First, a disclaimer. The story about us starting to date has become so famous and widespread among the Saints in my nation (as well as in some neighboring nations), that if I revealed all the details here, I wouldn’t be able to contain my anonymity. So, you will have to be content with bits and pieces of the story that is unknown to the rest of the mortals, until my wife and myself decide to come out full force.
Let me first answer an important question. Why have I ever, for the love of Pete, started dating girls? Wasn’t I a diehard, true blue homosexual? Well, yes I was, in a sense that I had zero attraction to girls. But my gaydar was pathetic. I actually had what I call a reverse gaydar. I was having crushes on males, but they would always, uniformly turn out to be straight.
Respect and brotherly love
One particular situation with a guy was legendary. When I was 21, I had a crush on a guy, an acquaintance of mine, who was two years younger than me. I approached him, and we went for a drink, and we talked and I carefully brought him to the point where we comfortably started to discuss my crush.
Now, another odd thing about me is that during my teenage years and throughout my twenties I had a number of straight male buddies with whom I developed a deep, meaningful, lasting and utterly appropriate connection. It was one of them on whom I had a first crush ever. It was also them to whom I came out first. And the odd thing is that those my male buddies have never, ever embarrassed me or rejected me or treated me in any other way but with utmost respect and brotherly love.
Winning me over
So, the same thing happened with this my acquaintance. When I told him that I was in love with him, he responded with calmness and consideration. He made clear to me that he was interested in girls and not in boys, but was also totally cool, appropriately curious and understanding. At one point during our conversation, he made an effort – without a guile or embarrassment – to win me over for the heterosexual side. I remember being disappointed with his response, but now I find his behavior flat out ridiculous nice.
Anyway, after being disappointed time and again, I was slowly coming to realization that a romantic relationship with a guy may not be in cards for me. That would have been much more uncomfortable thought, had my atheism also not started to slowly but surely melt away. So, in essence, as I was becoming more spiritual, I was getting more powerful promptings to try to make out with girls. The problem was, of course, that those promptings did not coincide with the increasing attraction to girls. I still had zero romantic feelings towards them.
My nebulous chatter
Dating girls prior to my joining the church was ridiculous and pathetic, which cannot get any worse than that. When all is said and done, it boils down to a couple rendezvouses with a lady who, bless her heart, was patient enough to listen to my nebulous chatter about our togetherness. Frankly, I was beyond clueless what to do with her and anyone of her ilk.
I’m embarrassed to admit that the situation didn’t change much even after I joined the church. Except for a few minor details. Let me first say that the marriage in the country of my residence among general populace is pretty much considered a prison sentence. If one can avoid it at all cost, it is advised that one should. That sentiment pretty much spills over into the local church composed of predominantly die hard converts like myself who still haven’t had a chance to grasp finer tenets of the doctrine like the importance of marriage and family. But at least, dating with chastity in mind among local church members is not considered as sinful as it is among non-members.
Paying the price
At this point, I would like to pause, and say that I’m poking fun at myself and things because I am painfully aware how next to nothing I knew about dating girls. I was feeling foggy and hazy and blurry and totally unsure about next steps. The only thing that kept me moving was the powerful testimony of the truthfulness of the restored Gospel that I had obtained and slight, but unequivocal promptings of the Spirit.
Later, when I already got married, I’ve encountered president Spencer W. Kimball’s quote which remained my beacon of light in times of great trials, so much so that it feels as if I had read it much earlier, while I was still dating.
“Soul mates’ are fiction and an illusion”, president Kimball says, “and while every young man and young woman will seek with all diligence and prayerfulness to find a mate with whom life can be most compatible and beautiful, yet it is certain that almost any good man and any good woman can have happiness and a successful marriage if both are willing to pay the price.”
I consider these words as true as they can be. I sought God’s will. And I clearly remember, that – as I was dating my now wife – I was determined to pay whatever the price. And I paid some of it, and I’m still paying it. But as I look back, there is no question in my mind that I chose the right.