Monday, October 11, 2010

Single Adults: Some Thorns Are Harder to Soften Than Others

One of my fondest wishes is that we simply would stop judging each other and our individual situations. I understand and have no problem with the need to preach an ideal, but I also understand that not one of us is living fully the ideal we preach. Each and every one of us struggles with some aspect of life that constitutes a thorn of mortality - and I am bothered more than I can explain that some people’s thorns are harder to soften than others.

I really struggle with this one. I do want to emphasize marriage and motherhood in a world that is devaluing them more and more. I don’t want to weaken the ideal, particularly as it is crumbling in many of the areas around me. I do want to encourage my daughters to be worthy to enter the temple - and to not delay marriage if they find someone with whom they want to spend eternity. I value the concept of eternal marriage above nearly all else in the Restored Gospel, and I want my daughters to experience what it is like to find true perfection (wholeness and completion as one united entity) in a marriage.

However, I want my daughters, first and foremost, to feel worthy and special and noble simply because they are daughters of God. I don’t want the importance of their mortal existence to be tied solely to marriage, and, while I realize that the Church’s full teachings don’t devalue single women, I also realize that single women and men live in the here and now - so they need praise and validation and worth and power and fulfillment to the highest extent possible in the here and now.

In the end, I believe it comes down to our actions - including our words, but more how actively we are willing to ensure that the voices of those whose lives don't reflect the full ideal we peach are heard - that their lives can be immersed and their opinions are valued in the Church. In many ways, it comes down to accepting their lives as legitimate lives (every bit as “right” for them as marriage is for the married) - and resisting the urge to impose the ideal individually as we still must teach it collectively.

I wish I had a better answer, but never-ending awareness is a start - along with never belittling the struggles of a single adult in a family-focused religion.


SilverRain said...

As a divorced mom, I'm a huge cheerleader for eternal marriage.

So I suppose I'm a living example of not living the ideal, but I can also show that not living it doesn't mean the ideal is without value.

Anonymous said...

As a 40-year-old single woman, I appreciate your words. Thank you.