Zelophehad’s Daughters

Luck

Posted by Apame

I wrote this two years ago and just happened to come across it today.  

My senior year at BYU was pretty darn lame.  But, you know, it was only lame because I made it lame with my panic.  You see, it was the first time I actually realized that I was going to be graduating…with a humanities degree…and I was still single…

The irony of the whole thing was that I was totally blindsided.  I was that girl who would shake her head sadly at those other girls in MFHD/ElementaryEd** who came to college to “get married.”

“You go to college to…GO TO COLLEGE,” I would intone philosophically at BBQ’s.

But, ya know what?  Come September 2005, I was in full scale panic.

Suddenly, and horribly, I realized that I was in denial.  That I was, and had always been, that girl.  I realized that, regardless of all my pontificating, I truly thought that I would meet a dude, get married my senior year, get my degree, and start a jet-set life as a lawyer/professor/doctor’s wife (like a flippin’ TAMN!).  And…that wasn’t happening.

Like I said, full-scale panic.  PANIC PANIC PANIC!  I was completely unprepared to think about what I actually wanted to do.  What I wanted.  I knew what I had always told people I wanted, but I realized that I had always told people knowing full well that I didn’t expect it to actually happen.

So, there I was, not knowing what in the world to do with myself, essentially pleading, “Please!  Someone!  Give my life a purpose!”  And no one came.

And I’m so grateful.

Because then I had to take myself seriously for the first time in my life.  I couldn’t just give lip service to those grad school dreams–I had to make them come true.  And I did–even as I desperately went through five quick-fire boyfriends in six months.  I was even hoping for a light-speed proposal the day before I left for Boston.  Clearly, I still had internalized the disturbing concept that, after college, anything I did without a husband was just marking time…wasting time…

You may want me to now say that moving to Boston, beginning a PhD, was the best decision I’d ever made in my life–that I felt validated and strong and happy.   Well, nope.  Boston was so hard.  It was so hard.  I’ve never felt so isolated in my life.  I spent over eight hours a day reading and writing.  On Sunday (even with LDS roommates), I found myself left behind and riding the T 45 minutes by myself to and from church in Harvard Square.  When I got there, I didn’t find a family of members, but rather a bloodthirsty and frighteningly smiley to-the-death competition for any male attention.  I had thought BYU was competitive…but it was the little leagues.

After a year, I had few friends.  But at least I had those few.  And one night, as we sat around the kitchen table, we talked about one of the few things we fell back on–dating and the impossibility of experiencing it in an LDS context.  You may think that that’s a pitiful thing, but I ask you to consider the power of loneliness.  We few women, ages 23 to 32, had our secular dreams.  We were in medical school, library school, law, and academia.  But, we were women too and wanted romance, love, a best friend to hold at night.  We knew, perhaps better than most ever realize, how the odds were stacked against us.  We knew that, if you wanted an LDS marriage or even a part-LDS marriage, your chances of finding a guy who you loved and who loved you back who also respected your beliefs…well…

I remember a few line-items from that conversation.  I still think about them a lot.

First, we all admitted feeling the same frustrations about an inability to control this aspect of our lives.  We were women who knew how to get what we wanted–through hard work.  But this…but love…no.  That is one thing no one can control through hard work or will or practice.  You can’t make someone love you.  You have to just hope they love you…and they usually won’t.  Yes, yes, “it just takes one.”  But how many others do you have to hope for before that?

Second,  and the title of my post, this was also the night I stopped using the word “blessed.”

I remember how it began.  Someone brought up a recently shared testimony–-a PhD student at MIT who had recently gotten engaged to an undergrad from BYU he had known for two weeks.  The narrative essentially went:

“I really wanted to get married, but I couldn’t find anyone [This was an especially nice thing for the 100+ single-women sitting with me in the congregation to hear].  So I thought, ‘What am I doing wrong?’   I realized that I needed to magnify my calling by spending more time doing family history/studying the scriptures another hour a day/home teaching three times a month/etc.  The day after I made this promise, I met_____________ and I knew she was the one.  Now we’re engaged and getting married this summer.  I’m so grateful for this blessing.”

