Friday, December 17, 2010

Latest Thoughts (Stella Skywalker)

This summer I had the opportunity to attend a fireside that was conducted by one of the 12 apostles. This fireside was specifically for the single adults of the church and as so many of these kinds of meetings go; this sweet Apostle expressed his sadness for those of us who desperately desire a spouse and family and have had to wait. You could tell he really did hurt with us and for us. He simultaneously tried to give us the encouragement to keep going and magnify the parts of our lives that we can control. It was uplifting and wonderful and his love for us was nearly tangible. It’s hard to feel sad in the presence of one of the Lord’s servants. At the end of his remarks he opened things up for Q & A. One woman in the audience (who I will admire to my very last breath for her courage and tenacity) asked…

“I’m well into my 30’s. I’ve served a mission, I’ve been active in the church, I’ve put myself out into the singles world, I’ve pursued an education and career while I’ve waited and I am sick and tired of waiting. What is the church’s council on dating (and marrying) outside the church?”

This really got my attention. I have been asked (and even encouraged) several times by dear friends and family (who are LDS and have Temple marriages) if I have ever thought about looking outside the church. I’ll be honest – my answer is swift and firm “absolutely not.” You may ask why as a convert I’ve so vehemently stuck to my guns. The short answer is fear. The even shorter answer is lack of faith.

Anyway back to the story – Elder Hales looked at her and said (I’m going to add bulleted points for affect here b/c I want to demonstrate the affect this had on me…)

1) If you’ve found a man who honors the Lord.
2) If you’ve found a man who loves the Lord.
3) If you’ve found a man who honors you.
4) If you’ve found a man who loves you.

Then I believe that you’re on the right track for you.

Like many of us I have been promised in my patriarchal blessing that I will have a righteous priesthood holder as my helpmate. I have long assumed this must mean that he will be a current member of the church, certainly he will have pioneer heritage, and of course he will have tons of family in Utah so I’ll have a free place to stay when I finally get around to visiting Salt Lake.

Several months ago I met a man who I had an instant connection with. We met at the party of a mutual friend and within minutes were chatting and laughing as if we were old friends. In fact, someone observing us asked how long we’d been dating – our reply…about 7 minutes. This man is not a member of the church but he is a good and decent Christian man. The more time I spend with him, the more I feel what a true relationship should be like, the more I feel his love, honor, and respect for the Lord and for me, the more I think about Elder Hales remarks to that brave sister.

That said, I have never, not even once, considered dating outside of the LDS faith. I have never, not even once, had a man love and respect me like this man does. I have never, not even once, been so aware of the beautiful life that can be possible if you do it the Lord’s way. I have never, not even once, felt such peace and gratitude that I didn’t get my way.

For those who may be questioning my post here please know that I am not advocating for giving up on the men of the church. I am not advocating that single LDS women will have no other choice but to lay down their hopes of dreams of a current priesthood holder who can take them to the Temple. That is still my dream and my greatest hope that someday I will kneel across the alter from a priesthood holder and be bound to him for time and all eternity. I am simply taking a moment to record my experience. I do not yet know what the future will hold…I don’t know if this man is the one that my blessing talks about but right now I do know this.

1) The Lord’s ways are not mine.
2) I am absolutely dependent on His wisdom and knowledge.
3) I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was not led to this place by accident.
4) All things will work out in the end.
5) Peace comes from one place and one place only. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last few years you can’t fake peace and life without it is absolutely, freakin’ miserable.

Today I am at peace. Today I am happy in a way I’ve never been happy before. Today I marvel that I’m being blessed with this experience and somehow the years of painful waiting don’t seem so painful right now. Today I want to know how this will all turn out but all I really know today is that it’s okay. I have the Lord’s blessing to make this decision, he’s put a good man into my life and for some unknown reason He trusts me to decide what’s best. The Lord knows me, He knows how painful my wait has been and He knows how little I have left to give this part of my life in the faith department.

I may not have all the answers friends but I do know this:

I am not alone.

I have never been alone.

I am being blessed right now and I’m going to run with it.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Holding onto an Epiphany (Marnie)

I guess the hardest thing about having an epiphany, is remembering the experience and realization long enough to change your behavior and your life. I told you in my last post that I am going to choose to believe I will get married in THIS LIFE. As I’ve continued to go through the ups and downs of daily life, I’ve been constantly praying to hold to this new resolve. Ten years ago believing this wasn’t such a hard thing, but when you hit 40 and are still unmarried, you feel like time has run out and you've lost the game. Sure, I technically could get married but my own developed opinion (and those of society and other single women over 40), gave me pressure to give up the dream and move on because it’s "safer that way."

I blame this conceived reality I had created in my mind for the depression I felt this summer. I’ve been working HARD for the last decade to find a husband, to change inappropriate behaviors and even thoughts about dating and marriage to be READY for marriage. I take full responsibility for not achieving marriage by 30. I was not ready – mentally or physically. I just wasn’t open to it or even ready to play the game. The sad part was I didn’t realize it.

But the last 10 years I have changed and I did work my butt of to make myself more open to others, swallow some huge fears and work on my trust issues. I have put in the time, made some huge strides, and still have not succeeded in the goal.

And somehow turning 40 made me feel like the buzzer had sounded, the game was up, and I had failed. If I hadn’t achieved the goal, I might as well settle in for the next part of my life as an old maid and accept that God must not want me to marry in this life.

WHO MADE THAT UP???? I’m not entirely sure when I got that idea but it’s insane!! There are people 40+ getting married ALL the time! Especially in this day and age. Sure, it’s not like the young folk who seem to have no baggage and fears, so they jump to commitment fast and furious every 20 minutes, but in my own realm of friends and acquaintances I have seen multiple individuals marry after 40. And personally I think more WOULD marry if we didn’t focus on the negativity and give up once we reach that age.

I realize my biological clock is running down and my chance for a perfect family with 4 kids as I dreamed about as a teenager in Young Woman’s is pretty much shot to oblivion. We all have to come to terms with the loss of those dreams - whatever they entailed. But is that all I want?? that perfect world? Or can I handle a different kind of existence I never planned for or dreamed of that STILL involves marriage?

I’ve thought long and hard over this and I realized that I had to mourn for the loss of a dream of being married and starting a family by age 40. It’s something I think every single woman and man over 40 has to do. That "40" number decides a passage of time and you can’t stop time. But why do we have to GIVE UP? Why do we have to start saying “I hope to get married but I realize it will probably be in the next life?” That’s a load of lies!! Lies started by Satan to discourage an already discouraged group of people. It’s like kicking us when we are down and we are letting him do it with our permission!

I was talking to some old missionary companions who are also 40 and single about some of our relationships and breakups. Both of them told me - through tears - that they had come to terms with the fact that they won’t get married in this life. It SOUNDS like they are accepting God’s will, but personally it sounds like defeat and giving up all faith! Because the next life is a “sure thing” and it doesn’t take much faith to believe that all is possible in heaven. Even the biggest "non-believer" talks about Heaven being wonderful.

