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tallulahmarie

single by choice?

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hi lds forum,

this is my first post, however, i have lurked on these boards a few times, trying to get a feel for the place. and you all seem very nice, so i decided to throw my situation and out there and see what comes back!

so, i'm 27-years-old, i'm a woman, i'm unmarried and i'm an active/active-ish LDS woman. i attend a very small singles branch in city and state where there are very few mormons. we're the only singles branch in the state actually. i'm also a full time student getting my doctorate in nursing. i work as a pedi nurse practitioner and i LOVE my job/school, although i'm graduating in may and i could not be more excited about finishing this degree! so my life is mostly work and school, school and work and then more school, with a bit more work. all of my own choosing, of course. also of my own choosing is that i do not attend church regularly, i attend whenever possible, but i work most weekends (bummer) so i don't have a fantastically close relationship with my branch leadership, although they seem like very kind and caring men and women. what i'm trying to say is that i do have a testimony of this church and i follow it's tenants and believe in them, but i don't have time to go to ward FHE. which makes it difficult for me to discuss my problems with people in my branch. and i'm really struggling with the whole concept of dating and marriage and unfortunately my roommates/close friends are not LDS and don't understand my specific quandaries and i'm not comfortable taking this to my branch leadership as of right now.

but there it is: i don't date. i never really have. i use school as an excuse not to date (it's sort of accurate, but i could make time if i wanted to). i'm unsure whether or not i want to date in the first place. i am very conflicted about marriage and it's place in my life. i can see the happiness it has brought my LDS friends and family members (ok, not total happiness of course, but a different type of happiness perhaps) and i really believe that marriage has been a beautiful experience for many of them, but i still don't find it all that appealing personally. i'm not comfortable thinking of myself as a future 'wife'. and here's the thing: i don't even really long for romantic connection, not really. i mean, sure it might be nice at some point, i guess, if i had the time, but i would never seek it out. which is crazy to me even though i'm the one saying it, because i generally LOVE people! my entire life/career is built around people and caring for them! and i have friends! i make friends easily! i have very close friends who are important and meaningful to me! did i mention that i love/get along well with my family? i do! they're awesome and supportive and great! and i love my job! everything i have ever wanted, career/education wise, i have gone after and worked hard for and attained, but i find that i cannot muster even a fraction of that fire when it comes to locking down an eternal companion. what's up with that?

but what makes it worse is that i want kids. i really want kids. i know part of this is biological, i know part of this is because i take care of kids ALL DAY long, i know that, but i also know that even before i started doing what i'm doing, i wanted kids. i want to be a mother very badly. even my patriarchal blessing talks about me being surrounding by children my whole life, both my own and others too-which makes sense given my job! but it's sort of tricky to get kids without a husband, especially as an active LDS woman.

so what do i do?

i've prayed about this, maybe not with burning intensity, but i have prayed that i will be open to what is supposed to happen in my life. but i'm a firm believer in putting in all your own leg work, taking action, being proactive and then asking Heavenly Father to fill in the little bit that remains. and i haven't been proactive about these feelings at all! i'm just conflicted. very conflicted.

i would love to hear what, if anything, you all have to say. i don't think i'm looking for true resolution. i'm not looking for a hard and fast answer, just a dialogue. i'm tired of not saying these feelings out loud.

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Guest LiterateParakeet

Hello Marie!

I'm glad you aren't looking for THE definitive answer, because I'm sure I don't know what it is. :) I do have a couple thoughts/questions that I will share with you.

If I were you, I would first try to put all the expectations from the church, friends, family etc on the shelf for now and only consider your own feelings. When I try to examine my own feelings, I ask myself a lot of questions. So I have some questions for you...all rhetorical, just to ask yourself not to answer for me. :)

You mention that you want children, really want children but don't want to be married? That is curioius to me. What is it about marraige that you are avoiding? I mean are you nervous because of someoine else's bad marraige? Or is it your idea of what a "wife" is that bothers you (Stepford Wife? If you haven't seen the movie, you must! :D) Are you imagining marraige to be something where you give up your autonomy? What are your feelings about men in general?

