Dating

(also see “Divorce” and “Sexual purity”)

 

Pros of Mormonism from the perspective of the
Believer
Nonbeliever
In some ways, Mormonism makes dating easier for the believer. Mormonism provides a community that surrounds men and women with potential mates that have shared values.
 
Although a struggle at times, the believer is often grateful for the law of chastity in regards to dating. When a dating couple is sexually intimate, it can confuse the relationship and prevent a couple from getting to know each other spiritually and on other levels.  Chastity helps couples be more objective about their relationship while dating: “If young people court one another without being sexually involved, they can more objectively determine whether they should proceed further or whether they should part and seek other more compatible companions.”
 
Accidentally getting pregnant before marriage can be a disaster for the couple and the child on many levels. Faithful Mormons will be protected from this dating disaster!
 
There is also an argument to be made that people are, in general, happier when they have fewer choices to compare to. For example, with an extremely large menu of food, it is hard to not have buyer’s regret and wonder if you picked the best entrée. Mormons typically date fewer people than non-Mormons before getting married, which might mean they are more likely to be satisfied with their marriage because they have less dating partners to compare their spouse to.
 
Since nobody is perfect, couples that cohabitate or date for years before marriage might be less likely to marry. Without the commitment of marriage, couples in these long term relationships are more likely to separate and not get married. Thus, the Mormon standard of shorter dating periods is better, especially in light of Spencer W. Kimball’s teachings:
“‘Soul mates’ are fiction and an illusion; and while every young man and young woman will seek with all diligence and prayerfulness to find a mate with whom life can be most compatible and beautiful, yet it is certain that almost any good man and any good woman can have happiness and a successful marriage if both are willing to pay the price”
Accidentally getting pregnant before marriage can be a disaster for the couple and the child on many levels. Faithful Mormons will be protected from this dating disaster!
 
There is also an argument to be made (which a nonbeliever may or may not agree with) that people are, in general, happier when they have fewer choices to compare to. For example, with an extremely large menu of food, it is hard to not have buyer’s regret and wonder if you picked the best entrée. Mormons typically date fewer people than non-Mormons before getting married, which might mean they are more likely to be satisfied with their marriage because they have less dating partners to compare their spouse to.
 
Cons of Mormonism from the perspective of the
Believer
Nonbeliever
Many older single adults, especially single women, have little chance in finding someone to date or marry. Since Mormons are encouraged to only date other Mormons, the list of eligible bachelors and bachelorettes can be extremely small within a Mormon community as people approach their 30’s and onward. Many lonely Mormons find a potential mate who is not Mormon but break up and live in loneliness because they felt it was not right to marry a gentile. However, the believer likely has faith that their sacrifice of loneliness is worth it. In the absence of marriage in this life, In the next life God will reward them with an eternal family and they will not miss out on anything.
Many older single adults, especially single women, have little chance in finding someone to date or marry. Since Mormons are encouraged to only date other Mormons, the list of eligible bachelors and bachelorettes can be extremely small within a Mormon community as people approach their 30’s and onward. Many lonely Mormons find a potential mate who is not Mormon but break up and live in loneliness because they felt it was not right to marry a gentile. This is truly egregious to many nonbelievers. To the nonbeliever, it would appear that Mormonism is directly harming single men and woman who forfeit companionship and love because they are restricted from dating outside Mormonism. If someone does not believe in the afterlife, or that God will reward single people with spouses in the afterlife, it would appear that giving up companionship in the name of God is for nothing.
 
The nonbeliever is likely to disagree with the believer tha tbeing sexually active while dating helps prevent confused feelings and helps a couple get to know each other without distraction. Because many men and woman have a high drive to have sex, and marriage is the path to sex within Mormonism, not having sex while dating can lead to sex being a large part of seeking marriage. In other words, the desire to have sex is so strong that some couples might end up “settling” and getting married faster than they otherwise would and forego dating a lot of people. It thus seems logical that if you can have sex before marriage you will date more people and find someone who is more compatible with you. Many Mormons realize years down the road in their marriage that they married for sex and actually have little in common with their spouse. Being sexually active with someone and even living together can help a couple get to know each other better and determine how good of a fit they really are for each other. Sometimes, serious personality deficits are only made manifest after living with someone, such as abusive behavior. It is arguably a lot harder to leave an abusive husband than it is to leave an abusive boyfriend.
 
The decision to marry is further complicated by prayer. When Mormons pray about whether or not to marry someone, they can falsely interpret a nice feeling as an answer from God that they should get married. This answer from prayer is often used as a trump card that supersedes all reason. Many couples thus get married while knowing extremely little about each other because they falsely thought it was what God wanted.
 
The nonbeliever might think that Spencer W. Kimball’s advice listed in the “pro” section of the believer is false and harmful in that encourages couples who are not compatible to get married without thinking deeply about the compatibility of their potential spouse.

 

Comments relating to your lived experience with Mormonism are welcome. Although it can be difficult to distinguish at times, please focus on how the church helps and harms rather than it being true vs untrue.

Top