Ask Dr. Elia: Defining your dating objectives

Last month I had an opportunity to participate in a workshop at a multistake Single Adult conference in California. I was asked to present and discuss the do's and don'ts of dating. Now it's true that my single days ended two decades ago, but I coach several people who are single and are looking to find their eternal companions. The most important advice I can give is that a lot of heartache can be avoided if we keep our eternal perspective with us at all times. With that in mind, here are a few specific "do's" and "don'ts."

1. The first and most important aspect of dating actually has to do with remembering who we are: sons and daughters of our Father in heaven. Before we go out on the first date with someone, we must incorporate that knowledge into our thinking. How would our thoughts and behaviors be different if we approached our date as such? Would respect and kindness be our top priorities knowing that we're sitting across from a beloved child of Heavenly Father?

2. What is the purpose of dating and what is the real motivation? Several things come to mind: for some it might be security, for others companionship or friendship. Sometimes the motivation is lust cleverly disguised as love. Hopefully and ultimately it is a desire to meet and fall in love and make a commitment to a life of growing both individually and together.

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