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Hope For Those In A Dating Wilderness

My daughter couldn’t find a date for prom.

As Senior Class President, my oldest daughter Lizzy had spent the whole year fundraising and planning for prom. She was expected to go. But as the only member of the church in her grade, she did not know a single boy in her high school whom she felt would be willing to keep church standards on prom night. There was one nice boy in the ward a year younger but he had a girlfriend who would not have understood him going to prom with someone else.

For Lizzy, there was no way to date in high school and keep church standards. We used to laugh at The New Era issues on dating with articles that assumed everyone knows a group of boys and girls willing to live church dating standards—waiting till 16, group dates, not steady dating. I know that in some parts of the country, even some parts of San Diego where we live, such groups exist. And if you live somewhere with a healthy dating culture you should make the most of it. But as the world’s standards drift further from God’s standards, more and more young women feel the same as my daughter did five years ago— that there is absolutely no one to date!

Lizzy’s Senior Prom. PC: Ruth Mitchell

Goodness, I felt the same way and I grew up in Salt Lake. I thought I didn’t date much. Looking back on it, I dated plenty. Maybe no one is satisfied with their dating life. There’s this myth that you turn 16 and there will be boys lined up to date you. That may be the reality for some girls, but it’s not for most. I spent so much time worrying about whether I’d ever find someone who shared my faith and my interests. Spoiler: I’m happily married and my husband exceeded all my expectations. It was as if I’d written a list of all the things I wanted in a husband and God checked them off one by one—plus giving me a few bonuses, like curly blond hair and having the same taste in music. I’ve always felt exceedingly blessed.

When Lizzy started high school, I began to worry about who she was going to marry. There was no one to date. She spent her weekends with her family while her cousins in Utah appeared to have this full social life. I began to pray more earnestly for all of my children to find someone to marry. About this time, I was reading in The Book of Mormon. Nephi mentions that he was married to one of the daughters of Ishmael and in the next verse he writes, “I Nephi had been blessed of the Lord exceedingly.” (1 Nephi 16:8) I knew exactly what he meant by “blessed of the Lord exceedingly.” That was exactly how I felt about my husband. I realized that if a mother ever had reason to worry about her children’s dating life, it was Sariah. They were literally in the wilderness! And yet, the Lord provided a wife for Nephi that exceeded his expectations. I continued praying (I still do) for my children to meet and marry the right person. But in those verses I found comfort. I realized that as long as my children keep the commandments and trust the Lord as Nephi did, he will bless them exceedingly.

PC: Ruth Mitchell



I believe this is true of all righteous young women, wherever you might live in the world, whatever your dating situation might be. I’ve seen this particular miracle many times over in the lives of faithful young men and women. If you put your trust in God by keeping his commandments, he will bless you exceedingly. Of course, all in God’s time.

Lizzy and Benji on their wedding day. PC: Ruth Mitchell

Lizzy didn’t find a date to the senior prom. She decided to go stag and had a wonderful time. A couple of months later, while visiting cousins in Utah she went on a group hike up Mount Timpanogos. On that hike, she and one boy far outstripped the rest of the group. They spent the whole hike together. After twelve hours of conversation, they found they still had more they wanted to say to each other. Lizzy and Benji didn’t start dating that summer. Lizzy went to BYU and then on a mission to Bolivia. Benji went to the University of Utah. Right before he left on his mission to Canada, he started writing Lizzy on her mission. After writing to each other for two years and two months, they officially started dating. Last October, they were married in the Newport Beach Temple. Lizzy says she never dreamed she’d find someone so perfect for her. They have so much in common—obviously they love to hike, they both speak Spanish, they love cooking and baking together, they have similar views on spending money, and raising children and as a bonus: he’s taller than her— even with heels on. Plus, he’s a good dancer.

Lizzy couldn’t really date in high school. She couldn’t even find a date to prom. But like Nephi, she’s been blessed of the Lord exceedingly.


Lizzy and Benji’s wedding video. Used with permission by Ruth Mitchell.

Author profile

Ruth is the happily married mother of four. One daughter is married and lives in Utah, another is serving a mission in Massachusetts. Her two sons,16 and 14, keep life exciting at home in San Diego. She shares her love of all things bookish on Instagram @literally.ruth.mitchell and recently published her first YA novel, Deleted. On Ruby Girl she plans to recommend uplifting fiction, as well as document real-life Latter-Day Saint love stories.

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Kristen
    May 20, 2020 at 8:48 am

    What beautiful insights and a hopeful message!!

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