Tuesday, May 17, 2011

When Do You Give In?

I'm not a Sheri Dew. Or a Barbara Thompson. I don't know that I could ever reconcile or content myself to being single for the rest of my days, serving in the Church and living a full and meaningful life - when all I have ever wanted to do was have a home and family of my own.

LDS doctrine believes that you must be married - sealed, in the temple - to reach the highest level of exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom. The sealing is also important, because it binds a marriage for eternity. Instead of being married until death, you are married for eternity. The children that you bring in to the marriage are sealed to you, and your family continues on past the realms of this life.

The blessings of the temple are endless, just as the covenants you make go on for eternity. Eternity is a hard concept to grasp, but knowing that my own family - thanks to the faithfulness of my parents who were married and sealed in the temple - will be together forever is a great comfort and blessing to me.

I have never wanted anything outside of a temple marriage. And I won't consider not getting married in the temple as long as that seems like a viable option.

If you don't have the opportunity to marry in this life, we are told, that everyone will be given the opportunity at some point. Which is great. At least I know that I will have the opportunity....right?! Oh wait, sometimes that opportunity means waiting until the life hereafter.Whaaaat? Is that supposed to be comforting?

But then, you hear that if you don't get married and don't make it to the highest level of the Celestial Kingdom, you will be able to serve as "right-hand angels" of God. Or something. But if you don't get married, does that mean that you didn't have the opportunity? Or did you, but you missed it and never recognized it as it? And if you are one of the lucky ones that gets the opportunity after this life... does that mean.... we aren't talking about polygamy are we? Will that be our opportunity?

I hope not.

I suppose to some, that all might be a consolation. After all, to serve God is a blessing and a privilege. But to serve him directly in the afterlife - I suppose that would be pretty cool. Would that make you His executive assistants of a sort? Or maybe there are those that are comforted by the fact that they will get a husband after they die.

But for that to give any type of comfort at all, you have to have some eternal perspective and a lot of faith and even more patience than a woman who has fifteen children. I mean, you have to have to really understand some things. You have to know without a doubt that you are going to go on and not be sad and lonely in the situation you end up in and that eventually you will be...rewarded with something.

I lack that perspective. There is no consolation in my mind for not being able to get married in this life.

I'm not saying that I've given up hope.  Not yet.

But sometimes I think I ought to be prepared for that outcome. If my dating opportunities don't increase; if I don't find a new venue to meet LDS guys; if I scare away any potential suitor with my awkwardness and lack of confidence...

I said that I wouldn't consider a marriage outside of the temple, but the more I've thought about it since my last birthday, the more I wonder that if I know I'm not going to go to the very tip-tip-top of the Celestial Kingdom if I don't get married in the temple, what does it matter if I stay single or marry a non-member?

That feels like blasphemy. And if I had said that out loud instead of typing it, I might have whispered it in fear of being struck down.


Sort of. 

The thing is, if my options are to marry not at all or to marry outside of the church, I think I would choose the marriage option. In both instances, I would still go through the temple myself. I would maintain my activity in the church and keep the covenants I made.

In short, I rather expect that I would still make it to the Celestial Kingdom. Just not the very top. So, if no matter the choice, I get the same end result.... why would I choose to be alone in this life? I could find a companion, stay married until death do us part (a depressing thought, but better than being alone always, in my mind). There would always be the slight chance that he would convert years down the road and we could eventually be sealed.

The only thing I can't reconcile, is having a brood of children. With not one of them being sealed to us. Just little free floating spirits, not sealed to anyone? I don't know that I could do that. So I would not have children. But see... a husband would be a good consolation prize for not having babies. It would at least be half of what I've wanted my entire life.

But these are just thoughts. The truth is, I still believe that I am going to run into some nice Mormon guy and he and I will get married in the temple; and this whole discussion will be completely moot.

After all, dum spiro, spero. While I yet breathe, I hope.


  1. I feel the same way! Except I hope for a magic fairy tale like my family. Mom marries non member, he eventually joins and we are sealed in the temple, happily ever after

  2. So this topic is always a hard one. When I got home from my mission I dated no one. REALLY not a single person. Becca kept getting asked on lots of dates and I thought, "awesome." I found a good talk by Elder Oaks about timing, of which I hated that response when people would talk about marriage. But here is what he says:

    "For example, we cannot be sure that we will marry as soon as we desire. A marriage that is timely in our view may be our blessing or it may not. My wife Kristen is an example. She did not marry until many years after her mission and her graduation.

    The timing of marriage is perhaps the best example of an extremely important event in our lives that is almost impossible to plan. Like other important mortal events that depend on the agency of others or the will and timing of the Lord, marriage cannot be anticipated or planned with certainty. We can and should work for and pray for our righteous desires, but despite this, many will remain single well beyond their desired time for marriage.

    So what should be done in the meantime? Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ prepares us for whatever life brings. This kind of faith prepares us to deal with life’s opportunities—to take advantage of those that are received and to persist through the disappointments of those that are lost. In the exercise of that faith, we should commit ourselves to the priorities and standards we will follow on matters we do not control and persist faithfully in those commitments, whatever happens to us because of the agency of others or the timing of the Lord. When we do this, we will have a constancy in our lives that will give us direction and peace. Whatever the circumstances beyond our control, our commitments and standards can be constant."

    He goes on to say that he had planned to work in the supreme court for 20 years and then serve a mission with his wife. She died of cancer and then he married Kristen McCain who was 50 and had never married before. Clearly you won't be waiting until you're 50 but I found that as long as I increased my knowledge of the gospel and studied daily, I never really became impatient. There were months here and there when I thought I should come up with a plan incase I never get married but I never started to freak out. Keep doing what you're doing and he'll find you.

  3. Hi Shelly, you don't know me, but I read your blog sometimes and enjoy it! I think you might like the book, "Calling in the One" by Katherine Woodward Thomas. Check it out on Amazon.com I know of another LDS person who read it and went on to become a relationship coach with the book. Hugs!


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