Now, I don’t want to disparage this man’s story or experience.  I can never know if that is exactly what happened or not.  I’m not God, after all.  But, the thing is, this wasn’t an isolated experience.  After that retelling, everyone around the table could repeat another version.  Either they heard it from a friend, or a bishop had suggested that if they work harder in x then they would find a boyfriend.  I myself even had a bishop who, in an endorsement interview, advised me to find a boy I liked, smile a lot, and “touch his elbow.”  If I did this, then I would surely be married within a year.

Perhaps it’s human nature to try to explain events in a cause-effect way.  I can understand that.  A man makes a goal to try harder for God, he meets a girl, and they get married.  Therefore, the girl was a blessing from God (which was a super gross sentence for me to even write).

But, here’s the thing, what about all those people who make those goals, try for years and years…and never get that blessing?  You can’t assume that because you sneezed three times and then it started raining, that the same thing will happen for another person.  And what’s more, how dare you try to tell that person that, when the rain doesn’t come, it’s because they need to try harder.

You see, love is just a freak of nature, an accident.  Finding a loving spouse is just sheer, dumb luck.  No one “deserves” it more than someone else.  No one “earns” the right to have it.  The problem with these testimony stories is that they implant the assumption that those who are engaged have done something good and those who aren’t have not.

That is an inexcusable lie.

When I got engaged, two months before I left Boston, I didn’t walk into Relief Society like so many others–flashing my ring and bubbling over with loudly-squealing glee–because I had been there that night around the table, and I knew how it felt to see those rings and smiles.  I knew the thoughts of the lonely, “What’s wrong with me?  What am I not doing right?”

And I knew that the answer was:

“Absolutely nothing’s wrong with you.  We’re all just trying our best.  There’s no formula for getting this.  There’s no universal answer.  It’s not your clothes, your smile, your laugh.  It’s not that you’re “too smart” or “too intimidating.”  It’s not that you just need to pray just a little bit harder.  It’s not that you’re picky, or chubby, or that your hair isn’t cute enough.

It’s just sheer, dumb luck.

No one “deserves” this.  I don’t “deserve” this.  I know so many more who are kinder, lonelier, smarter, better than me.  I didn’t earn this by checking off a list.

It just happened.  I don’t know how.  And I don’t think there’s a reason why.  But I’m so happy.  And it hurts me that I am happy…because I don’t understand why I’m wearing this ring and not you–my beautiful friends with breaking hearts.

I don’t know if this will make you feel better or worse…but this whole love thing is just a giant crap shoot.”

Being in Boston, single and 23, burned the word “blessing” out of me when it comes to love.  And sometimes, when I remember my time there, I pull Atticus to me, pressing him in my arms in the middle of the night and my eyes well up with grateful tears.  But he’s never heard me whisper that I feel “blessed.”  No.  I’ve only ever been able to bring myself to say, “I’m so lucky.  How am I so lucky?  I don’t know why I’ve been so lucky.”

And I feel that same indescribable joy and dull ache.

 

 

** This is, of course, a terrible stereotype that I would have gone to the grave insisting I never believed…but really, in my soul, I’m sad to say I actually did.

34 Responses to “Luck”

  1. 1.

    This sounds so similar to my experiences as a missionary and how the area authority would talk about gaining converts. You just need to work harder, pray harder, be more obedient. You will have converts if you do this one special thing….like praying with them with power and challenging them on the second visit, etc. etc. The problem is that this and marriage are ultimately about someone else’s choices.

    Also, as an MFHD major I breathed a sigh of relief when I reached graduation without having met anyone who I felt like I should marry. Since I escape marriage then I “got” to go to grad school guilty free.

  2. 2.

    This is wonderful and it articulates so many things that I feel. Lucky. Exactly.

    Thanks for posting it.

  3. 3.

    I think that the problem with the word “blessing” is that we use it to mean both “thing that God gave me (for which I am grateful)” and “thing that I earned (through my own righteousness),” and those are not the same thing. I am all about acknowledging God in our lives, especially in terms of accepting responsibility for doing good with what we’ve been given. However, I agree that it’s hard to find words for that type of gratitude without crossing over into the territory of “I deserve this (and you don’t).”

