Saturday, August 14, 2010

Unrequitedness: When Love Doesn't Love You Back

Jenni and I do a podcast in addition to this blog, called Popcorn and Podcasting, so we decided to answer a question with a podcast entry, so click the play button to hear it all. There was a comment on the last entry which included the request,
"I'd love to hear advice about being in love with your best friend and them not for you, but still want the friendship. Any advice would be great :)" - anonymous

Well, Anonymous, we hope this helps!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Sweet Ensign Articles

I picked up and old Ensign (April 2010) the other day and was looking though it. There where three articles in a row about marriage, not just about marriage about making that decision! I thought I'd share them with you guys. I've heard over and over again from Prophets and Apostles that the decision of who, when and where to marry is one of the most important decisions we will ever make. If that's so (it is!), then it makes sense that even though He won't make the decision for us, God will do all He can to help and guide us in that decision.

This one's by Elder Wickman. He talks about the "confidence tests" he was put though as an Army Ranger in training. Things like climbing an ice covered rock face or slogging though an alligator infested swamp. I can see how my decision to marry was like a confidence test. When I think back on that time in my life I can see that Heavenly Father did guide me. That experience and others has given me a testimony that He will guide me in all my decisions. It also taught me how He guides me, personally, which is something I could only learn by experiencing it.

My favorite quote:
"As a part of this courtship experience, be careful not to base your judgments merely on what could be described as superficial “ticket punching.” By that, I mean do not base your decisions solely on whether someone has served a full-time mission or holds a particular calling in your ward. These things can be, should be, and usually are indications of devotion, faithfulness, and integrity. But not always. That is the reason you need to get acquainted. Know someone well enough to learn his or her heart and character firsthand and not just his or her “gospel résumé.”

A corollary is this: avoid being judgmental about someone until you get to know him or her. Snap negative judgments can be just as erroneous and misleading as snap positive ones. Be just as alert for a diamond in the rough as you are wary of fool’s gold."

This one is the story of Vitaly and Katya two young Latter-day Saints from Russia. They tell about how they met, dated and decided to get married. They were sealed in 2006 in the Stockholm Sweden Temple. With only 20,000 members in Russia, it had to be difficult for them to find a worthy member to date and marry.

My favorite quote:
"Vitaly: Of course, it’s great to be married to someone you’re attracted to. But when our focus is solely on physical characteristics, we inevitably miss the most important characteristics—personality, spirituality, and other qualities that really matter in an enduring marriage."

Making the Marriage Decision

This one is written by several different young adults sharing the fears they faced and the faith they found in making the decision to marry.

My favorite quote:
"Don’t give in. Certainly don’t give in to that being who is bent on the destruction of your happiness. He wants everyone to be miserable like unto himself. Face your doubts. Master your fears. ‘Cast not away therefore your confidence.’ Stay the course and see the beauty of life unfold for you.”

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Be Prepaaaaaaaaaared!

No one can be completely prepared for marriage, but there are a lot of things you can to to be as prepared as you can. Focus on what you can control. You can't control what a particular girl or boy is like, or how they feel about you, but you can certainly control what kind of person you are. (This list is in no way exhaustive and not in order of importance.)

Before you're engaged (you can start doing these thing before you even start dating!)

Go to church, regularly.

Get the spiritual basics in everyday (scripture study & prayer)

Learn homemaking skills, cooking cleaning, fixing. This goes for the guys too.

Learn how to manage money & learn to live frugally, even if you don't have to.

Learn to listen and follow the spirit. This is essential for finding your future spouse as well as life after marriage.

Learn to communicate. Duh!

Learn to serve others. If you haven't learned this by the time you get married, it will be harder to learn after. If you haven't learned it by the time you have kids, they'll teach you by force!

Things to do after you're engaged

Continue to do all of the above, personalized toward your spouse

Talk, talk, talk! Talk about everything with your future spouse.

Plan more than the wedding. Plan mostly for the marriage!

What are you doing or did you do to prepare for your marriage?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Worthy Thoughts

I've always loved this analogy.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Make Out Buddies Forever

When Chas and I were dating, we gave ourselves some pretty strict rules about physical affection. I highly suggest you come up with you own rules.

