Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Dating in Utah: What is Love?(Baby don't hurt me no more?)

So I've came to the sudden realization that I'm slacking a bit on the blogging duties lately, but here's a new post just time for Valentine's Day! Oh wait, missed the boat on that one too... Well I'm just going to write what I would have anyways! So recently I've been reading a book called "The Good Among the Great" that talks about 19 personality traits that some of the most revered, successful men in the world carry that have helped them become the people they are today. After being autonomous, the second attribute listed is the ability to love.  I guess the season and the book got me thinking about what love actually is. I, myself, don't think I've ever been in love, there have been plenty of people that I've been attracted to or liked a whole bunch but I've experienced the "L" word. I've seen other people who love each other so I know it exists, but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't know what to do even if I knew what love felt like. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that I don't think I'm capable of loving someone or falling in love myself, but I just don't know if I buy into the whole commercialization of what love should be. I just find it hard to believe that love is what they try to sell me in chick flicks. Is it really all about two super-attractive people who serendipitously meet each other only to fall out of love due to some screw-up by the guy(explain to me why the guy always screws it up?) but in the end fate conquers all and they live happily ever after. Forgive me for thinking that love isn't really that sentimental. Love isn't about whether or not you like the flowers that guy bought you are your favorite, or the size of the ring on your finger... If it were so materialistic then divorce wouldn't be so rampant in our society (if anything the materialism of our society has made things worse). And no offense to any Romeo and Juliet, or even Bruno Mars fans out there, I don't see what's so romantic about catching a grenade for ya... Is love really so tragic or desperate that you would give your life for someone who doesn't really care about you to prove your love to them, all you're really doing is proving your recklessness and fragility. For some reason I don't think that true love should be something painful, desperate or needy. Instead love should be a merging of two different people complimenting each other to the point that each person can become their best possible self. How does taking a grenade help you become a better person(I'm not really a fan of the whole martyr thing if you can't tell). Love should be reciprocal, complimentary. I have to wonder what the divorce rate in the US would look like if instead of marrying for "love", we took the opportunity to make each other better instead of focusing on how we're going to prove our love. To quote Maslow, one of the most influential thinkers of our time, " the fusion of love and respect shows itself in the fact that people cannot be said in the ordinary sense of the word to 'need' each other, as do ordinary lovers. The can be extremely close together, and yet go apart when necessary without collapsing... These people remain themselves and remain ultimately masters of themselves as well, living by their own standards even though enjoying each other immensely." Like I said earlier I feel like love is more about finding someone who helps you become your best self. I think that's the key when it ultimately comes down to it. Now I'm not saying that love doesn't strike at random(my parents were sharing a hospital room when they met for pete's sake) but I am saying if that person doesn't compliment who you are, it's going to be hard for the love to last.
Here's a story of a good friend of mine that kind of illustrates my point(if you want the whole story, check out her blog
I don't think there's one right person for everyone either.  I met and went out with a LOT of really nice, incredibly great guys.  The last guy I dated before I met Matt was great.  He treated me super awesome and was very smart and hardworking and respectful.  I don't know why things didn't feel right with him but they just didn't quite click.  And now it's looking like I may be going to grad school in Washington (I hope- if they let me in!) and moving there is something he wouldn't have been able to do.  I feel like my education is something that is important to Heavenly Father and He let me fall in love (and more importantly let fall in love with me) someone that would be capable and willing to move to where I'm going to school.  I think sometimes there are reasons for why things happen in life and sometimes we really don't understand the reasons until much later-if ever.  So until we can that divine intervention and the craziness stops- we just have to keep playing the game and learn what we can from it.  I definitely met a lot of amazing people through my years of dating and learned a lot from them.  There are a lot of people I admire a lot- a lot who are going to have super lucky wives someday.  There just for whatever reason wasn't that clicking thing that happens when Heavenly Father joins the paths of two individual people and puts them onto the same one. 
I think that this story is not only inspirational, but does a good job of demonstrating what I've been trying to say, love is about finding someone who helps you become your best self! And now a word from one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite artists

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Dating in Utah: The Singles Ward Scene

We've all been there, sitting there on Sundays and someone we've never really said a word to in our lives comes up to us starts talking to us for no apparent reason and then tells us how they had a "revelation" the night before in the most poignant and vivid dream you've ever heard that they're your soul-mate.... Needless to say, awkwardness takes it place in what was an already uncomfortable situation, after you finally get away from your supposedly new found soul-mate, you get home, you have three new Facebook messages from your long lost lover, basically forcing you to give them a chance, and it all goes downhill from here.After a weekend of turmoil, you decide to tell them the truth that you think they're crazy, rumors spread, and when all is said and done, you're back in the home ward by the next week, happy with your new calling as a primary teacher. This might be a slight exaggeration but dating in the singles ward can be a complicated animal, if things work out, great, you've found an eternal companion in less than six months probably, if they don't chances are you share common friends , rumors about your relationship's demise will be greatly exaggerated and half of your social contacts are now out of the picture because they don't want to step on your ex's toes.  So now that I've spent half of my blog on the perils of dating in the singles ward, let's get real for a bit. It's totally appropriate to take a chance on someone in your ward, singles wards are designed to help people meet and I know a ton of happily married couples that met their spouses in the singles ward. You just have to remember three rules going into a potential relationship with someone from the singles ward.

1. Ask yourself "If things don't work out, am I capable of maintaining a platonic friendship with this person?"  
This question is applicable in all circumstances where you will probably continue to see the person in a social situation with common friends, like class or work but especially with a singles ward because you'll see each other at least once a week in a situation where you should be having the most spiritual moment of your week If you're going to be distracted with animosity towards the person you've dated, it's going to be extremely difficult for you to maintain a sense of spirituality at church and possibly down the road in your everyday life. So if you're going to date someone in the singles ward be mature enough to accept that things might not work out and secure enough with yourself when you see him/her on a date with someone else in the ward to not be jealous.
2. Be secure enough to realize that you'll be the subject of ward gossip 
People love to talk especially when two people share the same social group. If you're not ok with your relationship becoming like a mini tabloid relationship within your social group then you probably hold off on the relationship until you're at a point that you're ok with it. I'm not saying deny your feelings, I'm just trying to point out that relationships between members of the same social group add a different dimension to a relationship involving every one around them. So if people pick sides, don't be offended, a lot people just don't know how to handle complicated situations, give people the benefit of the doubt and understand that they're trying...
3.Don't let dating someone get in the way of the reason you're actually at church
I kinda addressed this earlier but remember the point of church is to bring you closer to your heavenly father. The social aspect of church is great and really important especially in a singles ward, but if you're reason for going to church is an attractive member of the opposite sex, you can find yourself in a precarious situation if things don't go as you have them planned. Just make sure your relationship with your Heavenly Father is as good as your relationship with your "soul-mate" and things should work out great!
Anyways I hope this helps, and like I said before dating in the singles ward is a great opportunity but I hope these guidelines help you avoid a lot of the undesired consequences that often happen in in-ward relationships.  And now a great youtube video about nice guys.