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Apr. 11th, 2012 at 7:01 am
My dear, sweet, intensely committed-to-the-gospel daughter has been home from her mission for four months now. When she first got home, she decided attending the local single’s branch wasn’t for her. She was much more comfortable attending our family ward, where she spent Sunday meetings hanging out with the sister missionaries. It was lovely and devoted, but seemed to be keeping her in missionary mode rather than transitioning back to the Real World.
After a few weeks of comfortable family church attendance, our daughter got the spiritual impression she needed to be in the single’s branch. She did not want to go but decided that was where she should be.
Listening to her describe her fellow young single worshippers, Rob and I were transported back to our days in the purgatory known as the Singles Ward. It reminded us why on our wedding day we were not consumed with feelings of romantic love, rather we both thought, “Thank goodness I’ll never have to worry about dating ever again.” We did not enjoy the dating scene at all. It was awkward, embarrassing and every first date felt like Decisions Must be Made. Nothing was spontaneous or fun, it was all orchestrated into one never-ending episode of the reality show “Are you the One?” Ugh.
Recently our daughter came home from a church meeting feeling a bit confused. She had attention paid to her by a guy she hadn’t met before. After the evening ended, another sister pulled her aside and explained the young man’s interest. Apparently the young man had received a blessing regarding his future mate. In the blessing he was told the first and last name of his wife-to-be. Our daughter has the same last name. The first name wasn’t even close. He was interested because of her last name but upon discovering that she didn’t have a first, middle or even nickname close to what he was promised, he moved on.
When she told us the story she laughed about it. I didn’t. I immediately felt sorry for the guy. Then I got annoyed at the Priesthood holder who gave such a silly blessing. What kind of nonsense is that? Our daughter was given a blessing before she left her mission that promised her future husband would be “at a distance. You will travel to meet him.” Equally annoying blessing if you ask me. Travel where? What kind of distance? Are we talking driving across town or to another planet? Am I expected as a parent to foot the bill for this world-wide traveling romance? I am praying we aren‘t talking Internet dating. I want to size the guy up in my living room before things get all emotional and stupid.
Back when I was a teenager I remember President Kimball giving a talk about marriage and he said that for most people, there isn’t The One. If two people are committed to the gospel and to being a good spouse, they can have a successful and happy marriage. At the time, I was horrified. What about romance? What about Saturday’s Warriors? I decided he was too old and cynical to understand love.
After a doing some serious hard time in a marriage, I have to say I now agree completely with President Kimball. He was right. If two people are decent and respectful, you can make a marriage work. Anyone who has been married for more than two minutes can see that as you face life together you come to appreciate the unique gifts each person brings to the relationship. I love Rob in ways I could never love anyone else because of his personality. Another person has an equally charming personality but just in a different way. As long as we aren’t talking Criminal Minds here, two normal-ish people have just as good a chance as anyone else.
Someone needs to speak the truth to these poor, misguided singles. Watching them bumble around reminds me of watching numerous mating episodes on “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom”. At least the animals have some sort of instinct to direct them. What do these kids have? Facebook? LDS Singles dot com? What will become of them? More importantly, I am looking for assurances that my future holiday dinners aren’t gong to be spent suffering with an in-law who is a bore. I need a dream to hold on to, people.
I think I coming to the position that cultures with arranged marriages are on to something. It seems much more practical than leaving this whole marriage thing up to young people and the crazy blessings they receive from some Priesthood holder who needs to lay off the cold medicine.