Thursday, April 10, 2014

Dating Panel

Our Stake (Diocese) is getting ready for a dating and eternal marriage panel. So last night we asked the youth for some questions to submit to the three couples on the panel. Oh my gosh, I'm so glad I'm not a teenager anymore! Not that I had any doubts, but it's nice to be reminded just how painful those years can be. And my teen years were pretty idyllic.

I thought for tonight's post, it might be fun to answer some of those questions myself.

1. Why do girls expect the guys to do everything, like ask all the dates, and ... ?

I think the poor kid was cut off right then. The girls across the room were all "What?!?!" And I have to admit, it took almost all my self control not to respond "Because it is!" I'm grateful I had two big brothers who taught me, both through example and words, that I didn't want to settle for a guy who wouldn't court me -- the old fashioned way. Now, I don't think the young man asking was being difficult, I do think boys/men need a little encouragement. They need a way to know if a girl is on board for date #3, or even marriage, before they'll dare ask. But I also believe in the art of chivalry. I remember my oldest brother trying to help me see one of my relationships through his eyes. Without breaking my heart, he told me I deserved a guy who really wanted to be with me, a guy who courted me and cherished me. This surprised me because the relationship wasn't an unhealthy one and this boy certainly showed interest, but my brother closed the conversation with, "You'll know what I mean once the right guy comes along." And he was right, I did. Everything about the way Ben planned dates and played the next move showed how much he wanted to be with me. Every girl deserves that, and every guy deserves to feel that way about the girl he is pursuing.

2. How will I know if he/she's the one?

There are two bits of useful advice I was given on this topic. My mother, I think while I was in the aforementioned relationship, was rolling her hair in curlers when she said to me, "Marriage doesn't just happen when two people fall in love. It happens when you love someone and they love you back and you are both ready for marriage. The timing is just as important as the love." Amen!

The other bit of good advice was, "you better pray for your answer before he ever even asks the question." I think that came from an institute (religious college class) teacher. Both these advices rang true for me. Ben and I loved each other at the same time, and we were both ready to get married at the same time. Also, I had prayed and asked God to confirm to me that Ben was the man I was suppose to marry, and I was filled with overwhelming joy. I wasn't surprised when Ben broached the topic about a week later. He'd been offering the same prayers, I'm sure.

3. When is a good time to settle down and be serious with relationships?

I do think teenagers should get some dating experience in while in High School. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints (mormons) are counciled  not to date until age 16. Even then, they are taught to go on double dates and group dates. This is inspired advice. While I don't think dating one person for a few months during high school is harmful, I do think having serious relationships in high school will only lead to heart ache and regrets. I've never known someone who said "I wish I hadn't hung out with my friends so much, and had spent more time with my boyfriend/girlfriend." That is not a thing. It's probably even rare amongst high school sweethearts. You have your whole lives together, discover who you are on your own!

Post high school, I think the answer to this question is personal. I have many friends who were ready for marriage just a year or two into college. I had always known I would not be looking for marriage until I was 23. The first time I prayed to find marriage came just six weeks after I turned 23. I was married at 23 and a half. I'm thankful for the few semi-serious relationships I had before then, as they helped me know what I wanted out of a relationship. I am also thankful for all the one time dates, as they provided lots of positive social interactions. But I am also thankful I didn't get married a day younger than I was. Others would likely say the same thing ... about a different age. In the end, it is between you and God, so long as you are out of high school!

4. How do you put up with someone's bad habits?

This question came up when I was sitting alone with the 16 and 17 year old girls. I responded, "You guys have to know ... everyone poops." They responded "that's gross Szilagyi." But it is true! I suppose the point I was trying to make was that everyone has bad habits, and sometimes you really just have to put up with them. The best thing you can do is try to minimize the ones you know annoy your spouse the most, and hope they return the favor. I do think it is healthy to talk about such annoyances politely and respectfully on occasion. But also remember, everybody poops.

The total list had 17 questions. I am not going to answer them all here. I look forward to answering some when my kids are old enough to ask them. Like, what was the best and/or worst date you've been on. And, why is marriage important? Others frighten me, like how do you tell someone you are dating that you don't like what they are doing? Depending on the severity of the bad habit, I suppose my answer would be -- you don't, you break up with them. If you simply want the guy to come to the door to pick you up instead of honking from his car, you could just politely tell him -- and if he doesn't change, then you break up with him.

Oh dating. I look forward to the panel, scheduled near the end of the month, and the answers the other couples provide.

The couple on the left got married (about 10 years after this picture). Two of my favorite people! Pretty sure they don't regret their high school split, also pretty sure he knew he wanted to marry her the night he broke her 16-year-old heart. It's in the timing, not just the love. 


Tiff said...

I agree with the timing comment. My mom said something about it once and it etc I with me too. So many of my relationships didn't work out due to timing and looking back I'm sure glad they did. What was I thinking?

I knew my hubby was the one because everything was easy. I didn't have to force it he wanted me just as much as I wanted him. I took that as my answer to my many prayers.

Everyone has quirks but I think if something little is really bothering you you probably have bigger issues you need to work out.

Anonymous said...

I didn't date, so I have no comment!

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