    When I got there, I didn’t find a family of members, but rather a bloodthirsty and frighteningly smiley to-the-death competition for any male attention. I had thought BYU was competitive…but it was the little leagues.

    Oh yes. I am familiar with the ward in question, and it’s insane.

  4. 4.

    As I hit yet another birthday, single, and in my 30s, I have realized that it is all a crap shoot. I’ve lost siblings, aunts and grandparents, friends and roommates. I’ve now had multiple medical issues, including cancer and brain surgery, and yet here I still am, single. I have learned to use blessed in a different way. My blessings are very different from others, and yes, being single has been a blessing.

    Would have it been easier to have a partner who is my teammate in this crazy thing called life? Yes, but as I have watched friends whose partners have decided that the gospel isn’t for them, or had problems with their kids, and I’m grateful for my heartbreaks and my blessings.

    Though I still hate Mother’s day at church, and I have been tempted to slap 19-year-old newly-weds who say their single friends would find a man if they studied their scriptures more.

  5. 5.

    This reminds me of something from my mission as well. There is, of course, a lot of preaching about hard work in the mission field and success being the result of hard work. After one suce discussion, one of the missionaries in my district, who had not had much success, said to me “It’s not a mathematical equation. If you knock 10 more houses when you’re ready to quit, there is no guarantee that one of the people will be interested and join the church”. And he was right, of course. Everyone has a choice and there are no guarantees that someone else will do what you want them to simply because you’re a good person and work hard.

    However, I believe that he also missed the point. To be fair, I think the folks that preach about “Just work harder and everything will be great” also somewhat miss the point. The point of working hard is because we should work hard. It is good. It is right. I suppose anticipating a reward for that work is ok and some might even say we should, but I just can’t like that attitude. Every good thing that happens to us is not necessarily a reward for hard work or righteous living. Every bad thing is not necessarily a punishment. And everyone who lacks a spouse or any righteous desire of their heart is not necessarily faithless, lazy, or unrighteous.

    That being said, I also don’t believe in luck. So I guess I believe in choice. The ability to act, the ability to decide what we want to do and to take determined steps to pursue whatever those things are. There are natural consequences to those choices, both good and bad, that cannot be predicted or explained by any human. At some point, those choices lead us into contact with others whose choices lead them to intersect with us at some point in our lives. Perhaps a connection is made. Perhaps not.

    Having received many of the things that I desire most in my life, I’m in no place to complain or to lecture anyone about what they should do to obtain a particular blessing. All I know is that God does care and He does bless. I don’t understand all the whys and wherefores and I don’t know that I have to. I think we all do the best we can and give gratitude to God for what we receive. “Earned” is a myth. Gratitude is not. It sounds like you’re grateful for what you have. That’s a good thing, no matter how you get there.

  6. 6.

    This is an important post. I couldn’t agree more that so much of life boils down to dumb luck, and seeing people trying to take personal moral credit for all good things makes my teeth hurt.

    I didn’t experience an identical sensation of panic winding down my studies at BYU, mostly because I never thought I’d marry an LDS man, but I absolutely felt the panic associated with, ‘What do I do now?!’

    Whether that’s marriage related or not, I see a lot of that in young LDS adults. The married ones, having felt like they’ve checked off everything on their spiritual to-do list suddenly realize they have another 60 years of life to get through. The unmarried ones realizing that their life is going to go a different route from the narrative they’ve heard their whole lives and coming to terms with that.

    All in all, I’m not sure LDS young adults are properly prepared for the world, married or not. We are carried so much (the marriage narrative, youth and young adult social structures being largely arranged for us, even a heavy dating culture at BYU if you went there, not to mention a whole freaking worldview!), I wonder if we are carried past the point we should be able to start standing on our own emotionally, spiritually, etc., and when suddenly our metaphoric legs finally touch down they’ve atrophied.

    Probably way too off topic, but that’s where my brain wandered. Excellent post!

  7. 7.