Here is my experience FWIW. I desperately wanted to get married...and that desperate part is likely why I didn't (I am sure I scared guys away...which looking back is just as well, because I wasn't ready for marraige). When I was 26-27, I had a "career" path that I was happy with (why not, I couldn't wait for a man to support me). I became comfortable with the idea of being single. I was happy with my life and the way it was unfolding. And that is when I met my husband to be. I married him because I wanted to spend my life with him....not because of any outside pressures to marry. He was my best friend and I wanted him by my side to go through the rest of life's journey.

We have been married 19 years and he is still my best friend. I tell him every day, "You are the best!" And then I tease him that he is going to get spoiled if I don't stop telling him that. He really is though. He is equally attached to me. ;) What I am trying to say is, when/if you find the right person (or A right person)...hmm, let me try this again....when/if you fall in love, then your idea about marraige will likely change from an "I should but I don't want to" to "I want you to be always by my side, c'mon ask me to marry you!!!"

Of course, for that to happen, you would need to make some time for dating. :)

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Thanks for sharing your insights - I'm actually a 32 year old single man in the Church, in a way I can sympathize.

To be clear, your approach to pray to God and seek His will is the correct way. You cannot force desire - if you have a desire to date and marry, it will be natural, you have the desire and act upon it. But in your case it seems at this time you don't have a desire to date - that is OK! Again, the key is seeking the will of God and following it. This is different for everyone, and different at different times of life. All kinds of conflict arises when we try to force desire - it cannot be forced! It can only be submitted to and followed, this is the natural course of action.

As you mentioned, action/being proactive is good, but it's only one side of the coin. There are times for in-action and rest, for patient waiting, for just "being", not doing. Find out in your heart what you truly want, and be true to that. If you do this you can never go wrong - you will always be living truly and authentically. This is different then trying to motivate ourselves by force or willpower - this cannot last!

You mentioned you feel conflicted - this feeling comes when inwardly we want something, but we are torn between the desires of our own hearts, and what we think we "should" do, what is expected of us, etc. Seek the desires of your own heart and follow them - only this will bring you peace and fulfillment. And if your desire is to not date at this time, so be it! Honesty is the best policy - to conform to a pattern/expectation you yourself do not feel will only lead to inner conflict and struggle.

Edited by jb789

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As you mentioned, action/being proactive is good, but it's only one side of the coin. There are times for in-action and rest, for patient waiting, for just "being", not doing. Find out in your heart what you truly want, and be true to that. If you do this you can never go wrong - you will always be living truly and authentically.

You can go wrong with that, if your wants are not in line with the will of the Lord.

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Start slow. You've waited this long, you can wait another year or two for kids, and do it the right way.

If you are graduating in May, chances are you may relocate for a job afterward. I suggest you consider areas with a higher LDS singles population. Also, you may want to consider some of the LDS singles online sites. I know a few people who have had good success with that. These options will open up a larger market of good LDS single men for you to consider.

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Guest gopecon

I remember hearing a conference talk by one of the auxiliary presidency members who was single. If memory serves, she talked about being happy as a single person (which is good) and that being single was her choice (which didn't sound right coming from a Conference talk). I don't think there is necessarily anything wrong with focusing on your career and school right now. You need to take care of yourself until marriage happens, and maybe even after that. I hope that marriage can be a long term goal for you - that is what we are taught is necessary for exaltation.

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I remember hearing a conference talk by one of the auxiliary presidency members who was single. If memory serves, she talked about being happy as a single person (which is good) and that being single was her choice (which didn't sound right coming from a Conference talk).

I'm curious about the context of that statement, might you be able to find the conference talk? Or is the recollection lacking enough details to make it a hopeless cause?

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I think you need to understand what makes you not want marriage or to even date. If it is a fear of something (being vulnerable, being dependent on someone, fear of rejection, among a ton of other things), then you should work on that particular fear. Even if you never marry, we should not live life with fear of that nature.

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I remember hearing a conference talk by one of the auxiliary presidency members who was single. If memory serves, she talked about being happy as a single person (which is good) and that being single was her choice (which didn't sound right coming from a Conference talk). I don't think there is necessarily anything wrong with focusing on your career and school right now. You need to take care of yourself until marriage happens, and maybe even after that. I hope that marriage can be a long term goal for you - that is what we are taught is necessary for exaltation.

