How to Get Married

There are lots of adult Mormons who are single who would like to marry, but for whom it hasn’t happened yet. Let’s collect our ideas for how one should go about this particular quest. I’ll get us started with some ideas of my own.

First there is a theological issue, for which there are basically two schools of thought in the Church. Does each of us have a single soulmate whom we promised in the Preexistence to find and wed? This is the romantic view of John Taylor and Saturday’s Warrior. Or is it the case that any righteous LDS man and woman could be happily married, as SWK maintained? I think SWk went too far (perhaps intentionally as hyperbole to press the point), but between these two schools of thought I prefer the pragmatism of SWK over the romanticism of Pres. Taylor. And it seems to me that if one is able to come to this view of things, it will result in a more realistic search for a spouse and will improve the odds of successfully marrying. (That is, if one holds to the idea of a single soulmate there might be a tendency to keep looking for that perfect person rather than going for the almost perfect person at hand.)

Second, I view this as a venn diagram, with two overlapping circles. One circle represents the universe of those of the opposite sex whom we would be willing to marry, and the other represents the universe of those who would be willing to marry us. The potential candidates are going to fall in the space where the two circles overlap. So it’s sort of like financial management, where you can either rein in expenses or increase income or both. One strategy is to increase the universe of people you would be willing to marry (by becoming more open to different possibilities), and the other would be to increase the universe of those who would be open to you as a partner. For men, this latter point would include things like hitting the gym, making sure your hygiene is impeccable, buying some new clothes, not living with your mother, etc. The idea is to increase the overlapping space in the diagram and increase the odds of success.

So what are some of the key bottlenecks? One is whether you are going to limit yourself to Mormons as possibilities. When I was young, I never would have even considered dating outside the Church. But if I were in that position now, I think I would be more open to it. What are your thoughts about this issue? (One possibility is to convert your spouse, but what if he doesn’t convert–are you going to call off the romance then? It’s a difficult issue.)

Another bottleneck is geography. There are lots of LDS singles, but typically only a small number live in your immediate area. One way of dealing with this is by using internet dating sites. (Any experiences out there–whether positive or negative–with such sites?) Another would be to do some traveling. There are some singles here in the Chicago area who for their vacations go to places with a high density of LDS singles and spend a couple of weeks meeting new people that way.

What do people think about involving family and friends in setting you up? Has this worked for you, or do you have horror stories? I’m sure one problem is that people tend to think that if you’re both Mormon, that’s all in common that you need. So it might be helpful to be a little more specific with them what you are looking for.

There’s a lot more to think about when searching for a spouse, so let’s turn it over to your thoughts and experience and advice. What works, what doesn’t?

Comments

  1. My husband, who was 34 when we married, says, “It doesn’t happen until it does.”
    There’s a lot to that.
    My daughter just had her first big break-up, and of course wondered if she’d ever get married (now that she’s eighteen). We talked about why that short, idealistic, gaggingly romantic courtship hadn’t worked, and came up with one answer: the guy had a list he was filling, and she didn’t have one or two of the “vital” characteristics. (Now, I secretly knew that if that marriage had happened, the guy would’ve hated me, because it became very clear that he was a conservative Mormon who got nervous if something didn’t have the official Church seal on it. I do not have the official Church seal on much of what I do. So I was glad I won’t have to negotiate that kind of territory.)

    The lists I’ve seen are silly and self-serving. I’m sure I had one of my own way back when. My first marriage cured me. After my divorce, I was looking for a man who would be kind to me and to my daughter (it makes a big difference when you’re looking for a father to your child, not just a spouse for yourself), loyal to the Church I loved, and simply GOOD. Bruce Young was and is all of that. And if he had a list of the characteristics his wife would embody, I am certain that he would find it laughable now. I’m also certain I have very few of those “vital” attributes. (He wanted a dark-haired beauty with olive skin.)

    People lined him up all the time, and it was absurd. I used to line up his brother (who was 45 before he got married), and finally realized that I didn’t have to play matchmaker to the world. It made my relationship with him much better. And eventually, he met HER, and “it happened.”

    It mattered to me to marry a Mormon, though I suspect I will have at least one non-mormon daughter-in-law. And that WON’T matter to me. At least not in any way I’ll make known.

  2. Here’s a link to an essay my husband wrote about how to get married (or something like that). Keep in mind that he was my professor and his job was on the line. He was told that he would lose his job if he didn’t get married. I, on the other hand, got free tuition for simply agreeing to be his wife. And then I even got to be his graduate assistant as we traveled in Boston and DC. I had to make a report of it, which said, “Professor Young and I researched [XXX] (Shakespeare plays) at the Libary of Congress for one month, and then I discovered that the professor and I had gotten pregnant. I became too ill to work further.
    Link:

    http://english.byu.edu/faculty/youngb/faith.htm

  3. I have to admit that while I believe what SWK said applies to more people than not, John Taylor’s version of the soulmate is real for some.

    I met my future wife when I was 16 and she was 15. It was as close to love at first sight as it is possible to be. The first time I spoke with her it literally was like renewing a relationship with my best friend who simply had been living in a different place all her life. I was 16, and I simply knew I had met my split-apart – and the last 25 years have proved that to be correct.

    Having said that, I hate lists of desired qualities. Last week, I told a girl we have quasi-adopted recently that she needs to drop her on-again/off-again boyfriend just because he’s a jerk and insist on finding someone who will treat her like I treat Mama – someone with whom she will feel like a beautiful, valued, worthwhile woman – someone who will make her both glow and giggle – someone who makes her feel better about herself whenever she is with him. It really doesn’t get more complicated than that, imho.

