Dating and Discipleship
July 2001

“Dating and Discipleship,” Ensign, July 2001, 64–65

Dating and Discipleship

“There are many qualities you will want to look for in a friend or a serious date, to say nothing of a spouse and eternal companion, but surely among the very first and most basic of those qualities will be those of care and sensitivity toward others, a minimum of self-centeredness, evidence of genuine compassion and courtesy. ‘That best portion of a good man’s life [is] his … kindness,’ said Mr. Wordsworth (“Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey,” lines 33–35). There are lots of limitations in all of us which we hope our sweethearts will overlook. I suppose no one is as handsome or as beautiful as he or she wishes, or as brilliant in school, or as witty in speech, or as wealthy as he or she would like, but in a world of such varied talents and fortunes which we can’t always command, I think that makes even more attractive the qualities we can command—such qualities as thoughtfulness, patience, a kind word, true delight in the accomplishment of others. These cost us nothing, and they can mean everything to the one who receives them. …

“In a dating and courtship relationship, I would not have you spend five minutes with someone who belittles you, who is constantly critical of you, who is cruel at your expense and may even call it humor. Life is tough enough without having the person who is supposed to love you lead the assault on your self-esteem, your sense of dignity, your confidence, and your joy. In this person’s care you deserve to feel physically safe and emotionally secure.

“Members of the First Presidency have taught that ‘any form of physical or mental abuse to any woman is not worthy of any priesthood holder’ (James E. Faust, “The Highest Place of Honor,” Ensign, May 1988, 37) and that ‘[no] man who holds the priesthood of God [should] abuse his wife in any way, [or] demean or injure or take undue advantage of [any] woman’ (Gordon B. Hinckley, “Reach Out in Love and Kindness,” Ensign, Nov. 1982, 77). And that includes friends and dates, sweethearts and fiancés. …

“… In Mormon’s and Paul’s final witness they declare that ‘charity [pure love] never faileth’ (Moro. 7:46; 1 Cor. 13:8). It is there through thick and thin. It endures through sunshine and shadow, through darkest sorrow and on into the light. It never fails. So Christ loved us, and that is how He hoped we would love each other. In a final injunction to us He said, ‘A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you’ (John 13:34). Of course, such Christlike staying power in romance and marriage requires more than we naturally have. It requires an endowment from heaven. Remember Mormon’s promise—that such love, the love we each yearn for and cling to, is bestowed upon true followers of Christ (see Moro. 7:48). You want capability and safety in dating and romance, in married life and eternity? Be a true disciple of Jesus. Be a genuine, committed, word-and-deed Latter-day Saint. Believe that your faith has everything to do with your romance, because it does. You separate dating from discipleship at your peril. Or to phrase that more positively, Jesus Christ, the Light of the World, is the only lamp by which you can successfully see the true path of love and happiness for you and your sweetheart.”

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “‘How Do I Love Thee?’” devotional address, Brigham Young University, 15 Feb. 2000.

Photo by Craig Dimond