*Have you ever read a List Blog and thought to yourself, “This doesn’t relate to me at all”? The reason for this is that while List Blogs can be helpful/funny/true/or insightful, they can never encompass an entire group or population of people. So it is with the following List. There are those out there who will identify with these, and some who won’t. This is not a comprehensive List, meaning, these are not the reasons why ALL Single Saints don’t get married, nor should it be interpreted as such. *
As church membership grows, so does it demographics. It should come as no surprise to anyone then, that we should see an increase of our Singles population. It would appear that in recent years, the single community, and mainly the mid-singles (31+) have become the focal point for many a discussion among church leaders. So what is going on? How is it that a church that teaches marriage and family as the foundation of its doctrine can end up with marriage statistics as abysmal as those we are seeing now? In short…
WHY AREN’T THESE SINGLES GETTING MARRIED?!?!?
Being a 30 something Single Saint, I consider myself qualified to venture a guess or two. Also, since I have never been married, I have also never left the playing field, which means I have over 18 years of uninterrupted experience in the trenches, heck, I’m still reporting from them as we speak. The explanations I will offer are anecdotal, though really, when it comes to human experience, what else are we really left with?
Take it for what it’s worth.
1. THEY ARE AFRAID
I hear this one all the time as means of explanation. Single Saints claiming that the reason that don’t want to get married is because they are afraid that they will end up like their parents. Being a product of divorce myself, (my parents called it quits when I was 18 and in my opinion, that decision came 18 years too late) I can totally identify and sympathize with this fear. In this case, it is not that they don’t want to get married, it is that they don’t want to get divorced, but since they can’t have the former without the potential of the latter, then they find themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place. We see the mistakes and horrors exacted by our parents and we think…..I’d rather stay single than be repeat that nightmare anew.
Which leads perfectly into…
2. THEY HAVE BEEN IN THE GAME TOO LONG
What I mean by this is that because so many many Single Saints have been single for so long, that it has given them ample time to justify what they already fear about marriage, namely that it doesn’t work. The longer a person stays single, the longer they have to watch as their friends and families marriages fall apart or implode on themselves. This only provides them with further evidence that marriage doesn’t work. They think…Well gee..if my parents couldn’t make it work, and so-in-so couldn’t make it work, and whats-their-name couldn’t make it work, then what are the chances that I am going to be able to make it work?
Not to mention of course, the fact that the longer you stay single, the more you have dated (theoretically), and the longer you have dated (theoretically), the more failed relationships you have been in, and the more failed relationships you have been in (theoretically), the more bitter and jaded you have become…..(theoretically).
Which leads us to…
3. THEY ARE JADED
Some might think that this should have been lumped in with #1 , but let me assure you, the difference between a fearful saint and a jaded saint are worth the distinction. Personally, I believe that in order to become a jaded saint, you more than likely started out as fearful saint, and then slowly over the years “proved” your theories true to the point where you felt you had gathered enough “evidence” to finally throw the book at this whole marriage scam and do away with your relationship aspirations altogether.
There are SO many bitter, cynical, and jaded saints out there, and trying to date people like this, is tantamount to attempting to hug a porcupine. It also appears that the bitterness is often directly in proportion to age, meaning, the older and longer someone has been single, the more bitter and jaded they are. It isn’t often that you see a bright-eyed RM ranting about how there are no good women left, or how marriage just isn’t for them, but give it time….as a wise man once said…
“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger; anger leads to hate; hate leads to suffering”…..and I would add…too bitter Single Saints.
4. THEY HAVE TOO MANY OPTIONS
Everybody loves a buffet. All the choices, so many delicious options, but tragically, only so much stomach space. To be fair, this one mostly applies to those saints living in highly saturated areas( *cough* Utah), but it is still worth mentioning.
Depending on the “date-a-bility” of any given individual saint, their options for dating might have them in a position where they could have a date for every night of the week if they really wanted it, and who doesn’t love variety??? If you knew that you could try something new every day, then why would you want to eat pizza every morning, afternoon, and evening? ….Not that their is anything wrong with pizza. In fact, pizza is pretty dang awesome, and if these saints were only to give pizza a try, they might come to realize just how versatile pizza really is. They would discover how given time and effort, toppings can change adding variety and a depth of flavor, and as they commit to the exploration, pizza can become more satisfying than they ever could have imagined. But so long as they have a buffet is better mentality, the likelihood of them settling down remains slim to none.
5. THEY ARE TOO PICKY
Remember when we were kids and our parents and teachers told us how special we were, and how we were the “chosen” generation, and how God has a special plan just for us??? Well…I think this well-intentioned message might have backfired just a bit.
The problem with feeling entitled is feeling like you are entitled to everything you want, and this extends to what you want in a marriage partner. Not only do they need to be (for example):
A return missionary, a college graduate, and gainfully employed, making over 100k a year, a home owner, likes everything that you like, loves your family and the smell of your farts, wants just as many children as you do, is dedicated to every cause you are, gets along perfectly with your friends, finds all of your jokes hilarious, has perfect communication skills, with no baggage, AAANNNNND they also have to be so painfully attractive that just the mere sight of them causes both yours and theirs clothes to fall off inciting both parties to want to “go forth and replenish the earth” every moment of every day.
It may seem like I am being dramatic here, (I would say more Indulgent than Dramatic….sorry about the fart joke) but I have actually heard lists like these coming from the mouths of Single Saints, and not just like one or two. The problem with feeling like you deserve everything is that it traps you in a grass is greener mentality that can become VERY difficult to break free from. What you have might be good, but what if there is someone better??? Better job, better pedigree, better sexual attraction….
