« Home | What I would, that I do not » | It Isn't All About Me... » | Those stupid dinosaurs came back to bite me. » | It's Your Thing...Do Whatcha Wanna Do... » | Choose the Right » | All These Things That I Have Done » | Why I'm Never Wrong » | Mormonism and (Public) Self-Identification » | How Many Mothers Do You Have? One, Stupid…How Many... » | A Mormon Boy, a Mormon Boy, I am a Mormon boy » 

Monday, February 14, 2005 

Expecting Nothing

The questions this week are, If I marry what does this mean religiously? If I never marry what does this mean religiously? The answers to these questions are simple for me. Whether I marry or whether I don’t means nothing to me religiously. This is because my religious life consists of my rantings at VSoM and the occasionally church meetings I attend while at home visiting my parents, but the latter is merely for social reasons -- to get the latest gossip on everyone in the neighborhood.

For the sake of having something to write I am going to alter the topic just a bit. “If I never marry what does this mean? If I marry what does this mean?” These questions are difficult because, while I feel comfortable and unconcerned with whether or not I’ll marry due to my “been there, done that” attitude, I watch too many women struggle through these issues. I don’t know if single males go through the same struggles, but I know many women often experience a panicking feeling that they will never marry, that they will never be wives or possibly mothers. I think that almost every woman at one point has felt that if they never marry then they have failed in some way.

Saturday afternoon I received a voice male from one of my closest girlfriends. She was calling me to inform me that her last friend from her group of high school friends had just gotten engaged and while she was happy for her friend she felt a huge pressure, a concern that maybe her day wouldn’t come. My friend is 32, successful, intelligent, an amazing cook and a wonderful friend and human being. These feelings she was having are common. I see them all over blog world, especially among Mormon women. BUT I don’t just see the concerns there, I see them everywhere, among my friends, among my co-workers, in telephone discussions with clients, with the check out girl at the grocery store, with the lady standing behind me in line, the concern is there. The fear of never being married seems to lurk like a dark cloud above too many of our heads.

Why is this? If you are Mormon being sealed (married) to another individual is one of the necessary steps needed to live happily ever after for all of eternity. Seeing that I don’t know enough on the subject I am not going to get too far into “what does it mean if you are Mormon and never get married” aspect --we have all week. But, whether intentional or not these pressures begin for young Mormon women earlier then I believe they do for the average individual. For all women, not just Mormon, the pressure of marriage is everywhere. Besides the pressures of parents who want grandchildren (fortunately mine already have 7) and mothers who want to plan weddings (fortunately mine has already been through 4, 1 of them my own) families are the core of society, we all come from a family, we all know families, we cannot turn a blind eye to the fact that a family unit is part of a natural progression of human life, the concept of marriage and family is inescapable.

Seeing that we can’t escape the societal pressure of marriage we must do something to reduce the stress, the pressure for ourselves. I feel fortunate to be 29 and feeling no pressure or desire to get married what so ever right now, but to just feel happiness in every relation I have. Of course how I got to this stage was by being married and then being alone and discovering that being alone is often less lonely then being with someone and feeling alone – a process I don’t recommend, but an experience I wouldn’t ever take back. I suppose I want to warn every person who is feeling alone, especially on this very special hallmark day, to be careful what you wish for. We have no control over our destinies. If you truly believe in the teachings of the LDS church then you know that God will find you a worthy partner in your next life if you don’t find one in this life. I don’t believe in these teachings but I do believe that I would rather be alone and happy then settle for something as a result of pressure. I would rather not focus on something I have no control over and spend my time focusing on the things that I do have control over, such as making myself happy for me, for my family and for my friends.

The questions, “If I never marry what does this mean? If I marry what does this mean?” mean nothing to me. My concern is for me and my life and the life of the ones I love. I need to work at making me whole rather then depending on, waiting on, desiring another to complete me. I will make compromises to be with the person I love, but not until I meet this person and know that they would also make compromises to be with me too, so that we both will be better.

So please, don’t compromise early, don’t settle and don’t let something you have no control over rule your life.

May this Valentines Day be one of love to all the people that are important in your life… not just one for lovers.