    As to marrying a non-member, I know those who have wonderful marriages with non-members, and a few where the non-member has joined the Church in time, but I also know that the divorce rate among those who fit this category is astronomically high. (best estimates = about 40%) Those aren’t good odds. I also know way too many cases where a “faithful” member has compromised (usually) her standards and gradually lost her testimony in order to appease a non-member spouse and “keep the peace” in a marriage.

    As to my own children, first and foremost, I pray that they will be happily married to spouses with whom they want to spend eternity and who feel the same way about them. I want that to be in the temple, but a miserable temple marriage is not better than a glorious non-temple marriage. If two people manage truly to become one, my heart tells me that the Lord will work out the eternal details. I don’t know how, but I have to believe He will.

    Whatever they choose, I will support them, although I will do my best to encourage and model the type of marriage I hope they will have.

  4. “Professor Young and I researched [XXX] (Shakespeare plays) at the Libary of Congress for one month, and then I discovered that the professor and I had gotten pregnant. I became too ill to work further.”

    That’s a serious spit-take, Margaret. I just can’t stop chuckling about it.

  5. Whilst one of my best friends was on her mission, I had the nice gushy romantic girlfriend at BYU after I came home. She dumped me for a (now-ex) friend. Then I dated a woman who dumped me because I didn’t like to ballroom dance and didn’t speak French (and then she got pregnant by a construction worker).

    Then my best friend came home from her mission and we were married in 9 months. In the 5 years we’d known each other before marriage, we’d only spent (barely) a year in the same city and had only dated for those 9 months. But, we’d spent 42 months (out of 60) writing each other letters with one of us on a mission.

    It’s a question of (a) basic compatibility, and (b) timing, and (c) a willingness to get married.

  6. My DH and I met and married in our 30s. We met on an Internet site. I had recently changed my entire approach to dating, or we never would have gotten together. I had an epiphany. Flirting results in dates because it is an indirect way of telling a man, “if you ask me out, I will say yes.” Men are afraid of rejection, so they ask out flirts because they know they’ll say yes. That was a revelation for me. I’d thought men preferred stupid, ditzy women (flirts) and that wasn’t it at all. They just wanted to know she’d say yes before they asked her out. Men weren’t intimidated by my accomplishments as much as they were intimidated by their uncertainty as to whether I’d say yes or no.

    I do not know how to flirt, and never have. So I just started telling men outright, “if you ask me out, I’ll say yes.” I went from dating twice a year to dating twice a week with that approach. I met my DH within three months of telling everyone who didn’t freak me out that I’d go out with him.

    DH was very shy, and openly admits that he would never have asked me out if I hadn’t pestered him into it. After the second date, he took over the lead in the relationship. We’re coming up on our 2nd anniversary, and life is good.

    On your other questions, I hated being set up by friends and family. I had some great horror stories from those dates. But then I’d go home wondering, “why did my friend/relative think I had anything in common with him? Am I that weird?”

    I had much better luck with Internet dating. There are losers and weirdos, but they are pretty easy to spot. Just follow basic safety precautions like not giving out your last name or home address, and meeting in public for the first several dates. And pay attention to getting a bad vibe.

    I only dated once or twice in a singles ward, and that was a mess.

  7. Kevin Barney says:

    Margaret, one of the advantages of marrying an English professor is that he writes and publishes articulate essays grounded in your marital love.

    queuno, my experience was a little bit like yours: a long period of friendship and correspondence established the foundation.

    Melinda, you’re a wise woman. Asking a woman out when you don’t have any idea whether she’ll accept is a brutal prospect. The cliche is that men like the thrill of the chase, but I think a lot of men fear the potential rejection a lot more.

  8. I met my wife on the internet. We actually felt surprisingly good about things quite early on in the relationship, before we even met, though we were both quite pragmatic when it came to not really expecting much until we met in person and had the chance to date for an extended period of time. Also, I think dating should be viewed as an end in and of itself, not just a means to an end—there’s so much you can learn about yourself and others and the world while dating, and of course becoming too ends-focused can itself become an obstacle to that very end.

  9. StillConfused says:

    Okay, I am interested in what folks have to say here. I am a divorced LDS woman. I haven’t had a particularly great time with the dating thing (ever been to a singles dance — holy crap).

  10. Nick Literski says:

    #3:
    If two people manage truly to become one, my heart tells me that the Lord will work out the eternal details. I don’t know how, but I have to believe He will.

    Funny…I believe pretty much the same, Ray! (cough)

  11. Frankly, Nick, I thought you would mention a legislative solution. *wink*

  12. It threw off my MIL that while DW and I were dating, I was at her house for the first time, and I mentioned that I’d been there before, four years earlier. I had been on a group date with one of DW’s friends at the time, and she was there with one of my friends.

    I think it threw off a lot of people that DW and I were already dating by the time that she had her mission homecoming. She had been home a few weeks, we’d reconnected, and we’d already recognized that the years of friendship and the letters had formed a pretty good foundation and that we were probably going to get married. I think a lot of people were stunned that she’d gone on a mission without a boyfriend and in the 3 weeks she’d been home, had seemingly managed to find a serious one.

  13. BTW, Nick, I understood the implications of that statement when I wrote it.

  14. Nick Literski says:

    I thought you probably did, Ray, and I just had to chime in. :-)

  15. When I was single, I had one of those silly lists, too. But mine was really simple: The guy couldn’t live with his mother, he had to have a job, and he couldn’t have a drug/alcohol problem. Not sure I could have broadened my _overlap_ any further!

    And, I ended up marrying the guy I met at 17, when I was 27. I kind of agree- when it happens, it happens.