I am ALL about accepting God’s will, but I don’t think he wants us to give up and just exist. I don’t think that attitude attracts men or even other people. It’s just sad and lonely. Why would God want us to say that at all?? Basically we are deciding that God won’t grant us a blessing by a certain age and telling him what he is going to do. From my experience that never works nor do I get what I really desire. It’s a lack of faith – no matter the intentions of the person saying it. And I am VERY guilty of saying that in the past.

I’ve told you in my last post that I can’t live my life and be happy by believing marriage is for me only after I die. I won’t do it. It makes me bitter and feel more lonely than I’ve ever felt. I feel like a failure and I start to question God’s love for me in wondering why I didn’t get to be “lucky” like so many of my friends did. Those feelings come quick and naturally but they are wrong. That’s why I am continuing to declare that I BELIEVE I will marry in THIS life!

When I declared this to my missionary companions, they were surprised and I think a little worried for me. They’ve got their escape plan if it doesn’t happen and I don’t have one if it doesn’t come to pass. One may even think I’m commanding God but that isn’t true. I will get married. That is a promise given to me in my patriarchal blessing predicated on my faithfulness and obedience. What I don’t know is "when." The “when” is what I have to come to terms with and accept his will. And until God comes down and breaks the bad news to me in person or through revelation, I won't believe it. Even if I don’t get married in this life, God wants me to act and believe that I will. Isn’t that how we show faith? Isn’t that one of the reasons we are on this earth? To show we believe in the hard things that society and others ridicule us for believing?

I know it’s tough to keep the faith alive. I’ve had my moments in the last few weeks where after a conversation about the frustrations of dating and hearing a friend’s story about another non-committal man has left me with despair and wondering how in the world will it ever work out. But I’ve had to decide each time to just believe and act accordingly. Miracles happen. I’ve seen too many of them to not believe in them. You can’t rely on logic and believe. That isn’t faith instead it’s believing in the “arm of the flesh.” It has to be complete and total faith in God.

So I will continue my resolve to hope and dream for the NEAR future and not the one after I'm dead. I challenge all of you – no matter your situation or age - to believe and not give up! I know God does not punish those that have faith and trust in him especially those that continue to accept his will for them. It’s the scariest thing I’ve ever done and there have already been days that I haven't had the strength to say it with any sort of conviction. But I will continue to act according to those beliefs - even through the tears and frustrations. I know it will bring me the most happiness.

I may end up being a 90 year old, single woman, but I will be a 90 year old, single woman who is looking forward to her next blind date and believes she will get married before she dies. Many may call me crazy, but I just call it faith.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Reaction to My Last Post (Stella Skywalker)

After my last blog post I had some interesting comments and perspectives and that got me thinking about how easy it is to misinterpret others ideas or put our own special filter on things going on around us. When I made mention of the fine brother that I met I cited that he was an RM. Many responses reminded me how many good and wonderful men there are in the world who are not RM's and I would be missing out greatly if I discounted them. I completely agree and that's what got me thinking...I didn't grow up in the church, I have zero connections to Utah, I have no pioneer relatives and my particular lens is definitely shaped by this. I did not grow up dreaming of my plain, white, Temple ready wedding gown (with sleeves of course) while I stood by my handsome RM prince who was going to carry me off into the sunset and provide me with my very own white picket fence and 5 children. While this has in some sense become my dream over the years I grew up with the mindset that I would get married and have a family but I was also going to get an education, have a career, and travel the world and then when I was ready I would simply select my mate of choice from the conveyor belt of men going by.

Funny - things haven't quite worked out that way. While I have been richly blessed in areas that I can control (my education for example) when I finally realized that the husband hunt was going to be a bit harder then I realized and that Heavenly Father wasn't just going to plop HIM in front of me I had one foot out the YSA door and a host of fears starting to hit my mind and heart. Sometimes I wonder if not being raised in the church and having some clue of our dating culture was a detriment. I joined the church shortly before my freshman year of college. I didn't go to BYU (but as every good Mormon does at some point) figured I had better live my obligatory time on our home planet.

I spent most of those 2 Utah years having fun but definitely not pursuing marriage. I was waiting for my (yes these are real criteria) 6'4" dark hair, blue eyes, preppy boy with straight teeth, future MD, has a car and a clean apartment, will open every door for me, compliment me, bring me flowers, have no opinions unless they are just like mine, will appreciate every single thing I ever say or do, will never see a single flaw in me...I'd go on but the list just gets embarrassing from here.

When my roommate got married in December of our freshman year after knowing her sweetheart for a month I was truly baffled. I was still scared of boys and couldn't kiss one much less marry him. I didn't question her decision or wonder why she was giving up her life - I just wondered how she did it so fast. Life continued on, I returned to my home state for my junior year and became actively involved in my institute and YSA ward. I continued to wait for the boy I dreamed of to fall out of the sky while simultaneously being terrified that he just might. I can look back now and see how hard I was on the men in my life. It didn't take much to unimpress me and since I was so driven I assumed they should be too. I had no patience whatsoever for those who still lived at home or weren't in school pursuing their dreams. I progressed forward, finishing my degree, beginning my career and achieving those world travel dreams. I continued to wait for someone to notice just how awesome I was and to take those manly first steps to begin our courtship. I waited...and I waited....and waited some more. Then 30 came and went and I joined my local family ward where I experienced pain, depression and despair in such depth I thought it would kill me sometimes.

As a mental health professional I have analyzed all of this to death. Up one side, down the other, and yes of course there are many things I could have done differently, there are lots of presumed reasons why and untold missed opportunities. But these are also regrets and I refuse to live my life with regrets. I sit here today and remind myself that while I did not have the same perspective 20 years ago that I have today I was where I was. That is to say, I was who I was. I operating with the knowledge and understanding that I had and though I can now look back and wonder if things had been different if only I had done this one thing, the truth is my life is how it's supposed to be. My journey has always been my journey. The Lord knew me before I knew me. He knew my path before my feet even touched it. He knew it would take me ___ years to figure out all that I personally needed to know so that I could fulfill my calling on this earth. He knew that I was never going to be that 18 year old girl in the boring (sorry - but have you seen some of those gowns!) white gown staring up at her RM dreaming of their babies and little starter apartment. He knew that it would take me much longer to figure out how to be the wife, mother, and woman that He NEEDS me to be and that without my experiences and yes, even the knife sharp pain that those experiences bring, I wouldn't be ready.

I think back to my 20 year old criteria and just laugh. Here's what I want today 6'4" (I just can't let this one go), loves God, loves Jesus Christ, loves ME, puts his best into everything he does, and is honest and loyal in all he does. That's it. I no longer care what he does for a living, what accomplishments he has racked up, what letters are behind his name, or any of those other superfluous things that life can give and take away just as quickly. One thing I've learned over the last few years - if we have anything of value it's who we are. Our things, our achievements and accomplishments, our jobs and titles can be removed in an instance. Serving a mission doesn't make you perfect, being a member of the church is no guarantee that life will fall perfectly into our cultural 'box', and perhaps most importantly...just like the men we long and search for - there are pretty temple ready gowns out there if you are willing to look in unusual places.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Penelope Post

Penelope here again. I am deeply connected to all things mid-singles related. I love the idea of mid-singles and try to support it as much as I can. I was on facebook the other day and found this power point from a talk to mid-singles which speaks about aligning our desires with the Lord's. There was a slide about the scripture D&C 130:20-21 which states:

20 There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—
21 And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.

