Elder Robert D. Hales’ counsel in the last October 2015 General Conference has gotten a lot of attention among the young single adults. He said, “…none of us marry perfection; we marry potential.” As I ponder on this counsel, I often wonder what young adults consider as “potential.”

I have quite a few single friends and I’m always eager to give them referrals or even set them up on  blind dates. In my mind, I am giving them an opportunity to meet a few “potentials”. However, I always get confused with their reactions. Our conversations usually turn out like this:

Me: Are you dating anyone recently?

Friend: No, not really.

Me: Well, would you be interested if I set you up with a friend of mine?

Friend: Sure. That would be fun.

Me: Do you know _____? Would you be interested in going out with her on a date?

Friend: Aaaah… Hmmm…

Me: Okay. How about ______?

Friend: Oh! I know her. Eeehh…

Me: (confused)

With this kind of reaction, I start to question if they don’t see the potential that I see or they’re just not interested. What is really going on in their minds? I don’t want to be a nag, but hear me out my single friends. I just have a few thoughts to share.

  1. The concept of dating as taught by the leaders of the church is not “panliligaw.” Dating is when two people go out and get to know each other. Elder Hales said, “Dating is the opportunity for lengthy conversations.” That does not mean you have to like each other right away. You’re basically developing friendships. Remember, you will never know one’s potential until you give yourself a chance to get to know the person.
  2. With the right understanding of dating, YSAs should take the opportunity to date as many people as they can. It’s a filtering process. You figure out who you like, and those who you would only consider being friends with.
  3. Courtship, which is the “ligawan” part is when two people take it to the next level and make certain commitments along the way. Not all courtship leads to marriage and not all dating leads to courtship either, but you’ll never know figure that out until you take risks.
  4. Everyone has potential, but you choose to marry the one you would want to spend the eternity with. Meaning, choose the one who makes you happy. Someone who will make covenants with you in the temple and will vow to keep those covenants.

I know dating and getting married is not that simple. I’m not saying that it is. I just want to echo what Elder Hales taught all of us in General Conference. We marry potential! And the only way to see that potential is when we start dating as the leaders have repeatedly counseled. So, there’s nothing else left to say but… Go forth and date!