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

My Imaginary Husband

imaginary husband

So today was an interesting day at church.  It started with an early meeting with my bishop and  a surprise release from my calling as Relief Society secretary.  It was a bit of a bittersweet moment for me because on one hand I felt relief because it frees up a lot of time (at least until the next responsibility comes along).  The reason they released me is they dissolved the whole presidency.  They did not give me a new calling so your guess is as good as mine.  I’d love if they called me to be a teacher.  (As stressed out as I’d get teaching I still learned a lot).

Then we went to sacrament meeting and had one of those ‘when I was a boy’ talks where old people berate the incarnate modern times while waxing nostalgic about their television, movies, music etc.  (Remind me to never do that when I’m 80).  The truth is every generation has its good sides and bad sides.   After all, blacks and whites couldn’t get married or go to the same pools when he was a teenager, so it hasn’t all gone down hill.  Sigh…

Then we had Sunday School which was academic but fine and relief society.  I was busy as we got things started and then had the lesson which was on marriage.  Now, I have no problem with a lesson on marriage.  Everything is not about me after all.  However, this focused on ‘keeping the romance alive’.  How exactly do I keep the romance alive with a relationship I don’t have?  She even went so far as to give tips on writing love notes to your husband and talking about her vow renewals in Africa and Tahiti (I thought vow renewals were discouraged by the church.  Who knew?).

Anyway, I normally wouldn’t care but for some reason it rubbed me the wrong way.  I let a tear out during closing prayer and tried to sneak out but my visiting teaching companion saw me and was inspired to offer words of encouragement.  She’s normally not a super cuddly person so I knew her thoughts were sincere, and I was very grateful that she followed the spirit.

As I was thinking about the women talking about their husbands and how one brought them breakfast in bed every weekend and another always did the dishes, I started to wonder what I would want in a husband.  I guess thinking about what you’d like to have seems less melancholy than what you don’t.

One of my pet peeves is when I say something like ‘I’d like to marry a Republican’ and my friends say ‘Oh, I bet that means you’ll marry a Democrat’.  This is very annoying.  Yes, I get that he probably won’t be anything like I think but am I supposed to have no idea what I’m looking for because if I do I will get the opposite?  This doesn’t seem logical to me.

How do you find it if you haven’t given it some thought?

I look at it like searching for a house (although even more frustrating).  When househunting I had a list of must-haves.  Over time, about 3/10 of those must-haves didn’t come to fruition, but I don’t think creating the list was a bad idea.  It helped me get the 7/10 and some things I didn’t know I wanted.

So, it begs the question- what would my imaginary husband be like? Here goes nothing:

I think he would be kind if a little obstinate, have opinions on things and be open to discussion (I used to know a guy who had no opinions on anything, such a turnoff), he gives good hugs and has a nice smile, he probably likes the outdoors more than me but we can go to a lake and he can set up camp while I swim.

He loves God and tries his best to be a good man and worthy priesthood holder.  He leans conservative and is interested in learning/talking about the world and new things.  He is ok with the fact we might not be able to have our own kids.

He is willing to do laundry and doesn’t care that I hate to iron.

I imagine he comes from a big, loud family like my own, or at the least can relate when I love them and when they are driving me nuts.  He lets me have time with my girls and he can do his own thing.  He comes to my recitals or my swim meets even if he hates them.  I will come to his events even if they are deadly dull.  We both watch movies, TV and sports together.

Most importantly he loves me and when we fight (which I imagine will be somewhat explosive!) we still know that our marriage is eternal and our commitment is above any such squabbles.

Overly-simplistic? Yes.  Unrealistic? Yes. The only way to stay sane? Yes.

President Eyring has a talk called The Law of Increasing Returns where he talks about how some harvests are immediate and some late, requiring great faith.  It can defy human nature to keep ‘working and waiting with nothing seeming to come of it’.  He speaks eloquently about the moment of frustrations some of us have when we decide ‘what’s the use?’.  ‘I seem to be giving too much and getting too little’.

One of his words of wisdom for dealing with late harvest is to create a picture of what you are working for.  I just love this (seriously everyone should read this talk):

“You rarely can have a photograph of that future for which you now sacrifice, but you can get pictures. Years ago, near the time of that sacrament meeting, it occurred to me that I would sometime perhaps have a family. I even joked about them, calling them “the red heads.” My mother’s hair had been red when she was young. I certainly didn’t think the idea of red heads was inspiration, just an idea. But more than once that picture was enough to make me work, and wait.

