Dear Single LDS Women,
I speak to you dear sisters who are over 21 and unsure of what is next for you in life. For those who sit in meetings or school functions and see couples and become upset, even to the point of depression. For the women who hear the messages of "Get married" and "Start a Family" and feel like you have exhausted yourselves trying to do so. For any who are feeling alone and can't figure out the next step.
There is life after twenty-one, without a spouse. It's true. I was one of the young women who thought from age fourteen that I would get married in college. I would find him sometime between junior and senior year, we would date for at least 6 months and we would just know. I'd be swept away in this romance and graduate with my B.A. and my M.R.S. Now that was not my singular goal in college. I was going to college for an education but if I didn't find a husband in college - where would I find one?
I think part of this ideology comes from how much marriage is pushed on the young women of the church. It seems like it is always discussed and what is less often part of the discussion is the "what if it doesn't happen for me when it happens for everyone else?"
Up until last May I was still concerned about what I would do after graduation if "he" did not come along sometime soon. After all, we would have to date for a few months because I don't rush in to things like that. (Moving to Utah is one thing, I can change it easily. Marriage is serious, and I don't plan on doing that more than once.)
Then I moved to Washington, D.C. The place that holds the title of 2nd most populated city of YSA's (Young Single Adults). The women in my ward were ages 23-30. The men were around the same age. It was a weird thing to see but these women were functioning. Yup, functioning. They went about their daily lives without the weight of a ring on their left hand. They worked at Think Tanks, rode the metro, participated in pub trivia with friends, went to Duck Beach for Memorial Day weekend, organized and participated in Iron Chef events, went on dates, taught Relief Society, volunteered at DC3rd Girls Camp, and they blogged about all of it.
This was a new concept to me. That you could have graduated from a University, maybe gone on to get a Master’s degree or PhD, maybe served a mission - and then you lead your life. Do these women want to find someone and start a family? Sure! But they do not let that single fact rule their lives. They work. They live. They serve. They teach, and they taught me.
They showed me that life won't end in 27 days when I graduate from Southern Virginia University. No. I get to move to Utah. I am moving across the country! I could not do that with a spouse, at least not as easily as I am doing it. I get to go have new adventures, meet new people, make new friends, develop new talents, grow spiritually, and have time to better prepare myself for the time I get to have a family.
But, life is not over.
I think this exciting part of life should be addressed more to the Young Women of the church. That getting married young is okay, but that you still have plenty you can do and learn while you prepare for that time.
The women I met in DC were not the only examples of this I have in my life. There are women in my ward back home who are older women who have never married. They know that their blessings will come to them in the eternities, whenever that may be. They go on though. They serve, they love, and some of them are my 2nd and 3rd mothers. There are women who were just a few years older than me back home who are now going on to Masters programs, moving to new cities, experiencing new adventures. I am sure the desires of their hearts include marriage but they do not let it rule their day-to-day.
We need more examples like these women to combat the pressure some girls feel they are under to get married young. People like my friend who was upset after going to conference in the ward building and having to see all the couples and wondering why she had not received that blessing yet. Who just seemed down in the dumps all weekend during all the "marriage" talk.
Ladies - Life goes on. Experience it, all of it. Don't let the desire to be married rule your life. This is the one time you will really get to be on your own and do whatever you want to do. You've been given a little more time to have adventure, a little more time to learn, a little more time to become better prepared for when you have a family that will take up all of your time - Be grateful for it.
Happiness - There's Not a Single Barrier - By Mayola Miltenberger
David O. McKay - "The secret of happiness consists not of having but of being; not of possessing but of enjoying. It is a warm glow of the heart that is at peace with itself."
Stepping off the soap box.