Monday, May 13, 2013

I'm single, I'm happy, & I'm a mormon.

I'm 26 years old, and there is no ring on my left hand.



I've been rolling this particular post around in my head for probably close to a year now. Pieces of it are scattered on scraps of paper around my room and on random pages of notebooks and in various half-written notes on my phone. At the Elevate Blog Conference this weekend, the message I kept hearing was, "Be raw. Be open. Be vulnerable. Take the walls down." Particularly, the thoughts from Ashley at Little Miss Momma kind of hit me in the heart and settled heavy in my gut. And for that reason, I am sitting here on my bed, with my suitcase plopped in the middle of the room, 15 minutes after arriving back in Arizona, spilling a piece of my heart into my laptop.

To make it clear, I believe in and plan on marriage.

My religion places a heavy emphasis on marriage and family, and I'm 100% on board with that. I believe in that plan, I support it, I condone it. I wholeheartedly invite the blessings of marriage and motherhood into my own life. However, what I don't believe in is the strong cultural pressure that tells me exactly when and how those things should play out for me as an individual.

My story is not far off from many of my close friends: I graduated from college a few years ago, I'm doing the whole career thing, I'm active in my church and my community, I'm developing an ongoing and ever-evolving relationship with Christ, I socialize, I date, I volunteer, I have hobbies, I spend time with my family, etc. My life is very rich, and my heart is very full.

"So why aren't you married?"

Sometimes, people assume they know all the reasons why a normal, healthy mormon man or woman in his or her late 20s could possibly still be going it alone. "She's too picky." "He has commitment issues." "He's selfish." "She's immature." "He must not understand the way the plan works." "They don't know what they're missing out on."

The issue with these statements (other than the obvious fact that they are tasteless and hurtful) is the false assumption that anyone is capable of fully understanding or knowing someone else's story. Sure, maybe some of the above reasons do apply to some of my single peers. And maybe some of them have applied to me at one point or another in my life.

But what you're missing is the real story.

The guts and the heart and detail of it all. Gather a dozen single mormons in a room somewhere and I can guarantee each one of them will have their own personal, unique stories to tell about their individual relationship histories. And many of these stories will include elements of heartbreak, loss, abuse, infidelity, addiction, and any number of other tough (sometimes really tough) experiences. It is impossible to judge what you do not know, and it is unkind to put someone else's trial on a platter and deliver it up for laughs or thoughtless discussion.

Another problem with the "why aren't you married" mentality is the implication that if you are not married that you must be doing something wrong. This, in turn, implies that there is only one right way to navigate life. It also portrays marriage as a milestone that somehow signifies, "Hey, you made it! You're finally worth something!"

But the real truth is that a person's inherent worth isn't, never has been and never will be about a wedding band or lack thereof.

Married or single or divorced or widowed or man or woman or tall or short or black or white or rich or poor, a person's value and worth is based on one thing and one thing alone: you are a human being. You are a creation and child of God. Not once, not anywhere, in my entire life of consistent mormonism, have I encountered a gospel doctrine that says a person's value is based on his or her relationship status at age ____.

A wise man named Gordon B. Hinckley once said, "Marry the right person, in the right place, at the right time."

What he did not say was the who, the where, the when or the how of exactly how that would play out in an individual life. He didn't put detailed specifics on the counsel to get married because God doesn't put specifics on it either. He simply says, "The right person, the right place, the right time." This could mean 18 years old, 22 years old, 30 years old, or possibly never in this life. Heavenly Father doesn't put an age on marriage or parenthood, and neither should we.

What's most important is that you're right with God.

It matters that we pray, it matters that we counsel with our Heavenly Father, and it matters that our hearts are in the right place. The decision of who to marry and when to marry is between an individual and God, not between an individual and friend A, family member B or well-meaning-stranger C. Certainly, close friends and family can play a trusted role in the path toward marriage, but ultimately, the decision is personal and sacred.

For me, it's most important that I be emotionally and spiritually ready to marry someone before I commit to time and all eternity. And that means that I don't put a timeline on it. I'm open to it happening this year, next year, 10 years from now, etc. Like I said earlier, I wholeheartedly invite the blessings of marriage and motherhood into my life, but that doesn't mean I want to rush the decision because I'm afraid of being alone or because someone says my particular path should be shaped a certain way. In my mind, I would rather carefully navigate and be fully committed to someone who I wholeheartedly respect and love than give in to pressure to be a wife or mother by a certain age.

