There are lots of adult Mormons who are single who would like to marry, but for whom it hasn’t happened yet. Let’s collect our ideas for how one should go about this particular quest. I’ll get us started with some ideas of my own.
First there is a theological issue, for which there are basically two schools of thought in the Church. Does each of us have a single soulmate whom we promised in the Preexistence to find and wed? This is the romantic view of John Taylor and Saturday’s Warrior. Or is it the case that any righteous LDS man and woman could be happily married, as SWK maintained? I think SWk went too far (perhaps intentionally as hyperbole to press the point), but between these two schools of thought I prefer the pragmatism of SWK over the romanticism of Pres. Taylor. And it seems to me that if one is able to come to this view of things, it will result in a more realistic search for a spouse and will improve the odds of successfully marrying. (That is, if one holds to the idea of a single soulmate there might be a tendency to keep looking for that perfect person rather than going for the almost perfect person at hand.)
Second, I view this as a venn diagram, with two overlapping circles. One circle represents the universe of those of the opposite sex whom we would be willing to marry, and the other represents the universe of those who would be willing to marry us. The potential candidates are going to fall in the space where the two circles overlap. So it’s sort of like financial management, where you can either rein in expenses or increase income or both. One strategy is to increase the universe of people you would be willing to marry (by becoming more open to different possibilities), and the other would be to increase the universe of those who would be open to you as a partner. For men, this latter point would include things like hitting the gym, making sure your hygiene is impeccable, buying some new clothes, not living with your mother, etc. The idea is to increase the overlapping space in the diagram and increase the odds of success.
So what are some of the key bottlenecks? One is whether you are going to limit yourself to Mormons as possibilities. When I was young, I never would have even considered dating outside the Church. But if I were in that position now, I think I would be more open to it. What are your thoughts about this issue? (One possibility is to convert your spouse, but what if he doesn’t convert–are you going to call off the romance then? It’s a difficult issue.)
Another bottleneck is geography. There are lots of LDS singles, but typically only a small number live in your immediate area. One way of dealing with this is by using internet dating sites. (Any experiences out there–whether positive or negative–with such sites?) Another would be to do some traveling. There are some singles here in the Chicago area who for their vacations go to places with a high density of LDS singles and spend a couple of weeks meeting new people that way.
What do people think about involving family and friends in setting you up? Has this worked for you, or do you have horror stories? I’m sure one problem is that people tend to think that if you’re both Mormon, that’s all in common that you need. So it might be helpful to be a little more specific with them what you are looking for.
There’s a lot more to think about when searching for a spouse, so let’s turn it over to your thoughts and experience and advice. What works, what doesn’t?