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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16 thoughts on “What I learned at a dating etiquette dinner

  1. Very nice reminder on how to improve one’s relationships with God and other people.

    And Matt was practically offended to hear that his elbows should not ever be on the table. Sigh… You can tell I’ve given up teaching table etiquette.

  2. When I was in late high school/early college, I wanted so desperately to be in the kind of relationship where you get to love someone unconditionally. I wasn’t ready yet, but that didn’t stop me from pining away at the idea of being “in love.” I had a friend give me a letter, as if it was written by the Savior, to me personally. It basically said, “When you’re ready, you’ll meet the right person, but you won’t be ready until you have learned to trust me completely.” It was such a simple message, and one that I desperately needed to hear. Focus on building a relationship with the Lord, learn to trust him completely, and only then would I be ready for the kind of “love” that I was seeking.

    And I think you’re right… that’s how it works with all of God’s commandments. If we can really, truly give our hearts to the Lord and trust him completely, we will have the strength to do whatever it is we need to do, or the endurance to make it through any particular trial.

    And I will absolutely remember not to rifle through the bread basket, looking for the best piece.

  3. The getting to know him, to trust him is somethinh Joseph Smith spoke quite a bit about. That was my point with the comment I made about Elder Bednars talk. It is easy to follow him, when you know him.

  4. Great post. Sounds like it must have been a great evening.

    I remember a great talk Elder Maxwell gave in Conference back in 1999 about Laman and Lemuel murmuring because they didn’t understand the nature or character of God and His dealings with His people. We truly need to come to know Him.

    And it is all about the basics.

  5. One of my very good friend’s husbands was called to be the bishop of his ward. I think he was 30 at the time. And we had to laugh because he’s not the most Peter Priesthood guy out there. But he’s a good guy and a great bishop.

  6. I wish I had attended etiquette dinners when I was a kid. Did they say anything about blowing your nose into the piece of bread closest to you? Cuz I’ve had a real problem with that for years.

    Love everything else you said here. You’re the goods.

  7. Man, those are such great thoughts. Can you come and co-raise my girls when they’re teenagers? I think I’ll be good until then, but seriously, you could like tackle all the dating/boys/morality stuff and I’ll just cook and cook and cook and do lots of laundry and cleaning and you’ll love it so much you won’t leave. Oh, and I’ll always make sure we have chocolate. And you can bring your own kids and husband, too, and just live in our basement, which we will finish at your customized request. This daydream is getting out of hand. 🙂

  8. Well where SHOULD I blow my nose then?! =P

    I can’t help thinking that this seeing beyond is how our Father in Heaven sees us. He sees us as we are and as we can be. If we could see each other that way (and I think sometimes, in special moments, we really do), think how much better our understanding of each other would be…and how much greater our love.

    Great insight!

  9. Our next-door neighbor often teaches those etiquette dinners at BYU. One day at a neighborhood function, I found myself seated directly across from her, and expressed some dismay, as in, “I’m a little bit mortified to be sitting right across from you, because I’m afraid you’ll notice every little thing I’ll do wrong.” Her response was classic: “It wouldn’t be _good manners_ for me to notice anyone else’s mistakes.” How lovely! She put me instantly at ease. I guess the ultimate in etiquette advice is Judge Not.

  10. I love what Charrette said. And i love your perspective on getting to know Him, and how that helps us through our earthly relationships.

    I’m sure there were a lot of people that learned much more than you ever though possible through your words.

  11. I practice dating etiquette by not grabbing a book to bring along when Dean and I go out. 🙂 Seriously I have to tell myself that this is my chance to spend time talking to him and that it will prove to be more worthwhile than the book (and it always does.)

    Also, I like to re-read his patriarchal blessing from time to time, as well as mine, to help me take a long view of who we are both meant to be and to become.

  12. my husband is the YM pres and the activity for mutual this week is an etiquette dinner that has yet to be planned so guess who gets to do it. Thanks for the articles!

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