If all my four sons were here tonight, you would see two blond heads and two red ones. In a kitchen chat one evening, one of them said to me he’d not mind exchanging red hair for beach-boy blond. I just smiled. All dads may think their sons are handsome, but I would not exchange his red hair, nor my early vision of it, for spun gold.

It’s not wise to daydream, and I’m not recommending it. If you girls dream too much about a house or a car, some poor man will someday have to get it for you. But I recommend a little thought, not about things or places but about people.”

So, yes my imaginary husband is ridiculous but I agree with President Eyring that it is wise to have a picture of what you are working hard to achieve.  Perhaps it makes disappointment more acute but I don’t know? If I have no idea what I am looking for does that not leave me more open to being disappointed?   Regardless, it is the only way to do things.  Not to be living in the stars but to have a goal, an image, a picture of who someday I might get a love note from and who I can give lessons about our great love in church…. (Remind me not to do that either!)

I Hate Love Songs

love songs

Ok that really isn’t true.  I am all about love songs, but sometimes I hate them.  Sometimes I want to scream at the radio with impatience and frustration.

My single friends- don’t you sometimes feel like there is this big part of life you are missing out on?  Like there is an inside joke that everyone elsegets but you?  I know I do.  So much of what you see in movies, music, theater and novels centers around romantic affection, whether it is lust, infatuation, break ups or constancy.  Now before you start reassuring me that marriage isn’t so great and that I should be grateful to be single, ask yourself this would you want to be in my shoes, for real?

I am not wanting to seem ungrateful but sometimes I worry that I will miss out on this big part of being human.  If you were to believe the media a persons sexuality is the most important part of who they are (hogwash if you ask me) so where does that leave me? I’m happy with my life but at times it feels like I’m missing out.  (I know I’m being repetitive but I can’t think of any other way to say it).

I am not writing this to engender a pity party.  I’m just being honest and admitting that sometimes I feel sad that I don’t get to experience romantic love, or that I haven’t too this point.  I guess I get tired of pretending like it doesn’t affect me or that I’m not allowed to feel sad about it because “other people have it way worse”.  If that were a valid reason for not feeling emotion,  nobody would feel sad about anything ever, and that’s not human.

So I’ll just say it- most of the time I am fine being single, but sometimes I feel sad.  There you go.

Most of all I wish there was something I could do.  Like some big secret I could learn that everyone else has figured out but I haven’t been clued into.  I meet people who seem to be so difficult and yet their lives have been full of romantic affection.  It makes me wonder what they are doing and I am not doing?  I know there is no answer to this question and it is all in God’s hands, but still I hope I’m not doing anything to make it not happen. I worry about that sometimes

When it comes down to it I wish I had control, but I don’t.  I wish I could have all the blessings of a temple marriage but it’s not looking good right now (haven’t been on a date in months).  Again, don’t feel sorry for me.  I’m just trying to be honest about how I feel at times.

It seems natural to me that I would have moments of longing for a partner. Doesn’t everyone want love and companionship? I’m no different.

Basically, I would like to fall in love and get married.  I’d like to have companionship.  I’d like to get married in the temple.  I’d like to see how I’d do in a relationship because I think I’d be pretty great.

Am I wallowing in it? I don’t think so, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have my moments of envy, regret and sadness at my single life.  Not as much as some girls, but I am human, and I feel all emotions in my own way.  Sometimes it seems like it is not socially acceptable to feel sad, frustrated, angry, remorseful and that those feelings are explained away or not taken seriously.  I get that dwelling on them doesn’t help things but to pretend like they don’t exist isn’t helpful.

So, yes, sometimes life is hard.  Sometimes being single sucks.  Sometimes I long for a kiss goodnight or a squeeze of my hand from a person who really loves me.  Sometimes I feel sad, angry, upset and melancholy.  I know God is looking out for me and all will be well but I do feel the full scope of human emotions and deal with them in the best way I can.

There I said it.

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Myths About Being Single

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 those with small kids but still its not like I’m partying it up all the time.

2. Myth #2- “You don’t have kids so you must have lots of extra money”.  I found this attitude pervasive with recent events.  The attitude seems to be ‘well, you’re single so you must have money to hire movers’.  In reality married people statistically are wealthier and healthier than their single counterparts.  Even if you don’t have a two income household, in most marriages you have two people managing the budget and making decisions.  Plus, everything is more expensive for just one person.  Food is more, taxes are more, rent is more etc.

3. Myth #3- “You must have tons of free time because you don’t have kids”.  Well, this may be marginally true but between work and other obligations my time gets full, and I usually can’t skip off at a moments notice just because I don’t have kids.  I try to help where I can and working from home makes me more available than some singles, but my time seems to fly away as fast as anyone else. I’ve actually had people sign me up for things without asking me first- assuming I can do them because I’m single and carefree and can easily find the time.  Not always true.