    Loved this post. I feel like I find myself in a very similar place as you described… That “panic’ after leaving BYU that i’m completely embarrassed to admit I even feel because I didn’t go to college to get married… But also it was the expectation drilled into me, even as I snarked at it. And I chose a very unstable career… So now I’m left staring at this abyss. But as anxious as I am… I also feel excited that I actually have this chance to go out and make a go at a career now, and not just treat it as a fall back thing. And I feel like I’m learning a lot about myself and what I believe and who I am in the process. So I guess along with the panic and loneliness I also feel lucky my life is working out this way. And it always nice to read something like this and see you’re not alone in your feelings/ experiences.

  8. 8.

    I don’t have anything profound to add, but I just wanted to say that this is a great post. So many things resonated with me, but especially this:

    “We were women who knew how to get what we wanted–through hard work. But this…but love…no. That is one thing no one can control through hard work or will or practice. You can’t make someone love you. You have to just hope they love you…and they usually won’t. Yes, yes, “it just takes one.” But how many others do you have to hope for before that?”

  9. 9.

    Great post!

    I wrote a ost once called “Senior Panic” on the phenomenon you mention at the outset above. Most of the commenters were dubious that such a phenomenon exists, so I was glad to read this confirmation from your own experience.

    http://bycommonconsent.com/2008/08/20/senior-panic/

  10. 10.

    Thank you, Apame. I needed that. I can relate so, so much.

  11. 11.

    And I can’t help but singing, “Love is not a victory march. It’s a cold and it’s a broken hallelujah. Hallelujah.”

  12. 12.

    I wish I could remember the wise cynic from whom I stole the idea which always comes to mind when I see (read) these discussions of finding a mate as an earned/deserved blessing: Getting married is a lot like committing murder in that it’s very often just a combination of motive and opportunity.

  13. 13.

    Thanks for telling us what it felt like beating your head against a wall. Dating for me was a trip down the rabbit hole. Lots of hard work. Then I gave up and turned it over to God. Within a few months I was engaged.

  14. 14.

    An enlightening post, as always.

    You know, if the ZD clan wrote a joint biography, I would buy a copy.

  15. 15.

    I was married for the first time when I was 18, so young. He wasn’t my first choice, but I loved him best. I will love him forever.

    When he died, I was desperately lonely. I would have married anyone; I thought I COULD be happy with anyone. So I married “the bum.” Well, I found out day one that I couldn’t be happy with just anyone. Divorced quickly.

    Then, I was single from age 23 through age 29. I was so depressed when I turned 25 and I was alone and dated only rarely. What was wrong with me? I was still very lonely, but I’d learned that if I beg God for something after He has said no, I will regret it.

    Bill and I married in 1982 and I’ve been pretty open on the bloggernacle about my mixed emotions regarding this marriage. I realized there were some wonderful parts of being single. I miss the freedom. But I love him and realize I have a “the grass is always greener” problem.

    I’ve watched movies about romance lately—people meet and fall in love and get married and it doesn’t seem to be much of a planned effort. I wonder if that results in a lot of broken marriages. Frankly, I’m all in favor of planned marriages–like India does it. I could pick good spouses for my kids, if they would let me.

    What I’m trying to say, I guess, is that either situation presents heartache, for sure. But more, I believe, as CS Lewis waxes poetic about, that God puts people in our lives. Trying to circumvent His will can get pretty ugly. That guy, well, men get to choose much more easily. Unless they’re pretty strange.

    God bless, I remember that loneliness and lack purpose feeling.

  16. 16.

    I think there is a systemic problem in the church of narrating our lives in terms of blessings directly resulting from behaviors. If there is a blessing to come from right choices, right thinking, or right behaviors, the blessing is in the natural outcome of that thing, not as a separate act from God.

    For example a blessing from doing visiting teaching might be cultivating a relationship. It’s not getting that job you’d hoped for. Assigning mystical connections to unrelated events is magical thinking, imo.

    I do not deny that we receive blessings as acts of God, but when that happens I believe they are undeserved, like rain falling on the just and unjust. We are all the unworthy recipients of far more blessings than we “deserve.”

  17. 17.

    Wow, Emily U, I love your comment! Spot on!

  18. 18.

