As a young adult who has grown up a Latter-day Saint, I've been exposed to marriage and family since I was a 5-year-old. It's been so deeply ingrained into my psyche that I could almost express the desire for an eternal companion and lively seed over the pulpit (luckily, I will not). I have seen so many friends as they engage, endure and enthusiastically enjoy marriage (Plus-4 alliteration!) that I feel I've almost become an expert on the subject, despite have no experience of my own.
That's what makes the common question and greeting, "Why aren't you married yet?" so enraging. It's like asking a blind man, "Why can't you see that beautiful sunset?" or begging a deaf girl to "Just pay attention to the beautiful chords in this concerto."
You've seen how I feel about various counsel from the Brethren regarding marriage and family. President Monson has implored us. Elder Scott has mercifully deluged us. It seems to be a reoccurring them — not just at General Conference and weekly sacrament meetings — but in CES Firesides, Institute devotionals and other forums of religious learning.
It was even the issue of a marvelous submitted Editorial to the Salt Lake Tribune. And that a Mormon from outside the Mormon Corridor would take the time to submit his prose to one of the two most influential newspapers in Utah says this is becoming a hot topic of interest around the worldwide church.
My married friends constantly wonder how they can help me "to become married." That's not something I like discussing. It makes me feel inferior to them, simply because I have not yet had the opportunity to seriously court, engage and wed an eternal companion. But I am so much more than my marital status, and so is every young single adult in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Acknowledging us for what we are not diminishes the qualities that we currently possess. Many of us are career-laden, active in charitable and community organizations, and important pieces of various networks in our cities and towns. I've seen lawyers, doctors, teachers, athletes, homeowners, businesspeople and even — gasp — journalists, who are still in bachelorhood.
In other words, we are not all social miscreants who play video games all day, live in our parents' basements and gorge ourselves on Cheetos and Mountain Dew.
If you really want to know how you can help us, this is a good place to start. I know the publication is from an eternity ago (aka 2004), but Bro. Brough's advice is still relevant today.
The following statement made it past church curriculum, so I'm assuming it to be doctrinally sound: "Because many married people found their spouse at an early age, they might not fully appreciate the fact that for others, finding the right partner does not come so soon or so easily."
Do not assume that what worked during your days of dating and courtship will translate to your single friend or family member; the beauty of the gospel is that God has a plan for each individual. The value of living Prophets and Apostles is that the Lord can continually re-evaluate the counsel He has given to His people. The glory of personal revelation is that we can all receive answers to our soul-burdening questions in our own ways and in their own time.
My single status is not a communicable disease, like leprosy or skin boils. Singles of the church do not need to be ostracized, but rather loved and embraced, regardless of how long it may take us to receive the full blessings of eternity.
NEW MEDIA OF THE WEEK:Here's a great story from a single convert to the church. This young man is more than a number, more than a statistic, and most importantly, more than a marital status.