was his first attempt at writing for the benefit of others. Many expressed positive appreciation for his insights and comments, and one reader even offered to help him write and publish a book!

At about the same time that Paul began his quest to understand dating, he also discovered he had a natural gift and talent for improvisational comedy and performance. He started performing with a local improv troupe that performed regularly. As an improviser, he began to learn and utilize principles of leadership, communication, team building and creative thinking in his personal and professional relationships. He was also given the opportunity to teach workshops to help others find greater success in their own personal and professional lives. These opportunities, coupled with his life experiences, helped him discover his great passion for helping others find more creative and effective solutions to overcome the many challenges and trials that all of us face in mortality. 

Paul was put on this world to serve and love others with his whole heart, full of compassion, sympathy and understanding of any challenge that anyone can face in life. Whatever you are struggling with at this point in your life, whether it be illness, loneliness, depression, trials of faith, doubt, fear, apprehension, family concerns, divorce, singleness, financial, spiritual, emotional, struggles with same-gender attraction etc., his only desire is to help! Feel free to write in and see if Paul has any advice that will help you push through your current trial to receive the blessing that awaits all after the trial of faith!

Advice Columnist Opening For LDS Single Friends

There’s an immediate opening for an advice columnist for LDS Single Friends, the largest active Facebook Page for LDS single adults. This is a volunteer position and we’d like to publish advice columns once every two weeks, but we can be flexible depending on your availability and the volume of messages that are submitted to our Facebook Page. This is a great opportunity for an insightful, compassionate person to make a positive impact in the lives of LDS single adults worldwide.

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If you would like to apply to the position: 

1. Send a brief letter of introduction that explains your qualifications to malcolmravenclaw208@gmail.com

2. As part of the application process, please include a response to any of the following messages:

A) I’m aging out of the single’s ward and I feel like a failure because I’m still unmarried. I’ve made good choices throughout my life and I’ve worked hard to put myself out there in the dating scene. Despite my best efforts, nothing significant has happened to me in terms of relationships. The gospel is supposed to make us happy, but it’s hard for me to feel that way when each Sunday, I’m constantly reminded that I lack the blessing I want most in my life. How can I motivate myself to continue being active in the church when I feel like a failure?

B) I’m a convert to the church and I’m really frustrated with the dating scene in the LDS culture. I’m a tattooed male who didn’t serve a mission (I was baptized when I was too old to serve). Consequently, I feel like I’m being passed over for dates because I don’t meet the checklist of the single women in the church. Sometimes the rejection is subtle, at other times, it’s more obvious – but it still bothers me, since I’m striving to live the gospel just as valiantly as anyone else. I really want to have my own eternal family someday. What can I do to help LDS women see me as a person instead of looking at me with a checklist?

C) As a single adult, I’m really frustrated with the dynamics in the family ward I attend. I already feel like I don’t belong and it certainly doesn’t help that certain people seem to shun or look down on me. Some of the young couples seem to think that being around me is a threat to their marriages and other people in the ward, although well-intentioned, certainly don’t know how to relate to me. Because of these social dynamics, I often dread Sundays, but I know the church is true and I want to make friends in my ward. How can I better integrate myself in my ward and find acceptance?

 

Rapunzel and the Salt Lake Temple

Being Single And Wondering When Will My Life Begin

Featured art courtesy of Kat Lowry Illustration. If you would like a print, please visit http://shopwithafop.storenvy.com/

In the Disney movie Tangled, Rapunzel sings about being isolated in her tower and wondering when she’ll be able to truly start living her life. Rapunzel fits the profile of a faithful Mormon single adult: She’s a hard worker, she’s morally pure, and she displays a zest for life that is absolutely contagious.  In her opening musical number, she sings:

I’ll reread the books
If I have time to spare
I’ll paint the walls some more,
I’m sure there’s room somewhere.
And then I’ll brush and brush,
and brush and brush my hair
Stuck in the same place I’ve always been.
And I’ll keep wonderin’ and wonderin’
And wonderin’ and wonderin’
When will my life begin?

There are many Mormon single adults who can empathize with Rapunzel’s situation. One of my friends once told me that he feels life doesn’t truly begin until you’re married. Given the strong emphasis on marriage and family in the Mormon Church, I wasn’t surprised he felt this way. There are many single adults that long for marriage, feel “stuck in the same place I’ve always been,” and wonder, just like Rapunzel, “When will my life begin?” However, the attitude that life doesn’t really start until you’re married isn’t just wrong – it’s harmful to your personal growth and search for an eternal companion.  

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Elder John K. Carmack once explained, “Marriage is more likely achieved as a by-product of pursuing other useful activities and goals…while temple marriage and family life would be my ultimate goal, whether in this life or beyond, I would be careful not to make it my central focus. Marriage is more likely to come naturally, from living life fully, than by a direct and pointed campaign to achieve that long-range goal.”  

