Sunday, December 27, 2009

Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward Men - Especially the Single Ones! (Marnie)

In the true Christmas spirit, I decided to make it a goal to be nicer to the men in my midst - single or married. That includes speaking kindly of them and refraining from speaking when I'm NOT thinking nice thoughts about them. I've made this goal before, and it's time to do it again. I've even prayed to love them as a whole and try to show some empathy for their predicament - trying to understand women. And that is no easy task! I know we women can be very confusing to them. Heck, I find that I confuse myself sometimes from trying to sort through my own thoughts and feelings! Seems only fair to cut them as much slack as I think I deserve.

Christmas season is a mixed bag of feelings for me. I love going home for Christmas and seeing my family. I love the opportunities to get together with friends and hearing from them through Christmas cards. But there are other reasons that make the holidays hard.

One of those reasons is the constant reminders I run into of how alone I am. Sure, I am really lucky to have so many people and wonderful things in my life. And I know it! But life is not a Christmas Hallmark movie - the kind they play 24/7 during the month of December. I don't get a boyfriend/fiance by Christmas eve because of some incredible, out of the ordinary situations that can only be contrived by a female script writer. Curses to these women!! I suggest avoiding the Lifetime and the Hallmark channels completely in the month of December if you want to escape feeling sorry for yourself...You know it's bad when after watching one of those poorly acted, cheesy, completely unbelievable films you go to bed completely depressed about your marital status and jealous of a fantasy world.

Sometimes you need to protect yourself by avoiding those movies and just focus on the REAL meaning of Christmas - the birth of the Christ child that redeemed all mankind from sin and pain. Not many people remember the pain part! We are good at realizing our sins and getting relief through repentance. But do we utilize the atonement to heal our broken hearts? Our hearts that have endured disappointment, hurt from circumstances beyond our control, and loneliness that makes our hearts feel as though they will literally break? You don't have to be single to feel any of that. You just have to be human. But there is a special feeling of isolation for single women over 30, that no one truly understands unless they've been there before. But there is some relief.

And that's why this Christmas I've been really trying to focus on the gift of the Atonement that only comes from Jesus Christ. I've said it before, the only thing I really have control over in this life is my relationship with God. And what a glorious thing! I can make all the difference in the world on how much love I can feel from God and how much help and revelation I can get - just by making an effort. It really doesn't take a huge one, but an effort nonetheless.

And if I can feel that love and peace from God, I can surely be nicer to the male population and give them the benefit of the doubt - especially those that are in my dating pool. If I can see the best in them and keep a positive attitude, I know I can keep my heart and eyes open to finding that great man that is meant for me. I think we can keep ourselves from seeing what is really in front of us sometimes - jaded, sarcastic eyes don't see clearly at all. I must keep myself from doing that and if I can, I know it will pay off in the end.

So, single men in my dating pool: I extend an olive branch to all of you! I will no longer speak in generalities or stereotypical terms concerning your abilities to date or commit! I will recognize your goodness and kindness. And I will now believe that the kind of man I'm looking for - and need - is really out there and actually looking for me.

Starting now...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Statistically Speaking...(Marnie)

When I finally decided a few years ago to take the bull by the horns and really change my life and behaviors to improve my dating habits and abilities, I read a dating book that talked about the statistics of the possibility of a single woman marrying after the age of 30. We've all heard that saying that there is a better chance for a single woman over 35 to be killed by a terrorist than to get married. It's not that funny. At least not today it isn't.

The book I read gave numerous reasons why that statement is completely erroneous and how chances are BETTER for a woman in her 30s to marry because her dating pool is so much bigger because she can date so much younger or older than when she was in her 20s. There were multiple many reasons and I really felt like they were all valid and it gave me hope!

Plus, if you date on a regular basis, the chances of marriage is really just a matter of time. Statistically speaking, of course. Right?

But I'm an anomaly. I'm Mormon. I want to marry a Mormon man. I want to marry a Mormon man who is actually practicing being a Mormon! I've dated a couple of amazing men in my time - I don't settle for less. But when push came to shove, these men weren't ready for marriage. A few were so far from it I'm not even sure why I bothered to date them. But the thing was, each guy was amazing! A great human being that had so much to offer! Yet, they couldn't get to that commitment stage - and each of the relationships ended.

