Tag: marriage

Never Fall in Love?

Yesterday my book club met and we talked about Sherlock Holmes.  It was a bit of a scattered book club but it worked and we had a lovely conversation.  We talked about the cases, Sherlock and Watson’s relationship, and many other aspects of the first 12 cases from 221 Baker Street

One of the points of discussion was about Sherlock’s supposed oblivion or lack of need for human affection, relationships, love and marriage.  He is basically an asexual being that focuses on reason not passion.  He chooses not to fall in love.

But, what if it isn’t a choice?  What if it just doesn’t happen?

Now before I start this line of thought- please, don’t placate me with assurances of my finding the right person and promises in heaven and not loosing hope.  I know such things and I agree but just for a second I want to put a question I’ve asked myself many times out there for all of you-

What if a human being never falls in love?  Can you live a full life and never fall in love?

An analysis of literature, film, art, music, history and even human psychology would say NO.  An article I saw recently said that 92% of pop music was about love.  I am certain any other genre would be similar in results.  It is hard to think of anything in modern or ancient culture that doesn’t at least tangentially involve love, sensuality, marriage or companionship with perhaps death and God being close behind.

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This quote always makes me cry.

But what do I mean by love?

Well, let’s go with the Greek definition.  They said there are 4 types of love:

agape- selfless love.  Kind of like the what the bible calls charity. It’s a hope for the goodness in the world.  An unselfishness and service to those around you without wanting anything in return.  it’s the kind of love we talk about at Christmas and that makes Scrouge a better person when he develops it.

eros- sensual love.  Passion, is the root for the word erotica and eroticism. As far as I can tell this love usually requires human contact more than words, or feelings.

storge- familial love.  Like the kind of attachment a mother feels for a child, brother to brother etc.

philia- friendship love.  for Aristotle the greatest kind of love.  Friendship, loyalty, human understanding and commitment.  Like minds and devotion.  Root word for philanthropy.  I guess my lack of eros makes philia mean so much to me.  I know many who seem fine without friends but to me loyalty, commitment and friendship are everything.

So just as a mental exercise bear with me- what if you miss out on 1 of the 4?  What if you never seem to make any real friends?  What if you have broken relationships with family and can never make that work?  What if you never have any passion with another person?

What does that mean for your life?

I don’t know.  I really don’t.

I’m 33 years old. I’ve never been in love.  I’ve never been kissed.  I’ve never had a break up or a heartache.  I’ve never had anything more than a crush from time to time and I honestly do not know why.  I really don’t.

Some may say it has to do with my weight but then I see girls much heavier than I that meet, date and marry successfully. I know a woman who has been married 4 times.  That boggles my mind.  How can she find 4 men who want to be with her and I can’t even get a kiss? Sigh…

Again, I’m not saying this for pity or reassurances.  I really want to ask the question- can you live a full life and not fall in love?  I think most people would try to answer yes to make me feel better but if they really thought about their own lives and if they had never had that experience it would feel pretty empty.

1834a1c1299109805356f973fd6e1d03So what do we who have never fallen in love do?  That’s the frustrating part.  Nothing.  As far as I have been able to figure out you just wait. Yes, you can workout and go to activities, date whenever you can, but none of that is any guarantee of falling in love.  Believe me I know.  You certainly can and must always be hopeful and happy with what you can control but it will probably always be this big part of being human that you don’t completely understand.

I think you will always have a little ache in the back of your heart that everyone else got to experience something so primal and basic and you were left out.  I read an article today saying that the average human being falls in love 4 times in their life.

Unfortunately in any study there are always outliers and if you are one of them, I get it.  I know what you are feeling.

I guess the only thing I can say to my fellow love-lorn is that everyone has an ache of some kind.  Nobody has all 4 of the loves perfectly in their life.  Everyone has regrets and wishes for something they never quite experienced and never enjoyed.  That’s what the atonement is for.

After all, as far as we know, Jesus never fell in love either, so we are in pretty good company on that one.  He loves us and that has always carried me through.

Hang in there! I know I’m not the only person out there who has wondered about this.  Please share your stories.

Anyway, I just wanted to put that question out to the world.  What if it never happens?

the hope
the hope

 

Ending with this thought….

Myths About Being Single

This is still one of my favorite posts I’ve written. The myths totally ring true to me, so take notes my friends!

Smilingldsgirl's Weblog

So this might seem a little random but over the last few months I’ve wanted to write a post on the greatest myths many married people have about being single.