So if marriage is more likely to come from living life to the fullest, how can we stop waiting for our lives to begin?

The answer is simple: We focus on what we can control. Thankfully, we have more opportunities available to us compared to Rapunzel, who was stuck in her tower with little to do besides reread her books, paint, and brush her hair. Here are some principles that single adults can implement to live their lives to the fullest and prepare themselves to meet their future eternal companions.  

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone

Rapunzel at the end of her comfort zone

When Rapunzel finally gets her opportunity to leave her tower, she leaps from her window, only to hesitate before allowing her feet to touch the ground. For Rapunzel, leaving her tower is a literal leap of faith because it means leaving behind the only life she’s ever known. But when she leaves her comfort zone behind, Rapunzel is able to start her journey of personal growth.

As children of God, we have incredible potential that our Heavenly Father wants us to live up to.  He wants us to grow and have experiences that will prepare us for our future endeavors. Staying in our comfort zone is dangerous because it can hold us back from personal growth.

Sister Elaine Dalton, a former Young Women General President, said, From everything I read in the scriptures, I don’t think the Lord likes us to be in a comfort zone. He repeatedly takes his choicest servants out of their comfort zones and challenges them by their circumstances, their trials, and their opportunities to become more and to do more. In order to do this, we must be willing to move out of our comfort zones—to change. And that change can happen today.”  

Getting married isn’t just a matter of finding the right person – it also involves becoming the right person for someone else. If we have the courage to leave our comfort zone behind, we can grow and develop into the type of person that will attract a righteous spouse.

Develop a zeal for life, regardless of whether you’re single or married

Because of the strong emphasis on marriage and family in the church, there are many single adults who feel “incomplete,” frustrated with being alone, and are unhappy. However, although the greatest potential for joy might exist in a righteous marriage, it doesn’t mean that we can’t find happiness as a single adult or mean that marriage will automatically bring us happiness.  John Bytheway once said, “Happily single? Some might question this statement and say, “Why, you’re not supposed to be happy if you’re single!” Of course you are. Happiness is a choice, whether you’re married or single. And happily single people are more likely to become happily married people.”

Happiness is not dependent on our relationship status. Choosing to be happy helps us to live a life of purpose and attract like-minded people who can add value to our lives. Going back to the Tangled analogy, do you think Rapunzel would have been attractive to Flynn Rider if she was bitter about her situation? I’m sure it must have been a tough childhood to grow up alone in a tower, with no friends aside from a pet chameleon. Given Rapunzel’s limited options for personal growth in her tower, it must have been difficult to find happiness in her situation (after 18 years, there’s only so many times a young woman can reread her books, paint, and brush her hair). But she didn’t allow these challenges to drag her down and change her optimistic perspective about life.

Happy Rapunzel

Because of Rapunzel’s cheerful attitude and happiness about life (Best! Day! Ever!), Flynn ended up falling for her. The next time you’re tempted to feel bitter about your situation, think of Rapunzel’s example. You never know when the Lord will put the right person in your path. When that opportunity comes, you need to be prepared to invite that person into your life by making a good first impression.  (It didn’t make a good impression when Rapunzel justifiably smacked Flynn on the head with a frying pan, but luckily, her personality and cheerful attitude eventually won him over).   

Be fearless in pursuing your dreams

Rapunzel has a dream

In Tangled, there’s a tavern scene in which Rapunzel and a group of ruffians sing about their dreams. Unlike the Gaul thugs, however, what sets Rapunzel apart is how she doesn’t just sing about her dreams – she has the courage to make her dream a reality. When Rapunzel finds the right opportunity to see the floating lights in person, she does whatever it takes to pursue her life-long dream.  She overcomes her personal insecurities, persuades a mob of ruffians to support her quest, and bravely ventures forth into the unknown.   

Like the Gauls in the tavern, we may feel discouraged from pursuing our dreams if our lives haven’t turned out the way we envisioned. However, like Rapunzel, we still have our agency to choose what we want our lives to be like – and we should never let discouragement from being single stop us from pursuing our dreams! Single or married, I believe that God has a plan for us and wants us to achieve the righteous desires of our hearts. (If you don’t believe me, I encourage you to read your patriarchal blessing). If your dream is meaningful enough, you’ll find a way and the Lord will help you make your dream a reality (Philippians 4:13).

Don’t allow the doubts and criticisms of others stop you from living your life

Rapunzel and Gothel

Rapunzel’s manipulative “mother,” Gothel, tried to discourage her from reaching her dreams.  Throughout the entire movie, Gothel constantly criticizes Rapunzel and tries to control her by exploiting her insecurities. Like Rapunzel, along our journey, we’ll inevitably run into people who may fill our minds with doubts and tell us what they think our lives should be like. Taking their comments to heart often holds us back from living the dream we were born for.