Because we kept those rules, our first experiences with making out, passionate kissing, ect. where when we were married. Because of that I felt so secure in our relationship. I knew that Chas would be the only person I'd do those things with and I'd always be the only one for him. Granted, neither of us was very good, even at kissing, but we learned together. It was and still is awesome to know that the things we've learned together will never be shared with anyone else. I also knew that he was in love with me and not just my body. I knew that he would stay in love with me no matter how my body might change with age and childbearing.

When we'd been dating for quite a while, I had a friend who asked if we'd kissed yet. I was kinda embarrassed to say, "No." I was surprised when she congratulated me on that and said, "When you start kissing, you stop talking." Instead of spending our time getting to know each other physically, we got to know each other very well mentally and emotionally. That has acted as a great foundation to our marriage.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Money Talks (but it doesn't know very much)

One of the more common worries that many young couples have is financial security. This is certainly a valid concern, as finances can be one of the leading factors in marital contention. But often these concerns are misdirected. While searching for a companion, you may be looking for someone who has a good income or a full bank account, but what you should really be looking for is someone with sound financial tendencies. The poor person who is wise with money has a great deal more to offer in a marriage than a rich person with bad financial habits.

This does not mean a good prospect must know all the ins and outs of good financial practices, but it does mean that if a person is thousands of dollars deep in pointless consumer debt, it may be wise to reconsider the relationship. It may seem harsh at the time of separation, but it will save you a lifetime of terrible financial and marital strain or divorce.

The same may be said of things like schooling and career advancement. The point is not to find someone who already has all the schooling and employment position to carry them through the coming years, but to find someone who values education and works hard. Those attributes do far more than a position or a degree.

There is another factor in marriage preparation that is often overlooked. Some feel that they should wait until they are well established or old enough to think like a well trained adult before they seek an eternal companion. The problem with this approach is that it denies the couple the opportunity to grow into their identities together. By the time both have learned to be established and independent, they are quite set in their ways, and the adjustments that are necessary to marriage can be more difficult to make. Sometimes it is these adjustments that lead older, more independent couples into difficulty.

The key is to remember that no matter how old or young you are, you NEED the Lord's help. You need to humble yourself continually and pray constantly. Don't assume that you'll be more prepared later, and don't focus on the past as if your chances are gone. Just stay humble and continually work on becoming better. You're not trying to become the most eligible bachelor or bachelorette. You're trying to become the best potential eternal companion.

Photo by badjonni on flickr

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland: How Do I Love Thee?

The Talk, How Do I Love Thee, by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, is one worth hearing often. It's really a masterpiece, originally given at BYU, directed to single members of the church looking eternal companions. If you have heard it before, I recommend listening to it again. If you haven't heard it, YOU MUST HEAR IT!!!

The video is kind of a sampler of the talk, and the audio (Play button) is the whole talk in audio form.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Enjoy Life NOW!

No matter what stage of the dating game you are in, you can thoroughly enjoy life. Your happiness is not dependent on your marriage status. If you are a happy unmarried person, you will be a happy married person. If you are a depressed single person, you will be a depressed married person. Don't wait for happiness to come to you. Make it now.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland and his wife, Pat, speaking on this subject, said:

Jeff: Quite apart from the matter of school or missions or marriage or whatever, life ought to be enjoyed at every stage of our experience and should not be hurried and wrenched and truncated and torn to fit an unnatural schedule which you have predetermined but which may not be the Lord's personal plan for you at all. As we look back with you today, we realize we have probably rushed too many things and been too anxious and too urgent for too much of our life, and perhaps you are already guilty of the same thing. We probably all get caught thinking real life is still ahead of us, still a little farther down the road.

Pat: Don't wait to live. Obviously, life for all of us began a long time ago--twenty-two years longer for us than for you--and the sand is falling through that hourglass as steadily as the sun rises and rivers run to the sea. Don't wait for life to gallop in and sweep you off your feet. It is a quieter, more pedestrian visitor than that. In a church which understands more about time and its relationship to eternity than any other, we of all people ought to savor every moment, ought to enjoy the time of preparation before marriage, filling it full of all the truly good things of life--one of the most valuable of which is a university education.”
Pat and Jeffrey Holland, BYU Speech, 15 January 1985

That doesn't mean being grateful that you're not married, but it does mean being happy anyway! Besides, doing so will make you much more attractive, and increase your chances of finding someone.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Premeditated Dating

I remember back in the awkward days before the awkward days of dating, we had the DARE program at school. We talked about how to say no to drugs and alcohol. We practiced saying no in different ways and even role played saying no in different situations. We learned that it's easier to stick to your decisions if you've thought about it beforehand and made your decisions already.