Here's the truth I hold closest to my heart: in the eternal scheme, it matters more the direction you're traveling than the cultural speed at which you're getting there.

My intent in writing this post is twofold: to put into words what I and many of my peers feel in their hearts, and also to increase understanding for anyone who often interacts with a single friend or family member. This weekend I learned that one of the greatest powers of blogging is to be brave enough to put into words what other people are afraid to say. My hope is that someone will read this who really needs to hear it, or will pass it on to someone who does.

To anyone who feels that their relationship status, atypical life path or unconventional life goals mean they don't belong in the mormon world, I'm telling you: you have worth, and you have a place here.

I'm 26, my heart is right with God, I'm happy, I love and am loved, my future is bright and my faith is strong, I'm single ...and I'm a mormon.

50 comments:

Whitney said...

You have no idea how badly I needed this post! I hate when people say, "you're pretty, fun, smart... so why aren't you married?" I also feel like sometimes our church culture tends to respect married women more than us single women which is entirely wrong, as you outlined above. Our stories are all unfolding differently, in their own beautiful ways.

Jen said...

Amen.

Jenna said...

I got married at a culturally-unacceptable young age (18) and I STILL get comments, at 26 years old, about how maybe I rushed into things, didn't live life to the fullest before settling down, am way too young to have two children, etc. I will say that these comments have slowed considerably in recent years, but I spent the first five years of married life dreading those personal questions about my choice to wed when I did. Sometimes it was downright painful. People not only judged our marriage unfairly, but judged my upbringing ("She must not get along with her parents"), my motivation ("She just wants to have someone to take care of her") and my character ("She's needy and immature").

I think we as humans, not just as Mormons, get too caught up in doing things a very certain way and then projecting those ideals onto others. We have to start acknowledging that there are as many paths in life as there are people and it's OK to let others make their own choices. We don't need to call them into question any time something doesn't sit right with us.

I admire you for embracing your path and making choices that clearly benefit you. You're doing great things, Miss Katie!

katilda said...

Jenna, I loooove this perspective that you offer! Apparently people will judge your marriage decisions no matter what you decide to do, haha. The comments can be hurtful. I love this: "there are as many paths in life as there are people"

Alicia said...

I am so so so happy you wrote this post! Especially after sitting through a lesson on motherhood yesterday in Relief Society where everyone seemed to feel worthless because of the fact that they were still in a single's ward. Now is a time to enjoy life and prepare for whatever Heavenly Father has in store for us, whether that be marriage or something else. I love honest posts like this; however, I don't like becoming emotional after reading everything you write Katie. Haha.

Kelsey Anne Design said...

PREACH KATILDA! PREACH! Absolutely love this. There are so many lessons to be learned from your post and it's definitely given me more confidence in my life's path. Ima own it.

Mikaela D said...

I absolutely adore this! Like Jenna, I got (and still get) quite a few critical comments about how young I was when I got married at 20, especially since my husband is significantly older than I am. No matter what decisions you make there is going to be someone that doesn't understand or agree with you, and I guess life is all about accepting that and doin' your thang with gusto just the same. You just have to do what makes you happy and own it!

In the Priesthood session of General Conference last month President Uchtdorf said this, and I love it. I think it really applies to this!

"Sometimes we confuse differences in personality with sin. We can even make the mistake of thinking that because someone is different from us, it must mean they are not pleasing to God. This line of thinking leads some to believe that the Church wants to create every member from a single mold—that each one should look, feel, think, and behave like every other. This would contradict the genius of God, who created every man different from his brother, every son different from his father. Even identical twins are not identical in their personalities and spiritual identities.

"It also contradicts the intent and purpose of the Church of Jesus Christ, which acknowledges and protects the moral agency—with all its far-reaching consequences—of each and every one of God’s children. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are united in our testimony of the restored gospel and our commitment to keep God’s commandments. But we are diverse in our cultural, social, and political preferences.

"The Church thrives when we take advantage of this diversity and encourage each other to develop and use our talents to lift and strengthen our fellow disciples."

BAM. I love that man.