  16. Vicki Blue says:

    Hey- are you the Tracy that lives in Kuna?? Ha. Do you remember me? Anyway, I totally agree with you!

  17. Melinda's man says:

    Melinda forgot to mention that with me she somehow totally forgot to follow all basic safety precautions. She gave me her address and I picked her up for our first date at her home.

  18. Nope, I live in the northwest, sorry!

  19. My “list” involves things like “he can’t drive me crazy by making me plan everything” and “he can’t think that getting drunk and playing Halo 3 for twenty hours is more fun than playing Halo 3 for two hours (sober) and then going to dinner with me.” I’m not sure I can really go lower than that, and I’m not about to compromise on basic standards like literacy and ability to add. I don’t care about hair or skin color, and I’ve dated guys from an effective (slouching) 5’4″ to a theoretical (NOT slouching, which was unfortunately rare) 6’2″. If I don’t scare them away and they aren’t creeping me out, I’d go out with them at least once. I’m not sure I could ever quite work up the courage to tell a guy I was willing to go out with him, if he should ask. ^_^

    I strongly suspect that I’ll get married only when meeting people is more important to me than all the things I do instead of meeting people. I figure my odds of marrying someone met either via the internet or some other artificial scheme (speed dating, singles’ cruises, whatever) are incalculably high, especially since I’m a natural introvert and would really rather sit at home reading (or writing) a book than go to a dance or group bowling night.

    My favorite meeting-people story is my friend who married her favorite moderately obscure horror comic artist after meeting him by chance at a convention. My least favorite is my parents: my father proposed after my mom declared, at a choir rehearsal, that if she didn’t have a husband by the time she was thirty, she’d have a baby without one. He thought that was just wrong to do to a kid (these are the parents who divorced when I was not quite 3 years old.)

    Oh, and it seems like every one-in-the-church/one-not family that I know has a much harder time because of that. It doesn’t seem to help when one was already LDS before the wedding, either. And the girls my own age mostly stop coming at all after they get married, when it’s to a non-member.

  20. I think it is somewhere in the middle. I don’t believe in soul mates and I don’t think any two righteous people can marry and be happy-there is more to it. I know too many people who have tried that and ended up divorced.

    I am 33 and single. I am fine with set-ups from people that know me well. I think too many people get in the whole “you are both single so you would be perfect for each other”.

    At this point I prefer non-member men even though I live where there are like 1000 singles in a 25 mile radius-maybe more.”Flirt to convert” is unhealthy for any relationship. You shouldn’t go in with the idea of changing someone.

    I can say the worst idea in the history of man was the “dating committee” in a singles ward I was in. I have no idea what idiot came up with that one, but they should be shot. No, really they need to be shot.

    I think that you should live your life and be open to possibilities and you are more likely to meet someone you will be happy with. And if you don’t meet someone at least you are doing what you love.

  21. I have written before that my husband and I met on the internet. This was in 1996, when meeting people on the internet was edgy. My dating pool at the time was non-existent. I was sort of dating a guy who was not a member who is still a good friend, and that’s it.

    Single adult activities for the over-thirty crowd were pathetic. Every once in a while there would be something fun, but mostly it was 75 desperate women flirting with five to ten creepy men. It didn’t help that fat Mormon women with two kids are not on anyone’s list of highly desirable women.

    My “list” was pretty short. Doesn’t hurt my eyes to look at him, fun to talk to, doesn’t lie, and wears his teeth all the time (even better if they’re his own.) My now-husband demonstrated that his teeth did not come out while we were sitting in the chapel at the temple the first time we met in person. I laughed really hard.

    How to get married? It depends on who you’re talking to. If you’re a single or divorced woman over 35 or so, the best approach is probably just to forget about getting married and build a good life for yourself. If someone comes along, that’s great. But don’t hold your breath. I was pretty positive within a few years of my divorce that I was never going to marry again. I think I just got lucky.

  22. Did anyone besides me laugh when a blog posting titled “How to get Married” started by talking about Venn Diagrams and schools of thought?

    :-)

    MRKH

  23. It seems like there are a lot of single women around the bloggernacle. Where are the single men? Is the imbalance part of the problem, or are they just computer illiterate? (maybe that’s one of the criteria for marriage)
    At the ripe age of 19, I made a list of the qualities I wanted (with weighted values), and how my boyfriend (now husband) ranked on each, then determined his overall score compared to the “perfect” man. It’s actually hilarious. I only remember a few criteria, one was ‘funny’, another was ‘priesthood holder’. Apparently he did pretty well on the scale, because I married him. I know that I got this idea from Young Womens, and I’m not sure if they’re still teaching it, but I would definitely look at it differently now. DH is a good man, and a wonderful father. (In fact, I told him when we just started dating that I expected he would make a better father than a husband. Why he still married me is beyond me, sheesh!) So, I guess the criteria aren’t always bad, but kind of silly in some ways.

  24. If I recall correctly SWK had a qualifier on there, something about paying the price, or putting in the work, or making the sacrifices. I can’t remember what it was exactly.

    Something about my personality, and the way I was raised make me into an uncontrollable people pleaser. I am the type of person that attracts abusers. Even if I had married a regular non-abusive guy, I most likely still would have been miserable, because I would have played the matyr and he would have been blissfully unaware. I am incredibly fortunate to have married a man who is aware of my nature and is careful to help me stay away from the martyr role.

    In short, I needed a very specific type of person to have a happy marriage, and I was lucky enough to find a person like that. If I hadn’t been able to find a person like my husband, then I would have been better off single for the rest of my life. Perhaps the very best thing John Bytheway ever said was that unhappily single is better than unhappily married.