1. Myth #1- “You’re single so you get to hang out with your girlfriends whenever you want”.  Sometimes I think there is this illusion that the singles life is Sex and the City without the sex (well without the sex for the Mormon singles!).  Me and my 3 galpals hanging out and gallivanting around town at our hearts content.  The truth is about 80% of my friends are married with kids and most of the time I’m so exhausted from work and other responsibilities that watching TV or heating up a microwave meal is all I can do.  I would say I get 1-2 (maybe more in the summer) nights with friends in a month, which may be more than…

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Midsingles: A Letter

Dear Brethren,

I am writing this letter via my blog in the hopes that somehow you might see it. You probably won’t but I am going to pretend that you can and say what I want to say.

For the first time in my life today I didn’t go to church.  It was the wrong decision but I just couldn’t take it.  Let me fill you in on my life story. I’m 32 single adult, RM, BYU grad member.  I attended YSA wards for 15 years of my life.  While these had there challenges, I was always able to make it work.  I benefited from a large amount of money and resources spent to ensure I was taken care of and spiritually nourished.

With all its faults, it was the only way I have worshiped in my adult life. The only thing I knew.  My last singles ward was particularly great.  I had a bishop who really loved me and we had a mentoring relationship.  He cared about my life, followed my swims, and met with me on a regular basis. As someone who does not have much gospel family support, aside from parents, this meant a lot to me.

In that ward we had a daily scripture reading, service and prayer challenge which we reported on regularly.  We had lessons that I could relate to each week and activities that helped me to feel included and make friends.  While the emphasis on dating sometimes drove me crazy, at least I felt important and taken care of.

And then I turned 31…

Like a guillotine I was told I had one month to transition to either a midsingles or family ward.  It didn’t help that the same week I was transitioning I had a blow in my personal life I had to absorb mostly alone.  Nevertheless, I tried to be obedient and attend the family ward.

I’ll never forget walking in to my first family ward that had 3 other single adults. I sat on a row in the back but I tried and bore my testimony, introduced myself.  (I can’t even imagine if you were shy how you’d get through it).

Then I met with the bishop and told him I did not want to be in primary.  Not because I don’t like kids but because I knew it would make it near impossible for me to make friends and feel a part of the ward. Lo and behold I got called into primary and I did my best to make it work.  I was also called as activity day director, a calling I loved.

I was pretty vocal and active in that ward and I actually was able to make a friend or two (my co-teacher was great and we became friends).  Still, I felt spiritually stymied and cut off from the ward experience I was used to.  I attended some ysa activities and that was fine but its hard when you are cut off from the Sunday social environment to feel a part of things.  I went to midsingles activities but the challenge there is the numbers are so massive that you can’t get to know anyone because the next month there is an entirely new group at the activities.

So I lost activities, spiritual nourishment, friends and a sense of being part of a ward family (It really feels like sometimes they are prepared to invest so much in people and then boom its over).  I met with the bishop before moving out and told him ‘I haven’t been asked to speak.  Haven’t given a prayer or anything’ .  He said ‘It looks like you fell through the cracks’.

Not exactly comforting…

So a new ward came with a new house.  At first I was called into the Relief Society presidency which helped a lot to give me something to do, feel needed.   However, it really hurt when I was seeking help with my move and told ‘we don’t do moves’.  It kind of broke my heart. I was left to figure it out on my own, as a single woman with no immediate family to help.

But I plowed forward.  I worked hard.  Tried to contribute, gave a talk in church, taught several lessons, but still missed the inclusive experience of my singles ward.  This new ward has more singles but most are divorced with kids which is a different set of circumstances.  We have only had Relief Society activities so its hard to get to know families, to even know who is part of what family. We also don’t have ward directories any more so if I wasn’t in RS Presidency I’d have nobody to call for help or to get acquainted.

They have a monthly activity for FHE for singles that I appreciate, even though I’m the only one from my ward that attends.   The problem is that the group seems different each time and the interactions are so seldom that even learning people’s names is difficult.  So I am left alone.   The same problem is true for midsingles activities in general.  The midsingles ward is about 30 minutes from my house (an hour driving is a lot if you don’t have to) and it is massive, 750+ members.

As far as spiritual nourishment goes I tried to tag onto the singles ward as long as I could.  For example, they did a scripture challenge on the atonement before Christmas that I found very rewarding.  Those kinds of things never happen in family wards.