    Have any of you seen Match Point? The voiceover narrative in that movie talks about luck, about how people never want to believe in it because that would mean acknowledging that there are things in this life that you just cannot control. J Town, I believe in choice too, but I don’t think that has anything to do with the question of luck. You can be an amazing tennis player or a crappy one, but if your ball hits the net, your choices and your ability have nothing to do with which side the ball comes down on.

  19. 19.

    […] sister missionaries. Coincidentally, Apame also recounted the horrors of the Mormon marriage market from the perspective of someone who bought into it, and eventually won the […]

  20. 20.

    If I had met someone at 25 who proposed marriage I would not have known how to act or what to say. All I had was a romantic fantasy. I learned eventually that luck is involved in relationships in general and dating and marriage specifically.

    But, being tongue tied and too shy to speak does not help. There might not be one thing a person can to do make things happen, but there are things women do to let men know they are interested an available. It can’t hurt to practice doing them and help lady luck out a bit.

  21. 21.

    Apame, this is such a great post. One of the great frustrations of being thirty and single is exactly what you’ve articulated here — that no matter how determined I am to get married, how hard I try, how much I want it, however many athlete clichés I deploy, I can’t just make it happen. And while I want to be happy for friends who have fared better in their love lives, and certainly not deny them the right to believe that God has intervened to get them married, it’s still frustrating trying to understand what makes them so special — why, if God’s in the business of arranging happy marriages, he hasn’t arranged one for me.

    Up until about a year ago, we had a counselor in our YSA branch presidency who was convinced that most of us in the branch were single because we secretly didn’t want to get married, we were proud of having held out. He would stand up in Sunday School and call us all to repentance for not having strong enough testimonies of marriage, not trying hard enough to get married, not being humble enough to get married, etc. etc.; and then he’d promise us that God had someone special picked out for each of us. Maybe God does; I don’t know, but I do know that listening to this tripe — from someone who’d gotten married less than a year off his mission and had never had to really live as a single adult in the church — was helpful to no one. It was clear that he believed he’d succeeded in getting married — and that was definitely, in his ledger, a success — because of his own righteousness and industriousness; thus we must all be single because of our poor choices. (Also, he was a year younger than me, and insisted on calling us all “kids,” lest we forget that “single adult” is actually an oxymoron in the church.)

    Yvonne, I’m happy to take what you say even further; I think that if women want to date, they should ask guys on dates — there’s no reason to leave all the work to the men. But that’s not really what this is about, is it? It’s not just about my being willing to put myself out there and ask guys out and flirt and whatever — it’s about whether there’s anyone I can put myself out there for; whether the happenstance or providence of my life puts people in my way that I can date or marry. So much depends on things I have no control over, long before my personal interactions with guys even enters the picture.

  22. 22.

    Miri,

    I’m an avid tennis player and I would contend that your tennis comparison is entirely about choice. You choose to hit the ball at a certain angle and with a certain degree of force. This, admittedly along with other factors, such as how tightly wound the net is, weather conditions, etc, will determine how the ball lands and if it falls on your side of the net or on the other. It’s not luck.

    Now, I’m not stating that all of the choices are under your control (who wound the net? who scheduled the match? what spin did your opponent put on the ball?). But that’s life. You make choices and deal with the consequences, intended or otherwise. You won’t always get your desired result, though. Everything that happens has a cause, whether or not we are aware of it.

  23. 23.

    Totally understand the BYU panic. The “aging out” of the singles ward is a different kind of panic. Both exist. No doubt there.

    I think this is a little bit of a matter of semantics. You are lucky to have found yourself a husband. Yes. And kudos to you! I’m so happy for you to have gotten “lucky”!

    I’m a user of the word lucky. But I think it’s important to note this “luck” is in fact a blessing. I would bet you would call your husband something good in your life. Well we know all good things come from God. So really we just call it a blessing too. That doesn’t have to mean you “worked” hard in the righteous arena to get that blessing. People who aren’t “righteous” get married all the time.

    But let’s be honest, sometimes working hard in the righteous arena does in fact translate to blessings. If you keep my commandments you will prosper in the land. Same thing, different language. It’s just important to remember that you can’t tie a blessing to a certain “righteous” act. But I know 100% that if I try to live a more righteous life I will be blessed. It just may not be in the way I expected. It’s very possible that I study my butt off in school (yep again) and in the scriptures (you know, for the righteous aspect) but still totally fail the test. But I know for a fact a blessing will have come soBlessings come in all shapes and forms.