In the speakers notes, I found this:

"How we interpret the following scripture adds to the problem. We tend to interpret this as “each law has its attendant blessing.” Keeping the Law of Tithing, for instance, should bring forth the promised blessings. What happens, then, when that doesn’t happen? We keep the Word of Wisdom and get cancer. We keep the Law of Tithing and lose our job. Worse yet, we wonder if we’ve “earned” our blessings, why God withholds what we’ve earned. Does he love us less or are we unworthy? Does He really “owe” us?"

For me, that perspective was really impactful. Am I acting like God owes me a marriage because I've been faithful or done my duty? Am I getting bitter at God because I expect to have an immediate blessing from living a good life?

And it brought home another perspective, the perspective of those who are married. I guess I can see why some might think that a single person isn't worthy/isn't doing the right things to get married if you take this scripture literally. I wonder if it depends on how you define blessings.

What are your thoughts on this?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Meet Penelope

Hello readers!
We have another guest post from Penelope I'd like to share with you:

Hello new friends, I'd like to introduce myself. I'm in my mid-30's like many here. I recently went to an event with speed-dating where a man asked me if I had been married before, I replied no. He asked me if I had kids, and I said no. He asked me if I had a cat or dog. I said nope. I said, well I have 2 plants that I have managed to keep alive. He was silent and just blinked. I don't think he knew what to say. See he was a single dad to 4 with part time custody and I'm sure he was thinking, wow this won't be a good match. Luckily I wasn't too invested in the relationship to be offended that he didn't "pick me."

As for my blog name, Penelope, I took it from a movie I watched recently. Yes, I watch odd movies on Netflix. But the idea behind the movie and Penelope fits me. Penelope has a physical deformity as a result of a family curse. Her mom hides her away because people were trying to get pictures of how horrible Penelope looked. Eventually Penelope's parents decide to try to get her married off because part of the curse was that she had to marry "one of her own," someone rich and powerful who would still love her despite her odd looks. After many rejections, she runs off on her own and allows people see her for who she really is. Interestingly, she realizes that people are ok with her, despite her mother's warnings that people will reject her. She even is able to...get married....of all things, despite looking bizarre because she is just herself. Recently, I feel like I've hit the stage of being ok with myself despite being told I'm not pretty enough to get married. If others want to say I'm not pretty enough, that's ok but I'm not going to hide myself anymore. So Penelope I have become! :)

I also have had my share of the dating woes and they are still on-going. I hope that I can share some of them here and get feedback with comments, questions or thoughts. I originally came to this blog a long time ago because I felt a kindred spirit here to know that I wasn't alone in my single status and the experiences I was having., So I hope I can do that for other sisters as well.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

It Begins with Me (Marnie)

I visited with a friend of mine I haven’t talked to in a long while. She wanted to know how I was doing since my breakup last spring. As I gave her a rundown, it brought up some feelings I guess I still haven’t let go of. I thought I had been doing much better, but when I it all came out, it was apparent I wasn’t. It depressed me to think so much time had passed and I hadn’t worked through it yet.

She was great to listen and not pass judgment, although I know she felt helpless in being able to help me. She’s married with 5 kids and as her life keeps changing, my life doesn’t show much in that department. The concern and worry on her face as I vented my fears, frustrations, and lack of hope, made ME concerned. How depressing was it to listen to me?? How many times does it feel like I’ve been here before and told her the same things? I feel like a broken record – with no new insight but just the same old problems and insecurities. It can’t be true – but it sure feels like it!

So I’m done. I’m done complaining about the quality of men I date, the lack of results I get, and the hopelessness I feel. I feel like all I do is complain through my cycle of relationships, and doing this complaining doesn’t seem to help. It surely doesn’t help my attitude, either.

I can make a list of reasons why I’m not married - from irrational thoughts to logical statistics. But even I’m bored by them now! I can’t figure it out and I don’t think I’m meant to. So the only way I know how to change what is happening is to stop. Stop it all. Not stop trying, just stop this obsession to understand why. Stop discussing it in minute details. Stop wallowing in the past disappointments, yelling to the sky, “WHY???” over and over. My heart has been broken before – it will be broken again, no doubt. So why dwell on it? Yeah it hurts like hell but living like this - dredging up the past and reanalyzing it, and questioning God doesn’t help me feel better. I believe in the grieving process, but being the drama queen I am, I have taken this grieving to a new level that just isn’t right and is affecting my happiness.

I think what I really need to do is start forgiving. Forgiving me, forgiving the men I’ve dated that have hurt me, and yes, even forgiving God for not giving me what I want. I know that shocks a lot of you – because some think one shouldn’t be mad at God. But its how I feel. This natural response – at least for me – has got to metamorphous into something better. Because I won’t give up! I won’t stop looking or flirting or dating or trying to get a spouse. I refuse to die like an old maid – even if my soul keeps getting bruised and kicked against the curb. But I’ve been dealing with this all wrong. If I’m going to continue to work on achieving this goal – my reaction and how I deal with it all HAS got to be better. Otherwise I’m not getting anywhere and remaining miserable.

I’ve talked before about my frustration with and desire to accept God’s will, and I haven’t gotten very far. So that ends today. From now on, I accept God’s will and I’m going to trust Him. You may think I’m lying or even crazy to think I can do it, but frankly, waiting for my feelings and desires to change isn’t working.

I’ve heard several talks from General Conference in the last few years about choosing faith. It’s a choice and not something you just get from nowhere. You just have to decide and take a risk. Then the faith comes. And I think choosing and trusting God’s will works the same way. I can pray until I’m blue in the face but until I change how I’m going to think and deal with this all, nothing will change. I have to take the leap of faith and just do it. I believe God helps us – a lot. But I also believe he lets struggle until we “get it.” And I’m just beginning to “get it.”

The other thing I’m going to do is truly forgive. I’ve been praying about it, hoping God will just make these horrible thoughts and hurts go away and let me forgive. Yep, you guessed it! It doesn’t work that way. I just need to decide. So whether I’m ready or not, I’m going to forgive. Just like that!

How am I going to do it? After I told a friend about my problem with forgiving, she suggested it was time I actually did it, and then prayed for the feeling of forgiveness to come into my heart. I need to take action and properly acknowledge what I’m forgiving. Once I do that, then it’s all up to God. She suggested I write down “I forgive….” for each of the people I need to forgive listing the action I’m forgiving. And that list of people includes myself. Something about writing it down makes it much more of a reality instead of just a good idea. It gets out of your system. Once I write it out, I’m going to get rid of it. That way, the process is really permanent. No sense in dwelling on the past. It’s time to move on…

Some of you may not like this blog entry. You may think I’m being trite and not sensitive to how hard it is to be single. That is where you are really wrong. I know it. I feel it. It hurts. But my bad attitude has not helped and it’s time to adjust it. So I will choose faith, trust God’s will (as much as it scares the spit out of me), and truly forgive – not just the half-hearted kind. It’s going to take some time, a lot of work and self-control, AND a lot of prayer but I’m going to conquer this! Because something has got to change and frankly, I can only change me.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Another Guest Post from Stella

As a never married single adult in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints I have seen many changes in my peers, in the efforts of the church and in the general attitude among members. Most of these changes have been very positive as understanding has increased. I can honestly say that my ward loves me and that I am a welcome member but please do not mistake that to mean that I fit or that I belong there. As the sole single (active) member of my ward under the age of 60 I can say without pause that every week the effort that it takes to go to church, slap a smile on my face, and act like it doesn't hurt is a herculean effort. I cry my eyes out on a weekly basis as I drive home from my meetings and remind myself of everything I know to be true - Heavenly Father loves me, He hasn't forgotten me, I am being given these experiences to strengthen me and to make me the woman I need to be. I remind myself of every church talk I have ever heard about patience, about enduring to the end, about the importance of every member and then I cry anyway.