    Other than that, my only advice for getting married is never do things that you don’t like doing just to ‘meet people.’ Why? Because, the people you’ll meet will be people who like doing things you don’t like doing. Always go to places and do the things you like. If you meet someone, great. If not then you had fun anyways.

  25. Starfoxy, you remember correctly. Spencer W. Kimball’s full sentence is:

    “Soul mates” are fiction and an illusion; and while every young man and young woman will seek with all diligence and prayerfulness to find a mate with whom life can be most compatible and beautiful, yet it is certain that almost any good man and any good woman can have happiness and a successful marriage if both are willing to pay the price.

    Elsewhere in the same speech, Kimball advises being extremely careful when choosing whom to marry. For example, he says the proper approach toward marriage “contemplates the selection of a spouse who reaches as nearly as possible the pinnacle of perfection in all the matters which are of importance to the individuals.” But I think sometimes people have interpreted the “any good man and any good woman” line to imply that as long as two people are good Mormons, other compatibility concerns don’t really matter that much, and I find that interpretation very unfortunate.

  26. My patriarical blessing sides with John Taylor, but I did it SWK style. I proposed, moved her a few states North, then we went on one date. We married a month after I proposed.

    No one should do what we did, but we’re happy 10 years later.

  27. One thing that I believe is ridiculous is to limit your dating pool based on how you would meet the person. If you assert that you will not date someone in your singles ward, or someone you met on the internet, or someone you were set up with, you are being childish and will stay single a long time. Be open to meeting people anywhere, even if some drama will ensue for doing so. In the end, when you meet that great person, it won’t matter and it will be completely worth it.

  28. When I was a teenager, someone told me that you should marry your best friend because it’s friendship that will hold your relationship together through the hard times. While some of you may protest that love for your spouse is much deeper than mere friendship, I think there’s a lot of value in the idea of being best friends with your spouse. My parents never learned how to be friends and after 30 years of both of them feeling lonely, they divorced. Being friends means you can talk to each other about anything and everything and you trust each other. You can laugh and have fun together even when things are stressful.

  29. Another bottleneck is geography.

    There has been a lot of ‘singles poaching’ — going to YSA and SA conferences in far-flung places to see how it goes. The Festinord conference for Scandinavian YSAs banned non-Scandinavians at one point, and still limits the number.

  30. Concentration can be an issue for some. Schooling and herding is a strategy that some species use to avoid being caught. The predator pounces, the prey scatter left and right, the predator doesn’t know which to snatch and comes up empty. Watching children play soccer, my wife is fond of pointing out that when four players from one team crowd around a ball opposing a single player from the other team, the single player is the most likely to come away with the ball.

    At BYU, my future wife and I lived a block from each other but never met. When I left school and took a job in her hometown, an isolated place in the north-central mountains of New Mexico, there was space to know other people and to be known by them.

    Also, I become acquainted with my mother-in-law before I knew her daughter. In the networking that leads to becoming acquainted with a future spouse, married people are much more valuable connections than unmarried people. First off, they have more connections: through a married friend, a man may meet an eligible sister or sister-in-law; an unmarried friend doesn’t have an eligible sister-in-law. Second, a married friend is not a competitor (if of the same sex) or someone someone who has ruled you out as a romantic interest (if of the opposite sex), so any referrals by them will be of a higher quality. Third, being involved socially with married people puts an unmarried person more into the mainstream of living instead of shunted of to a ghetto of people just like themselves.

    To summarize, in order to get married, don’t hang around single people all the time.

  31. I had a list. My wife didn’t have many of the qualities on that list, but she had one that I should have put at the top: I love her very much and she loves me.

    I was very much in the SWK camp and then I had a vivd dream. I was in a room with several of my female friends, including one I had dated for a while. After talking with each of them in turn in this dream, there was one girl I hadn’t met yet. The feeling I got in the dream was that once I met this girl, I wouldn’t have to keep looking. The only thing I really knew about her was that she was pale, thin, and wore her long dark hair in a distinctive style. Sure enough, when I met my future wife, she was literally the girl of my dreams. In a couple of months we will be married for 20 years.

  32. Professor Young and I researched [XXX] (Shakespeare plays)

    Now, I know that Shakespeare’s plays tend toward the bawdy at times (and they’re rollickingly great fun when they do), but XXX???? Really, that’s pushing it a bit far, don’t you think?

  33. Do I get bonus points for meeting my husband online (like Ann, back before it was cool–we met not on a dating site but in a chatroom) and then converting him?

    Instead of the tall Scottish soccer player I’d always dreamed of, I ended up with a not-taller-than me Russian musician/psychologist…and he’s perfect for me (although I do wish he were taller). heh.

  34. It’s interesting to me how many people “met” their Time-&-All-Eternities on the Internet. I’ll bet an exponential number to that ended their marriage on the Internet. On the other hand, it has been known to work. My sister-in-law met a guy on LDS Singles, they married, he milked her savings while cultivating his dinner theater career, they split, she met another guy on LDS Singles, they married (he makes a nice chunk of change), and they’ve been together for about 6 years. Actually, I envy those who can shop on the ‘Net for dates– aside from all of those “you’re kidding, you like Saturday’s Warrior? I LOVE Saturday’s Warrior!” IM conversations–’cause working the tired soil of our singles ward, and crashing other ward & stake dances, was a dismal mating ritual. On the other hand, I think of people looking for partners on the Internet and it reminds me of something Woody Allen said: “I would never join a club that would have me for a member.”