4.  Myth #4- “You must get tons of sleep because you don’t have kids”.  I deal with insomnia and on a few occasions when I have mentioned being tired to my friends with kids the claws come out.  I have no right to be tired because they have kids and are up all night.  I totally get that, but I sincerely do feel tired.  Really.  Can’t we all be sympathetic of eachother’s tiredness? This one is more in humor as I know I’d be a total grump if I had kids and was up all night.

5. Myth #5- “You’re single. You must travel all the time”.  Now I do travel more than most of my married friends but it isn’t as easy as one might think.  First of all, as a single you have nobody to travel with which means you must either go alone or corral someone to go with you.  The latter can be easier said than done.  A couple of years ago I had tickets to Hawaii and everyone bailed on me so instead of going alone (I had never been before so was nervous about going alone) I visited family.

Going alone is certainly an option but not for everyone and it wouldn’t be my first choice (I’ve traveled alone on several occasions and its fine but a little drab).  Also, you can pay more when traveling alone as single occupancy is almost always more expensive than double.  The other thing is that most of us are working and get limited vacation hours so traveling isn’t as accessible as it may appear.  Last year I had to use my vacation hours to visit my family.

6. Myth #6- “You are so lucky because you get to do everything just the way you want”. This can be a big benefit to being single.  For instance, I got to pick out my own wall color, furniture, light fixtures etc.  If I wanted to have a big party with a cake I could without discussing it with anyone else.  However, this has a bad side too.  You have all the pressure of every decision on you.  There is no partner to discuss situations with or lighten the load.  Something like which loan to get or how much to pay in a down payment had to be made by me and only me. I had to do all the research and get all the inspiration.  Any mistakes lie squarely on my shoulders. That’s tough.

7. Myth #7- “You must hate it when your friends set you up on dates”. Actually the opposite is true. I would love it if people set me up on dates.  Its hard for me to meet people, especially since online dating is not my thing.  I guess if it became an obsession and silly maybe that would be bad but I’ll go on one date with just about anyone. Nothing could make me happier than my friends helping me find good people to interact with and date.

Now, I had a roommate who’s mother would have a date waiting for her at any family gathering including Christmas and Thanksgiving.  That is definitely taking it to the extreme.  Being single does not define us.  It’s a challenge that we may not want to be continually reminded of especially on holidays.

8. Myth #8- “You’re single so I should avoid talking about my family and kids around you”.  No!  I love when people talk about their family.  In fact, I have some ideas that might be helpful.  I may not have kids of my own but I helped raise siblings and cared for babies my whole life.  I’m not totally clueless.  I have opinions on education, homeschool, parenting and child rearing just like anyone else.  Once my friend Adrienne showed me her cloth diapers and how they work and I was actually kind of grateful she didn’t shy away from including me in her life.  You are my friend, so if it is important to you, its important to me.

9. Myth #9- “You’re single because you have chosen to be single”.  Not true.  I’m not actively avoiding marriage or dating.  I’d love to meet someone and fall in love.  I need no encouragement or convincing on that level.  I may have issues about having kids but getting married absolutely.  I’d love it.   Maybe this myth is true for some singles but nobody I know.

10. Myth #10- “You’re single so you should be treated like a college student forever”.  Ok nobody has actually said those words to me but sometimes I feel like that impression is out there.  For singles that are over 30 we resent when it is assumed we are still the same as 20 year old singles.  While I have friends of many ages I have learned a lot in the proceeding years and hopefully have become wiser and better.   I loved my college years so in a way its kind of flattering to be looked at as younger than I am but it can also feel a bit patronizing. Just getting married does not make a person more mature or more of an adult than someone who is unmarried.

11. Myth #11- “You’re single so I’ll send important information to your parents”.  What I mean by this is some still consider me as under the umbrella of my parents family group.  I certainly am proud to be their daughter and perhaps am more dependent on them than my married siblings, but I feel like I am my own family group of me.  Its sort of frustrating when I have to hear news or updates on things through my parents while my married siblings get notified.

The truth is whether you are married or single we all are different, unique individuals that don’t fit nicely into boxes or labels.  Our lives may follow some vague patterns but even if they do we like to be understood for who we are not what category we fit into.  We can all work on that, myself most of all.

So there you go.  You’ve now been demystified.  Now have a great day!

What do you think of these myths?  Have I missed any?  What are the myths singles have about married life?

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