His missionary name tag still on his lapel, and scriptures in his hand, Tyler* climbed inside the SUV his parents brought to the airport to welcome home their returned missionary. All the way home, Tyler, unusually loquacious, recounted experiences from his mission. Late that evening, when guests and extended family were gone the newly returned missionary sat alone with his parents.

“So what’s next, son?” Dad asked with a grin. Tyler sighed and tears filled his eyes. “I know I’m supposed to start looking for a wife.” He paused to quell deep sobs. “But I don’t even know how to date!”

Prior to his mission, girls flocked to Tyler. His green eyes, naturally tan skin, and dimpled smile caused more than one young lady to gaze with longing at this obedient Latter-day Saint young man. His shyness didn’t deter the girls, but rather seemed to challenge them. Some made it clear they were interested in a relationship that went beyond friendship.

A defining moment occurred shortly after Tyler’s 16th birthday when a stunningly beautiful girl began to pursue his affection. Tempting enough was the long, blonde hair that brushed her waistline, but in addition to her marvelous looks this young lady could sing and dance with enough skill that she had literally been in the movies.

Like any 16 year old boy would be, Tyler was smitten. He imagined her holding his arm as he escorted her to prom. He pictured jaws dropping as he walked past his friends on the football team. He burst with pride as he contemplated changing his status on Facebook to “in a relationship.”

Mom and Dad saw their son being rapidly swept off his feet. They were swift to remind him that the Church had taken a stand on high-school dating. They reminded him of the words of President Hinckley, “When you are young, do not get involved in steady dating. When you reach an age where you think of marriage, then is the time to become so involved. But you boys who are in high school don’t need this, and neither do the girls.” “Of course, we trust you to do what’s right,” his parents reminded him, “but don’t forget President Benson specifically counseled not to have a steady relationship until after your mission.”

Tyler struggled with his emotions, and wrestled with his conscience. Days went by as he swayed between one decision and then another. The sweet, attractive young lady who was pursuing Tyler could not understand what was wrong with becoming boyfriend and girlfriend. “We’re not going to do anything against the church,” she insisted. After a grueling conversation Tyler finally announced, “Having a girlfriend is against Church teachings. We’re not supposed to go steady until after a mission.”

The rest of his high school career Tyler pursued several sports that he relished. He earned his Duty to God and his Eagle Scout award. He held several positions of responsibility in his Young Men’s quorum. He concentrated on earning excellent grades, and attended college on a scholarship. He served his entire mission without distractions, entirely focused on the work of the Lord.

Now home from his mission, Tyler could no longer shy away from young ladies, protected by the fact that he had not yet served his mission. The realization terrified him. “I’ve never even had a girlfriend,” he sobbed to his parents. “How do you expect me to find a wife?”

“Nobody expects you to find a wife without first finding a girlfriend,” his parents assured him. “Don’t rush yourself. Just start with friendship. Find a girl who has your similar interests and invite her to join you in doing what you both enjoy.”

Tyler followed his parents’ counsel. Accepting that marriage could be months or even years away, he decided it was time to simply make some friends. He spent a year at college surrounded by young people his age but when he returned home for a summer break he was no longer surrounded by friends. The prospect of a lonely, boring summer prompted him to attend institute in order to meet some people his own age.

At institute he not only met people his own age, but he met people with his same interests. The first night there a group of young adults made plans to meet at the beach that weekend. The same group took kayaks out on the river, and they began staying after institute to play volleyball.

One day Tyler was sent on an errand requiring a two-hour round trip in the car. Despairing at the thought of a long, tedious afternoon, he invited one of the girls who played volleyball to join him. Tiffany joined him that afternoon, and the next one too. They spent the rest of the summer together, working, playing, studying, talking, deepening their friendship. At the end of the summer Tyler decided he was ready for a girlfriend. Both he and Tiffany posted a new status on Facebook: in a relationship.

In December their relationship status changed again. “In a relationship” became “engaged.”

Nobody was happier about this change than Tiffany’s parents, for they had been watching Tyler for the past nine years. When Tyler was 14 years old he went on a Stake Pioneer Trek. His Ma and Pa on Trek were quite impressed with this 14 year old boy who was eager to pull the wagon, quick to gather firewood, and expert at starting a roaring fire. They came home from their Pioneer Trek and told their 11 year old daughter they had found the boy they wanted her to marry.

For nine years Tiffany’s parents teased her about the boy from the pioneer trek. “We know who you’re going to marry,” they laughed. “Better be on your best behavior. You know who is waiting for you.” When he invited his volleyball friend to accompany him on an errand, Tyler never imagined how closely his Trek parents were watching. Only later, when Tyler and Tiffany decided to be sealed in the temple, did he learn that he was making a prophecy come true.

The prophecy of Tiffany’s dad was not the only one that came true for Tyler as he was sealed to his sweetheart in the temple. The “If, Then” prophecy of all prophets came true for Tyler. If you have the faith to follow the counsel of the Lord, given through his modern day prophets, then you shall find joy beyond comprehension.


JeaNette G. Smith is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and the author of Unsteady Dating: Resisting the Rush to Romance, available at www.unsteadydating.com.

*Tyler and Tiffany are fictitious names, but the story told here is not.