Courting Disaster

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“Courting Disaster,” New Era, Feb. 1998, 35

Courting Disaster

I faced a tough question: What do you do when the ONE you want isn’t WHAT you want?

At the end of my junior year of high school, I was looking forward to my senior year. I believed that nothing was going to go wrong. But was I ever mistaken.

That summer I started dating a boy named Tom. We had been friends for about six years. Tom had had a few problems with the Word of Wisdom and morality, but that was in the past. I was sure I could change him.

Tom and I dated each other for a few months with no problems. He knew where and what I stood for, and he was okay with it. After four months, Tom moved 1,500 miles away to college. I thought I was so much in love that I couldn’t live without him. I knew he loved me. After all, he had told me so.

Tom called every other day, and we would talk into the night. Then Tom started coming home almost every month. That’s when the trouble started. Tom kept telling me we were going to get married after he finished his first year of college and I had graduated from high school. I wanted to believe we could get married and live happily ever after. I thought I was so in love with him that I gave in slowly to the pressure he put on me. We ended up necking and petting. Then he would go back to school and leave me for another month. I would wait by the phone every night for his call.

I started feeling guilty after a while and would take my frustrations out on others. I started fighting with my family and friends, and my grades started going down. I couldn’t eat or sleep, and I was feeling more and more alone.

One night my friends and I were sitting around my kitchen table talking about our futures. Right then it hit me. Everything I had ever wanted was being thrown away just because I knew if I didn’t give in to my boyfriend for a few minutes, he might leave me. I realized I wasn’t even worthy of a temple marriage right then.

I decided to call my bishop. I told him I would like to talk to him for a few minutes and made an appointment for the next night. I hung up the phone feeling better than I had felt in a long time. I knew this was the right thing to do.

I found myself sitting in the bishop’s office the next evening, nervous and unsure of myself. After a brief bit of small talk, the bishop asked what he could do for me. I started crying and told him I had had a few problems with Tom. I wanted to get rid of all the guilt and anguish I had building up inside of me. We talked about how to fully repent. And if I really wanted to fully repent, I would probably have to stop seeing Tom. Then the bishop explained some reasons why. I left his office feeling refreshed and more sure of myself. Now I had to tell Tom.

I went home and prayed that night in a way I had never prayed before. I really talked to Heavenly Father as if he were sitting next to me. I poured out my heart and soul that night and many nights after.

I didn’t know if I could bear breaking up with Tom. The night before he was to come home, I got down on my knees and asked the Lord to let me know that what I was supposed to do was right. Almost immediately I had such a feeling of peace and calmness come over me that I couldn’t deny I was about to do the right thing.

The next day I told Tom everything I was feeling. I told him we couldn’t see each other any more. He was upset and said some hurtful things, but I knew I was doing the right thing.

After I broke up with Tom, everything didn’t immediately fall into place as I thought it would. It actually got harder for a while. I was feeling miserable and made the people around me miserable too. But my Young Women leader gave me a quotation that says, “If a man is unworthy to take you to the temple, then he isn’t worthy of your undying love.” I think about that every time I catch myself wondering if I could still be with Tom.

I have learned through all of this that true happiness is feeling the Lord’s spirit where you are and in everything you are doing. If you can’t feel at peace doing something by yourself or with friends, then it probably isn’t the right thing to do. I have also learned if a boy really does love you, he won’t just tell you so; he will show you by treating you with respect and by helping you reach the righteous goals you have set for yourself.

Look to the Lord for his guidance and listen for his still, small voice, which will help you make the right decisions, and you will find what true happiness is.

Illustrated by Keith Larson