    There are a lot of very eligible (translated: temple-ready), very attractive single sisters in my ward who are not seeing anyone. A few thoughts: Where the hell were they when I was in the scene? Why did they dissolve our stake’s singles ward, and why isn’t there a robust singles program in our ward? It isn’t for lack of people.

    I’ll have to agree with the “it happens when it happens” formula, frustrating as that is. I have a few female friends who ended up marrying outside of the Church and, I have to say, those were not wrong decisions; they are very happy and the guys are terrific. One, a Jewish guy, attends our church, and even actively participates in the dialogues in priesthood. I used to think marrying outside of the church was settling, but have since decided there are partners within and without that are meant to be.

  35. I come from a part member family–and based on that experience, I’m fairly determined to marry in the church. It’s just been very hard–particularly for mom (all of us kids were ‘raised’ catholic, so there was very often no one with her at church when we were little), and then when I joined the church at 21 an already sometimes challenging relationship with my dad got much harder. This is not to say it can’t work–my parents are approaching their 30th anniversary,and dad is still a weekly mass attender, and mom is now a counselor in the stake relief society presidency (interestingly, in that presidency, only the RSP herself is married to a member), though there are some challenges with regard to tithing as retirement approaches.

    So, even though I’m 28 and it limits my range of options greatly (living in the midwest), that’s one of my darn-near-imovable conditions.

  36. David T., I think you’re hearing lots of “we met on the Internet” stories because you’re reading a blog. We’re the sort of people who read for companionship, so we’re more likely to meet a companion online too. In real life, meeting someone on the Internet is still kind of odd, though it’s getting more common. In my ward, there are only two Internet couples. Everyone else met their spouse in the flesh first. :)

  37. For me, it meant marrying outside the church. The guy had to respect the church, had to be a good person and we had to have things in common to do to each other.

    It took me a long time to realize a Mormon man might not be the best match for me but once I did realize it I met a great match.It’s not for everyone, but it was right for me.

    I think being open to date all kinds of people, taking care of yourself, and then looking for as much contentment as possible in single life is the way to go.

  38. Melinda,

    I agree, most of the couples I know met in the flesh first, too. As a prehistoric LDS single, I just find this new Internet option entertaining, and I hear of more & more saints hitting the jackpot that way.

  39. Iam for dating non-members, because I have seen many non-members become members through the process, including myself.

  40. Well, I don’t have a lot to chime in here. I dated all the wrong LDS guys, all the wrong nono-LDS guys, ended up marrying who I thought was my soulmate. He joined the church, held the priesthood, took out his endowments in the temple… and abused our daughter. My daughter and I fled the home one evening with a suitcase and that was the end of that. I decided to only date really good LDS men post divorce. I went on LDS Singles. Wasn’t impressed at all. I finally just went looking for a great guy. I found him! He’s Catholic.

  41. I married my first husband when I was barely 18 years old. 14 years, 4 kids later we divorced. We were high school sweet-hearts. I remained single for 14 years, raising my kids. I dated by being set up, running adds in singles columns (before internet dating),and going out with men I met at church. Never had any luck, until I GAVE UP LOOKING.

    When I met the man of my dreams, I was the Stake Singles Ward Rep. He was called to be the Male Stake Singles Rep. We had to work together. At first I couldn’t stand him. Then he grew on me. One day, I heard a knock at my front door. When I opened it, he was there on his knees. He said, “I really hate this church calling…..if you marry me now, we can both get out of it…..”

    The joke was on us, because after we married the stake made us do the calling for six more months because they couldn’t find anyone to fill the positions.

    We have been happily married for seven years, going strong into eternity.

  42. Great story, Marie. Mine is like a bad Jack Weyland novel. My wife was the RSP at the singles ward, I was the Gospel Doctrine teacher. We ran around in different circles; she thought I was too weird, I thought she was stuck up. At a potluck I was feeling playful and started bantering with her. The next thing I knew, I was driving her in her car from L.A. to SLC (nonstop, earned me nickname “Super Dave”). 18 years later and we still don’t know how that all happened.

  43. On key issue that I see amongst 20 something people is the word “after”

    I will get married after…..

    Grad school,
    2-3 years of work post school
    travel
    living large

    This attidude tends to prevent the individual from seeing the opportunities for marriage that may end up presenting themselves due to a focus on the current goal

    It also limits the potential pool of prospective active spouses due to the fact that so many get married in their early-mid 20’s in our Church culture

    Ray is right in #3 about the stats on marrying non-members. My own take on the data healthily mixed with anecdotal observations is that LDS person marrying the non LDS person is more likely to go inactive then the non member spouse is to end up an active committed member. (Check your own ward list for anecdotal proof)

  44. Thomas Parkin says:

    I met my wife on the internet. But we were both locals with common connections. It was on an e-mail discussion list. We we’re lilely discussing Shakespeare. I said some pompous thing and she told me I was full of it – and that pretty much set the happy pattern we continue to enjoy to this day. :)

    She isn’t a member of the church. I was nowhere close to the church when we met. We both got drunk at a party, she came home with me, and in 11 years we haven’t been apart more than four days concurrently since then. (And that happened just this last month.)

    She was an atheist / pagan / “sex-postive” type. While we were good freinds, we couldn’t discuss religion for years. It was simply a taboo topic, it always went bad. She had had bad experiences growing up in a small Nevada town, that had been a Mormon colony and was still primarily Mormon. (I imagine small town dynamics combined with insular Mormon dynamics might be a nasty mix.) I was very un Mormon, but sitll beleived in what Joseph Smith taught about the nature of God, still believed in the Plan of Salvation, still saw my life through that lens. Strangely, it wasn’t until I became active again that we started to be able to discuss my beliefs in a civil way. Now-a-days, there are no taboo topics. There is a lot of mutual respect. She understands and respects Mormonism as I know it, and I am delighted in her intelligence and personality.