So... basically I think you are awesome, and this post made me like you even more, and now I sound like a creeper but I'm kind of okay with that. ;)

Kaycie Eddie said...

Loved this. I absolutely agree.

Jayme said...

I really like this post! At the ripe old age of 22, before my hubby and I started dating seriously, I felt too old. I felt like I should have been married long ago. And that's just lame.

KP said...

hey katie!
i liked this post, a lot. it's so true that marriage does not define you. it's just one more step in life and in ultimately preparing us for eternal life.
the decision when and where and who to marry shouldn't be taken lightly! i commend you for being true to that principle.
i like how you mentioned how some people believe once you get married you've reached this like ultimate perfection status in life. soooo not true!!! and i think too many people do believe this. especially young mormon girls (and boys maybe?).
anyway, as a married woman.... i LOVE being married and i would not trade that decision for ANYTHING in my life. however, it does not define me. it does however strengthen me and helps me grow and develop.
anyway, amen to your entire post. LOVED IT. every word. :)
ps... i probs wont see you at rowing anymore... since i wont be able to compete, there's no point to me practicing this week.

-kellie

Brooke said...

This is awesome Katilda. I've seen your name floating around other blogs for a while now, and I'm so glad I finally read it today! You are darling, and your insight is awesome.

Autumn said...

We have been shunned in our current ward because we are the only couple without children. I am constantly being asked if I am pregnant while people assess our situation to their judgement. I have even been criticized on my Facebook wall about it. I am treated differently (much like a child) and in my calling I am treated like I do not understand children (I am on my second year of teaching) because I have not had my own.

The list goes on and the culture does get exhausting. However, the heart of the religion always stays the same. Thanks for this post, on a different topic, about something that hits home for me.

KP said...

ps i forgot to add....

you seem to live an adventure-filled single life that i kinda admire!!
being single (the dating scene) is fun and you're totally relishing in it which is awesome.

life is too short for people to dwell on disappointments in life based upon the fact that it hasn't played out exactly how they imagined years ago.

be happy with where you're at and relish in it! (which you're totally doing) :)

Ashley Allan said...

I love this! Even though I am not Mormon, I grew up in a town where the culture was to marry young (as you know Katie). I got married at 23 to the man that I thought was "the one". Unfortunately he didn't believe in the same kind of marriage I did and decided I was only "the first one" within a year. Divorce sent my world crashing down and I thought that I had lost my chance at a happy ending. A lot of people have strong opinions about divorce, and for a long time I did too. People tell me God hates divorce, which made me wonder if I was a disappointment, despite my best efforts to keep my one-sided marriage alive. But marriage is not meant to be one sided and a woman can only take so much hurt on her heart before she just signs the paperwork to dissolve a marriage. No one told me that signature would hurt even more!

It has taken years to come to terms with the idea that I can still have my happily ever after and that God and I are just fine. In fact my relationship with God only got stronger after my divorce. I still believe that marriage is one of the greatest gifts in life. A gift I look forward to having again, when it's right- which may not be for a long time.

While your words speak to me in a different way, they ring true!

XOXO

Joshua Snow Hansen said...

Amen. I couldn't have put it any better!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this, Katie. I took an emotional beating in Mother's Day sacrament meeting in my parents' ward on Sunday, and eventually had to bail to patch up my face and avoid the inevitable awkward gift-giving ritual. At 28, wondering what's wrong with me and why I'm still single keeps kicking my self esteem into the gutter and I regularly have days where I am convinced there is no meaningful place for me in this life or in the church. I admire you for finding such an iron core of strength. I hope I can gain some sliver of your optimism and confidence someday.

Cassie said...

These kids of posts are my favorite, and I LOVED this! I got married at 20 so all the comments I got were about how young I was and about how I married the only boy I'd ever dated and how could I know and blah blah blah. And now I get asked ALL THE TIME when we'll be having kids. It's "oh how long have you been married" and when they hear we're close to 3 years I get a look with an "oh..." or "it's about that time!" and I shouldn't let it bother me, but it does. Most of the time, I feel that people have good intentions, but even still, it was MY decision to marry my husband and WE get to decide when to start our family. For what it's worth, I think you're doing great things with your life and I'm glad you shared this!

Jamie said...