There are also other issues I won’t get into but suffice it to say any spiritual nourishment I was getting was not from my Sunday meetings.  These are attended only out of obedience and a chance to renew covenants.   One Sunday we had talks on girls camp, a lesson in Sunday School about the big bang theory and a RS lesson about ‘keeping the love alive in your marriage’ where we learned the steps for writing love notes, cards passed around and all…

In May I was feeling down and wanted to talk with the bishop.  The waiting list was over a month out.  I said ‘forget it’ and moved on, dealt with my problems by myself and with this blog (thank you!).  The whole time I felt very sad and truly grieved for the life I was allowed to live for so long that was ripped out from under me through no choice of my own.

Then this week the ties in my YSA were weakened all the more.  At this point I only know 3 people there and the bishopric.  I felt very depressed about it.  My bishop called yesterday and I told him as much.  His response was ‘ok’ and hung up.  I am sure he has way too much on his plate but it hurt.

I just couldn’t do it today.  I couldn’t pretend today. Next week I will be back because I know it is true and that’s more important than anything else but you brethren should know that there is a reason inactivity among midsingles is 80% or more.  It is so hard to make that change.

In other parts of the country they are implementing a system of magnet wards for midsingles.  This is a great idea. Instead of the 2 choices I have of midsingles ward or family, you have a ward in each stake that the midsingles are assigned to attend.  You could even have 2 for stakes with more midsinges.  This gives the advantages of friendship and fellowship of a ysa with the grownup feel of a family ward.  Please! Bring this to Utah!

These singles are great people.  They are strong.  Strong enough to forge ahead with all of this.  They know they are not living the ideal Mormon life.  They can’t work on the celestial concept of marriage.  They don’t have anyone to nudge them forward or to correct them when they are getting off the path.  It is all on them.  This should be more of a reason to fellowship and provide solutions that help them.

I honestly think the transition from singles to family wards (even if through marriage) needs to be treated like welcoming in a new convert.  It’s that different and that unsettling.  Like President Hinckley says, any convert needs “a friend, a calling and nourishment of the good word of God”.   That’s what is needed and I’m convinced if it was tackled from that perspective attrition rate wouldn’t be nearly so high.

The fact is when you are a midsingle you are living in a world that isn’t designed for you, even outside the church.  It is assumed by your 30s that you have at least one marriage under your belt and that most people have kids or are starting to have kids because most people are doing just that. And it only gets worse, I’m told, the older you get.

But where does that leave the group left behind, outside the norm?

Well, on this Sunday she stayed home and cried but she’ll be back and will try again.

Love,

Rachel

midsingles

Single in a Family Church

“Rachel, I’ve been told by a bishop in a singles ward several times that if I just open my mind and pray a spouse will find me. It’s easy he said. Ok. I’ve been single 5 years now.”

A friend on the singles forum told me this yesterday and I just couldn’t believe it.  First of all, who in their right mind thinks that being single is easy and secondly how dare you judge me as being ‘closed minded’ and not prayerful enough just because I am not lucky enough to find a mate.  It wasn’t even me and I am angry.

“Begging friends for setups, dealing with creeps online, having scores of crushes unmet, constantly dealing with being treated like a child by idiots, hearing the clock tick for a family while attending a family church. So easy!” (my response)

And unfortunately this experience is not in a vacuum. You ask any single person and they have experienced such attitudes.  The problem is for many people it has been so long since they have been in the dating rat race that they remember the process with rose-colored glasses.

Also, the whole idea of dating has just changed since they were in the dating scene.  Here’s the deal to those that don’t remember- nobody I know casually dates.  If you get asked on a date whether you are 14 or 44 you assume that person likes you and is seriously interested.  The only exception is if a person needs a date for an office party or wedding.

It is very rare for someone, man or woman, to date different girls on a weekly or even monthly basis.  Now you could argue that this change is unhealthy or needs to be fixed but at a certain point you would be denying the new reality  and living in a fantasy world.

Eventually the leadership of the church just needs to say ‘ok, This is the new way people date and court.  How do we help people?’

To prove my point.  Here are some answers to my survey about dating:

“I would love to go on dates more then once every 5 years. Lol. But if you don’t get asked out, or there is no one to ask out…how do you!”

“Dating? Futile
Online Dating? Funny Farm
Being set up? “Is that really what you think of me?”

“Dating is hard. Online is way less effective.”

“I hate dating. everyone I like likes someone else. everyone that likes me I think is pretty repulsive”

Anyway, gives you an idea.  I also think this problem exists outside of the church.  Its just not a requirement to marry for exaltation outside of the church.