    It turns out her whole anscestry is full of Mormons. She has ancestors born in both Kirtland and Far West. Strange how things go.

    I wouldn’t give up my marriage for anything but … for me being married to a non-member has often been very difficult. There has been strain and heartache,on both sides, that we’d not have endured had I been married to similarly compatable member. I jsut see that as reality, and one you may have to cop to if you choose to marry outside your faith – or cultural mileu – whathaveyou.

    As for soul mates. My experience was that when I thought I’d found somnething of that nature, she was already married to another man. That’s a long story, and since this is a public fourm, I won’t go into it. But, yeah, things that seem to eb of that nature, that are something quite more than falling in love – I think they can happen, but don’t often – and I think SWKs advice is basically good.

    ~

  45. I’ll only add that my wife and I were in junior high and high school together, as friends, and never dated until in college. The first two dates were disasters, so we just remained friends. I kept saying I’d like marry someone like Katie, but didn’t really consider that until about three years into college, we kind of fell into a whirlwind romance that took our friends completely by surprise. Been 35 years now. Soul mate? Not sure I would say that, but I can’t imagine being married to anyone else. There were some other circumstances about our eventual getting together that seem to defy coincidence, though, and I wonder if we weren’t the best possible choices for each other. Kind of hitting the exact sweet spot in the overlap of Kevin Barney’s Venn diagram.

    Bottom line, marry a good friend.

  46. I married my best friend. Only thing was, that he wasn’t (and isn’t) a member of the church. I won’t say that it hasn’t been terribly depressing at times, because it has, but I couldn’t imagine being married to anyone else. I do, however, often wonder if I could go back in time, knowing what I do now, would I have the courage to walk away from my love? When you’re 20 and in love, and there’s no prospect from any LDS guys, you have blinding hope and are sure everything will work out ok.

    Advice for those unmarried, who want to be? Be patient. I think if I were either more patient, perhaps I would have found an LDS guy who I could have loved and who would have loved me back and not thought I was weird.

    If you can’t be patient, at least pick a good one! :-) I did! Even though we’re at opposite ends of the religious spectrum, we’re still loving and compatible and friends after 20 years. (But I still ache that we’re not sealed and he’s not a priesthood holder)…

    I think SWK had it right in a sense — I’ve read many articles about arranged marriages, and they all basically say that you learn to love your spouse. I just didn’t have the wherewithall to hook up with any of the icky guys people were trying to set me up with at church. (sorry men!)

  47. Speaking of arranged marriages, here are a couple of tidbits from today’s Arab News Classifieds:

    Saudi Sunni Muslim parents of Indian-Pakistani background are seeking a suitable boy for their 24-year-old university graduate daughter. Interested individuals should be university graduates, employed, and fluent in Arabic. Please e-mail us at…

    Or

    Indian Muslim parents from Dammam seek suitable matches for (1) their son, well settled, handsome, age 27…. Girl should be graduate, beautiful and homely. (2) Their daughter 26 years… fair, good looking. Boy must be qualified and settled. Age not more than 30.

    Now there you go! Maybe we should start something like this in the Church News!

  48. Aaron Brown says:

    I want to meet the girl who pulls off being “beautiful” and “homely” at the same time. Some feat that.

    Aaron B

  49. Kevin Barney says:

    If I were in that position, I wouldn’t be averse to giving the internet a crack. As some have mentioned, the blogging crowd is in general going to be more comfortable with that than they types who check their e-mail once every three weeks.

    We always have those discussions about how Mormon men don’t want intelligent women, but in my case intelligent Mormon women are exactly the ones to whom I am attracted, so were I in that position I figure I might get lucky and meet someone at Sunstone or MHA or something like that. Maybe I would even ask fmhLisa if I could guest post a single’s ad at FMH (that’s really thinking outside the box!). My friend Todd Compton met his wife Laura through Sunstone, so I know that sort of thing happens. The traditional LDS singles scene would be tough for me to navigate, because I’m no Peter Priesthood and the molly type would surely be sorely disappointed in me.

    Aaron, I assume she meant to write “domestic,” but maybe it’s just truth in advertising, and she’s beautiful on the inside and homely on the outside–or vice versa.

  50. I agree with Kevin. Intelligent, eloquent child-bearing hotties, that’s the ticket. By the way… Brunette Eve from the movie– I keep writing fan mail but you never write back. I’m not weird, I promise. I just want to talk. (All right, that creeped even me out).

  51. My wife is actually beautiful and homely. It’s the freckles and the goofy smile. Man I love her. Man am I lucky.

  52. 50 – I’m with you, man. I just hope I’m not as creepy! 8) (I’m using the sunglasses in a creepy dude sorta way!)

  53. mondo cool says:

    You might want to do a separate article about internet dating horrors. Come on, how many of you out there are too embarrassed to talk about it?

    I knew a guy whose wife died. He was an active LDS guy with a bunch of grown kids. He went to the LDS singles for his “looks around.” He made lots of trips to visit the chat partners and eventually married one of them – a divorcee.

    He, however, had some serious skeletons in his financial closet. Also, she was not what he thought she was. He got sick. She decided that was not really what she married him for. He died. She got a good chunk of the insurance money and left all the other problems with his kids.
    She’s now back on the LDS singles websites advertizing herself as a grieving widow in Idaho.

    Gotta be careful.

  54. “We had to have things in common to do to each other.”

    Amri, I couldn’t help but laugh at the wording of that one on a Mormon-dominated blog. I’m sure you meant “with each other,” but after the MTC story . . .