It’s important to remember that you are the only person with the ability to receive personal revelation for your life.  If you have the guidance of the Lord, don’t allow doubt to dissuade you from your destiny. Do you want the approval of others or do you want the approval of the Lord? Ultimately, whose approval really matters?
     
Understanding our divine heritage helps us overcome self-doubt

Rapunzel lost princess

After Rapunzel returns home to her tower with Gothel, she finally realizes that she’s the lost princess. As soon as she makes this connection, it gives Rapunzel the courage to stand up for herself and reject Gothel’s lies. In a similar manner, understanding our true heritage as sons and daughters of a Heavenly King helps us overcome our self-doubts and insecurities. When we understand our divine potential, it gives us the confidence to overcome our doubts and live our lives to the fullest.

Maintain a loving perspective and help others realize their true potential

It’s fascinating to see how Rapunzel and Flynn’s relationship evolves throughout the movie. When Flynn is first introduced, he’s certainly no Prince Charming. He’s cocky, narcissistic, and self-centered.  However, Rapunzel’s influence gradually helps Flynn to become a more compassionate, chivalrous and trustworthy person. Rapunzel never judges Flynn or treats him like a “project.” Instead, she chooses to bring out the best in him and to treat him not as he currently is, but as he could be.

Rapunzel at last I see the light

Ultimately, Rapunzel’s influence helps Flynn see himself for who he really is. He isn’t Flynn Rider, the wanted thief – he’s really Eugene Fitzherbert. He’s the one who reassures Rapunzel when she expresses apprehension about finally living her dream. He’s the one who races out of prison to save Rapunzel. In the end, he’s the one who sacrifices his life to protect the woman he loves. Because of Eugene’s selflessness and the changes he makes in his life, he wins Rapunzel’s heart.  

Rapunzel’s experience can be easily applied to LDS single adults seeking their eternal companions. It can be easy to make quick judgments of others. However, we benefit through seeking to recognize and bring out the good in others, rather than simply evaluating prospective romantic partners from a trite checklist.     

Elder John K. Cormack said,Remember that even spiritual giants begin in embryo. If you are not careful, the ideal—what you hope your spouse will be—can blind you to the numerous good qualities in potential partners. Many eligible Latter-day Saint singles who now might not measure up to your checklist will someday be fine fathers and mothers and respected Church and community leaders. Learn to see potential in people and to help them develop it. That is what you would want a loving partner to do for you. One young woman found her responses to the man she had been dating were altered when she changed her own perspective and looked at his potential. Their friendship blossomed into love, and they were married.”

Every person we meet has divine potential as a son or daughter of God and should be treated accordingly. Just to clarify, it’s generally not a good idea to date others in the hope we can change them – Rapunzel doesn’t get together with Eugene until after he makes significant changes in his life. However, Rapunzel’s example shows that we should look for and bring out the good in everyone we meet. After all, you never know who might benefit from your light and turn out to be someone’s Prince or Princess in disguise.     

When seeking a companion, find someone willing to champion your dreams

Rapunzel and Eugene both have different dreams they’re pursuing. However, as the bonds deepen between these characters, Eugene realizes that the dream he’s been pursing ultimately falls short compared to Rapunzel. Eugene adopts Rapunzel’s dreams as his own and at the end of the movie, he lays down his own life to allow Rapunzel to pursue her dreams. With his dying breath, he tells Rapunzel, “You were my new dream” and she tearfully responds, “And you were mine.” Thankfully, due to the last traces of magic from Rapunzel’s tears, Eugene is revived and they both happily create a new dream together.

There are some single adults who mistakenly think that being married means they’ll have to give up on their dreams. However, if you choose the right partner, it doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your dreams. Instead, it means that you gain a best friend who believes in you and has adopted your dream as his or her own. Working together, with a shared dream in hand, you and your spouse can create the type of happy ending that will put even the greatest fairy tale to shame.  

Don’t allow being single to stop you from living life to the fullest

Rapunzel’s courage to pursue her dreams allowed her to live life on her own terms. She didn’t leave her tower with the intent of finding a significant other. However, because Rapunzel wanted to live life to the fullest, it allowed her to attract the right person who could add value to her life.

You don’t have to be married before your life truly begins. Learn the lessons God wants you to learn right now, regardless of whether your life turned out the way you expected. The lessons you learn will remain with you throughout the eternities.

With the right perspective, the things you learn while single will make you a better person and ultimately, prepare you to be a better spouse.  If you faithfully live your life, you will be prepared to be the best spouse possible – regardless of whether you find your eternal companion in this life or the next. So don’t wait until marriage before you start living your life to the fullest.

Your future spouse will thank you for it. 

Rapunzel and Flynn kiss

 

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