In the last few months I have done something that I had sworn off for years – I went on dating apps and websites. I have also been lurking in a few single Facebook pages and have gone to some single activities. I was on one site for about eight days and on another for about three weeks. I find these sites to be horribly soul crushing and depressing, so I don’t last long on them. I do, however, find them fascinating about what it says about being LDS, single, and the contradictions that we are willing to accept in the process.
I hear and read regularly how men need to step up. So often do I hear this, it makes me wonder if this is a lesson in Relief Society or an indoctrination in Young Women’s. Men are, apparently, supposed to intuit that a woman is interested, make all the first moves, and disregard the reluctance or aloofness that we are presented. More often than should be, I hear – and have experienced – an immediate brush off because, while they want men to step up, they only want the man they want to step up; the man that hits all of their check boxes.
This isn’t only an experience for women, I see and have heard stories from guys that do the same thing. They automatically reject a woman because they immediately judge a woman to not be the right one because she doesn’t look a certain way. You can’t tell me, in either case, that it was a spiritual prompting for rejection. In most cases it is because we immediately judge someone based on a list of characteristics that we have ingrained in our psyche as the magic recipe for the right one.
We create, in our minds, a list of things that someone must possess physically, in order for us to have an interest in pursuing them eternally. The problem is, overwhelmingly, this list is flawed. Horribly flawed.
We create a list of characteristics that are almost entirely based off of temporal measurements, but yet we claim to be seeking eternal companions. We are, if we are truly seeking eternal companions, condemning potential suitors with little to no investigation, and based entirely on temporal preferences.
I have a friend that, within two posts, contradicted herself in her pursuit of an eternal companion. She stated what she was looking for in a man, which were all temporal measurements of height, age difference, location, job interest, etc., but then bemoaned the difficulty in finding an eternal companion.
Here is a tough bit of news for men and women – all that doesn’t matter. If you are looking for an eternal companion, and you are using temporal lists to measure potential, you are missing a key element of our gospel: we are eternal beings, who will be resurrected in a perfect state, living a temporal experience.
We don’t know what our eternal, perfected state will look like. Our temporal statistics are every bit a part of the wonky randomness of our DNA. People born with missing limbs, congenital diseases or flaws, mental disabilities we can easily perceive having a perfected state that won’t include those things. But, when we look at our selves, we assume we will be this way for eternality, if we are happy with how we look.
This means that height doesn’t matter in the eternities; height is a result of genetics and nutrition. Age difference doesn’t matter; time has no meaning in the eternities. Hair color, eye color, skin color – all of these things do not matter. They are merely preferences, temporal measurements that have no bearing on eternal consequences. Except we use them to measure other’s eternal value.
Granted, I must be physically attracted to someone to want to find out if they are to be my eternal companion, but whether she is a teacher, a stay at home mom, or a surgeon doesn’t matter. Heavenly Father doesn’t really care what we do for a living either, He cares what we do with it and how we live. He doesn’t care about our height, our age, our politics; He does care that we worship Him and honor His son.
I don’t care about the height of a woman I date, I care that she cares about Christ. I don’t care what age she is, I care that we have common goals, interests, and a desire to serve our Lord. I don’t care what her hair or eye color is, I care about her heart and soul. Of course, there are people I am immediately attracted to, but I stay cognitively aware of not allowing my preferences to rule my spirit. I give almost every woman a chance and I allow the spirit to dictate my interest level. I have met absolutely stunning women that never touched my soul. I have met plain, average women that made my soul sing.
Ladies, if you really want to find an eternal companion, you have to allow the eternal nature of someone dictate your interest, not the temporal check list of preferences. This is very important for women for one specific reason: there are a lot fewer worthy, eternally minded men than there are women. If you want to find your eternal companion, you have to ignore your temporal measuring stick and be more open minded. You need to allow men to step up, instead of just the ones that look a certain way.
Men, you need to do the same thing, but not because of the limited number of worthy women, instead, because if you are putting temporal measuring sticks ahead of spirituality, you are putting your own preferences ahead of Heavenly Father – you are being prideful, worldly.
Of course we need to be attracted to the person we should marry, but what is more attractive to you? If you say height, weight, or age, you are not looking for an eternal companion, you are looking for self-satisfaction. This is partly why divorce is so rampant. People age, change, and look different, so they start looking for what satisfies them carnally instead of spiritually – using a temporal measuring stick.
Instead, we should endeavor to be closer to heavenly Father and the Spirit and allow them to dictate the attractiveness of someone. Let people talk to you, get to know people before you judge them on their looks or other temporal measurements. You may be surprised that the person you overlooked because they weren’t tall enough, or didn’t have the right eye color or vocation, just very well may be the person you could spend eternity with.
If you give everyone a chance, you are more likely to find that one eternal companion that will make your soul sing and your eyes see a most beautiful person. Women, if you let all men step up, I promise you, your eternal companion will be one of them and you will be happy. Men, if you give everyone woman a chance, you will find that the woman that takes you to the temple and helps you honor your priesthood will be the most beautiful woman you could imagine.