    I also don’t think calling your marriage a blessing needs to take away from the idea that you won the roulette game. …which is often how dating can feel – Is this guy going to be a winner or make me lose all my sanity.

    And I don’t think the fact that you have a marriage and that it can be called a blessing needs to lessen any of the blessings I’ve received as a single woman.

    But also, thanks for not wearing an “I’m engaged and you’re not” shirt in church. That is super thoughtful. But please still celebrate. We’re still happy for you! Like Rachel from Friends I’m 90% happy and 10% not….well more like 80 and 20! :)

  24. 24.

    I remember in YW my leaders going on and on about choosing a “good boy,” someone who honored their priesthood and could provide for a family. They made it sound like when I was older I would have lines of boys to choose from and that I only needed to pick the best one and I would be eternally happy.
    .
    Well, at 27, still single and rarely dating, I would say that the well-meaning YW leaders were a little off the mark.
    .
    This is a tricky subject for me. I’ve had my highs and lows with being single in the Church. Sometimes I thank heaven that I’m still only in charge of me and not chasing a million babies around or trying to get by on pittance. Other times I plead for love and someone to share my life with, someone I can lean on.
    .
    I agree with you that marriage is not a matter of “working harder.” I would use a different word than “luck” though, I would say it’s a miracle. I honestly think every true, good marriage is a miracle, because I don’t see any other way it could happen. I do try to put myself out there and I do ask people on dates and I have tons of guy “friends.” I just can’t seem to find anyone to move into the next stage with. I have to believe that God is in charge of that part of my life. It gives me hope.
    .
    I loved how you said that you were strong independent women, but you were still girls searching for love. That’s what I feel like. I KNOW I can do this alone, I just don’t want too. I want someone to share life’s ups and downs with. (And the thought of a lifetime of celibacy is horrific.) I will be finishing my master’s this year and plan on starting my PhD next year. I know where I’m headed in life and I hope by some miracle or luck I will meet someone that wants to join me.
    .
    Melygoch- haha! I laughed out loud at the “lest we forget single adult is actually an oxymoron.” So true.

  25. 25.

    this whole love thing is just a giant crap shoot

    I had almost this exact same thought the other day about friendship. You can be friendly, you can go out and meet people and talk to them and listen to them and even serve them, but real friendship is something that you fall into. You find someone who just *gets* you and you get them, and you become devoted to each other without much difficulty at all. It just happens. You can’t make it happen. These kinds of close relationships, where people are truly invested in each other, are rare and precious. They really are miracles.

    Emily U’s comment about being unworthy recipients and rain falling on the just and unjust is spot on.

  26. 26.

    I could have written pretty much every word of this piece (though my Boston ward didn’t feel quite so cut-throat, but then I was sort of disengaged for much of the year I spent there). I’ve been saying for years that the necessary element in falling in love and marrying is serendipity and that’s the one thing out of my control. After being single well into my 30s, I’ve fallen head over heels in love and “lucky” is the perfect way to describe how I feel. Yes the choices I made and the choices P made resulted in us being together, but even those choices were no guarantee it would happen. It’s luck, serendipity, good fortune, pure and simple.

  27. 27.

    Sorry I really haven’t been interacting with the comments at all (had a busy week…) But, just briefly (hah):

    I’m not surprised to see some comments that say something along the lines of how blessings can be seen in two ways–as rewards for good behavior or simply as random gifts from God. However, like others have said here, the point is that usually people have deeply internalized the former mindset, even when they think that they work under the latter assumption.

    Which is why, regardless of how it “should” be used, I don’t use the word “blessing” as it relates to my relationship with my now husband–there’s way, way too high of a certainty that it will be taken the wrong way.

    Also, I’m not surprised to read comments that say something along the lines of, “Of course marriage is a choice because you make choices to put yourself in good places or to be kind or to wear deodorant.”

    And, as others here have rightly countered, yes, those are choices, but they still don’t determine if you’ll ever deeply connect at such an intimate and romantic level with anyone. That’s just luck. Luck, fate. Not choice.