I am Cassie's mom and I have to say I was not overly thrilled that she got married at 20 (sorry Cass) even though I loved her husband to be. I have been married for 30 years but did not get married until I was 25. The outrage at my unmarried state was just as bad all those years ago as it is today. People would say to me "when are you getting married?". I got so tired of this question that after awhile I just started giving an actual date. That usually shut them up because they realized I certainly could not predict that. I always told my girls that I'd rather they get married when they were a little older, but it happens when it happens and it's for none of us to say or judge. I appreciated the post.

Becca said...

This was fantastic. From the first paragraph I was thinking, "hallelujah! words to my thoughts!"

You are a fantastic writer. Thank you for articulating what we all feel in our hearts and wish we could communicate to the world.

Definitely passing this one along.

Camille said...

Love this post so much- way to go and way to impact so many people!

I was married the first time at "the perfect age" getting engaged just as I was graduating from BYU. It was interesting to go through a terrible divorce and then to be 26 and single again. I never felt rejected, never felt I was old, and just felt like life was different for me. To marry the man that was more than the man of my dreams at 28 was wonderful- but I was so happy single too!
I think knowing you're good, knowing you're desirable, and just understanding everyone's plan is different really is the key!
I would never change my life plan even if meant going through the hell I did- it's been wonderful and I am who I am today always having confidence that I was right with God!
And I've said it before, I'll say it again- a husband that makes you half as happy as the champ I somehow landed is worth a lifetime of being single! Don't settle, be picky, and know you're worth that!

Roger said...

Hi, I liked reading your thoughts. There's a lot of truth to what you are feeling. Unrealistic expectations cause more harm than anyone possibly imagines.

By the way, any single girls in here, are welcome to contact me if you don't want to be single anymore. That doesn't mean married, it just means not single! lol

Crystalee said...

Lovely post.

I want to echo that this judging doesn't end after you get married. Then the question becomes, "When will you have kids?" or a couple years later, "Why haven't you had kids yet?"

Even my loving mother-in-law said something yesterday about "why don't I start trying," and little does she know I've already suffered two mini miscarriages and quite a bit of heartbreak.

Getting married and having children are such personal quests, we don't have any right to judge each other. It IS all about our own personal relationship with God. And like you, I'm happy, I'm loved. I've been married almost three years and I'm not pregnant. Oh well! I've got my own timing and lessons to learn and I'm still of great worth!

Thanks for sharing the love, Katie.

SaraM said...

I seriously love this a ton! I read it at work and almost cried! I'm a strong believer that people shouldn't tell each other how to live their lives. It's rude and shallow to believe that you know someone's situation better than they do. Thank you for being raw today, Katie!

SaraM
http://clochedeletoile.blogspot.com

Brittany Noble said...

This is an amazing. It's a post EVERYONE can learn from! And you are an incredible writer by the way... I got chills reading this at work (and it wasn't from the huge vent pumping out cold air over my head!)

Quinn the Eskimo said...

I began typing a comment about how I agree with you completely and how I was going to write about the same topic and now I don't need to because you said it so well.
Then I started typing up personal experiences that I think go along well with your post and my comment kept growing in length to the point that I felt it would be in poor taste to publish it as an appendage to what you have created.
I may end up writing about it after all, but in short, your blog is perfect.

Amber and Lincoln said...

I was 30 when I found the right person to marry in the right place and I am so much more confident in the Lord's timing than ever before! I was 30 and he was 23.....I had to wait for my man he wasn't ready until then. Trust in the Lord!!!

Devan Sisson said...

Thank you for such a wonderful post. I appreciate your considerations that make a great point in how to be more christlike. I've learned its more important to come closer to God and his spirit than to stress over relationship status.

Megan said...

This is a great post and is applicable to so many people in so many situations. I echo the other comments about getting judged/backlash after getting married and having a baby right away. We got pregnant a little unexpectedly 3 months after we were married and people were pretty opinionated about it, even at the revered BYU where you think they would be more supportive being a bunch of Mormons and all. My boss even asked me if we were using protection... :/. It was already a really emotional situation as I was in school and wasn't planning on having a baby but to have other people throw their opinions at me on top of it was really difficult. And now that Elijah is older, I get the whole "when are you going to have another baby?" judgments and it can just be way too too much to handle. I hate that people act like there is only a certain way of doing things like you said and if you are doing something differently than they think you are doing it wrong.