The thing that I see missing is simply this: while the gospel is perfect and following its principles is the ONLY thing on this earth that will make us happy and please our Heavenly Father there is a great disconnect between the principles I learn at church and my life. I support 100% the strengthening of families and the importance of raising children. I support 100% my RS lessons that remind each sister how important her job at home is. I believe these are good and true principles and I fight every day for the family in my work as a social worker. I am convinced that these lessons should be taught and that we all need to take part. But what about me? What do I do with this besides suffer through it and not let others see my heart literally aching in my chest? After 5 years in my ward I'm happy to report that I've learned the skills necessary to keep great suffering (and make no mistake it is SUFFERING) inside so that I don't make others uncomfortable and so I don't give the appearance of faithlessness. I have had the blessing of holding important callings in my ward and (so I'm told) that my fellow sisters admire me. If I can show strength in the face of great trial then I hope that I can inspire others to do the same.

So what do I need? The only time I feel normal and the pain goes away is in the company of fellow singles. Unfortunately in my area most are inactive and the few who are active are so spread out that it's difficult to maintain any type of closeness. As a never married woman with no children I feel especially unique. I have kept my Temple covenants and have continued to go to church and almost as great as the desire for a husband and family of my own is the desire for female friends who are like me. I am tired of meeting only those who have fallen away and are struggling to come back. I simply am not strong enough right now, I need friends who have strong testimonies and who get what I'm going through and have been going through my entire adult life. I need friends who have Temple recommends who go to church and who haven't let the anger and depression overtake them. I am tired of struggling all by myself. I know that I am loved. I know that my church leaders, family and married friends pray for me and hurt for me but unless you've walked this path you don't get it. You don't understand the CONSTANT fight with anger, depression, doubts of value and worth, faith and endurance. It never ends and Sundays are, for me, the worst day of the week. It shouldn't be like this.

I know the Lord has provided us the way to endure this life and has taught us what to do but in the face of heart breaking loneliness and despair where too many women never date, never feel like they have value it is much too easy to fall away when you have no support group. We need each other. We need programs just for us, the mid singles where we don't need to fight off the advances of men older then our fathers. We need a place where the inactive can return, find their place and grow. Activities just don't seem to be cutting it. If I have to go to another dance, or another activity that is just like the ones I went to as a YW and then a YSA - well truthfully I stopped going a long time ago. I am a grown woman and I have no more interest in these weekly activities then any other adult person. My life goals have nothing to do with my social life.

I want a ward full of people like me. I want to stop feeling like a left over. I did not knowingly or willingly choose this path and I honestly don't know what I could have done differently. I want to be treated like an adult of course but I don't want to have activities and services geared towards me and others like me to be fit around everything else. I do not want to go to the 8pm SA Temple session because someone thinks that's when we want to go. I am a woman in her 30's with a full time career, a part time job and I am as tired at 8pm as anyone else. I have heard it said that we shouldn't label ourselves as single - but I don't know how to stop doing that. I am single, in a church that celebrates marriage and family I am SINGLE. I go to Single Adult Activities, my church records list me as single, with a simple N/A under husband and children. I am the sister who is scared to death to sit by herself at church because I am alone. Calling it something different does not change or alter that. In a faith that promotes and encourages happy marriages I am all alone with little prospects because the prospects aren't showing up. I believe, well I have to believe, that if a mid-singles ward were available in my area I would at the very least have an opportunity to have single girlfriends though my hearts desire is and as far as I can tell, will continue to be the hole only filled by my husband and children.

I want to know that the righteous men of the church are being held to a high standard. Are they being asked about their dating habits in their quorums, during their Temple recommends? I want to know that the church is doing what they can to keep our men on the straight and narrow (and though I know free agency will always prevail) I want to know that while my blessings are being withheld those who have the power to bless me are, at the very least, being held accountable for their decisions.

So how do we fix this - I don't know. I don't consider this 'issue' a problem the church has created. I believe that individuals have created this need through their choices. For example I met a truly fantastic guy at an activity a few weeks ago. We spent the entire activity together laughing and talking and shared many similar interests. He is a good man, served a mission, went to college, has a good job and hallelujah! doesn't live with his parents. He invited me on a group date. Well not so much a date as said we should do something and get a bunch of people together. I should take a moment and note that during the course of our day together I learned that he 1) wants a wife desperately, 2) has no interest in ANY of the girls in our area, and when asked what he did want responded 3) "I want her to be hot." I try very hard to see boys in a positive light and not 'man bash' but in my opinion this good brother with his balding head and extended belly has left the running for a 'hot' woman and should have enough maturity to be thankful at finding a good, righteous woman who is quite stunning and who can look past his physical self and see all the wonderful things that he is.

I don't know the right answers to meet these needs. I believe a ward just for mid-singles is a great start. It would encourage those who have left to come back. They aren't alone anymore and they don't need to be lonely. Activities that are different then those we've been doing for 20 years would be wonderful. Something fitting for adults - theatre, travel, small dinner groups. Something that doesn't make us dance. I would even encourage 'planting' men into the group to show the other men how to do it. This is how you ask a girl to dance, this is how you compliment a woman and not be afraid that she's going to interpret this as a marriage proposal, this is how you take the lead with a woman and make her feel special and respected.

Yes, these are the things I want. If anyone has any idea on how to accomplish it I'm listening.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Guest Post by Stella Skywalker

Hi Friends! My name, well codename, is Stella and I can’t even begin to describe how happy I was to find this blog. As a single, never been married woman I have finally reached the place where it's really starting to bother me. 40 isn't too far away and my 'patience' (if I ever had any) is starting to wear thin. I unfortunately live in an area where too many singles are inactive especially those in their 30’s and 40’s and more often then not I find my heart aching to have someone who ‘gets’ it and who can share the ups and downs of this time of life. Too often I feel completely alone and while I have been blessed with some truly amazing friends my bestest and dearest are all married with families and though they love me, empathize, cry for me and with me and pray for my blessings to come they don’t understand. Sometimes you just need someone who gets it and who is struggling the same way you are, striving to stay strong and doing their best to avoid taking the seemingly easy way out. So all that said I’m happy to be here and I’m happy you’re here too. Hopefully my thoughts and ideas are shared and not further evidence that I really have finally lost my mind. So here we go…

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the one I call “the jerk.” We’ve all met him; we’ve all been under his predatory attack; some have succumbed and some have fought with all they’ve got. He is relentless and I have come to finally figure out he will never ever go away. I have to become stronger then he is until his attacks are merely barely noticed annoyances rather then the “knock me off my path with the force of a nuclear explosion” events that I have recently experienced.