I wish I had started this blog earlier because I think I need at least two more revisions to really express what I am trying to say… unfortunately I am a bit of a procrastinator and as a result we are left with an almost complete thought of mine.

Becca, great post. I love that whenever I start freaking out about the fact that I'm still unmarried you tell me to calm down and enjoy my time.

I love that you place so much value on your family and friends. I think many singleton's (myself included) are so consumed with what they DON'T have that they miss the amazing things they do have.

Becca writes:

"I received a voice male . . . "

Freudian slip?

Damn that spell check. When are they going to create one that fits my style of spelling errors?

Yet another interesting topic for VSoM! This should be a fun week!

"...be careful what you wish for. We have no control over our destinies." I'm wondering what you mean exactly. I understand "be careful what you wish for." But, having "no control over our destinies"? From what you've written in the past (and from this post), it sounds to me like you take complete control of your life and steer it in the direction you want to go. Do you really believe we can't control our destiny? I know you were rushed to put up this post, so maybe you could elaborate how you feel about that.

I am saying we have no control over whether or not we are going to marry. Some of us will, some of us won’t… it really isn’t worth it to sit and worry all of your life whether or not you are going to get married. It seems like if you end up not getting married all that fretting was for nothing and many good things were missed out on.

Don't spend your days looking at what you don't have, but instead look at what you do...

To a point, I would disagree that we have no control over whether or not we get married. Anyone has the choice to pursue potential possibilities for marriage or not, depending on your desire or lack of desire to get married. Obviously one could put himself/herself in environments and situations where you would be more likely to meet people who have similar interests, tastes, religious beliefs...whatever is important to you. For example: Isn't this what the LDS singles ward is all about? :)

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Suzie - Is that what singles wards are about? Finding husbands and wives? I know people use them this way, but I think this cheapens the religious experience on Sunday if the three hours spent at church are being used to pimp you out so to speak rather then strengthening your relationship with God, but I see your point and know it happens.

Regardless of whether or not single wards are being used this way I think it is unfair to assume that the choice to marry is up to us. Say a person does everything in their power to make themselves available and still doesn’t get married, does this mean that they have failed? It seems that if we are to believe that we have the choice and never do it then we have failed (especially since it is a requirement to get into heaven so to speak). We may have a different outlook on this, but deep down I think that you actually agree with me (or at least I hope you do). I feel strongly that it is this type of idea – the “no matter what you can get married if you would just apply yourself” idea - that creates this pressure among women that I am discussing in my post today. I hate to see women beat themselves up because they don’t have a husband or a child yet.
How about focus on what we do have, work towards making our life the best life we can for us and if it happens it happens if it doesn’t we WILL be okay. If we focus on having it and it still never happens we will not be okay, we will be depressed and feeling like a failure. I see this feeling like a failure and depression every where and I think it is unnecessary and horrible. I know plenty girls that would make incredible wives, incredible mothers that are not married and may never marry. They haven’t failed, it just hasn’t/may not happen. The plain and simple fact of life is that I may marry and I may not… there is no guarantee here no matter how many singles wards I attend (which is none) or mixers (which is many). Because there is no guarantee I must take a hold of my life and do what I need to make my future a wonderful one, a promising one… I can’t sit waiting for Prince Charming to come along to brighten my future for me nor can I think that if Prince Charming never comes a long that my future is going to be a horrible and grim one, a failure.

These thoughts are a waist of time, yet everywhere I turn there they are.

OK< once again I posted a comment that for some reason did not appear. I HATE BLOGGER.COM.

I have to agree with Becca on this one. I hate the thought that the singles wards are for hooking up and getting married. Some of my very best friends have come from singles wards, male and female. Some of my most religious experiences have come while attending singles wards for the last 11 years of my life. I was not there to get married, if it happened, then it happened, but there are more important things then that. I know a lot of people that have put so much pressure on themselves to get married that they are completely unprepared for it and their first years of marriage have been generally speaking hard. I also have friends who have taken time in their dating, even though they have recieved an answer that this is who they are to marry, and they have been much more happy.