That works with dating too. Make your decisions about dating now. Take some time to study the scriptures and the words of the living prophets about dating. Think about what kind of spouse you want, what kind of spouse you want to be, what kind of relationship you want with your future spouse. Then think about what kind of things need to happen (or not happen) with your dating to get those results. Draw a line that you will commit to NEVER, under ANY circumstances cross, especially for physical affection.

In the BoM we meet a guy named Lehonti, who had thought about what he wanted. He had made his decision that he would never leave his safe place. But just thinking about it and making the decision wasn't enough. You have to actually follow though. In the end, Lehonti allowed himself to be convinced that he would still be safe if he left his safe place. Idiot! Right? Well, I've seen it happen too often in dating. Don't do that to yourselves!!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Speaking of Dating, Let's Do! (Speak, that is - about dating)

We decided to do a co-post this time – a conversation, rather than an individual post. 


Jenni: So what should we talk about?

Chas: I don't know. What do you want to talk about?

Jenni: How about our first date?

Chas: Sure.

Jenni: One of the things I remember is that it was a unique date – not dinner and a movie, or bowling (which are also fun, but it gave me a good first impression about you.)

Chas: Yeah, and it wasn't extravagant or costly. We just had a group date picnic in a park, and then went to my house to play games, but some of the others ditched us, so we just gabbed on the front lawn until it was time to go home.

One of the things that impressed me about you, and made it a ton easier on me, was how when I dropped you off, you said, “That was fun. Let's do it again sometime!”

I think I responded something like, “I'll see to it!”

The reason that was so great was that I didn't have to stress at all about whether or not you would be willing to go out again. You'd told me right there that you wanted to, and it wasn't in any way too forward.

Jenni: And it was easy for me! I didn't have to worry about sending signs or hints and having them misunderstood. I REALLY wanted you to ask me out again so I made sure you understood that.

Chas: Yeah, and I REALLY wanted to ask you out again. With most girls, the drive home after the date was always torturous, because I would stress and weigh everything that was said, done, thought – so that no matter how great the date went, by the time I got home I was sure I had bombed it. But the ride home after our first date felt great!

Jenni: I was really glad, months later, when you asked if you could kiss me instead of trying to subtly tell me or just moving in. You just asked, “Can I kiss you?” That made it SO much easier to tell you no!

Chas: Yeah. If I had just gone in for the kill and been brushed off, I might have thought you didn't like me. Instead, you simply said something like, “I'm not sure I'm ready for that yet.”

The fact that you said, yet, meant I just had to be patient. If I hadn't asked, you wouldn't have answered, and it would have made for an uncomfortable situation for both of us.

Jenni: The rest of the date would have been super awkward, if we hadn't talked like that. Since we did, the rest of the date was great! You felt good because you knew that I still liked you and would probably let you kiss me someday, and I felt good that I hadn't been pressured to go further that I felt comfortable.

Chas: The funniest part about that day was that as we walked away from the scene, we passed a big wall with graffiti that said, “REJECTED!!!”

Jenni: LOL! The fact that we both laughed at that was awesome!

Chas: Oh, boy! Can you imagine how our relationship would have been if we didn't laugh at almost everything?

Jenni: It could have been a major breaking point for our relationship.

Chas: Instead, it became a great inside joke!

Jenni: Which we're now sharing with all of you!

Laughing has done a ton for our relationship. Being able to laugh at the silly, awkward things that we did – and still do.

Chas: Yeah. I've noticed that even on a horrid day, when the kids are driving us both bonkers, if one of us can just find one thing to laugh at, it dominoes into a much better day.

Jenni: And we've got a lot of great things to laugh about from when we were first dating. Like my little tongue move! :)

Chas: LOL!

Just to clarify to all you out there – no, she's not talking about French kissing. Jenni licked a pole on the playground in mid-winter. Just like in the Christmas Story. We can testify it really works!

Jenni: It hurts too! I did so many dumb things to try to impress you.

Chas: And they worked marvelously! Like the time we got a couple waters with straws. We were walking through an outdoor mall, and suddenly I was hit in the side of the face with a straw-full of water! You can guess where it came from. It started a water fight. Good times!!!