Now that I have your attention let me make it perfectly clear who the jerk is. He is not one of our sweet brothers who struggle, as we do, with making it through this life. The jerk is the adversary - the one who lives to see all of us fail. The one whose sole purpose is to keep us from happiness, keep us from knowing who we really are, who lies and deceives to make sure we stay confused and unfocused.

Have you ever really stopped to ponder who you are? What lies within you to achieve and become? Every now and then I can feel it. Actually feel who I have the potential to become. It’s all there and wow she is SOMETHING. Granted the Stella I am today is far from that amazing being that I can occasionally sense but just knowing that I could someday become her is a rather sobering thought. How do I get there? How do I hold on to this idea even though this time of life is pummeling my self-esteem, my faith, my hope and sometimes even my belief in Heavenly Father’s promises? The jerk is making sure that I am challenged every step of this particular part of my path and quite frankly I’ve had just about enough.

So why is he trying so hard? Why is he making sure that every happy feeling is hard earned?

As I think about these things only one thing comes to mind. Something great is coming. Something wonderful and eternally important is headed my way and he wants to stop me. If he can keep me from going to church, going to the Temple, saying my prayers, reading the scriptures, paying my tithe, and following the guidance of the Holy Ghost and the Lords servants then he wins. Heavenly Fathers plan is thwarted and yet another eternal family is yet to be created and my eternal misery is laid in a very firm foundation.

I have a new favorite talk. It is Russell M. Nelsons: Stay in the Boat. His council is to beg us to stay in the boat until we get to the other side. Sooner or later this trial has to end. It has to change and though we may not yet see the shore it’s out there. I know it is. After all, if it weren’t the jerk wouldn’t be working so hard to convince you (and me) that it isn’t.

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!”

Friday, August 6, 2010

Want to Share?

Do you have something you'd like to share on the Confessions of a Single Mormon Girl blog? We (well, it's just mostly me now) are open to guest posts from other single women who want to share their thoughts and feelings about this time in their lives.

I figured it out and we now have a new email address you can send your post to. It works, I promise! So please send it on:

Last Single Standing and Blogging - at least on this website :)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Reality (Marnie)

I was talking with a friend who has a medical condition that keeps her from having kids. Well, she thinks it would. She isn’t married yet and hasn’t had the chance to try it out. But she’s 40 now. And she truthfully told me she doesn’t want to have kids. She’s just too old. The dream had died and she had moved on to just appreciate being an aunt to great nieces and nephews and “waiting for the millennium” to finally get her chance at motherhood.

I applauded her ability to move on, but personally I’m not there yet. I’m still selfish and think I can still have a kid even though I’ll probably be 61 when that kid moves out of the house. Jane Seymour had twins at age 46 and she's been my hope for the future.

Is it fair to be that old and have kids? Is it right? Is it wise? Beats me! It’s just what I want! And yet, it doesn’t matter what that “want” is. I can do all I can – and I’ve done a lot to find a mate – things that would make “normal” women roll their eyes and as we’ve seen, strangers make comments to this blog condemning me and saying, “seriously? You still think like that?” But I’m committed! I’m determined! And yet in the end, I have zero power over the situation. If it isn’t what God wants, it ain’t happening…

That realization that it's out of my control has been a tough road. Just like so many single, Mormon women my age, I take on life with full force. I’m accused of being too independent and intimidating to some men. But nothing has brought me more tears and faster to my knees than my search for a spouse. And I’m still there. Still on my knees. Still pleading. But I’m coming closer to the fact that there is only one way and that’s God’s way. For it to be right and what I want, it’s in God’s hands and his timing.

I only wish I could embrace God’s way with happiness and gratitude. I still get so sad and annoyed about it - more than I should. Maybe when I can truly accept God’s will with gratitude, things will change? Yep, I’m still trying to outwit God. Anticipate his moves and actions – understand his motivations. But that doesn’t work either.

I think what I want most is understanding of the apparent “necessary wait.” If I need to learn something, let’s do it! Let’s learn! Let’s get this over with! I don’t care how painful or scary. Let’s get this over with!

Yet, it isn’t about running into a fight and scrapping around. It’s about waiting and being ok with the wait. And it's apparent I’m not…yet.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Cycles (Marnie)

Life is about cycles. I’m just coming out of one. There are the ups and downs of normal life, our “womanly” cycles, all sorts of cycles…

That’s what life is about. Going through cycles and trying to come out on top.

Yep, my cycle is one you are guessing I’m talking about. This blog is about dating and finding a mate, so of course I’m referring to the cycle of a relationship.

It started out shaky – I wasn’t entirely sure about him. But he seemed interested and did kind and thoughtful things – along with having a great sense of humor. There were some obvious obstacles, although, I tried hard to just focus on just “having a good time.” I thought in the back of my mind, if he cares enough, these obstacles won’t be a problem in the end.

It continued to build momentum. I tried to keep guarded but with no other good options (and I was really looking!), I lost the war and fell for him. He had so much of what I was looking for!

Then there comes the point where you are either moving forward or backward. Yep, mine went backward. Just like so many times in the past.

It was a rough month of uncertainty as I had to test the waters and see how much I really meant to him.

When the appropriate time came – luckily I recognized it after much pondering and prayer – I got my answer of what was to be. And it wasn’t.

It hurt. It always hurts. Why do I think it won’t? I’m not different from anyone else. The circumstances and the names of the guys may be different, but the disappointment, sadness and frustration are all the same.

Why was it so hard to get back up this time? I longed to force myself to a very short “mourning” period. I hate being a baby, whining and pining about a lost opportunity. And I had very stern talks with myself –giving great instruction on why it’s better to move on, forget about him, forget about the past, look forward to the future. You know, get back out there on that dating horse!

Yet, there were no dates to ride. And it was just empty and quiet. No good distractions, except unfortunate opportunities to run into him. Yuck.

It’s a cycle. They are never quite the same, but it still has to be ridden to the very end.

I feel better now. It’s still a famine in the dating world but I still wonder if it’s the vibe I’m giving off. It took such a long time to get here! Way longer than I wanted or he deserved. But I learned some important lessons. The most important one was how much I CAN’T do this alone. No one really understands what it’s like to be me. And I would NEVER assume to know what it’s like to be you. But the Savior knows and cares. And only through the atonement can I find relief. Not just from my sins, but from my disappointments and broken heart. I keep forgetting that. It’s a stupid thing to forget but the distractions of the world and my own pride seem to keep me from seeing that simple truth at crucial times. Luckily, I finally remembered and stopped suffering alone.

So that’s my excuse for leaving the blogging world for a while. Not a great reason or excuse, but it’s all I’ve got. I’ve considered dropping this blog more than once. I’m the last of those that started in the beginning. And if anyone was reading in the beginning, I wasn’t too active and vocal like the others. It’s hard to share so much and so often. To continue to carry the torch alone is a tough one! Being left behind isn’t fun. Nobody likes it. And one thing that was agreed in the beginning about this blog was to never make this a pity session or a “rant and rave” session with no real resolution.