And while we are on the subject…
6. THEY ARE “ENJOYING” NOT BEING MARRIED
Was that shrouded enough? Perhaps I should be more direct…
There is a certain portion of Single Saints (mostly divorced it appears though not exclusive to the divorced community), that seem to be thoroughly enjoying sleeping around and experiencing multiple sexual partners.
There. I said it. Somebody has to.
The excuse I hear most often from these frisky saints is that because they have been married before, and since being married means that they were getting sex all of the time (Theoretically), this means that their bodies are now incapable of having physical relationships that don’t include and/or lead to sex.
I’m not making this stuff up I swear.
Having lived 30 something years without having sex I suppose I am unqualified to either confirm or deny this phenomenon, though common sense and human agency would lead me to call malarkey on the whole thing . I would however believe them if they told me that once they had sex and realized how amazing and enjoyable it was that they made a decision to keep having it. It makes perfect sense to me that if you just came out of a crappy marriage that you would be disinclined to hitch yourself back up to that post anytime soon, but that this fact doesn’t stop you from wanting to still enjoy all of the “perks” of a more permanent arrangement.
Something about cake…
I guess it just goes to show you that there is a flavor of Mormon out there for everyone.
7. THEY UNDERSTAND THE WEIGHT OF THEIR DECISIONS
You wanna know why we love stores like Wal-Mart? Other than it’s everyday low prices and convenient locations, we love the fact that regardless of what we buy there, we know that if we are not 100% satisfied with our purchase that we are free to bring it back for a full refund, no questions asked.
Kinda takes the edge off right?
The “problem” with the concept of eternal marriage is that is it…well…Eternal. This is not to say that in order for a marriage to work a person needs to feel as though they could pull the eject chord whenever they feel like it, but the idea that you are not just picking a partner for till death do we part, but rather, for time and ALL eternity, would be intimidating for anyone contemplating a merger of two lives.
In a weird sort of way, these self-aware Saints should be applauded for their willingness to not approach this sacred covenant with the same attitude as a futon purchase, but as with all good intentions, they can often lead us down extreme paths that ultimately end up hindering our ability to get what we wanted when first we started our journey.
Whatever observation/explanation I can offer as to why Single Saints are choosing to remain single, ultimately comes down to just that…
Whether is out of fear, or pickiness, or any other motivation, at the end of the day the only REAL reason why Single Saints choose to stay single is because they want to. True, there are always going to be those rare exceptions of saints who, despite their best efforts, will never be given that option for marriage, but I believe that population is so small, as to be thrown out of the data when it comes to this specific debate, though of course our hearts truly go out them.
Single Saints will get married when they want to, so I suppose the real question to ask here is how do you get a human, much less a Single Saint, to do something they don’t really want to do? Short of passing a new commandment, it would appear that we are just going to have to wait for them to change their minds. Those who want to get married will, and those who don’t will continue to come up with a myriad of excuses as to why they can’t or won’t.
*Now For Some Balance*
I understand just as well an anyone out there that there are those Single Saints, who, by no fault of their own, will never have the chance to be married in this life. These saints are doing everything they can, everything within their power to find a companion. I am one of those saints, though to be fair and honest, I take a good portion of responsibility, and I am not going to sit here and say that I have never been given the opportunity.
I have dear friends who are AMAZING, I mean like A-M-A-Z-I-N-G, and yet, not matter what they do, or how hard they try, they can’t seem to find that one thing that they want more than anything else in the world. This breaks my heart, I mean, literally causes me pain to see them in this position. What makes it worse is when I see my fellow sisters who want nothing more than to be Mothers but can’t because they are unable to find suitable companions. As the years slip by, so it seems to them, that their chances in realizing this dream do as well. I am inspired and humbled by the strength, and the positivity of some of these sisters.But even though I know that they are strong, I also know the deep pain that comes from feeling like the thing that you want most in the world, is frustratingly out of your control.
In those moments of pain, I wish that I could apologize to them on behalf of how utterly unfair life can be to people who deserve so much more. I want to take these friends and somehow make the dating world see how INCREDIBLE they are, and how, despite what they may think about themselves, that there is NOTHING wrong with them. I think that is the part I hate most of all, that they blame themselves.
There ARE people out there that could use a little more introspection. There ARE people out there who are making a choice and choices that are keeping them from getting married, but there are also good intentioned and honest Saints who are trying desperately to make it happen. For SOME of these saints the reason they aren’t married yet could be…
1. They simply haven’t found the right person
2. The timing isn’t right for them just yet.
3. Nobody is giving them a fair shot/asking them out/accepting dates from them.
4. They are waiting until it feels right and they have a spiritual confirmation.
5. They are struggling (even within their own faith) to find someone with similar values/goals/desires and so on.
We are all different. We do/think/justify/act different ways for different reasons. Some Saints are, by their actions making a choice to not get married. I am not the first to say this and I make no apologies for doing so. I am sorry if that offends some, but I am guessing that those it is offending are not those who fall into that category.
If you don’t feel as though these reasons apply to you, then just use them as a tool of understanding and not as a personal attack. There are SOME saints out there like those I described, and I would hate for you well-meaning singles to waste your time, energy, or amazingness on someone who isn’t taking this as seriously as you are. You deserve better. Don’t give up, don’t loose hope. As my mother always said, “The cream will rise”, as one of my favorite professors use to say, “Like attracts Like”. If you are trying your best, then keep trying, keep up that hope, and positivity, and people WILL notice. It may not be in the timing that you would prefer, but so long as there is a God in heaven who loves you, then you are never alone, and you are never forgotten.