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What I Wished I Would Have Known When I Was Single

A thread was recently resurrected in the forum from last summer. You can read the original post here. The sister in question wanted to know about temple marriage and marrying a less active member. I have written before that I got married when I was 30. I had to deal with a lot of frogs before I found my prince. I ?d like to expound on what I wrote in the thread here.

We are taught that marriage in the temple is what we as Latter-day Saints should work for. Unfortunately in many cases many single members feel the pressure to get married. Sometimes I felt like there was an implied addendum to this, get married at all costs no matter what. ? I spent a lot of time in my 20s feeling sorry for myself and less of a person because I was not living up to the cultural expectations of getting married. On one occasion a bishop even questioned my worthiness because I was not as social as he thought I should be (read: the thought I was a lesbian because I wasn ?t dating anyone from the ward list. I was mearly trying to get my head on straight after a sting of bad boyfriends). Many times as well, family gatherings with younger married siblings and cousins were hard to attend because I felt like I was not living up to family expectations of being married. I became desperate and did some stupid things along the way. I regret some of these things, but now look at them as learning opportunities for growth. I would not be the person I am today with out the trial of waiting for the right guy.

Here are some things I learned in my single dating days that I ?d like to share:

  • 1. No matter what any one tells you or thinks, you are a Daughter of God, with talents, skills and abilities. No one can do the things you were sent to earth to do, and you need to do them, single or not. Your testimony is no less valuable because you are not married.
  • 2. Your worth as a Daughter of God is not tied to your marital status. The Lord loves all of his children equally and has blessed each of us with the things we need to endure the trials we will face. I have many awesome friends who are educated, own homes and business, have served missions, work in their communities and ward and are amazing ladies, and they do it single! I only hope that I can be half the woman that they are.
  • 3. As a single sister, you have a lot to offer. Take advantage of opportunities to serve a mission, serve in your ward, work in your community and in your family. Get out and enjoy life, invite your girlfriends along!
  • 4. Don ?t compromise your eternal goals out of desperation. A very wise friend once told me, Men are like the streetcar, if you miss one, the next will be along in a minute. ? It is better to be single and happy then to have compromised what you wanted for the sake of fitting in, and selling yourself short.
  • 5. Pray for patience and comfort and rely on the Savior to comfort you in your times of trial. I spent many long hours in prayer and contemplation about my marital status. When I was humble enough to accept the Lord ?s timing and will, I found Him there walking the path with me and blessing me in ways I didn ?t think possible.
  • 6. Approach dating with an open mind. By that I mean, don ?t look at every first date as potential marriage material. This tends to scare men away. Be serious about who you date, but remember to have fun on the way. It ?s a good idea to give friendship a chance.
  • 7. Be wary of physical contact with dates and boyfriends. I was stupid enough to think that if a guy wanted to kiss me, then he must want to marry me ( I was very young and very naive, eventually I grew out of this). The NiCMO, or Non-Committal Make Out, is something you should avoid always. Treat your body, your sexuality, your ability to turn guys on, with the respect it deserves. Don ?t use your body as a manipulative tool, in the end both people will be hurt. I know that sounds like a lesson on Chastity you might hear in mutual, but the Law of Chastity is important even when you are grown up.
  • 8. Trust in the Lord and have faith in Christ that their promises are sure. If you have done your part, they are required to bless you. Realize this will be in their time, but remember they know you and what you need to become the person they know you can become and the person they need you to be. Also remember that just because the blessings you receive might not be what you thought they would be, rejoice in them, be thankful and stay strong. Rely on the Lord for comfort, ask for his spirit to attend you and to guide you and it will.
  • 9. Never be afraid to stand up for yourself. If a family member, or ward member goes over the line with things they say or imply, let them know, kindly of course. But, never let anyone make you feel less than you are!

For those of us who are married and might know a sister (or brother of that matter) who is single or struggling with singledom, I would offer the following advice: be supportive, don ?t tease about being single or dating, they don ?t need to hear it. Involve the single sister in family life, church life and community life. Ask what she is doing, not who she is dating, and remember to treat her the way you would like to be treated, and the way the Savior would treat her, with love, compassion and empathy. Respect her space if she does not want to be set up on dates, don ?t push the issue. Expand your interactions and conversations to include topics other than dating. Remember she is a Daughter of God, as we all are. Finally, to the single sisters who might be struggling, know you are not alone, and that many are there who have been down this path. We love you and want to help, but most importantly, we want you to know you belong no matter what.