Jenni: That was fun! We should do that again sometime, we can even teach the kids how!

Chas: Okay, but next time I'm bringing a Jamba Juice straw.

Jenni: That's ok, as long as I get Chunker on my team, I think he's the slobberiest of the kids. He probably wouldn't even need a cup of water!


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Applying Conference

I thought it would be fun to read through some of the talks from General Conference last week and see what I could find that applied to dating. I found this quote right away from President Uchtdorf's talk in the Priesthood Session.

"... I learned that patience was far more than simply waiting for something to happen—patience required actively working toward worthwhile goals and not getting discouraged when results didn't appear instantly or without effort.

There is an important concept here: patience is not passive resignation, nor is it failing to act because of our fears. Patience means active waiting and enduring. It means staying with something and doing all that we can—working, hoping, and exercising faith; bearing hardship with fortitude, even when the desires of our hearts are delayed. Patience is not simply enduring; it is enduring well!"

-Pres Uchtdorf (,5232,23-1-1207-20,00.html)

I know that some of you feel that your righteous desire to be married has been delayed. Let Pres. Uchtdorf's words encourage you to stick with it and keep doing all you can. As he says later in the talk, "Looking back, I know for sure that the promises of the Lord, if perhaps not always swift, are always certain."

Did you hear anything in Conference that applies to dating?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Confessions of a "Gorgeous" Girl

First of all, I'm not gorgeous. I don't even know how to spell that word, I had to copy and paste it from Chas' post. You can't trust Chas' judgment of my looks, because he's in love with me. Also, I'm sure that if he had known about the grumpy slug I turn into when I'm pregnant, he may have had second thoughts about marrying me.

Second confession, I don't know much about dating. I didn't like dating much, so I didn't date very often. In fact, Chas was the first guy I went on a date with more than three times. Ironically, I didn't have to turn guys down very often, because not very many of them asked me out. I'm absolutely sure that I was guided by Heavenly Father in my courtship with Chas. Otherwise, I may have just turned him down after the third date out of fear.

Because I didn't date much, I was fairly sure that I would never get married. I had a mission and a career all planned out. I'm so glad things didn't work out the way I had planned! I LOVE being married!! I am living proof that you don't have to date a lot or be good at dating to get married. I believe that the best way to get married is to trust in God and follow the promptings you receive. Heavenly Father loves all of His children. He has commanded us to get married. I don't believe He would give us a commandment like that unless He intended to help us do it. Just like He helped Nephi build the boat, He will help us get married. He has been helping people get married for a long time. I would say that He is the ultimate expert on dating. If you want the best dating advice, go to Him.

- "Gorgeous" Girl

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Who writes this blog, anyway??

You've probably all heard the quote that claims that any man who reaches the age of 25 without being married is a menace to society. I don't know if that quote came from Brigham Young, Steve Young, or Steve Martin, but it's not true.

Jenni and I have been married since 2004, and we're both ecstatic to be out of the dating game. But feeling horrible pity for all the menaces out there doing their best to graduate from the singles ward, we've taken it upon ourselves to blog what we observed in our dating years, good and bad (and sometimes quite ugly), and offer whatever help we can to those who are still in the game.

This blog might not make much sense to those who aren't LDS (Mormon), but it may give you insight into our Mormon culture, as well as perspective on our approach to dating and marriage. Just to tell you up front, Jenni and I stand by the Church on every issue. Every issue. So if you want to ask us to dog on the church, you can - but we'll just dog on you instead. :D

You may be asking, "Who's this guy? What makes him think he can tell me anything about dating?"

Well, Jenni will have to come up with her own credentials, but I can easily tell you mine: I'm a goofy looking guy, and I married an amazingly hot girl. That's about it. I don't know about you, but when I was dating, I never looked to hotties for advice on how to get someone to go on a date with me. "Easy for you to say..."

I, for one, look like a dork, and Jenni is gorgeous - she's absolutely beautiful! The incredible thing is, she has the personality and spirituality to match.

If someone as ugly as me can marry someone like that, then any of you out there can do it, too. I can tell you, it was a bumpy ride for me, but it was well worth it. Jenni and I LOVE being married. Even with our three kids and their midnight barf-offs.

Anyway, we hope you'll participate in these discussions. We don't have all the answers, but if you are all willing to give input and share your tips with everyone, we might jointly be able to come up with quite a few answers!

- Goofy Guy

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