Dating non-members vs. members

I married a wonderful man who actually follows all of Heavenly Father’s commandments. He is studying the Book of Mormon, he has no issues or bad habits to overcome, he has an open heart and is always willing to learn more. But, there is one thing that even my bishop counseled me to be aware of… He was not a member of the church.

Spencer W. Kimball has said, “Do not take the chance of dating non-members, or members who are untrained or faithless.” Also President Gordon B. Hinkley said, “Your chances for a happy and lasting marriage will be far greater if you will date those who are active and faithful in the Church. Such dating is most likely to lead to marriage in the Temple.” President Hinkley also said, “You young men, fall in love with Latter-day Saint girls. And you young women, fall in love with Latter-day Saint boys. You will be happier if you do so. You will be happier because you will understand one another and appreciate one another’s values, and you will be grateful all of your days if you will do that.”

Yes, I do understand the desire to be married in the Temple. I have been sealed there with my first ex-husband. A year after we were married, I realized that he did not love me, but I decided to do my best to help him change his heart. After 14 years of trying to do this, I found that our marriage was worse than it ever could be. Lives were threatened, there was no joy, it was hard to accept that we were walking different pathways. I then married another member of the church who did not have a recommend, but he said that he wanted to go to the Temple. He made no effort to get there and I was very saddened because I was willing to wait until he could go so that I could be sealed to him. The third ex had a recommend, but forgot that there were 2 people in our marriage and that we could be sealed for ever. He was gone from my life just after I helped him get his green card.

When I first met Antwoin, I did not take him seriously because he was not a member of the church. He did not fit exactly what I wanted in a guy. When we broke up, he admitted he had a hard time because he thought that I was too perfect. I went to church, I followed everything that I believed in as best that I could, I had callings that I did my best to be

active in.

But, when he left, I found that I had to let go of my garbage. I had to not judge him because those were my issues, not his.

I tried to date single guys that fit my desires. I even re-connected with my second ex, just to give him a chance (he really blew it too). But, I felt that my heart had a shield around it. I was frustrated because I tried to feel something beyond friendship and nothing happened. I decided to take the time to do some personal healing and letting go of that

garbage that was hanging around.

Then when Antwoin reconnected with me, my heart began to beat again. I prayed and asked what was going on. He still was not a member of the church. He changed within his heart, it was even better than before! I then asked the big questions in my prayers, “OK, so what is really going on????” “Is Antwoin the one I am to marry?” “What about his not being a member of the church?”

The answer I received was so surprising, that I felt that I needed a blessing just to confirm what I was understanding. “Yes, he is the right one for you. Do not worry about anything else, I will take care of it.”

Now, he is going to church with me, he is studying the scriptures, he is asking questions, he is wanting to understand for his sake, not for mine. What else can I really ask for? He became a member! It is for his desire, not mine. It makes my choice to be with him even happier. If he did not decide to join, I will be glad that he is willing to understand me so that we can see eye to eye in our beliefs. I will listen to Heavenly Father and not worry. He will take care of things and everything will be fine.

Enough about me… I also know many people who are 1/2 member marriage. Yes, they have what they consider a good marriage, but, the member usually is not as happy as they want to be. They encourage their spouse to do the best that they can. They hope that one day the spouse will have a desire to join the church and then be sealed in the Temple. That does not happen very often, but when it does, they are so much happier. They are happier because they know that they will be able to be together forever. Even after death.

Remember, being sealed in the Temple is a wonderful blessing, but it does not guarantee a perfect marriage. It does guarantee hope and a chance to see the big picture from Heavenly Father’s perspective. It is a chance to be together after death. There is no other ceremony in this world that will give us this chance.

I have a wonderful friend who was married. She waited so long! They were married in the Temple. They have been waiting for so long after realizing that they wanted to marry because he became a member just under a year before. They are happy together and they are doing their best to make this right. They are a wonderful example and I cherish my friendship with them.

May we be willing to listen to those who counsel us and are willing to take action when we have the chance.

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