I’ll let you know in the comments if I got any good loot…
I think the topic has been well covered this week, don’t you? And I think it is AMAZING that not two of us are in the same place as far as marriage goes either! We are at totally different levels of singleness, engaged-ness, married-ness, and family-ness (with kids-ness).
Again the disclaimer: I am only expressing my views and my views are based on MY experiences…and therefore have tainted my opinions on things, right?
AND again I will be HONEST and admit (sheepishly) that I thought that I would be married before my sophomore year in college. It’s not that I was pressured to think that I HAD to get married young (well sort of, but we’ll get to that). Most of that reasoning made sense because my mom and dad had married young (19 & 23…Mom as a sophomore in college) and it had worked VERY well for them. I think most of us assume that what worked for our parents will work for us.
I spent my first two years of college (Rick’s…I can’t call it BYU-Idaho) being miserable that I wasn’t dating someone. I had a couple of really lame boyfriends just because I wanted one so desperately, and I had LOOONG stretches of loneliness. I was really pathetic, and I didn’t have a whole lot of maturity and self esteem. Luckily I had awesome roommates who helped me have fun anyway.
I never planned on going on a mission until I had a major testimony experience when I was 19. I was always thinking that missions were things OTHER people did. But I got the call pretty strongly and then tried to deny it for two years.
I am SO glad that I went on a mission. A mission isn’t for everyone. I really believe that I was called to go. HF needed me to gain some maturity and independence that I wasn’t getting on my own. He could see further down the path than I could, and knew this experience would shape me for later purposes.
When I got home, though, I still had to get myself out of that mentality that marriage was next. It took a little while, and I had to go through some more lame boyfriends.
Slowly….it started to sink in that I could be happy without a husband (DUH!). I was never the type of girl who always had a boyfriend or who “needed” one to feel whole; I was actually super shy. I got into my major and got really excited about a career. I was good at what I did, and I could really offer something to the world out there.
The thing that gets you suddenly ready for marriage is finding the person you want to marry. Seriously… I was friends with Todd for two years before we even started dating. He’s the type of friend who I would hang out with everyday and my sisters would say, “What about Todd? He’s adorable…and so nice!” and I would say, “Todd? But we’re just friends…” I even set him up with my best friend…
Now here’s the part where I drive the point home that I DO NOT believe that HF has only one person in mind for us and that if you can’t find that person or if you blow it with that person you are forever “doomed”… HF lets us CHOOSE who we want to be “saddled” with… It doesn’t make sense any other way, and if any of you out there disagree…I challenge you to a duel.
How could we possibly be held accountable for a decision we were “forced” into? It’s TOTALLY false doctrine to believe that we have ONE SOULMATE who was meant for us. That is not to say that HF is not able to condone or not-condone certain pairings… We’ve covered this before, how HF lets us know when we’ve made a good decision…
I also don’t believe that if we have the opportunity to get married and we don’t, for good reasons, that we have missed the Love Boat entirely and somehow forfeited our blessings. Again false doctrine… The whole purpose for marriage is to continue along the Plan of HAPPINESS… not coercion…
I almost fooled myself into marrying the wrong person. I didn’t have the spiritual peace of mind about this person that I always thought/hoped I would have, but I worked by hardest to convince myself that it could work. I really wanted it to, but I really knew that it was better to wait for a better person than to settle for someone who didn’t “have all his ducks in a row”. Even I could see down that path…I can’t believe I was so dumb…but that awful experience made it SO much easier to see the better way once it came along.
DISCLAIMER: this is not the way I would encourage my young daughters to find out if they like someone or not, and I even hesitate to tell you…
Todd and I were up late watching a movie one night, and while my whole life I have maintained a strict “NO KISSING FRIENDS” policy…I kissed Todd, and my whole world changed. Literally, it was like he was a new person to me. Why had I never seen him in this light before? Why had it taken me SO long to find out he was SUCH a GOOD kisser?
So we started to “date”. We really liked each other. We are still amazed by this (considering our strange history of me almost marrying his roommate and him dating mine…). We got married 7 months after our first kiss and 2 and a half years after we had met. We were both 25.
It’s easy for me to say now that I could learn to be happy whether I was married or not. But even as a married person you still have to learn to be happy on your own. You are still responsible for your own growth and maturity and for having FUN. I think there are DEFINITE advantages to getting married when you are older (than 25). I will encourage my kids to wait to get married. There is NO rush…Finish school. Work. Gain some mad skillz in life and the workplace…daughters (especially) and sons alike.
While I LOVE the youth program in the church, I do think that they USED to gloss over the facts of life; that not everyone will get married when they THINK they should or that some people don’t ever marry. It was not even discussed in my experience. The church makes a much better effort at encouraging education for the ladies now. I make sure that my girls and young women connect getting an education with work experience and gaining independence while still maintaining the goal of temple marriage.
Gratitude ending: I am grateful that I found Todd when I did. We have grown into each other quite nicely. It sometimes embarrasses me at how “good” our marriage is. Todd keeps saying it’s because we’ve got some insane trials coming our way. Marriage is SO different than I thought it would be; it’s SO much better! I won’t bore you with the happy details…but this part of the overall Plan of Happiness is FUN. Now I just need to keep having faith that having kids is part of the joy….