Monday, August 16, 2010

A New Approach? (Marnie)

My sister sent me a link to an article about a new book that has come out called, It Just Hasn’t Happened Yet, written by Karin Anderson. I think any woman over 30 who isn't married can relate to this article. Who hasn’t had the questions about our marital status, “You are so cute, I can’t figure out why you aren’t married!” I actually had one man actually say as a followup, "no really, why can't you get married? What's wrong with you? Are you too picky?" It was as though I had some sort of secret to why I've not succeeded at finding a mate. I was so shocked and embarrassed by the comment I actually started defending myself racking my brain for reasons why I hadn't achieved the goal. It was humiliating and I'm ashamed I let him make me feel that way. I'm sure I'm not alone in having situations like that.

But back to the article...

This article talks about how single women after a certain age (she says 40, but in Mormon culture I think it starts at 30) start to really listen to some of those back-handed compliments and wonder if there is truth to it. I know I’ve fallen for that trap, thinking that I must be a total mess if I can't get married because everyone thinks I should be. Yet some of the most obnoxious, rude and so-less-than-perfect women somehow land a husband. Anderson’s idea is that the only reason people get married is because they are “lucky.” I’m not sure if I completely agree. Some are maybe lucky. But some are just stupid. It does seem that finding a spouse is all about timing - your timing, his timing...and if that isn't right, there is no marriage. When I think about it like that, it does sound all about luck.

If it is all about luck, that also means that everyone is on the same playing field. No married woman is a better than a single woman. You can’t make judgments of how good a person is based solely on marital status – although I think society does it all the time.

Anderson is saying there really isn’t anything wrong with us. That it “just hasn’t happened yet” and to not stress about it. I think I agree to a point. I still think the “Marnie” of 1997 who was nowhere near being ready for the idea of marriage, would have run from marriage faster than anybody. I'm sure of that. But things have changed and I'm not that same "Marnie." I’ve been working on so many things and trying to be more open and more approachable. Yep, I’m not exactly where I want to be. However, being perfect shouldn’t be a requirement to get married - and frankly, it ISN'T. (I really do want to kill the person that started that rumor!) So obsessing and getting down on myself doesn’t help the situation at all. And that’s where I think this article has a really important message: we shouldn’t give up and throw in the towel, but instead repeat to ourselves, just as Anderson says, “it just hasn’t happened yet!”


Leah said...

I liked her mantra, "It just hasn't happened yet." As for the idea of luck, though, I'm not sure I put a lot of stock in that. To me, the word luck implies no brains, no effort, no skill, and no prayer either. I know few of us really totally rely on luck, but still, the connotation rubs me wrong. The problem with totally ruling it out, though, is that you wind up feeling guilty for not being smart enough, hard working enough, talented enough, or spiritual enough and that's not right either! I'm sure it's some other thing - some third idea that is hard to put words around. As for me getting married, I can't tell you how I did it. I know I worked at it and I know I read books and tried to follow "rules" and I did a lot of praying. But I know that wasn't the secret that made it happen. As for luck, I can see a lot of what others would call bad luck involved. I had the bad luck of having my heart smashed and left in pieces before I connected with my husband. I know I had the bad luck of some extremely bad back pain related to serious emotional pain the night he listened to me cry for an hour which was a turning point for me to see him as a good man rather than a boring one. So yes, "luck" had a part in my getting married. But so did all that other stuff. And I KNOW I'm no better than the person I was before I was married so really it is all about "not happening yet." Being married is making me better, I like to think, but getting married had nothing to do with my skills or degree of spirituality.

City JL said...

Hello ladies,
I'm 34 and single. I've been blogging about this for 6 years, on and off. It's more than luck but it's not necessarily about skill either. I think the 3rd option is that we are all on different paths. We get married when it's time for US to get married, not when it's time for everyone else. People who judge us make the mistake of assuming that everyone should get married at the same time. I wasn't ready, or interested in marriage in my 20s. Looking around at some of the married couples at church, I know I've been better off waiting for a good relationship and a good man. Some couples look miserable together.

Maybe a good answer to that hideous and brutish question is, other than ït's none of your business, "It wasn't my time." I like that better than 'hasn't happened yet' because it's less passive. It doesn't imply that we are sitting around waiting for something to happen TO US, which makes us victims of circumstance. Yuck. When it's the right time for me to get married, I will.

Fei said...

I do feel that "luck" does need to occur after all we can do. This applies to all kinds of things in life. Marriage, having children, finding a job.

And nobody should take it to mean that because they aren't "lucky" yet that they aren't doing all they can. Only we can judge for ourselves what we are doing and aren't doing.

But there's just something about Heavenly Father's timing that we'd all love to figure out.

Leah, I do know getting married isn't about being "skillful", but will say that not all women would have been able to have that turning point in their lives had they been in your exact same circumstance. Being in the right place at the right time takes "luck" but being able to recognize all of that is all you.

p.s. I don't believe in luck, just in the larger plan where blessings occur when appropriate.