The only two auxiliary members that are single that spoke in GC, that I can remember was either Sherri Dew or Barbara Thompson, both counselors in the RS General Presidency.

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I remember hearing a conference talk by one of the auxiliary presidency members who was single. If memory serves, she talked about being happy as a single person (which is good) and that being single was her choice (which didn't sound right coming from a Conference talk). I don't think there is necessarily anything wrong with focusing on your career and school right now. You need to take care of yourself until marriage happens, and maybe even after that. I hope that marriage can be a long term goal for you - that is what we are taught is necessary for exaltation.

I'm thinking that talk might have been by Sheri L. Dew. I'd have to find the talk to see what context she may have said that in.

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IMO, when you meet Mr. Right your attitude about getting married will change.

Source: life experience

I didn't want to get married. I told my husband before we were married that I never wanted to get married, and I meant it. He told me he was going to be the one to change my mind. He did. We have been married almost 20 years!

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I'm thinking that talk might have been by Sheri L. Dew. I'd have to find the talk to see what context she may have said that in.

Me too. From my memories of her talks (and I was a little obsessed with her as she is a fabulous speaker), she wanted to be married, but due to life circumstances hasn't had that opportunity.

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I'm thinking that talk might have been by Sheri L. Dew. I'd have to find the talk to see what context she may have said that in.

That's why I'm so curious about the context, because something to the effect of, "I am unmarried by choice." isn't really startling if said within the context of maintaining standards for one's future spouse and/or marriage. If all you care about is a ring on your finger then your prospects are a lot more numerous.

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Sheri Dew had a debacle happen with her roommate and best friend. She was dating a guy seriously while she was in her mid 30’s and were contemplating marriage. They decided to fast and pray separately about whether they should marry. By the end of the weekend her suitor revealed that he didn't want to marry her — instead, he was going to marry her best friend and roommate, whom he had been dating unbeknownst to her. That obviously ended her relationship with the guy and her best friend! It is very clear that she isn't single by choice.

Back to the original topic, I agree with the advice that the OP should try to move to a better LDS dating area after graduating. One thing that I wish more single women understood is that the demand to date them has a lot to do with age. It will be much tougher sledding at age 35 versus at age 28. If you put yourself out there during the next few years at least you'll have a peace of mind about whether marriage was the right direction for your life. If no viable marriage opportunities come you way when you've tried for a few years, then you can live the life you want alone. On the other hand, you might actually meet someone who changes your mind. It's easy to dismiss the marriage concept when you have no options. It'll be a much easier decision when you actually can put a face with the marriage concept.

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Guest LiterateParakeet

I agree that Sis. Dew is NOT single by choice. I remember hearing her say that people told her to fast and pray to find a husband. She said that if fasting and prayer were all that were required she would have tons of Nephi's lined up at her door. I took that to mean she had fasted and prayed a lot and wanted very much to be married.

I think perhaps you misunderstood her making peace with her situation as choice, but it was not her choice to be single. I'm certain of that.

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Here is a quote by her regarding her single status:

It is a privilege to gather in this celebration of the family. I am, however, a curious choice to introduce this session. I am not married and have not had the privilege of bearing children—which are, candidly, the heartbreaks of my life. This isn't by choice. My dream was to marry and have a house full of children. The answer to why I haven't yet married is simple: No one has ever asked me. So you may wonder, Why am I here, and why do I care so much about the family?

LDS Church News - Sheri L. Dew: The Power of Virtue

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Didn't Sherri Dew get married? I thought she had married an Apostle who's wife had passed away.

Maybe I am getting it mixed up.

Ben Raines

Are you think of Kristen Meredith McMain (now Oaks) who married Dalin H. Oaks?

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Didn't Sherri Dew get married? I thought she had married an Apostle who's wife had passed away.

Maybe I am getting it mixed up.

Ben Raines

I think you are thinking of Wendy Watson Nelson who married Elder Nelson after his wife passed. I think Wendy is a good friend of Sheri.

