I was given excellent advice from Brother VanShaar as I was ending my mission and heading home. He said, "Sister Dunroe as you date and seek out a marriage partner, please choose a priesthood leader not a project." I hurts me that I remember so well the best advice that I didn't take.
I began dating 30 months after my marriage ended, 8 months after the divorce was final. I was an emotional mess and put off dating. Finally, after lots of healing had taken place, I took the plunge. I didn't feel ready or have a huge desire to date, but I had a nagging feeling that it was time to go for it.
In that time, I have been out with 15 guys and dated 6 for an extended period. It seemed like 5 of those were priesthood leaders, but all were ALSO projects. They had really been broken by the previous women in their lives. 5 of them have thanked me repeatedly for boosting their confidence, making them feel attractive and worthy of a fantastic partner. One even called me his hero when I said that I no longer wanted to develop our relationship. It was a little weird, but it has gotten me thinking. At first I was resentful that I had used my precious time to provide free emotional therapy to these men that I would no longer date. I WAS COACHING THEM FOR THEIR FUTURE WIVES ;-)
My attitude and perspective have been changing (thankfully). The last couple of days have been really enlightening.
I started to open my heart to the women who may be investing time in the man I will marry and
I scratched out this letter to those ladies as I sat in the parking lot after a temple session today:
Dear Dating Ladies,
Thank you my sisters for not playing games with him. Thank you for building him up and making him feel proud to be with you. Thank you for being direct with him if he hurts your feelings or lets you down. Pouting is pointless and tantrums are ridiculous. Thank you for making him feel attractive, but not tossing meaningless affection his way. Thank you for listening to him and the details about his family and life. I really appreciate that you do not add stress and drama or prattle on and on about problems in your own life. Mostly, I appreciate that you encourage him to attend the temple often and hold significant family home evenings with his kids. If you are currently studying the scriptures with him--I will love you forever! And have fun!! Laugh lots, but recognize, please, that he won't be yours forever. It's okay to let him go when he meets me.