In the end, I agree and know from the bottom of my heart that the highest degree of exaltation does require getting married and finding that person to be with forever BUT what about that sentence screams ‘easy’?  Living truth has never been easy.  Even if you do find him or her its still not easy.

We all have our struggles and claiming that someone needs to be more open minded and isn’t praying enough when you don’t know FOR SURE is just wrong. It’s outrageous.

Just love people guys.  Please.  Laugh with people.  Tell a joke.  Share doctrine that can apply to everyone’s life with gentle encouragement where appropriate.  My experience is most people have something to contribute, even if minimal on almost any topic.  Why not listen? Heavenly Father loves His children, married or not.  Let’s try to be a little bit less free with our advice and a little bit more loving.

PLEASE.

PS.  There is a popular blog going around my married friends circles that says that those without children should ‘shut up’ and that their opinions about parenting are ‘worthless’.  If I have to keep my mouth shut about your life than the same goes for those that haven’t experienced being single in their 30’s +.  How would you like it if you went to church and heard about how your job being a parent was easy and that you just needed to pray more for your children to behave? Urgh….

Let’s all try to be nice and admit that neither of us have it easy…

There I said it.

I also have to add that my parents are a single girl’s dream.  No pressure at all.  No guilt.  Thank you!

130929-172753PPS.  If you think it is really that easy try finding someone for the single in your life to go on a date with.  I bet you will find it is tough.

PPPS.  Forgive me for ranting and raving.  The Church is still so true even if I get frustrated with the people every now and then.  I think people need to hear that someone in the world is experiencing the same thing as them.  Its hard to be single in a family church.  I hope at the least I let someone know they are heard and not alone.

Married and Single Surveys

So I have an idea for my next nanowrimo that I think will be really fun.  I won’t give it all away but it has to do with a single and married woman, so I need some feedback (especially for the married woman).   Having never been married I’m not sure what its really like.  I only see it from an observer.

You can email me the questions below or use the following links.  There is one survey for single friends and one for married.  I would really appreciate your feedback.  Thanks tons!

Married Survey

Single Survey

Single Living
1. What is a benefit to being single?
2. Have you been married? Divorced? Widowed? Separated?
3. Do you want to be married and have children? Does it make you depressed to be single?
4. What’s the hardest part of your job? Greatest benefit?
5. How is being single in 30’s-40’s different than in your 20s?
6. How is your relationship with your family as a single person?
7. How is it managing relationships with married friends and friends with kids? Difficult?
8. How do you feel about dating? Online dating? Being set up?
9. If you could invent the perfect relationship what would it look like?
10. How do you manage your finances?
Married Life
1. What is the hardest and best part about being married?
2. What do you miss most about being single?
3. If you could trade lives with anyone who would it be and why?
4. How long have you been married?
5. Who is responsible for managing your finances? What kind of stress does that give?
6. On a day to day level what is the best and hardest part of being a parent?
7. What surprised you the most about married life and parenting?
8. What do you do to relax?
9. What is a goal you personally would like to accomplish?
10. How has your social life changed since you got married? How important are friendships vs family?

Happiness: A Journey

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Today I was visiting with my home teachers and they asked me an interesting question.  They said ‘we’ve met many single individuals over the years but not many who seem to be as happy and content as you are.  What is your secret?’.  After thanking them for the compliment I had a hard time putting into words why I am happy.  Its kind of a hard question to answer?  There are lots of things that make me happy.  How do you sum it up?

They then talked about all of the different activities I’m involved in and how I take control of my life.  I again thanked them for the compliment and made a fumbling attempt to explain why I am happy.  Here’s a better explanation:

About 7 years ago I was seriously unhappy.  I think only God knows how low I really got.  Its again hard to explain because I wasn’t doing anything wrong per say I just felt this cloud over my life.  I hated my job.  I didn’t get to spend enough time with my friends and things I loved like school and church callings were getting crowded out by long work days and other responsibilities.  In the end, it doesn’t even have to do with that particular job.  It was this ghost of unhappiness that haunted me every day.

I related many times on this blog the events of that period- how I pushed the feelings of depression inside until they burst out in full blown panic.  It still amazes me that with all the challenges I had on my mission and being bullied at school the thing that really broke me was a perpetual stupor of unhappiness.  It makes no sense to the outward observer.  In fact, one could claim I was suffering from first world problems and should be grateful I had a job, and I was. Still, that feeling of grayness in my life is something I will never forget.