    And most definitely NOT a reward for being spiritual or gorgeous or gregarious or funny or rich (because I know a whole lot of people who are not those things who found a spouse pretty quickly compared to some other way more awesome people I know).

    That line of thinking leads to the worst self-righteous hocus-pocus, mumbo-jumbo, wacky-tacky, blah blah blah attitudes in the world.

    And if you get offended at the idea that your romantic relationship may not be the reward for being spirichal…then…well…that’s kind of a weird way of seeing your partner, is it not? Like a kind of blue ribbon? And…doesn’t it kind of keep a threat over your head that this person you’re with will be taken from you if you aren’t spiritual enough?

    Seems sketchy.

    End of long response/summary comment.

  28. 28.

    Ooo…Amelia, I loved your follow-up comments. That completely resonated with me. At the ripe old age of 22 I remember going through extreme pain and guilt that I would NEVER get married because I was somehow not FAITHFUL enough. It seriously caused a lot of angst and torturous thoughts. If we believe that marriage is solely a condition of righteous living, than those of us that aren’t married must be UN-righteous.
    .
    I don’t like that train of thought.
    .
    I think God likes us to pray for the things we desire, so I will keep praying for love. (At least on the days when I feel so inclined) In the meantime I’m going to keep living and loving my single status and hope to someday meet someone. Catch my own lucky star.
    .
    Thanks for this thread. I have really enjoyed these comments.

  29. 29.

    Great post, Apame. I really like how you said this:

    You see, love is just a freak of nature, an accident. Finding a loving spouse is just sheer, dumb luck. No one “deserves” it more than someone else. No one “earns” the right to have it. The problem with these testimony stories is that they implant the assumption that those who are engaged have done something good and those who aren’t have not.

    Considering that there are more active women in the Church than there are active men adds a gender dimension to it too. Men have the lucky odds ever in our favor.

  30. 30.

    So, should we never be graeful to God for anything that seems to be good fortune?

    I remember having childen in the ICU, heck, I remember going into the ICU at Dallas Childrens and having the staff break into tears at the sight of us. To see us returning with another child was too much for some of them.

    So, when others talk of healing or other blessings should I just turn away and burrow into my heart that it was just blind luck, that God does not care, does not bless, is not kind?

    On the other hand, rejecting the “God is a vending machine” metaphor is a step towards spiritual maturity, and I consider the “my spouse is an award that I deserve” theme often a perversion.

    Maybe I’d feel otherwise if I did not know someone who had been stalked by another with that mind-set (the “I deserve to marry you” mindset).

    On the other hand, I often see people who found each other with real help from the Spirit, or who found each other because they saw beyond the outward person.

    I would say it’s a miracle and I would agree.

    Right now my wife is trying to set up two of my nephews. One just graduated from medical school, is active LDS, dances and I’m told is not bad looking, though he is not that much taller than me. Putting himself through school and then med school did not leave much time for much else.

    The other is a great kid, though inactive. Working as a contractor (doing IT work) in Afghanistan. Taller, good looking, very outgoing for a guy who keeps networks and computers going. Obviously not in a place where he will meet many women.

    But I’m about to go to Fast & Testamony meeting at my mother-in-laws’ ward. How should I react to the miracles and stories of others?

    I don’t think closing my heart to them is the right way to go.

    Nor do I think that rejecting that God has blessed us, even if each is blessed differently, and each set of problems and trials is not the same, is good for my spirit. Though my God is not tame and is definitely not a vending machine.

  31. 31.

    I’m moody. It is that time of the month for me (F&T meeting) and having a child survive long enough to get married (my 23 year old is turning 24 this month and is getting married in August in Utah), stirs up feelings and memories, especially at a family re-union.

    And I hope for the miracle of marriage for my two nephews as well. Having turned 28 before I got married, I had dispaired myself.

  32. 32.

    Stpehen R. Marsh is stephen r. marsh centric;

  33. 33.

    sartus — maybe so, maybe so.

  34. 34.

    Just as an aside, my wife read this post before I did, though she brought it up later and had very positive things to say.

    Thought I would pass that along.

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