You are a wonderful writer, Katie, and I so much love these posts of yours. You are honest and real and it really shows. Thank you for opening up your heart! This really is a great post and I can't wait to share it with others. I know quite a few people that need to hear these words. Thank you for your bravery!

Kailee said...

thank you for posting this. I really really needed it today. Thank you :)

Nina @ Momma Go Round said...

Love this babe! So true that there is way too much pressure and judgement. I love your perspective and wish more people understood this!

Bri Rios said...

Megan posted your link on her page and I'm so glad she did! I totally agree with you! Although I got married young, I never planned for it to happen that way. I'm from So-Cal and go to BYU and am always surprised with how people confuse culture norms with the gospel. Just because it's culture to get married young doesn't mean that is what is dictated in the gospel!! So glad I found your blog, can't wait to get to know you more :)

Bri Rios
breezydaysblog.blogspot.com

Elisabeth @ Imma Walking Fashion Crime said...

You are amazing, Katie. I love this SO SO SO much. I get so down on myself when I see my friends (who happen to be ages 18 to 20) get married and I haven't even had my first kiss yet. You have stressed everything that people forget because of cultural norms.

This post is just another reason why you are the most brilliant, talented, and strong girl in the whole entire world.

So when we gonna meet? Cause that's GOTTA happen. ;)

Lauralee Nunley said...

Beautiful. Insightful. Honest. What a gift for articulation you have! Mike shared a message with me last night that is particularly relevant to your post - it was a broadcast for Young Women by President Uchtdorf.

I learned that his family lived in great danger in East Germany with his father under political scrutiny, and their family decided they needed to travel separately to West Germany to find freedom and safety. His father took a quick journey through Berlin because he was in greatest danger, and his older brothers found their own way heading directly north, then to the west. His brave sister followed her Young Women's leader onto a train and they paid a porter to unlock a door for them to jump from the moving train. As the youngest child, President Uchtdorf and his mother packed a picnic and trekked over the strenuous mountain range until they safely crossed.

It was a BEAUTIFUL analogy of how even a close-knit family will all have several ways to find safety and freedom and make it back home. Not only are various paths bound to happen, it is necessary for each to follow the path best suited for them.

He concluded by saying that the three things to remember on your journey home are:
1) Do not fear, for I the Lord am with you.
2) Love one another, as I have loved you.
3) Be of good cheer.

That's it. No mention of what our home life must look like at a certain age. Just faith, love, and happiness. I wish the world and specifically Mormon culture could simply focus on encouraging everyone to have these three characteristics during our various life journeys.

http://www.lds.org/broadcasts/article/general-young-women-meeting/2013/03/your-wonderful-journey-home?lang=eng

Megs said...

Loved this! Thanks for being willing to be honest!

Valerie said...

This describes my life a year ago. I am 26 years old, and just got married in January. Nothing would drive me up the wall faster than people asking all those questions. And my mother was the worst! "Are you flirting?" "Are you going to activities with your ward?" "Are you TRYING to meet guys?"
Of course, I don't think it stops with marriage. Just last week I got asked for the first time if I was pregnant yet. Such is the way of our society, I guess!

Emily said...

Well said Katie. I am not Mormon but grew up in that culture (small town AZ, ya know). I know that this is not just in Mormon culture, but I do think it starts earlier with Mormons.

I think it's so important for all of us to not tie together being married with our self worth. And while I am married, I am learning this lesson in other areas of my life, such as my job, my friends, my house, etc etc. Ultimately, we are all precious in God's eyes, no matter what condition we are in. I have worth because Christ loved me so much that he died for me and promises new life in him, not because of anything I do.

At one of my first jobs in college, I was talking with a coworker about classmates we graduated with and what they were up to. I was completely single and she had a ring on her finger (don't remember if she was engaged or married). She brought up one friend and said something to the effect of, "I think she's going to get married soon. She's such an awesome girl." I don't remember what I said, but I still to this day remember how I felt.

Marriage is not some equation where being awesome equals marriage. Thank you for beautifully explaining how misguided that assumption is.

Anonymous said...

I really appreciate your focus on building a relationship with the Lord.