But after careful thought, I realize I need to sit back and reflect more, instead of trying to distract myself from another loss. Just as I can’t give up on my goal to get married, I can’t give up on the blog. I only hope I really have something worth saying and I can try to say it more often….

Monday, June 28, 2010

Parable of the Two Re-Potted Plants (Marnie)

I re-potted two plants. One was ACHING to get out of the pot it was in, although I didn’t realize it until my mom made the suggestion. Once she did, it was so obvious that that was the secret to why it wasn’t thriving like it should have been and lacked the spunk and perkiness it used to have.

I switched out that pot that was too small and gave it to another plant that wasn’t doing all that bad, but wasn’t really meeting its true potential either. I felt this other pot might bring it more joy. It seemed better suited for it. This plant took twice as long to dry out in the old plastic pot - unlike the other plants - I worried about the plant molding in the pot if I wasn’t careful. I hoped that its new home in a terracotta pot which draws out the moisture faster would solve this problem and help it thrive better.

The first plant is doing better. It took a few days to adjust but it’s now thriving and looks healthier than it has been in a while.

The other plant? Well, I feel as though it’s very mad at me. Apparently, that plant liked the old pot. This new one – even though I feel it is better suited for its future - just isn’t feeling right to it. And this plant, which is supposed to be difficult to kill, looks like it’s on its last leg. It’s not thriving. It’s not adapting. It’s just looking sad. And lonely. And hurt.

I’m not entirely sure what I’m trying to say here, but I guess sometimes we are eager for change – things to help us move and grow in different ways. Things that will help us thrive and do better. Sure it’s a little bit of an adjustment, but sometimes we just clamor for excitement in that change.

And then there is the other plant. The kind that felt it was doing great! And then low and behold, someone turned its world upside down and forced it into a new pot, new situation, and new challenge.

We have a choice, but when that sort of change comes along – the unexpected and tumultuous - the temptation is great to just pout and wilt. Just like my plant is doing.

I’m not throwing stones. I’ve “been there, done that” hundreds of times – in both situations. I just wish I could stop from pouting and wilting. Yet, at times it feels like it’s all I have the energy to do, which really is ridiculous if you think about it.

If we are truly growing in our lives and learning from past experiences, the pouting and wilting is just a terrible waste of time! And so dangerous. There is no telling how it will affect our spirituality, or even our temporal lives. It only ends up hurting us – our souls. Sometimes I think the pouting and wilting will get me what I want. Ah! Silly plant! That is just a pipe dream spread through the media of television and movies the world gives us.

I only hope my little pouting and wilting plant will see that its new environment WILL be better. It just has to WANT to live in the new pot.

I’ve said it before…attitude is everything!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Dating in the Eternities (Leah)

Excuse me for sharing this.  I know I'm not a "Single Mormon Girl" anymore and probably shouldn't be posting here, but I have to say I still love this blog and love all the posts and comments and I can't resist just sharing a few more thoughts that come to me in relation to my "Leah" identity.  I love being married, don't get me wrong, but sometimes I still identify better with my single friends than I do my new set of peers.  In fact, the first month after being married if I saw a woman who was like myself, but still single, I felt guilty for having gotten married.  Looking at her just made me think she "deserved" it more than I did - whatever that means.  I found myself in elevators with single women and I wanted to tell them I really was just like them only a month or so before - it was like I felt I had betrayed my sisterhood or something weird.  One time in the temple, when interacting with one of the workers who was a single woman, I found myself trying to hide my ring.  I was even tempted to give her my maiden name.  I think (hope) I'm getting over some of those feelings, but it sure is a process.  Okay, maybe I need to create my own new blog "Confessions of a Recently Married Mormon Girl."  I'll stop and get on with the original thought that motivated me to post on here.

What I wanted to share was an interesting idea presented by a friend of mine on the topic of dating and striving toward marriage.  She was around 40 and single and living a full life, but frustrated with her prospects.  One day the thought occurred to her that if she didn't get married in this life, when she got to the other side, God wasn't going to say, "Here's your Son of Helaman" (or whatever), instead He would say, "All right, you better get dating, you still need to find a husband."  The thought of continuing that same goal in the next life was painful to her and she figured she would rather complete it now than have to do it later.  That thought never occurred to me, but you know, it sounded true when she said it. 

I visit teach an older woman who was never married and she is determined to never do so in this life.  She says she's too set in her ways and would have to compromise too much to marry now.  She even sleeps in a twin sized bed.  She expects to be wife number two or something in the next life.  I think she has the attitude that  she'll just be magically given a husband when she dies and life will be easy or something.  I don't know but now I'm interested in asking her more about what she expects the next phase of eternal life will be like.

All I know is that there are a lot of lessons to be learned as a single woman while playing the dating game.  In truth it's all about getting to know yourself better, work on your weaknesses, and in the process strengthen your relationship with God while learning to love as He does.  It's not easy.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Gratitude Can Change Your Attitude (Marnie)

I would rather puke than listen to one more married person with a husband and 3.5 children tell me I should be grateful that I’m still single. I personally think that these comments should be outlawed. These insensitive individuals should have to pay some huge fine for their hurtful comment or at least spend a few days in jail. Because I didn’t marry their stupid husband or raise their rotten kids! Why should I be grateful to be single because they choose unwisely and created their own mess??

Unfortunately, they are completely right. But not for the reason they say.

I’ve found as I’ve made goals to improve my social life, work on my relationship skills, and even to get married (I’m on my third official goal now!! 2010 is MY YEAR!!), keeping the faith and trusting God has been REALLY tough. Just when I’m doing well, something happens and I seem to lose my footing and just start to fall apart. Sometimes I can stop it, but sometimes I just crash and burn…

We’ve been told to be grateful. I think it’s even a commandment. Well, from experience I know it helps me deal with my singleness – as crazy as that sounds. And remembering to be grateful helps me get out of that low place I find myself in.

Because on paper – discounting my hopes and dreams for a future family being unfulfilled – my life is not all that bad. I have a good stable job that I enjoy most of the time. I have a home and car that runs most of the time – neither are perfect - but they are a lot better than I thought I would have. I was blessed with a great family and parents that don’t give me any guilt trips about not living up to the goal of producing grandchildren for them – the one thing parents desire most when they hit 65 years old. I have great friends that keep track of me as though I am family – while I live far from my family. They have been the consistency a single person needs. Even as most of them have moved on and married, they still keep me a part of their life. And for some strange reason, they still want to hear my horrible, horror stories from my dating experiences. Go figure.

I think remembering all these things helps keep me positive about my future. Why? Because when you look at your life – really look at it – God blesses you so much. But you HAVE to recognize it. If you don’t see it, you can’t feel that love from God, which is so essential in dealing with the stresses of earthly existence. When I do take the time to realize how much I have and how much God has been a part of my life and blessed me, I am truly humbled and realize that focusing on what I don't have is not the point of it all and that it only makes me miserable.

