Ministering Angels

"They neither marry nor are given in marriage; but are appointed angels in heaven, which angels are ministering servants, to minister for those what are worthy of a far more, and an exceeding, and an eternal weight of glory."

Monday, June 20, 2005

Patriarchal Blessing Addition?

By Sarita

The worst part about dating--besides, you know, rejection, awkwardness, and disappointment--is uncertainty.

I love my life, but I still get panicky when I think about unknown months or years or decades until I meet a man I want to marry. And it's the unknown part that kills me. I'm positive that if my patriarchal blessing said, "Laura, you will be married at age 45," or 52 or 29 or 102, my singleness and I would be much better friends. It's the not knowing that is so hard.

It's a tricky balance, trying to simultaneously excel in my career and keep myself open to starting a family. It's hard logistically to make time to socialize, learn skillz that will help me as a wife and mother (you know, like nunchuck skillz), and still do all the things a professional single women needs to take care of.

Even harder than juggling two very different potential life tracks, though, is keeping myself emotionally available to both options. It seems impossible to commit my energies to my future as a single professional and also commit emotional resources to my future as a married SAHM.

If I knew I were getting married at age 45, though, it would be a lot simpler to wholeheartedly embrace my single life now, and look forward to my eventual married life. Really, think about it. Wouldn't that solve a lot of problems?

I suppose the truth is that we all know we'll get married eventually. I'm not an expert on post-mortem nuptials, but it's probably safe to assume that I'll be married in the next 100 years or so. That should, no doubt, be more comforting to me than it is.

I have a sneaking suspicion that I ought to be living my single life more fully regardless of whether I get married next year or in 3 decades or not until after I die. It's a hard thing to do, though. Which is why I think adding a standard paragraph about marriage date to patriarchal blessings would be a great idea. Heck, if we also got a short list of best possible marriage partners--complete with addresses and phone numbers--dating would be really simple, as well as much cheaper.

So, what do you think? Are there benefits to uncertainty in dating and singlehood? Or should I take that course in becoming a psychic after all?



at 6/20/2005 8:03 PM Blogger Dirk said...

All I've got to say on this one is AMEN!

at 6/21/2005 3:09 PM Blogger Melinda said...

Laura, you really nailed this one! It is a trick to keep both options open, and keep the mindset that you could enjoy either option. We get pulled in two different directions. At some point, you want to be able to say, "fine, I'm on this path and now I can ignore the other one." But we're never supposed to do that. And honestly, I'm not sure I'd want to totally close off the marriage option, no matter how content I was with being single. I'm so conflicted.

at 6/22/2005 11:59 AM Blogger Sarita said...

I am just anxious about prime childbearing years diminishing. I am only 25 and already find that in the back of my mind I'm thinking "okay, if I get married within the next some odd years, I could be perpetually pregnant until my body gives out and at least squeeze out x-number of kids." Not that I want 20, but I like to know what my options might be.

And Laura, my Great Uncle Leon is a patriarch, I'll put in a good word.

at 6/22/2005 5:57 PM Blogger fMhLisa said...

Lovely lovely post. While I admit getting married at nineteen (heh) like me certainly has it's advantages (heh) as far as certainty goes. One advantage of uncertainty is excitement. I'd certainly like a little excitement and anticipation once in a while.

Not to say that one is better or easier or harder or worse. Only that there really are dis/advantages to both.

at 6/22/2005 6:49 PM Anonymous mindy said...

I well remember feeling this way, and think it is soooo frustrating. I don't know if there is a way around it, or some way to help the next generation of LDS women avoid this, but I hope so. Feeling like your life could change so suddenly when Mr. Right comes along just sets you up for a harsh reality after you are married with kids. We spend so much energy as women planning for and looking for marriage, that after we have it, it can be hard to know what our next "goal" should be. I just wonder if more emphasis on being a "whole" person with varied interests and the like would serve YW better than emphasizing motherhood and marriage. You don't suddenly become a different person when you marry or become a mom. You're still you, with 24 hours to fill with various tasks and interests.

Well, I think that I've sufficiently rambled off the topic for my first comment here.

at 6/22/2005 11:20 PM Blogger Laura said...

Oo! Oo! FMHLisa just commented on my post! That's like having the really really cool girl at high school wave to you!

::takes deep breaths, tries to calm down::

FMHLisa, I appreciate your point that there are differences between singlehood and married life that are to be savored, like the excitement and uncertainty of not knowing for sure where I'll be next year or next decade.

I have only very recently come to realize that, as you point out, marriage isn't necessarily a happier state than singlehood; it IS necessarily different. I'm not sure if this is a problem with society in general or with Mormon culture in particular, but I really believe I and most of my female friends grew up believing that once you're married, you're home free, living the happily ever after, riding off into a sunset. Certainly YW is hyper-focused on marriage as the end all, be all. In my YSA ward on Sunday, a female speaker even said, "We've already done most of the steps of the Gospel: baptism, laying on of hands, patriarchal blessings, missions. All that's left is getting married, and then we're done!"

Anyway. It's good to be reminded that singlehood has its own unique perks.

Mindy, What a great comment! I especially love the line that, after marriage, "you're still you, with 24 hours to fill." I had a real crisis with this issue earlier this year when my ex fiance broke up with me: for a few weeks I really felt like I had no more identity. I had tied it all up in becoming Mrs. X, and I had lost my sense of Laura. If the marriage had happened, I think that surrender of my identity would have been very hard to sort out.

at 6/23/2005 8:23 AM Anonymous Catherine said...

Mindy...amen! I'm 30 and incredibly single, and you know, I just don't know what the future wil bring, or when. It's more important to me to have a good job and continue to follow my interests and grow as a person than to wonder when I'm going to meet someone. I try to keep myself very open to that possibility, but when making decisions, I have to go with what I know and what the Spirit is telling me. I think that as long as we are seeking to be happy, trying to continue in our personal growth and follow the Spirit, that we won't do anything that would jeapordize future happiness (i.e. waylay marriage and family in the future, if that is to happen for us).

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