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The average age at marriage has increased in the last few decades, and the number of children born to LDS married couples has decreased.It is timely to share some concerns about some current practices in the relationships of young LDS singles in North America.Gather your courage and look for someone to pair off with.Start with a variety of dates with a variety of young women, and when that phase yields a good prospect, proceed to courtship. That is what the Lord intends for His young adult sons and daughters.The old-fashioned date was a wonderful way to get acquainted with a member of the opposite sex. It allowed you to see how you treat others and how you are treated in a one-on-one situation.It gave opportunities to learn how to initiate and sustain a mature relationship. My single brothers and sisters, follow the simple dating pattern and you don’t need to do your looking through Internet chat rooms or dating services—two alternatives that can be very dangerous or at least unnecessary or ineffective.There is another possible contributing factor to the demise of dating and the prominence of the culture of hanging out.For many years the Church has counseled young people not to date before age 16.
Men, if you have returned from your mission and you are still following the boy-girl patterns you were counseled to follow when you were 15, it is time for you to grow up.As a single, I had to go searching for service projects, and now I have one every night across the table. In closing, I think about the painful times in our lives.They will happen whether you are single or whether you are married.Prepare yourself for life—even a single life—by education, experience, and planning. I am asking her to come up and tell us what is in her heart. I was married in my middle 50s, and I feel like I’m becoming the poster girl for “old.” Before I start, I feel to tell you how much you are loved by your Heavenly Father. Make it count by dedicating your time to your Heavenly Father. It is something that happens every day of our lives. It can be very painful to be single for such a long time, especially in a church of families. On my 50th birthday my brother-in-law was reading the newspaper. I would say to everyone in this room, always remember that your first calling is as a mother or as a father.We are in Oakland, and I’ve just been to the visitors’ center across the way with President Robert Bauman of the mission. He said, “Hey, it says here in the paper that at age 50 your chances for getting killed by terrorists are better than your chances for getting married.” I knew that dating was tough when he said that, but don’t give up. Develop those domestic talents, talents of love and talents of service.