President and Sister Kauwe share principles and expectations for dating at BYU-Hawaii devotional

From covenant-keeping to consent, the husband and wife of over 20 years teach students how they can navigate dating and prepare for marriage in a healthy, productive way

Harkening back to the university’s date night in January, BYU–Hawaii President John S.K. Kauwe III and his wife, Sister Monica Kauwe, offered students a set of principles and expectations to guide them as they date with the goal of an eternal marriage.

President and Sister Kauwe spoke side-by-side on Tuesday, May 7, 2024, during BYU–Hawaii’s first devotional of the semester and used the words of modern prophets to lay out how students should approach dating and relationships as they strive to heed God’s commandment to marry and raise children.

The couple relied largely on an address given to young adults in the summer of 2023 by President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency and his wife, Sister Kristen M. Oaks. They also promoted a list of helpful resources for dating found at

President Kauwe reiterated the teaching found in ”The Family: A Proclamation to the World” that “Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan.” He also noted how marriage, according to data from the General Social Survey, increases the odds of individual happiness.

Starting with personal preparation through covenant keeping

Sister Kauwe quoted Sister Oaks, who urged young adults in her 2023 address to “stop waiting” for a marriage prospect “and start preparing” for it through education, experience, planning and trusting in the Lord.

Sister Kauwe told students: “The foundational principle of dating and covenant marriage is personal preparation.”

She counseled her listeners to not dwell on their own imperfections. “When you elevate the way you honor your covenants and follow Jesus Christ, your physical, emotional, social, intellectual and spiritual wellness will be elevated too.”

President Kauwe added that that type of preparation will offer freedom from the fears often associated with dating, such as commitment and failure.

What exactly is a date?

President Kauwe reminded of President Oaks’ definition of dating — inspired by the latter’s granddaughter — in that a date consists of the “three p’s”: (1) planned ahead, (2) paid for, (3) paired off.

President Oaks counseled young adults in a 2005 address to engage in dating patterns that can mature into marriage and to avoid casual or group dating.

Sister Kauwe gave a disclaimer that a single date, or two, does not have to lead to marriage — nor is there an obligation to go on a second date, though going on a date with someone that one may not envision marrying could be a good learning experience. President Kauwe, quoting BYU–Hawaii faculty member Aaron Curtis, who said that it’s okay that most dates will not lead to marriage.

Sister Kauwe emphasized an extra characteristic of a good date: communication, including good listening. She then included four other guidelines:

  • Follow a plan that is shared with the other person ahead of time
  • Be in a safe environment and public area
  • Include a wholesome activity that allows for comfortable conversation
  • Have a clear, predetermined endpoint


President Kauwe issued a warning about physical touch, saying that “Any physical expression of affection or romantic interest, such as holding hands, an embrace, or a kiss should be preceded by clear communication and affirmative consent.

“Affirmative consent must be informed, voluntary and active, meaning that, through the demonstration of clear words or actions, a person has indicated permission to engage in mutually agreed-upon physical interaction.

“The absence of a ‘no’ does not mean ‘yes’ and consent on one occasion does not mean consent can be assumed from that time forth.”

He added, “you do not owe anyone any amount of physical affection for taking you out on a date.”

What about the second date and beyond?

President and Sister Kauwe at the podium from the backside.
President John S.K. Kauwe III and Sister Monica S. Kauwe speak during devotional at BYU–Hawaii in Laie, Hawaii, on May 7, 2024. | Monique Saenz, BYU–Hawaii

Sister Kauwe said that going on multiple dates does not necessarily have to translate into an exclusive relationship, but, regardless, President Kauwe said the only way to know the status and direction of a relationship is to communicate openly.

“Break-ups should not be dreaded; they are a healthy step forward when a relationship isn’t progressing,” Sister Kauwe said. “If you are feeling you don’t want a second date, or that you want to end a relationship, then communicate that! Be kind and candid. Don’t make the other person try to figure out your feelings. Don’t ghost people.”

She also stressed the importance of keeping the law of chastity as a relationship progresses.


President Kauwe poses for a photo with a group of young male students.
President John S.K. Kauwe III poses with BYU–Hawaii students following devotional in Laie, Hawaii, on May 7, 2024. | Bilguun Enkhbaatar, BYU–Hawaii

President Kauwe asked students to remember the counsel spoken by Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles that “[N]one of us marry perfection; we marry potential. The right marriage is not only about what I want; it’s also about what she — who is going to be my companion — wants and needs me to be.”

He repeated the importance of remaining chaste as a couple while growing in communication and spirituality.

What about marriage?

President and Sister Kauwe posing for a selfie with a group of students.
President and Sister Kauwe interact with BYU–Hawaii students following a devotional they gave in Laie, Hawaii, on May 7, 2024. | Bilguun Enkhbaatar, BYU–Hawaii

President Kauwe said that after marriage, a couple should continue their personal preparation, good communication and dating.

“Harmony in marriage comes only when one esteems the welfare of his or her spouse among the highest of priorities,” President Kauwe said quoting a talk by President Russell M. Nelson. “When that really happens, a celestial marriage becomes a reality, bringing great joy in this life and in the life to come.”

Sister Kauwe shared comforting words from Sister Oaks — who married for the first time at age 53 — that the Lord loves those who find themselves waiting a long time for marriage and that there is no specific timeline for starting a family. The focus should be, Sister Kauwe said, on making and keeping covenants, developing talents and seeking personal revelation.

President Kauwe closed with his testimony of the love of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, of modern prophetic guidance and of the sacred ordinances that make eternal families possible.

“Go forth with faith and confidence. Seek to make and honor eternal covenants, including being sealed to your eternal companion in the house of the Lord.”

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