Once I had shown the world my unhappiness I had little left to gain by pretending and started to take the leaps of faith necessary to remove the cloud-cover from my life. I lowered my hours and eventually quit my job.  I graduated from school with my MBA. I moved to Draper.  Found out that working from home was right for me, started taking voice lessons, was introduced to open water swimming,  and started a book club, the list could go on and on.  cs-lewis-quotes-sayings-god-happiness-peace

Everything good in my life is because I learned what it felt like to be unhappy and chose to never allow myself to hit that kind of funk again.  Of course, I have unhappy days, even months and been through severe disappointments and anxiety in the last few years but nothing like it was in 2007.

So that’s why I am happy now. I am happy because I know what it feels like to be unhappy and the great thing is that God was with me through it all.  He never stopped telling me that He loved me and He helped me learn the lessons I needed to learn.  He kept reminding me that I needed to make a change.  He never gave up on me.  He never will.

Probably most importantly I learned from that period that God’s plan of happiness is not simply a checklist of big things to do, ordinances to make but literally a plan for our happiness down to where I worked and what I do with my life.  If he is so involved in these microdetails how can I not faith in the big things such as finding my Mr Sunshine out there.  Regardless, I will never let myself feel that way again for an extended period and that is a life-changing lesson.  I am happy because I learned that I mattered to God and His happiness requires my happiness not just my obedience.

To happiness! (Hopefully someday I can find someone to share that happiness with.  All in God’s timetable).

Inspirational-children-quote

Double Temple Days

So the last two days have been pretty awesome.  Yesterday I spent pretty much the entire day at my sweet cousin Danielle’s wedding.  We have gotten to know each other pretty well in the last 2 years and she really is a wonderful person.  When I moved she helped me the whole day including unpacking my entire kitchen.  One day she drove all the way from Provo just to bring me soup hearing I was sick.  She just has a heart of gold and I’m really glad we are friends.  I’m so grateful to call all of my cousins friends.

The ceremony was also very moving.  The officiant talked about the importance of staying connected as a couple and how the temple helps us to form eternal bonds with our loved ones.  I definitely believe that is true, even with friendships. The bond we build isn’t just for now but for eternity.  So grateful for that knowledge.

cousin
Danielle and Cory married for time and all eternity. I hope I can have that happiness someday. So happy for them.
wedding1
the wedding was so well done. Every detail from the flags on the ceiling, to the delicious food, to the photo booth was great and very vintage.
pie table
highlight for me was the pie table. Put that away for my wedding!
boquet
I caught the gorgeous bouquet.

So that was yesterday and then today I went with my dear friend Melissa to the temple for a session.  It had been a while since I went because for various reasons I got emotional last time and it was a taxing experience.  Its funny because when I worked at the temple I used to see people crying and think ‘what’s the big deal?’ and then I was one of those people. Life has a way of teaching you certain lessons that are hard, but we must never lose hope.

Anyway, I was waiting to feel emotionally strong enough to go again but I knew with Melissa’s support I’d be fine (she really is the best).  So we went and to our surprise there was a new temple video.  It was so neat.  It made me feel the spirit even more and you know what no crying!

Here’s what the deseret news says about it:

Beginning this week, a new temple film is being shown in several LDS temples.

“The new temple film is the first update in more than 20 years,” said church spokeswoman Ruth Todd. “There have been no changes to the script. English-language copies of the new film are being sent to temples over the next few weeks and will subsequently be translated into other languages.”

Mormon temple worship occurs in 141 dedicated temples around the world. It differs from regular weekly worship services that are held in thousands of local church buildings called meetinghouses. Temple worship is reserved for active church members whom local ecclesiastical leaders have recommended for their faithfulness to LDS doctrines and teachings, whereas weekly services are open to people of all ages and faiths.

Out of reverence for what Latter-day Saints consider the sacred nature of temple worship, Mormons are admonished to be circumspect about discussing the details of temple instruction.

I was moved and felt again that I am a part of the true church of Christ with His powerful covenants to lead and guide me.  I’m beyond grateful for that.  I know that if I make correct choices, repent of my sins, and keep my covenants I can make it back to Heavenly Father again and be able to serve Him forever.  This weekend reaffirmed that 100%.  I love my faith and I’m so grateful for the temple.

jordan-river-mormon-temple
The temple Melissa and I went to- Jordan River Temple