I got married at 28 and, frankly, I'm shocked that I'm married because I definitely did my part to sabotage that relationship :) But the Lord tutored me and I learned then what *I* needed to learn to make that miracle happen for me and I believe now, more than ever, that every marriage is truly a miracle. And just like other commenters have stated, so is every birth, every healthy child. These are things we absolutely should not take for granted, nor take credit for. Can we make them less likely to happen. Yes. We can definitely make choices that will make marriage, pregnancy, and healthy children less likely. If we do everything perfectly, however, is success guaranteed? Absolutely not!

I have two siblings who are still very single, one who is almost 36 and close to 'giving up.' Is it really that big of a deal that he is single? Yes and no. Yes, because he wants to be married and have a family. Yes, because I know he would LOVE it (it = a great marriage, not just any marriage). No, because he is still learning and progressing all of the time and I'm proud of who he is. Mostly it just makes me sad to know that he FEELS lonely and feels like giving up. That breaks my heart more than him actually being single (although I'm also glad he does want marriage!)

Now that I am in a family ward I see older singles, widows, couples struggling with infertility, families with very ill children, and of course there are burdens I can't see. In my singles ward I just saw the 'one burden' that we all carried. It is good for me to get perspective: the lack of control in life is a constant! I have to be able to accept my life as it is and rely on God for all the good things He can and does give me, even if they are different from what He gives others.

Sorry this is so long and disjointed, but I do feel passionately about this topic -- that the solution is not to employ any of the dating tactics that I and so many of my roommates focused on, but rather to build your relationship with and trust in the Lord. That is your rock, your foundation, and then whatever comes will come. Even if you "get" what you want, you will have other trials and disappointments, uncertainties, things you cannot control. I think of the 13th article of faith "we hope to be able to endure all things" - I really do hope to get to the point where I want that - because usually I hope to avoid enduring them :)

Thanks for this perspective and God bless you!
xoxo

Kerry said...

I don't know how I missed this post. No, okay, yes I DO know how but the point is I am SO glad you referenced it in your blog today because I loved reading it so much. I'm not Mormon but I get this on so many levels. I struggled so hard in the past few years watching so many friends get married, feeling sorry for myself to be at these weddings without a date, dodging any and all questions about my relationship status and career plans. Something clicked at the last one and I realized I could choose to be moping about or I could just enjoy the heck out of it. And I had the best time, enjoying watching two friends proclaim their love and dancing all night with pals.

And that's what you're doing here: you're choosing to enjoy the experience. You're a wise woman, Miss Katie. When you do get married, that future husband of yours will thank his lucky stars on the regular, that somehow you were meant for him. Live that life to the fullest, woman.

Elise Frederickson said...

I've been waiting to comment on this until I am not on my phone and I can type you a real comment.

I LOVE this. I love you. And this is just one of many reasons why I love you. You just get it. You're so good at being happy with who you are, at knowing what you want, and at going for it. And, you are extremely talented at expressing the fact that you just get it without sounding like "hey, I'm katie and I know everything". You write in a way that is so genuine that everyone reading it just gets it too. Real connections is the difference, I think. You make genuine connections with people just because of who you are (which overlaps into how you write/live/etc.)

Also, this is my favorite: "in the eternal scheme, it matters more the direction you're traveling than the cultural speed at which you're getting there." I want to make a printable, frame it, and give it away to every person I meet. (in their respective favorite colors) either that or needle point it on a pillow.

Joshua Elliott said...

This is so very true. I really like that you quoted President Hinckley about "marrying the right person at the right time". I've had so many people ask why I'm not married and to be quite honest, it gets to me every now and then because it's not always a choice. However, it has been a choice to wait for that right person because I believe just how important marriage is. This doesn't mean to that others do not. It just simply means that I'm not one to jump into marriage just to check it off a "to do" list. Marriage never stops once the wedding is over, and I personally want that to be with the right person.

Josh said...

Some great thoughts and well written! I am a 33 year old single male with a great job and lots of hobbies and serve actively in a family ward. I see so many tie their self worth in with marriage (i have as well). I think the singles ward can bread this type of mentality...that you aren't worth anything unless you are married, and I also see this mentality propagated in our LDS culture. As I have really worked on my relationship with God, and learned to strengthen that...my dating life is so much better, and I am open to good relationships.

I also echo that each persons path is individual and unique, AND I see many people not achieving their desires to get married because they are not dealing with issues of fear, insecurities, abuse, loss, addiction, grief, etc.... These things held me back from forming solid relationships, and I see them affecting so many other people.