Well, what if you don’t have a great job, or you are in debt up to your ears, live your life the very best you can every single day, and you are STILL unmarried? That seems even MORE unfair. But I can PROMISE you that if you examine your life, you’ll see how God watches out for you every day – how he helps you. Sometimes a whole lot in one day. It’s funny how quick we are to say a good thing is from luck or even from our own doing. We are very self-centered that way. (At least I know I am.) But if we take the time every day to recognize how God is in our life, we will appreciate everything so much more and will find that the void we feel – the lack of a husband and our children – won’t hurt as much. We’ll feel more love from God and will realize that he cares about every aspect of our being. And that he understands our pain and loneliness. And that he has a very special plan for us. Sure, we may not like our plan – or at least this part of the plan – but it is our own and it’s perfect for our progression.

Enjoying the journey is the hardest thing in the world for me - especially when the journey isn't what I planned. But appreciating what you have and recognizing the hand of God in your life while you go through the hard journey makes it a lot easier.

Pres. Henry B. Eyring tells of how he began a long time ago to write in his journey every single day about how God had a hand in his life and blessed him and his family. It changed everything for him. Well, I’m terrible at journals – but I’m going to do a 30 day experiment. I’m going to do what President Eyring did. I’m going to record every night how God helped me that day. Even if it’s that he gave me several green lights that got me to work on time when I was running late. My hope is that it will help keep me more grounded and help me give credit where credit is due. And most especially, help me find that happiness that only comes from feeling true gratitude for my life.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

One More Success Story! (Marnie)

No, I'm not engaged, but a close friend of mine is! I'm SO excited for her! It has been a really long relationship (we are talking many years). I know it was a tough road with lots of good times and LOTS of tears. But she made it and now she's getting married! She's my age and frankly, I LOVE to hear success stories about women my age somehow finding a good man finally ready to be married. It's wonderful! It gives me hope.

As much joy as I have for her, I mourn over my own situation. I remember so many of our talks over the last 13 years we've known each other - talking about the men in our lives, our difficulty in dating and the faith it takes to just keep going. She made it! I know she hasn't any idea how she got where she is. She just kept persevering.

But what have I done in those last 13 years? I've actually come a long way. A REALLY long way! And she'll even whole-heartedly agree with me! I've attended dating workshops, read multiple dating/relationship books, made multiple goals, which has resulted in taking more risks, conquering fears, getting out of my comfort zone and dating more than I ever have. I even dated a couple of really great men for a little while.

But then I look at her relationship and realize, even after all I've accomplished, I haven't even gotten CLOSE to a relationship that would end in marriage. I just couldn't seem to get there. She's covered so much distance on a road I've never gone on - heck, I don't even know where that road starts! It's like that road is a secret freeway, and I can't find the on-ramp to a serious relationship. I keep driving up and down the street frantically searching for that on-ramp and still coming up short becoming completely lost. It's not from a lack of trying or desire. Oh, how I yearn for it! But it hasn't been my turn yet.

I think I need a GPS.

I'm not sure what's in the water lately, but she is the fourth friend in my midst to get engaged/married in 6 months, which is just unheard of in my circle of friends. It's a miracle! It's glorious! And it's just downright depressing.

Yeah, I's another test of faith. Another opportunity to decide if I'm going to trust God and keep going or spit on the ground and give up. It would be so easy to give up.

But I can't. So I'll keep trying. Trying not to be too jealous of her finally moving to another phase in her life and me being left behind to wonder and worry because I haven't even found a boyfriend yet - let alone a husband. And I'll try not to drown in the feeling that this just isn't ever going to happen for me no matter how hard I try. I've just got to fight that feeling! I can't listen to that voice in my head that speaks of my biggest fears. I just can't.

So I will just keep going forward with as much faith I can muster each day. And just like my newly engaged friend, I'll keep taking risks and be patient. And persevere. Yep, that's all you can do.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Dating Contract (Marnie)

My friend gave a copy of this to me awhile back.

Although the terms on this wouldn't quite fit all my particular needs, I thought it was the most revolutionary document since the Declaration of Independence!

If it were instituted in the single world, think of the awkward, painful moments we would avoid and how much time we would save! Oh, if it were only that easy.

It's fun reading...
Happy Dating!

Dating Contract:
Upon this the ____ (day) of ________(month) _____(year), for the purpose of sanity, order and open communication, the following contractual agreement has been formulated.

Article I: Dating

For the purpose of clear communication of signals and fiscal balance, the woman will be responsible for the initiation and planning of the third date. If, at this point she isn’t very interested in the guy, then she can let the whole thing dissolve by simply not initiating the date.

If the third date is not initiated within 2 weeks of the second date, then the man should clearly assume the relationship is terminated.

Article II: Telephone Calls

At least every third “What’s up?” phone call is the responsibility of the woman. When one calls, the other should return the phone call as early as convenient, but within 24 hours.

Article III: Text Messages

No text messaging to each other unless one of the two is in church or at work; a real phone call is required. No text messaging on the date. While a phone may be taken on the date, it should be treated as if it were off or broken.

Article IV: Define the Relationship (DTR)

At date _____(date number) there will be a DTR. At the said DTR, the status of the relationship will be addressed; including the status of: “We’re dating,” boyfriend/girlfriend, and dating exclusively.

Article V: Eating

If you are hungry, eat! Eat a lot. If you are not hungry don’t order anything.

Article VI: Finishing off the Night

If a guy is taking you out for a second time, then it is obvious he likes you enough that he would like to kiss you. It is realized that good things take time. The woman will make a clear and defining gesture communicating that she wants a hug, a kiss on the cheek, or Oh Baby.

Article VII: Closure

If there is any sudden change in the direction of the relationship, then honest expression of feelings, emotions and intentions should occur. There will be no leading on, mind games or wondering what in the hell is going on.

Article VIII:

Any mutually agreed clause not previously mentioned or amendments may be entered here:

I ___________(state full name), the woman in the prospective relationship do hereby acknowledge and accept the term and rules of said dating game. Dated:______

I ___________(state full name), the man of the prospective relationship do hereby witness and attest to the agreement by _________________(woman's name) and also agree to follow all rules as stated. Dated: ________

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I Refuse to Act Like a Victim! (Marnie)

Why is it when we females end up liking someone we've gone out with, we suddenly lose all of our senses and scheme away on how we are going to "help" a man (or "trick," whichever you prefer) into wanting to keep us? In the old days, men approached the women and pursued them. It was up to the woman to either accept his advances or not. And when she accepted them, they ended up married within the year. Sounds so easy!

Today, it feels like we are using all our skills to get their attention, they ask us out and then we wait on baited breath to see if they ask us out again. For me it's probably because finding really great guys that actually interest me are hard to come by. So when I do meet one that I click with and I think, man, he could be a real potential, I hold on so tightly that he slips away. At least my past relationships seemed to be that way.

It's like I become the victim because he holds all the cards! He claps, and I dance - metaphorically speaking of course...

