Dear 100 Hour Board,
I'm in a 4-year program right now. It's kind of an intense programs, so you get to be super close friends with your classmates. There is a boy who likes me, who I really like back, but who I keep getting a firm, gentle "no" when I pray about dating. Usually God is kind of like "whatever makes you happy" in my dating life, so this is unusual to me.
I'm probably going to listen, because I feel like listening to God is important, but it makes me sad, and it's hard to explain to him why "I like you and you like me" isn't enough for us to date.
Can any of you share stories of times when you really wanted something but the answer was no? And how it turned out/how you dealt with the feelings at the time?
I had an experience like this once. I was in a relationship that was slowly falling apart that I was desperately trying to salvage. And when I sought revelation, I got a very strong answer that we needed to break up. It felt very strange to hear from God that what I needed to do to make progress towards marriage was to stop dating the person I had considered marrying. It took me some time to be able to make that decision, and God was patient with me in making it. Even months later, it's hard that I had to do that. But I don't regret it. God gave me time to understand on my own that it wouldn't work. And He's told me several times that "I wouldn't have guided you to move on from that relationship if there wasn't something better for you in store." I'm trying to wait on Him patiently for that promised blessing.
One thing that really helped me through this was Elder Rasband's most recent General Conference address. He said,
We must be confident in our first promptings. Sometimes we rationalize; we wonder if we are feeling a spiritual impression or if it is just our own thoughts. When we begin to second-guess, even third-guess, our feelings—and we all have—we are dismissing the Spirit; we are questioning divine counsel. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that if you will listen to the first promptings, you will get it right nine times out of ten.
I knew what my first prompting was—I had just been trying to ignore it. I found that God is patient with us, but His guidance is true. And He keeps His promises. Things work out in the end. God doesn't always tell us what to do, so when He does that usually means there's some important blessing He wants for us.
Good luck on your journey!
Dear Sister in Solidarity,
Once upon a time, pre-mission, I was going on dates with a boy, and I really liked him. For the purposes of my story we'll call him Bryce. Bryce liked me too, so we kept going on dates and spending time together. We were coworkers, so we saw each other a lot and had known each other for a while before this sudden mysterious attraction began, and everything was great.
That is, it seemed great until I prayed about it and felt very strongly that we shouldn't date. I ignored the prompting, because having someone who actually liked me back was so new and exciting, and I felt like I would be a fool to give that up. So I continued to spend lots of time with Bryce, but the whole time I had a terrible nagging feeling in the back of my head, with a vague sense of guilt constantly following me, so it wasn't even enjoyable. I finally decided that, hard as it would be, I couldn't keep going on dates with him, because I just couldn't ignore God any longer. The day that I decided I absolutely wouldn't go on any more dates with Bryce, he texted me saying, "Hey, are you excited for our date tonight?" and I wanted to kick myself because I realized I had forgotten we already had a date planned for that night. I was super stressed about what to do, but finally decided to go, and tell him afterwards that this would be our last date. We were doing dinner and a movie. I spent the whole time making incredibly awkward, forced conversation as I frantically thought, "What am I doing? I need to stop leading this poor guy on!", and trying to avoid any physical contact with him. Needless to say, it was a very awkward date.
After the date he dropped me off, and I told him we needed to talk. He had noticed how weirdly I was acting on the date, so he was sort of expecting some bad news, but that didn't make it any easier to basically tell him, "You're great, and I like you, and you like me, but we just can't date." This all happened a long time ago, so I can't remember exactly what I said, but I think I might have actually said, "You're great, just not for me," and I said we both needed to focus on getting out on our missions. He was really sad, and I felt like a jerk. Then it didn't get any easier when I saw him at work the next day with his sad dejected face, or when our mutual friends would tell me things like, "Bryce and I talked for a long time yesterday about how sad he is and how much he misses you." I felt TERRIBLE. But also, I felt a lot of peace and knew I had done the right thing, and that made me feel like less of a jerk, despite everything.
A few months later we both left on our missions and had zero contact for two years, so we had plenty of time to move on. And honestly, that was the best thing that could have happened. He got over me and I got to stop feeling like a jerk, and we both got to grow and change and serve the Lord. We're both now happily married to completely different people, and with the benefit of hindsight I can see that a relationship with him would probably have been pretty terrible. It was hard in the moment, but boy oh boy am I glad I followed the prompting to break things off with him when I did. Being able to completely focus on my mission without any other distractions was a huge blessing to me. I know that I personally learned and grew and changed a lot in the years following our little thing, and I might not have made those changes if I had been distracted by a relationship. So everything worked out, and now I'm living happily ever after with Q, and life is actually great. I'm so glad I let God take away something good so he could give me so many more things that were even better.
Follow the spirit, follow your heart, and trust in good things to come, friend.