What I learned at a dating etiquette dinner

etitableLast night I was asked to participate in my ward’s dating etiquette dinner for the youth.  I have two theories why:

1.  I dated longer than most people and am, therefore, an expert.  (which only truly means that I loathe dating more than most people.)

2.  My husband was hoping to spice up my current dating life and submitted my name.

Either way, they asked me to speak on dating.  It was actually quite fun.  In the process of preparing, despite my “expert” status, I learned a couple things myself.  Take for instance this advice to young women about how to treat young men:

“Young women, can you see beyond young men’s occasional awkwardness and immaturity and imagine them as future leaders in the Church and in their homes? Are you treating them as they can become? There are many ways you can show respect for the priesthood and manhood.”

And I thought to myself, You know, this doesn’t just apply to young men.  It really applies to husbands too.  And children. The phrase “see beyond” stood out to me.  Oh, how I need to do this more with weaknesses, frustrations, trials, obstacles, whatever . . . .  I need to look past them and see things and people as they really are.

As I discussed with the youth the dating standards that the Lord has established through His living prophets, I acknowledged that I know it is way different from the way their friends approach dating, and that’s okay.  It is different because it’s right.  And I told them that God is not out of touch; He knows exactly what they need to be the best person they can be and to qualify for the most blessings possible.  It’s really about trusting Him.  This leads to the other lesson I learned.  While I was driving there that night and thinking through my conclusion, this concept of trust is what came to mind.  I realized that it is the reason we follow any commandments or standards at all.  So I told the youth last night this newly-clarified lesson that I was reminded of in my car:

If you are struggling with whether or not to trust Him and do what He asks, you simply need to get to know Him better.  Because once you know Him, and understand what He’s like and how much He loves you, it’s easy to trust Him.  You’ll find him worthy of that trust.

And so it is for each of us, and for any commandment—  dating or whichever commandment seems to be the tough one in my post-dating life.  It all comes back to the basics.  Am I reading my scriptures and praying and listening for his voice in my life?  Am I working hard at building a relationship with my Savior?  Because when I am, and when I know Him and feel Him close, it’s easy to trust Him.

Oh, and I also learned that you’re supposed to pass food from the left to the right, and you should take the piece of bread closest to you when they pass a bread basket, and you should never blow your nose in your napkin.  See?  A very educational night.

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