Here at BYU there are two goals for almost every student. Graduate and get married. Sometimes one comes before the other and other times they both don’t end up happening. It was pretty common for me to think that both were dreams would never become a reality. I was struggling to find out what to study and what types of things I was good at. Meanwhile I was coming out of an ending relationship and I was lost and starting to wonder what direction I wanted to go.
I spent a lot of time at my parents house trying to spend my time around people who lift me up and inspire me. I really needed to take control of my life. Then all of the sudden my mom sat me down to have a little chat. I sighed and knew exactly what the chat would be about…
She said, “Thomas I have a deal for you.”
I perked right up, was this actually not going to be a chat about dating? Was there something in this for me?
She continued, “Thomas I want you to go on 7 first dates before you go on a second date.”
“What!? That is going to take me like 5 months to do! I can’t do that!”
The whole time I was thinking what is in this for me? What is the catch? If there is a good reward I can manage to do this for a little bit.
I asked my mom what the reward would be and she told me she thought it would be a good experience for me to meet a lot of new people and learn what I wanted in my future spouse. I was frustrated that there was no catch I was hoping she would use some revelatory power being my mother to promise me that I would find my eternal companion through this process. But she didn’t. She just said that it would be a good experience.
So trying to be a good son I started on this journey. I began to be more social I started to think about what my strengths were. Optimism started to come back into my thoughts. I started to go on dates. I really was learning. I was finding things I liked and didn’t like. Date 1, Date 2, Date3, Date4, by the time I had date 4 I had really started to like getting to know Ashley! She was bright and wonderful she was exciting and funny and I really wanted to take her out on a date. I wanted to be strategic about it. Because I was sure I wanted to go on more dates than just one with Ashley!
In our singles ward at the time we had ward date nights. And lucky for me there were two coming up for consecutive weekends. That meant those dates would be #5&6 and then I would be at date 7 and be able to take Ashley on a second date (if all went well). The ward dates came and went and it was my time!
I made a promise to myself that the next time I saw Ashley I would go up and ask her out. So about the second week in February I was walking to class and saw Ashley walking down a hill towards a parking lot. I knew she didn’t see me but I also knew the promise I had made. I ran down the hill and started talking to her. I asked if she wanted to go to dinner and she said yes. Then I asked if she was available for Thursday night, she worked, Friday night, work again. Then I asked about Saturday night. It was February 14th I didn’t want it to be too cliche with it being Valentine’s Day and everything but she said it was perfect.
So I got a haircut, I washed my car, I bought a Valentine’s Day flower, and prepared for Saturday night. We went out and every moment of the date was so much fun! There was never a dull moment. I laughed more than I had in years. I had the best first date of my life. It was wonderful and we have seen each other every day since! Date after date I grew deeper and deeper in love. I knew what I was looking for because of the experiences I had had on the 7 first dates.
I know that honoring our parents is a commandment. I know that it is what God wants us to do! I have felt many blessings because of it.
President Russell M Nelson said, “My dear sisters, whatever your calling, whatever your circumstances, we need your impressions, your insights, and your inspiration. We need you to speak up and speak out in ward and stake councils. We need each married sister to speak as “a contributing and fullpartner” as you unite with your husband in governing your family. Married or single, you sisters possess distinctive capabilities and special intuition you have received as gifts from God. We brethren cannot duplicate your unique influence.”
I’m so grateful for my mother and for her deal. I’m grateful for how it pushed me and how I learned to see what things I wanted. I found the love of my life! I am so grateful for my experiences and for where I am now. I love my wife Ashley and I’m so grateful for our relationship!