I know it's easy for me to analyze these men and lay blame on them and their inability to commit. (Heaven forbid they broke up with me because of some flaw in me!) But I've heard the stories of many fellow women in their 30s trying to find a quality guy to marry. And you think, well is there a great guy ready for marriage in his 30s? Well, no! If he was, he'd be married already!!

Now I know that there are men that have a change of heart, work through the difficulties, and somehow work through their fears and hangups and get to the temple alter. I've seen it! it's kinda like a four-leaf clover though...they are very much a reality but they are rare. And the chances of YOU being the one to find that four-leaf clover, well, that's just lucky! (sorry for the pun!)

And what are the chances that I am "that girl" that falls for "that guy that's finally ready for marriage" at the right time in the right place?? Statistically speaking? Not so good...

So what's the point? Some days I just don't know. But I have to keep trying. I have to keep the faith that there is a bigger plan for me than just believing in the statistics. I have to believe that this is all a part of my life experience that was SUPPOSED to happen to me, not happened by accident. I haven't met the "one" at the right time in the right place because it wasn't right. Thankfully, looking back at almost all of my past relationships, I can honestly say I'm so grateful that they didn't end in marriage. I'm much smarter about what I want and what I need in a husband. Unfortunately, that isn't taught to you as a child. It takes experience and risk. And then comes a lot of the hurt. It's all essential and necessary. And it takes time. Apparently for me, LOTS of time!

So, here I I'll be depressed about the statistics, but tomorrow I've got to start believing again! Get my faith back! And TRUST that this is all a part of the big plan - no matter how daunting and impossible it seems. Because, as the scriptures say, "For with God nothing shall be impossible." (Luke 1:37) Even when dating single Mormon men over 30.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Alma - the War Chapters (Marnie)

Ever had trouble applying stories from the book of Alma (in the Book of Mormon) to your own life? I recently found that you can apply the war chapters to the world of dating!

Here's the scripture - Alma 60: 21-23. It's the famous letter from Moroni to Pahoran:

21 Or do ye suppose that the Lord will still deliver us, while we sit upon our thrones and do not make use of the means which the Lord has provided for us?
22 Yea, will ye sit in idleness while ye are surrounded with thousands of those, yea, and tens of thousands, who do also sit in idleness, while there are thousands round about in the borders of the land who are falling by the sword, yea, wounded and bleeding?
23 Do ye suppose that God will look upon you as guiltless while ye sit still and behold these things? Behold I say unto you, Nay. Now I would that ye should remember that God has said that the inward vessel shall be cleansed first, and then shall the outer vessel be cleansed also.

You may think I'm a bit off my rocker to think that this applies to dating but it does for me. I just went through another disappointment. Nothing serious, just lots of casual dating that seemed to have SO much potential that ended with nothing. (And I lost out to another girl. I'm still shocked and amazed about that, but maybe that's just pride talking.) So the feelings I fight are disappointment, despair, anger at the male population, and just the feeling that I'm never going to find a man that I want who wants to keep me. It's a never-ending battle, but as time goes on, it gets better.

I'm proud to say that instead of my blaming God (which I'm prone to do), I've come out of this with the attitude that this guy just wasn't the right one. He was not in my plan that God has in store for me, which makes it good that he is out of the picture because now I can look for the right guy.

And I can't find the right guy without doing my part - which is where the scripture comes in to play. I can't sit on my butt and wait for "him" to come to me. I have to get back out there in the single world and smile and be the best me. But I can't be the best me until I'm feeling my best, which includes feeling good about my self - inside and out. And to make sure that I'm in a good place spiritually. I find my best relationships have begun when I feel like my relationship with God is going pretty well (i.e., I'm not mad at him for my current situation or circumstances). In this out-of-control existence I lead, the only thing I have control over is my relationship and attitude with God. And to me, it's about cleaning that inner vessel and working on making sure I'm doing what I know makes me happy. That's no easy task, but it's very necessary!