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wow, i am in awe of your responses. i honestly can't believe so many of you had something to say to me! so, thank you very much.

as for the responses themselves, i see a lot of value in what has been said and i find i understand where many of them are coming from. i think my major concern for myself can be summed up from a combination of a few of your comments, specifically that, i lack the desire to change my current situation, but i'm not sure why i feel that way. i'm not sure why i've never been interested in dating (or jeez, even interested in men in general). i'm also not sure why marriage makes be bristle just a little. is it something inherent to my personality or is it something that i've developed over time, through experiences? i have no clue! it feels so ingrained in me that i can't imagine not thinking/feeling this way, but maybe it's a coping mechanism, who knows? certainly not me...

anyway, i thank you for all your kind words and advice and personal stories. it's very comforting to know i'm not completely out in left field all on my own.

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First off, congratulations on being self-disciplined enough to get your doctorate!! And in a service oriented field as well! This is so great!

Please pat yourself on the back for all the good you've done in your life already. Yes, it is ultimately by grace that we are saved. So, you can also be grateful to God for giving you the strength to be such a success in your life!! Also, good for you to choose to do so well...Again, Congratulations!!

(I was just going over my post before submitting it. Gee, I really hope those first two paragraphs didn't sound condescending or patronising. I'm sorry if they did. I really did mean them....My own mother got her doctorate in education years ago. I know that takes so much discipline and dedication to do.....I'm sincere in saying how good you're doing already, with or without being married.)

You seem to be wondering about marriage not out of a true desire for it; but, rather, kind of out of a guilty conscience more so. I don't know if this is right or not, it just sounds that way when you talk about not really being interested in dating but feeling like you should be.

Marriage isn't everything in life. What is most important is you being true to you....and it sounds like you are doing this already. Sure, pray about it more.....One thing that helps me is to pray for the self honesty needed to resolve various situations and my part in them. What I'm trying to express to you is to maybe pray for self honesty or the realisation as to why you're not interested in dating right now. It may be well to get in touch with your emotions concerning marriage and dating.

Marriage is a huuge commitment. And for women, it often means sacrificing their desires for a career to be a stay at home mom. I think you would be an ideal mom because you are so on top of your life/self and your goals. In other words, you seem to have your own "house in order" and the disposition of wanting children in your life and to take care of them. All this is positive in being a mother. So, maybe for you, it's the commitment to another person that's holding you back. I don't know and can't tell you. I'm sure you realise that is for you to work through.

Regardless, it sounds like you have done so well in your life thus far. Don't make the marriage issue too big. If you want to get married in your mind, try to figure out what it is in your heart that's keeping you from pursuing this.

Best of wishes to you

Dove

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Thanks for sharing your insights - I'm actually a 32 year old single man in the Church, in a way I can sympathize.

To be clear, your approach to pray to God and seek His will is the correct way. You cannot force desire - if you have a desire to date and marry, it will be natural, you have the desire and act upon it. But in your case it seems at this time you don't have a desire to date - that is OK! Again, the key is seeking the will of God and following it. This is different for everyone, and different at different times of life. All kinds of conflict arises when we try to force desire - it cannot be forced! It can only be submitted to and followed, this is the natural course of action.

As you mentioned, action/being proactive is good, but it's only one side of the coin. There are times for in-action and rest, for patient waiting, for just "being", not doing. Find out in your heart what you truly want, and be true to that. If you do this you can never go wrong - you will always be living truly and authentically. This is different then trying to motivate ourselves by force or willpower - this cannot last!

You mentioned you feel conflicted - this feeling comes when inwardly we want something, but we are torn between the desires of our own hearts, and what we think we "should" do, what is expected of us, etc. Seek the desires of your own heart and follow them - only this will bring you peace and fulfillment. And if your desire is to not date at this time, so be it! Honesty is the best policy - to conform to a pattern/expectation you yourself do not feel will only lead to inner conflict and struggle.

I really like what you have said in this post.

I am concerned though...and would like your input/feelings on my concern.

So many times in life I have experienced a great deal of heartache/opposition in the process of trying to do "God's will." So, at times, I totally want to run away from Him and trying to do His will. How can I be true to Him and myself at times like this? It seems like this quandary is still occurring in my life. Right now it's the ward I'm in. I have had such a difficult time in this ward. I want to move; yet, I feel the Spirit telling me to stay, which is what my husband wants as well. I will probably stay; but, with some foreboding. It's just going to continue to be hard.

This is just an example. Care to share your thoughts?

Thanks

Dove

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