From the get-go, the temple is a really foreign concept.
After an individual gets confirmed, given the right circumstances, they can get a temple recommend right then and there. For me, I got baptized on a Saturday, confirmed on Sunday, and then right afterwards I had my temple recommend interview to do baptisms for the dead. By Tuesday, I was able to do my first round of vicarious work, and let me tell you-- it was so beautiful.
Even though I was at the temple twice a week after that doing work for my ancestors, though, the idea of the rest of the temple was really, really difficult to conceptualize. My whole life I'd grown up with cathedrals being the big draw for worship, and that was just mass at a much more impressive venue. For a long time, I thought that the rest of the temple was just one huge room that you just... sat in (spoiler: it's not). Embarrassingly enough, I didn't even know there were more vicarious work to be done throughout the rest of the temple until I was dating my husband.
The reason why it took me so long to find out was because I was really nervous about asking questions. I knew that what happened in the temple was sacred and those who were already endowed needed to be careful about what they said. I was afraid I was going to get in trouble if I asked too many questions about it so I just kept my mouth shut.
If you're a recent convert and this is what you're currently thinking, you are WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG.
Of course we can't talk about the temple in full detail, but you can always ask questions! Those who have been through the temple know pretty well what's okay to talk about and what's not, and they'll kindly let you know. But for converts who are simply trying to understand THE TEMPLE, you as the significant other, have the responsibility of answering those questions to the best of your ability. Think of this as an answer to all those prayers you've been saying *wink wink* about having missionary experiences, because that's what this is.
Look: I sat through two years worth of missionary discussions. I have seen literally every blessed object lesson there is. Even after I had a baptism date set and planned, the missionaries came to my door to check on me ALL. THE. TIME. And yet at the time I had no idea where to "put" the temple in my brain. It wasn't until Grant took me to the temple and sat me down in the waiting room with me for a few hours where he gave me the green light to ask any question I could think of did I really start to develop a testimony of the divine nature of the temple.
Her family probably won't even like you
Okay, don't get discouraged, hear me out. I remember once I "turned Mormon," my family really didn't like the guys I was dating. It wasn't because they were bad guys, it was because my "mormon-ness" was being solidified and the idea of having some bright-eyed, bushy tailed RM in the house sounded really, really annoying. In fact, whether my aggressively-sarcastic family even met the guy or not, they had nicknames based off of the pictures I sent-- I won't go into details, but one of the more mild names was "Girl Butt."
So when my husband-- the brightest eyed and the bushiest-tailed of returned missionaries-- showed up at our door, they showed more mercy.
If the person you're dating is the only member in their family, you're treading in uncharted waters. You may be like my husband who was used to girls' parents falling all over him from the get-go, suddenly thrown into a situation where only one person out of several in a room actually wants you there. Just understand that it has nothing to do with you and it isn't worth the energy getting offended. Just be patient with them, keep being a good guy, and show Christ-like love.
What Grant understood more than the other guys I dated was that my family was going to be outstandingly different than what he was used to. He understood sarcasm was their way of coping with another new adjustment (e.g. daughter dating annoying RMs) and there was no way he could force them to like him-- that had to happen on their own terms. And that is exactly what happened. Now, my Mom and Grant can engage in the same level of witty banter that we're used to, and I'm pretty convinced my brother likes my cool husband more than me (they certainly spend more time together). It took a long time and a lot of flack, but it really worked out so, so beautifully.
If you two do get married, be ready to make some concessions
Bringing up marriage with a girl can be scary enough-- now introduce it to a girl who might still be grappling with the fact that her family won't even be able to come and she's going to have to wear stupid, tacky cap sleeves. Don't even think about asking her parents about it unless you've taken a Negotiations class (true story). If you get that far, AWESOME!! You're marrying into an amazingly diverse adventure (if I do say so myself), but your wedding probably isn't going to look like you thought growing up. You may have to put in a little extra work planning a ring ceremony (totally appropriate), and you might be staying up late explaining why exactly they won't be able to come inside the temple. And you might have to decide whether or not to have alcohol served at the reception-- that one was the big one for us.
On the one hand, I have really strong opinions about alcohol. Aside from the Word of Wisdom, there are members of my family that struggle with alcohol abuse and I didn't want to have to deal with that on my wedding day. On the other hand, however, this was going to be my community's first exposure to a Mormon wedding and much of Grant's family's exposure to a less-than-traditional Mormon wedding. In the end, we decided we would have an open bar serving both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks that would not come out of our overall wedding budget-- it would be paid for entirely by my parents. And you know what-- it was a hit. Although unconventional for an LDS wedding reception, we posted the sign you see pictured here and just made a joke about it. We heard later it became a good equalizer-- a common watering hole, so to speak-- and a good conversation starter between my tribe and Grant's.
In all, don't be afraid to go a little against the grain in pursuit of an eternal marriage. Yeah, dating a convert can be a little bit of a minefield (just ask my husband), but between me and other married-convert friends, the journey can be so rewarding, and I can testify that the experience has been great for me, my family, and my community as a whole.