  55. The singles scene in the church for the “31 to dead” crowd is terrifying! Absolutely terrifying!

    For you married folks, the next time your stake is putting on a dance or something for single adults, check it out. It will blow your mind and make you write daily letters of appreciation to your spouse to be delivered with chocolates.

    Trust me. Nothing is more horrifying than being at a church sponsored event and being hit on by men who could be your grandpa. (Well, I suppose attending the event WITH your widowed grandpa might make things worse).

    Really, at 32, I’m a lot less concerned about getting married than I was at 22. I love my life. I love my freedom. I’m generally happy. I have terrific friends and family. Would I rather be all these things AND married? Sure. So, if marriage comes my way, then great!

    But if not, then I want the Lord to be able to say:

    And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard said unto his servant: Look hither; behold I have planted another branch of the tree also; and thou knowest that this spot of ground was poorer than the first. But, behold the tree. I have nourished it this long time, and it hath brought forth much fruit; therefore, gather it, and lay it up against the season, that I may preserve it unto mine own self. Jacob 5: 23

  56. Man, do I wish there were an easy formula for getting married. My opportunities for meeting people are so limited. I actually appreciate blind dates when they’re arranged by people I trust and they can give me solid reasons why they think I’d get along with a particular man. (I also appreciate it when they don’t get too invested in the outcome of the date.) Most of the men I’ve dated over the past few years are people I’ve met in my singles ward. I’ve tried the Internet too, but I seem to only hear from men with lots and lots of children from multiple ex-wives. Or they’re just creepy. Check out my most recent message: “Love the hair. Can I run my fingers through it? And when do we go out? Dinner and a movie in three weeks? Venezia for the honeymoon, then?”

    Gross.

    I will say that I LOVE hearing stories about people who got married after age 35 or 40 or whenever. It gives me hope. :)

  57. Kevin Barney says:

    Liz, you reminded me of that scene in When Harry Met Sally where Bruno and Carrie are so grateful they found each other and don’t have to be “out there” anymore.

    Rivkah, do you by any chance come from a Jewish background? I was just curious based on your name, which is the Israeli way of vocalizing the biblical name Rebekah (Rebecca). I’m sorry for the creepy experiences you’ve had trying to find decent Mormon men to date.

  58. Kevin, nope, no Jewish background. Rivkah is just the name I use here.

  59. Kevin Barney says:

    Oh, ok. I thought for a minute that maybe you lived in Israel or something, in which event you would have a really hard time finding Mormon guys to date!

  60. #56 Rivkah, you are very brave to be set up. I’ve only had bad experiences (even when it was arranged by trusted friends).

    The worst blind date: My friend went on and on about how I would just LOVE this guy, so I agreed to meet him. When I pressed her for more info, she told me not to worry because he reminded her of my Dad. I thought, “Great, I like my Dad. He’s a funny, good guy. So it can’t be that bad.”

    Well, I was wrong. My friend meant that he PYSICALLY reminded her of my Dad. I mean, the guy was the spittin’ image of my father—just 20 years younger. It completely weirded me out, and maybe me wonder what on earth would posses my friend to think I would be physically attracted to a younger version of my Dad. I still shiver just thinking about it.

    #57 Kevin, that scene is exactly what you’d do after you left one of those dances. Oh, how I wish I could utter those words. Someday.

  61. #50 David,

    I actually met “movie Eve” the first Sunday I was on my mission in Manhattan (Oct.1990) She was passing out programs at the entrance to the chapel. I about dropped a brick. She was married (to movie Adam) and had a child at the time. Sorry to burst your bubble!

  62. what a fun thread. I love the comment about the Venn Diagrams. hopefully we’ll get answers.

    My biggest thought is that I just wish LDS single guys could be friends w/girls they don’t like. I know one of the prophets or GA’s said that people should only date those they wish to marry. And somehow I think LDS guys take this to mean they should only be friends w/those girls they wish to date. So if they don’t want to date you, they don’t even want to be a friend. They’ll say a line or two, but that’s it. And after awhile, for me as a single person, I tire of trying to be a friend to single guys. For my meek friendship efforts make me feel they don’t consider me good enough to be their friend. Going to some of our singles activities reminds me of being in junior high or maybe high school.

    One thought: to Liz: does your area have a mid-singles program? (ie something for late 20s-mid40s), that is helpful in our area.

    And to the person who posted the Indian “want ads”, fun! My dad is from India, my mom and I have always gotten a good laugh reading the ads. The thing that bugs me about them is that they often are seeking people only of a certain career (Ie MBA seeks MBA, etc)

    As a single, never married 38 yo female, here are the chances I’ve passed up for marriage:

    ~at 21, I said no to a coworker when I worked on the toll road in our metro area. She knew dad was from India and so she asked me if I has East Indian female friends who would be interested in meeting her nephew (who was in INdia). I said no. One day she asked me again and then asked me if I’d be interested and I told her no and that I was planning on serving a mission for my church for the next year and half. She said She said that was fine and then said she she was actually wanting to get a green card for her nephew, and t hat to do so he needed to be married to a US citizen for 2 years. So she said I could marry him, go on the mission and then get divorced. Ok, I am sure in Heavenly Father’s eyes that opportunity does not “count” as a valid opportunity. :) I did tell her I could help her nephew study for the citizenship test. (dumb answer, I know).