And if I'm ever going to be "delivered" out of this place I'm in and move to the next stage in life, I need to fight the urge to stay home and pout that the man I really wanted didn't want me. No good comes of that idleness and I don't want to waste any more of my precious time on behavior that doesn't help me. It's always a good time to take a risk and try again - especially when I really, really, really don't want to.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Why I've Been Missing (Marnie)

It's been months since I've blogged on this website. The few of you that still read this may have wondered, what happened to Marnie? Did she fall in love and get married? Like Marcia, Kris and now Leah? No. No I didn't. I did date someone for awhile, but it ended. I'll talk more of that in another blog.

But I did have a life altering experience that has distracted me from blogging. I moved and I've been trying to make some order in my new home. And I must admit, I've never been so preoccupied with my living space in my whole life. It's needed a fair amount of work - which has forced me to do all sorts of things I don't like doing - like asking for help, relying on others knowledge and assistance, making decisions based on what little experience and knowledge I have, and making really stupid mistakes while trying to fix the problem myself. It makes me feel completely out of my league and shoots me down to new levels of humility. I've often tried to avoid learning new things that have a very high learning curve for me - they tend to make me struggle to the point of frustration and I hate that (You should have seen the day I tried to wakeboard! DISASTER!!!). Nothing drives me more to crying than working on a home project that "should" have taken 60 minutes to do - according to the instructions – that really took 9 hours and 2 trips to Home Depot to complete and still not quite achieving the desired result.

But now that the worst of it is over, I'm glad I did it. I'm glad I took the risk - although I really didn't know what I was getting into - and I'm learning (slowly) to appreciate the journey as much as reaching the destination (a warm, inviting environment). My house isn't perfect, but then, nothing ever is. There are still lots of little things that drive me crazy, but I have gotten some things resolved and I like to focus on that.

I feel as though I married this house. The commitment level has been huge. Not only on the financial level, but I have had to put a lot of work into it. Tons. And sometimes the results are nothing what I anticipated or wanted. But I have a home that protects me from the world and keeps me warm (when I feel rich enough to turn up the heat).

I wonder if after you first get married you go through the same shock and frustration as I went through with my new home? At one point I wondered why I did it. I prayed about it and felt good about the decision and it all fell into place - but when the problems started to arise and I felt over-whelmed, I wondered why I made the plunge in the first place.

I also wondered why I missed some important realities about the condition of the place. I didn't see many of the details I should have when I visited the house those multiple times before I moved in. Once I had the place, all the flaws and problems seemed so GLARING! If I had seen them before, I would have had a better understanding of what I was up against. I wouldn't have NOT made the decision to get the place, but I would have been less surprised and disappointed with the realities.

Why was I so naive about the experience? If it I got an answer of "yes" to do it and it felt so right to do in the first place, why were there so many problems that had to be dealt with and why were they so hard to conquer? Several times I thought maybe I had made the wrong decision and I had dreamed up that good feeling before as an answer to a prayer.

I think I sabotaged myself on a regular basis because unfortunately, I always have a very good idea in my head of how things should go. Structure and order are one of the things that make me happy. And at times I felt like I was in a construction zone (I'm exaggerating of course) and had no routines. Living day to day and not really knowing what I was doing or what exactly what I needed to work on first because there seemed so much to do, left all my previous security I had felt go out the window. And when I don't feel secure, the little things like picking the right paint color seems as big as deciding whether to move to a different city or change jobs. It's almost like everything was magnified into being a bigger situation than it really was. I didn't see the eternal perspective (it's just a house for crying out loud!). It left me so discontented at times that I wished I'd never tried this new adventure in the first place. Crazy!

I wish I could say I'm in complete control now and that things are going smoothly and everything is in it's perfect place now that some time has passed. Nope. That's going to take much longer to do. But it is going much better. My patience has improved a little better - I can work on the house until 2am before I start crying from frustration as opposed to midnight. And my idea of how things “should be” has been completely shifted to "what can I live with?" Maybe this was a way for God to give me a small glimpse into how a real committed relationship is. I've never had one and no matter how many books I’ve read, experiences I’ve heard about or movies I’ve watched on people dealing with a committed relationship, nothing beats the experience.

But having this home feels good sometimes - really good. And then sometimes it's just one huge pain in the neck. Sounds a lot like a committed relationship with a man to me. Well, at least from what I’ve heard…