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Class Information

Below are the date, time, location, and outline for this class.

50 Great Dates: Lots of fun…but so much more!

Taught by Michael Williams


Day Time Location
Saturday, August 3 1 p.m. Hinckley 240
Rob Ahrendsen

Michael Williams


Michael Williams is a licensed Marriage and Family therapist, having helped hundreds of couples in California and Idaho since 1988. He has also served as adjunct and full-time faculty at BYU-Idaho in the Department of Home and Family since 2008.

More importantly Williams and his wife of 28 years, Ruth, were and are dedicated daters, and remind their five adult children tirelessly about the need to do the same.

Class Outline

Dating seems to be a lost art. It is not that people don't want to go out on dates, they just don't know how. More importantly they don't know why dating is so important. We'll address both the art and science-the "doctrine of dating"-and you'll leave with an indispensable set of resources to help make you a dating ninja.

Learning Objectives:

Over the course of 25-years' experience counseling distressed couples it has been easy to predict current marital challenges by collecting a basic history of how the couple dated and how each had dated prior to this relationship.

1. Elder Oakes and other inspired leaders have strongly encouraged young adults and teens to return to dating as a means of preparing for marriage as well as mate selection.

a.    "Dating versus Hanging Out" (Ensign, June 2006)

b.    April 2010 New Era (entire issue)

c.     April 2010 Ensign                                              

i. "Seeking and Receiving Personal Revelation"

ii. "Confidence Tests: From Fear to Faith in the Marriage Decision"

iii. "Making Temple Marriage a Priority"

iv. "Making the Marriage Decision"

v. "Becoming a Quality Person Now"

d. Note that the April 2010 Liahona offered the same resources in April 2010, strongly suggesting that the counsel to date is not limited to the Saints in America or western cultures.

2. A date is distinguished from other types of male/female socializing by three characteristics:

a. Planned: Someone, usually the male, makes specific plans for the activity-when, where and what-and communicates those to the other. Adjustments are made as needed by working together.

b. Paid for: One of them, usually the male, provides the resources necessary for the activity to take place. Provision need not be financial; it may mean collecting needed resources.

c. Paired off: The woman and man are partners for the duration of the event, even if there is no romantic attachment.

3. The characteristics above-planned, paid for and paired off coincide significantly with the three husband/father roles enumerated in The Family: A Proclamation to the World. Practicing the behavior in dating helps to strengthen as well as demonstrate the ability to fulfill the corresponding role in marriage and parenting.

a. Planned - Preside: As a young man practices planning outings and activities which meet the needs and interests of both parties-and then works with the young woman to plan and make adjustments as needed-he strengthens and demonstrates his abilities to preside within a family.

b. Paid for - Provide: As a young man practices pulling together resources to facilitate the activity he strengthens and demonstrates his abilities as a provider.

c. Paired off - Protect: As a young man and woman pair off for an activity each practices commitment, even for a very short time, as each is responsible for the well-being of the other during this activity. It provides an important opportunity for him to attend to the needs of his date, protecting their integrity and assuring her well-being throughout the date.

4. Young women similarly get the chance to practice and demonstrate corresponding family skill sets, including the skill of nurturing the best behaviors and qualities in the dating relationship.

5. There skill sets are best developed beginning at a relatively young age, rather than waiting until one is interested in selecting a marriage partner.

a. Dances beginning at age 14 provide proper "speed dating" opportunities. Skills in inviting, engaging/participating with proper boundaries and disengaging are practiced.

b. Group dating beginning at age 16 builds confidence and skills long before courtship begins.

c. Exclusive dating should be avoided until one is ready for marriage, per President Gordon B. Hinckley.

6. The best dates provide specific opportunities to get to know one another, and to practice the types of behaviors valued in marriage.

a. This becomes especially important in courtship.

b. Current and past behavior are the best predictors of future behavior; one cannot reasonably assume a potential mate with demonstrate any positive quality not currently demonstrated on a regular basis.

c. Engage in the kinds of activities that will highlight and facilitate practice of the behaviors that will be most important in marriage (eg: hard work, cooperation, accommodation, mutual problem solving)

7. Testify of inspired directives to help us prepare for most important roles-family roles.

8. A list of "50 Great Dates" with instructions and rationale will be provided to participants.