The Priesthood/Reliefe SOciety Lesson (#3) was on the purpose of the church this week. I can not remember anywhere in there that the purpose of the church, be it a singles ward or a family ward was to get someone married.
Also a great article in the Ensign about singles in Jan I believe. Focus on what you have in your life, and make yourself better.

I agree with a lot of what you've said, Rebecca.

I've given this a lot of thought (not ever getting married and what this will mean) and as every year passes, I become more and more sure of one thing: it is better to be single, than marry someone for the wrong reasons and be miserable.

Didn't you see the :) face at the end of my last comment? I was being facetious about that singles ward comment. I do agree with you, Rebecca (and other commenters) about the purpose to church, singles ward or other. We don't go to church on Sunday to find our eternal companion.

I have heard so many disheartening stories about singles ward bishops being more than forceful about trying to hook-up his ward members. I just wanted to throw that question out to get more feedback about your point of view on the topic.

Your points were well-taken.

Suzie,

I apologize if I came off defensive. You did a wonderful job getting the discussion started (at least between me and you) ;).

R.

The pressure is there on all of us and the strongest is not from outside. It is from within. It is because we, as humans, are created to love and be loved. We feel it more intensely than any creature. We can avoid it, claim no care for it whatsoever (I've done this a time or three.) and carry on with our lives. But in the quiet night, there comes a time where we long to love and be loved.

Never thought I would get married. I joined the church at 25. A veritable old maid out in the mission field with nary a prospect.

I ended up going inactive at age 29 (the catalyst was a guy, surprise!) and eventually meeting another guy and getting engaged, returning to church and the fiance joined too (this is a rarity so I don't recommend it as a course of action) and getting married at 31.

What I do know after 4 years is there are lessons you learn in marriage that are you'd be hard pressed to outside of it. I'm sure there's lessons I haven't learned not being a parent.

What I'm saying is I "get" why marriage is pushed in the church. Unfortunately, not everyone will get married in this life. Getting married requires 2 parties and getting those two together in spite all the baggage we each carry to varying degrees is tough.

Renee you make some very important points. Being married has taught me some things that I would have never learned had I not been, and being a mother will teach me things that I don’t know now. Of course if I never marry again and never become a mother I will not learn these things, nor will I experience some of the things in life that I want to experience, but I will have my own set of experience that I wouldn’t have if I become a wife and/or mother.

I only know one person who doesn’t desire to eventually get married and honestly I think she may be one of the next people in my group of friends to marry (funny isn’t it?). But I just hope that everyone can find comfort and love within themselves because marriage doesn’t happen for everyone and what a horrible thing if you spend your entire life constantly waiting for something that isn’t going to happen. Deep down I do think that I will be married one day and be a mother and have it all, but I don’t know for sure. The fact that I don’t know is enough reason for me not to expect it. Desire it? Sure. Expect it? Never.

I can see why some of us disagree with Rebecca's phrase of "having no control over" whether we actually do marry. I would like to point out that Rebecca's approach actually leads to a greater likelihood of marriage. Men are much more drawn to women who are happy with themselves and enjoy life, rather than those bitter and frustrated about being single. Good for you, Rebecca!

There is nothing more I could wish for for my daughters and sons (if I ever have any) than to have them have time to get to know themselves, develop work skills and life skills and learn to be happy on their own BEFORE they get married. I'm not making a judgement here, but I would like to see my own kids wait until at least 25 to get married...that's what I did and see how wonderful I turned out? I'm totally kidding...about how wonderful I am, not about waiting for marriage.

Post a Comment

This Week's Topic:

  • The Sabbath Day

Various Authors

  • Monday:
    Kaycee opted out of Mormondom 4 years ago. She calls herself agnostic.
  • Tuesday:
    Sarah is not your average Gospel Doctrine Teacher.
  • Wednesday:
    Carrie Ann comes from pioneer stock, and lives in Provo, but is open minded and fair.
  • Thursday:
    Ned Flanders hasn't been to church in a while, but maintains an interest in all things Mormon.
  • Friday:
    John C. is an academic with a sense of humor and a testimony.
  • Saturday:
    JP's not going to church and feeling okay about it.

Various Links

Powered by Blogger
and Blogger Templates