{ 9 comments… add one }
  • facethemusic March 18, 2008, 12:06 pm

    Awesome, Eden!
    Best part:

    It is better to be single and happy then to have compromised what you wanted for the sake of fitting in, and selling yourself short.

    I’d even say, “it’s better to be single and UNhappy then to have compromised”.

  • agardner March 18, 2008, 2:09 pm

    Wow, this was great Eden! Flashback time!

    I got married a month shy of 27, which was ollllld in my world. My (little) sister had been married for 7 1/2 years and had three children by the time I finally took the plunge.

    I cannot tell the number of times I would hear, “I can’t believe you aren’t married. You’re so pretty!” (like being pretty had anything to do with it! The problem was not lack of dates, it was finding the right fit – or timing – or any variety of things).

    Anyway, great job. More to say but I’ve got to run for now.

  • Alison Moore Smith March 18, 2008, 2:51 pm

    eden, this is great. I’m so glad you posted this perspective. So often, IMO, LDS women DO compromise, settle, or whatever you want to call it. The lifelong and eternal implications of marrying outside the temple–or of marrying someone IN the temple who is not a good match–are so sad.

    I love the practical advice, too. Very important article.

  • Ray March 18, 2008, 4:07 pm

    Thanks, Eden.

    My older sister is the oldest of 8 kids. She was one of the last to get married, after receiving multiple proposals from members and non-members alike. It simply never felt right.

    She eventually married in the temple. Her husband has six kids from a previous marriage; they have two of their own. His other kids live with their mother (those that aren’t married) and spend time each summer living with him and my sister. It is not the typical ideal, but it definitely is their ideal.

    I believe strongly that each of us has to find our own ideal within the parameters of the general ideal.

  • east-of-eden March 18, 2008, 5:05 pm

    :bigsmile: Thanks all of you…thanks so much.

    I believe strongly that each of us has to find our own ideal within the parameters of the general ideal.

    I love this thought Ray…because I don’t think there is a perfect model for everyone. We’re all different, and need to do what is right for us. Your sister sounds like a great person, good for her for sticking to her guns!

    I’d even say, “it’s better to be single and UNhappy then to have compromised

    But if you compromise will you really be happy? I don’t think so. In the times I felt like compromising, or the times that I did, I was privy to misery of the nastiest sort. I only was truly happy when I was doing what I KNEW to be right.

    The lifelong and eternal implications of marrying outside the temple–or of marrying someone IN the temple who is not a good match–are so sad.

    My recently divorced brother would agree 100% with you here, and I do as well. You have to ask yourself, “Is this person I’m dating going to take me where I want to go? Will he/she help me to be a better person?” If they are not, you have to take a leap of faith that there is something better out there, break up, move on and have patience that that something better will come.

  • jennycherie March 21, 2008, 6:49 am

    wonderful article!

  • facethemusic March 21, 2008, 2:08 pm

    But if you compromise will you really be happy? I don’t think so. In the times I felt like compromising, or the times that I did, I was privy to misery of the nastiest sort. I only was truly happy when I was doing what I KNEW to be right.

    I was agreeing with you, –saying it’s better to be UNhappy (for not having married, not having had children, longing for that, etc) than to compromise and be unhappy for other reasons.

  • Michelle D March 21, 2008, 7:15 pm

    Well said! Your perspective and practical advice are important and applicable without being condescending or judgmental. I believe these basic principles can apply to everyone, single or married, young or old, female or male. There is a lot for many of us to learn from the lessons you have learned! Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this.

  • mlinford March 21, 2008, 10:45 pm

    Very well done, eoe. Having walked that path myself, I agree with everything you said.

    I also wish I had worried less about it all…not in the sense of not caring about dating, keeping options and opportunities open, etc., but not beating myself up so much because things hadn’t yet worked out. I sought so desperately to stay close to God, to follow the Spirit, to do my part, and still I worried that somehow, somewhere, I had goofed up badly enough that I had missed my chance. Come to find out that God was there all the time, and timing for me really was everything.

    Also, I recommend Sister Beck’s most recent CES talk to everyone, married or single. It was a great talk on this topic, and on how best to live your life while you are hoping and striving toward the covenant of marriage. I have listened to it twice, and found great insight for myself and felt great power in her words (again…she’s amazing).

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