Throughout my dating life I have heard various reasons why people had broken off a dating relationship, some were good reasons, some were not so good. One of the peculiarities of dating today and perhaps in every era is the search for the person who was “meant for me”, or ‘the one‘, a soul mate – that elusive someone special who was meant to be with me from the moment we were born, or in the LDS faith, from before the foundation of the world. Hence one of the oft cited reasons for breakups happens to be, “I didn’t feel he (or she) was the One”. Many times when this statement is given as a reason for a breakup, there is no more discusson and the rationale behind the decision stops there – it is just the way it is. Could someone really get an answer from the spirit telling them this particular person they have been dating is not the one and only person for whom they have been fore-ordained? Perhaps; but more often, this would not be the case.
In my dating life, I realized after a while that the idea of a “One” for me was a fallacy, and I suspect it is largely that way for almost everyone else on the planet. It is true there was only one Adam for one Eve, one Issac for Rebecca, The daughters of Ishmael for the sons of Lehi, and perhaps the same situation exists for many others, but for the majority of people, LDS singles included, there are likely several ones that could become the One you marry, or in other words you have the luxury of choosing from among many faithful LDS singles which ones meet your standards and share your same values and goals. President Spencer W. Kimball stated:
“Soul mates” are fiction and an illusion; and while every young man and young woman will seek with all diligence and prayerfulness to find a mate with whom life can be most compatible and beautiful, yet it is certain that almost any good man and any good woman can have happiness and a successful marriage if both are willing to pay the price. [“Marriage and Divorce,” in Speeches of the Year, 1976 (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University, 1977), 146]
So what is it that we should be looking for in a person whom we are dating? What constitutes a good man or good woman and what is the price they have to be willing to pay? In a General Conference address President Ezra Taft Benson reminded us that we are not looking for perfection and told us what the important qualities are that we should be looking for in those we date:
Now, brethren, do not expect perfection in your choice of a mate. Do not be so particular that you overlook her most important qualities of having a strong testimony, living the principles of the gospel, loving home, wanting to be a mother in Zion, and supporting you in your priesthood responsibilities. [“To The Single Adult Brethren of the Church”, General Conference, April 1988]
In your search for an eternal companion, we are counseled to be patient and get to know the person and their qualities. Don’t expect perfection or jump ship when you discover they are human (ie: have flaws). Elder Richard G. Scott counseled:
I suggest that you not ignore many possible candidates who are still developing these attributes, seeking the one who is perfected in them. You will likely not find that perfect person, and if you did, there would certainly be no interest in you. These attributes are best polished together as husband and wife. [“Receive the Temple Blessings,” Ensign, May 1999, 26]
I never really agreed with the “One for me” or “Soul Mate” idea myself but I did have to learn some things. As you continue your search, remember you are not looking for perfection, but someone with whom you can work towards perfection. Work hard, do the right things and be patient.
The Right Person, the Right Place, the Right Time, Thomas B. Holman
August 01, 2000 BYU devotional
To The Single Adult Brethren of the Church, Ezra Taft Benson
April 1988, General Conference,