    ~Ok, then last year there was my sweet male patient w/mild dementia who is in his early 80s and asked me to marry him, he told me he is single. I mumbled to him something that in our church we believe marriage is forever and told him that he cold be w/his deceased wife forever. I do try to keep a special eye out for my almost husband!! :)

    As for t he question about marrying someone nonLDS, I think it all depends. People shouldn’t judge even though we all want that temple ideal. I certainly understand why someone would wish to do marry someone of another faith. Why should someone have to endure life all alone if they can be w/someone w ho loves them and who they love, as well as lose out on the chance to have kids. Like was said earlier, missionary opportunities could occur. My dad isn’t LDS, if my mom had chosen to remain single, you wouldn’t be reading this post, I wouldn’t exist.

    On my mission I had the chance to help teach someone who attended a fireside by a wellknown LDS person. He had been married for well over a decade to a fiathful LDS lady. In attending that fireside, this man “felt the Spirit” and asked that well known person to baptize him.It was amazing to hear how fast that man’s heart was softened.

  63. @43: The “after X” excuse is rarely anything but a smokescreen. I’ve been in YSA wards long enough to have seen plenty of instances where someone said that they were waiting to get married until after some milestone, and then when the right person came along they decided to ignore the milestone and get married anyway. I’ve even seen many instances where someone makes major changes in their future plans to marry to right person. I’ve also seen plenty of instances where someone said that they were waiting for the milestone, but a closer look reveals that they’re either afraid of commitment, too immature to be attractive to potential partners, or they’re unhappily single and trying to blame their status on external factors.

  64. I am 37 – live in Utah and I am still trying to figure out how to get married – my only standard, breathing and LDS. That can not be too hard can it?
    My friends and I are forever talking about single men and trying to figure out what we are doing wrong.
    If someone can figure it out – please enlighten me.
    Thanks

  65. What a great thread–as a single somebody who’s been on a million blind dates from you know where, done the internet thing, lives in an area with very very few LDS people my age. . .I finally decided to take the cliche advice to put my life in the Lord’s hands and live it to the fullest without worrying too much about things like if I would ever get married or not. I was driving home from Walmart one day (I know, not very PC) when I had the thought to call this guy who I hadn’t even thought about in several years, but who I had been casual friends with after meeting him 7 years ago. Turns out for some reason we connected really well this time around and have been dating seriously for awhile now. I have no idea if we will get hitched or not but the whole experience has really affirmed to me the value of not worrying about things I can’t control too horribly much, because we can’t anticipate the twists life takes.

  66. The sole mate concept is a wonderful thought. It’s use in this life is dangerous. My first wife, who was an advocate for the sole mate doctrine, divorced me because she was unhappy with our marriage and thus she surmised that she had married a person who was not her sole mate. It is my opinion that most sole mates are created in choices and relationship in this life.

  67. This is a quote from the first comment :

    “My daughter just had her first big break-up, and of course wondered if she’d ever get married (now that she’s eighteen)”

    I think that young people should be living their lives and getting ‘life-experience’ without the added pressure of getting married before they’re out of their teens.

    I’d counsel young people to widen their experience of life, and come to a relationship with a better CV. Get the education finished, get some work experience, get a steady job, see life. But there again, I’m not a Mormon so I see tghings differently anyhow.

    Three of my neices married young (all Mormons) – seems such a shame to be wed before you’re ready at times…

  68. Im a 27 yearold, single, man. And I barely figuered out how the man/woman thing works. Ive been home from my mission 5 years, and 30 women and 3 girlfriends later I have detected a pattern that I think will allow me to finally get what I want.

    I dont think finding the “right one” is the problem. I think the problem lays in getting the right one to be your girlfriend is the real challenge.

    After many bad and good experiences,a book or two and many movies I have come to the conclusion that
    there are three phases in courtship:
    1)Luring
    2)Relation
    3)Boyfriend girl friend

    If one follows these three steps, then they will be more likely to get the girl than not. It doesnt work for everyone, but I noticed that when I was successful this is what happended.

    Luring=getting the girl to like you, making room and time for her to develop a crush on you. Most guys skip this faze. How do you get a girl to show interest in you? 1)dress well, 2)display disinterest, 3)be outstanding, 4)display disinterest, 5)be outstanding etc.
    How do you display disinterest?
    Well, people say that you should try to be friends, then proceed to courtship. Wrong!!! You shouldn’t try to be her friend but rather more of a bratty older brother type. Rather than saying her hair is beutiful ask her if its dyed. Rather that saying she has a beutiful smile, tell her it reminds you of bugs bunny. Rather than tell her she is the prettiest girl youve dated, tell her she is the fifth prettiest. You are not putting her down, just teasing.
    This shows that you are not bewitche dby her looks. Then when she flirts with you, compliment her on something other than her looks etc.
    How do you be outstanding? Talk about interesting facts and stories. Talk about your crazy adventures.

    Relation=this is the getting to know you phase. Once the girl has shown interest, get to now her etc. Start touching her, with little touches on the elbow or hand,little pushes, then if she reipricates, maybe after 7 to 10 hours of this, proceed to hugging and kissing. If she doesnt reciprocate then “push her” away. Ex. I hug a girl and she gives me the light/pat on the back hug; I gently push her away and say “no pity hugs sheez”.

    Boyfriend/girl friend=after several dates ad some god smooching(or not) you gotta have the dtr(define the relationship).

    Most frustrated singles dont follow LRB.
    They either:
    RB=the “nice guy” losers
    LB=the players, with short lived flings

    ps. these ideas are not my original thoughts but highly modified versions of what I talk about with my friends.

  69. Heramun, could you elaborate on the “god smooching” a bit?

    *Grin*

  70. truebluethru'n'thru says:

    Older-brother type teasing, huh? Interesting.

    In the end, though, after certain preliminary conditions are met, maybe it would boil down to is having something to offer? Sincerity, an affinity for each other?

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