It's not about getting married, it's about learning to form healthy relationships free of fear and insecurity...the marriage will come.

Thanks for being vulnerable to post your thoughts! :)

Alissa said...

I think more often than not, the question "why aren't you married?" Is a compliment. I ask my fiancé that question at least once a month. He's turning 30 this month and I don't fully understand how the ladies could pass up such an amazing, handsome, spiritual, educated, well rounded, selfless man like him.

When I wonder why someone isn't married, it's usually because I think they're super awesome.

Jo said...

Thank you for being raw. For being honest.If only people understood the timing aspect of marriage.

Denise said...

Wow, great post. However, I'm shocked that you are feeling the pressure to marry and you are only 26. It seems WAY premature to have to defend your "singlehood". (With that being said, I was 24 and I felt that pressure in the Mormon community.)

debrajo said...

I totally agree that what matters most is that we're right with God and following his plan.

After reading many of the comments I have a few thoughts of my own.

I have come to realize that whether we are just married, happily married, divorced, single and never been married, have children, can't have children, have a job, don't have have a job, skinny or not skinny...etc., that usually in the heart of the trial where we're most vulnerable people will try to say things (either to hopefully help, or just to make conversation). I have had countless moments where the people who were trying to console me in my time of need actually said the worst possible thing they could have ever said, and the words they said didn't help in the slightest until I learned to just be happy that they cared enough to try. I also learned that sometimes the things I didn't want to hear from anybody were actually some of the the things I needed to hear most and they helped me at some point.

I think it's good to raise awareness and plant seeds of cultural change so that we can be sensitive to what others in similar situations might be going through. But there will always be someone who doesn't understand us and maybe we don't understand them. It's good for us to have compassion and charity for people who understand us and especially for the ones who DON'T understand. We are all each other's clinical material.

Also, I have noticed at some points in my life that the times I feel most out of place and unaccepted are the times that I let myself feel inferior or not good enough. Many times it's not a matter of meeting the cultural norm that holds us back, it's our own insecurities and low self-esteem that is allowing us to feel not good enough. We can't ever listen to that negative internal voice or it will keep us from doing the amazing things we were destined to do.

Way to go Katie for being secure in who you are, in where you are, and for walking in faith.

Raree said...

Fantastic post! I am neither single, nor childless, but I know many who are one or both. It sickens me when I know those perfectly worthy and worthwhile members are judged as being 'less than'. I would like to add, that every woman is a mother whether or not she has children of her own. It's part of our divine nature to love and nurture any who are within our influence. And that is what really makes us women so fantastic. :) Keep the faith! You are right on, and doing great.

Raree said...

One more thing I wanted to add: you are so spot on with focusing on your relationship with the Lord. I dated quite a few guys before things really worked out (oh! the drama!). It finally worked out after my dad gave me some fantastic advice (usually my mom's role) and I followed it: keep busy doing good things. Being "on the hunt" is not a good way to approach it. Having a strong relationship with the Lord and a kinship with the Spirit totally is. For handling all of life's questions and trials! Totally sharing this post.

Ali said...

Thanks for posting this Katilda~ I'm also a member of the LDS church and like you I've had post-it notes, pages in notebooks and word docs where my thoughts about being single in the church have flooded from my mind & heart onto paper. Writing those thoughts down started when I was about 24 and now I'm 30. Your post helped me push "publish" on one of those "drafts" this week and it felt great. :) Feel free to check it out if you'd like http://tinyurl.com/nl7jd3a Thanks for the influence!

Kelsey Eaton said...

love this! so many important things that need to be said. thanks for sharing!!

kels
storiesofkel.blogspot.com

Samantha Gregson said...

I just found this post and want to say thank you for being brave enough to write this. I recently got out of a relationship and have struggled with the idea of being a single Mormon again. It's challenging because everyone else has their ideas of when you should be married and if you don't fit that mold, then there's something wrong with you. Most of my friends are married or engaged now and sometimes it's hard to wonder what's wrong with me. So this post was just what I needed right now. The reassurance that I am okay and that there's nothing wrong with being single. Things will happen on the Lord's timeline and not my own and in the meantime I can be happy and continue to live my life.