Well, no more! I caught myself playing that victim role this last week when I was talking to some girlfriends about a man who I just CAN'T figure out. Is he interested? What are his intentions? On paper we are dating - S L O W L Y - but we are still dating. Unfortunately, his actions don't appear to be more than just casual dating. Well, I have goals! And this year is no different from the last two years. I want to start a relationship and actually have it end up at the temple instead of being "over." And my pondering, contemplating and dissecting what he's doing and trying to figure out what he wants from me is just a waste of my time!

So instead, why don't I analyze our date for what I want instead of what he wants? Instead of trying to figure out what his intentions are, why don't I decide if this guy is really worth it? Sure, he's great! We have a fabulous time and I'm attracted to him. But do I really know him yet? Instead of me trying to impress him with all of my great humor and intelligence, maybe I should be deciphering him. I should be drilling him for questions of things I need to know before I can commit to a man. And if it freaks him out, away he goes! And good riddance.

The female in me hates rejection, but I need to buck up and just be ok with it. Instead of worrying IF he will call, why not worry about if he does call, what new information I'm going to glean from the evening? What do I have to lose? Nothing!

Now I'm not talking about interrogating him under a spotlight, but sometimes I think I worry too much about what they think of me, instead of what I think of them. It's time to work on some communication skills because frankly, I'm terrible at it when it comes to my associations with men. And even though he's a great catch, I have no real control over him falling in love with me. I can be on my very best cute, funny, deep behavior, but if he's not feeling it,"he's just not feeling it." (quote from Mr. Click when he broke up with me). And it really has nothing to do with me. It's just the way it goes.

So no more victim behaviors from me! Instead, I'm going to NOT take all this so personally. I'm going to enjoy myself and just try to make it a productive evening. You can tell a lot from a guy from his answers to specific questions. And I need to stop guessing how he would react to certain questions I'm too scared he'll take in the wrong way, and just ask them. Communication is essential to a long lasting relationship (at least that's what the books say) and if I can't communicate with a guy I'm going out with, he surely isn't the right guy for me.

I know, easier said than done. But if I say it out loud enough and drill it into my head - and let my girlfriends slap me across the face when I start acting like the whiny victim again - I just may be able to pull it off. Instead of thinking I have everything to lose, I'm going to BELIEVE I've got nothing to lose!

I've already said it before, I believe that God will send the right guy at the right time. I might as well be practicing for when he gets here. Who knows, maybe I'll find him sooner than I worry I will.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Child-Bride and Lot's Wife (Marnie)

At church I heard a talk given by a child-bride with her husband, who wasn't much older. Ok, they may have been more like 21 years old, but their "youngness" just oozed out of their mouths. After hearing about how they met and married - he pretended to be Canadian to "connect" with her - she got to the point of her talk. After hearing their love story, I had just about shut down to my "happy place" when she talked about something that was relevant.

I know! I was completely shocked!! Who knew a child-bride could come up with some wisdom??? I repented immediately for the sarcastic comments going off in my head and listened to what she had to say...because I needed it! Badly...and it really was an answer to a prayer. It was really very humbling. (And I'm being completely serious.)

This child-bride took her talk from Elder Jeffery Holland's address given at a BYU devotional last year, called "Remember Lot's Wife" - referring to the Old Testament story about Lot and his family.

The story goes that Lot, his wife, his daughters and sons-in-laws lived in Sodom. It was a really really REALLY wicked place. When he had some "angel" visitors come over to his house, Lot's neighbors basically threatened to break into his house and take them and his daughters and do to them what they wanted - and it wasn't to play Parcheesi! They wanted to do the most vile things to them and actually admitted it up front. These were NASTY people.

Well, the Almighty didn't take too kindly to that and felt it the last straw for Sodom and Gommorah (which was equally evil). Those angel visitors warned Lot to take his family and flee from the city because God was going to destroy it. Lot was only able to convince his wife and daughters to go with him. Before they took off, they were warned by the Lord to NOT look back at the city: "Escape for thy life; look not behind thee...escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed." (Genesis 19:17).

Lot's wife apparently kinda liked life in Sodom and because she turned around, she instantly turned into a pillar of salt. I'm sure it had to have been a shock to Lot and his daughters. The threat of being "consumed" (i.e., turned to salt) couldn't have happened very often - even back then in Old Testament times. But the temptation to look back to Sodom was just too much for Lot's wife. And POOF! She was salt...

Elder Holland sums up Lot's wife's predicament too well for me to attempt to summarize:

"It is possible that Lot's wife looked back with resentment toward the Lord for what He was asking her to leave isn't just that she looked back; she looked back longingly. In short, her attachment to the past outweighed her confidence in the future."

Elder Holland continues:
"So, as a new year starts and we try to benefit from a proper view of what has gone before, I plead with you not to dwell on days now gone, nor to yearn vainly for yesterday however good those yesterdays may have been. The past is to be learned from but not lived in. We look back to claim the embers from glowing experiences but not the ashes. And when we have learned what we need to learn and have brought with us the best that we experienced, then we look ahead, we remember that faith is always pointed toward the future -- faith always has to do with blessings and truths and events that will yet be efficacious in our lives. So a more theological way to talk about Lot's wife is to say she did not have faith. She doubted the Lord's ability to give her something better than she had. Apparently she thought, fatally as it turned out, that nothing that lay ahead could possibly be as good as those moments she was leaving behind."

And that, in a nut shell, is me!! I keep looking back right now. For some reason, I keep wishing for the past: wishing that my past relationship will somehow suddenly, magically change and be made perfect and I will get what my heart desires.

But it's not meant to be! I know deep down inside, it's time to move on. It's time to ditch this wonderful impossibility I keep thinking up in my head. I think it's hard because I haven't figured out why this particular guy was bad for me...why it was best for it to NOT work out? I often can tell after a few months after a break-up why I am so grateful a relationship ends. A sigh of relief often goes through my body when I think about who I might have married if I had had my way! God was wise and saved me from making some BIG mistakes by not giving me what I wanted!

But it's been months and I still can't figure out what was so wrong with this one? It seemed (and still seems) SO right!

And that's where I'm just not getting it. I say that I trust God - that I'm trying to accept God's plan. If I do, does it matter why it was such a bad situation? Does the Almighty REALLY have to explain to me the reason why? Shouldn't I just trust him? I mean, if I really did believe in God's Will for me - which is something I've been praying to do for 6 months now - does it really matter why it wasn't right? I should just know that God has a better plan for me. That the RIGHT guy - who isn't the last guy I've dated - is up ahead and I just need to keep trying, be prepared and have faith that God will send him in God's timing.

OH, but the temptation to look back is sometimes just too great and I forget all the logical reasons I've already processed (see above) and just wish that a Hollywood movie ending I've been dreaming up in my head will happen for me!

Silly girl. You'd think after all these years of being single I wouldn't be that bad of "hopeless romantic."

So now my new mantra is "Remember Lot's wife"(Luke 17: 32) I've complained before that I'm running out of precious time and by looking back these last few months I've been sabotaging myself!! I have GOT to look forward! I've got to stop wishing for the past because I know darn well that God will provide a better opportunity in the future, contingent on my faith in him. I can't give up now! I've come so far and changed so much these last 5 years! I'm so CLOSE I can feel it! I just need to endure and trust the only truly trustworthy person in my life: my Heavenly Father.