Monday, May 10, 2010

Get a Single's Perspective

The May theme is “mothering”, not mothers, not married women, not angel mothers, but mothering meaning caring deeply about another person and wanting to be there for them. Tapping into those feelings of compassion, friendship, and love and belonging that we all need and that we can provide. That is at the heart of what Relief Society is or can be.

So with that in mind I've been looking for insightful writings that will help us all. This one on being single was particularly insightful.

In this post titled All the Single Ladies there are many comments about the ups and downs of being single in the church. It made my heart hurt.

Why aren't we all a little more sensitive to one another, woman to woman, and caring for one another, being the friend or even the mother we all need?

I know that I have (usually innocently) said things that hurt others, without thinking. I could kick myself. This post reminds me, and us, to be more sensitive. Do read the comments too and see a new perspective.

One comment (#28) in particular was very helpful and hopeful. Let me know what you think about the whole Single Ladies comments or about this one in particular.
I was married older than the normal Mormon age. In fact I left BYU *gasp* unmarried. Honestly… husband hunting like all the girls in my freshman year… was so not for me. I was too busy pursuing education for a career. I also found bribing boys with plates of chocolate chip cookies…a bit degrading. I thought the boys should be bringing me cookies. ;-)

When I finally did get married – my hubby and I were in a ward labeled “newlywed” and “nearly dead”. We had a lot of women in the ward who were very young, didn’t graduate school, and had a litter of kids running around. I was working in a career with no kids at the time…and felt completely out of place.

While this doesn’t even compare to the loneliness of being single… I discovered that if I was honest, I felt superior to those women with my degree, my business trips and my freedom sans kids.

At the same time I would complain how they weren’t inclusive, didn’t know what to talk about except diapers, ignorant, etc. etc.

Then I discovered… the tried and true action I have had to repeat over and over… I had to reach out first. Once I started doing that… things opened up…maybe not with everyone, but with a few choice women I still adore.

It doesn’t matter if we’re married, single, widowed, grandmas… we can all get together for girls night out – dinner, movie, book group. I have friends of all ages, sizes, ethnicities and situations in life. I actually prefer people who are not my age, not in my same situations because I am able to learn MORE from them.

Now that I have children, I work hard at making sure my conversations are filled with more than just the stuff of kids. Don’t get me wrong…I can babble all day long about my girls – BUT I also like to talk about other things…and I admit, it is hard to find women like that.

I also think if we’re preoccupied with one aspect of who we are–we lose the opportunity to let ourselves define who we are. Sure I’m a mom, a wife, a friend…yada yada – but I am a woman first…and that means I create who I am, I decide my attitude, my reach or my stumbling blocks.

I’ve moved into wards where no one reaches out… so I find that my role in life is to be that new person that reaches out…and then continue to be the old person that reaches out…it’s my lot in life.

I miss Sheri Dew… I miss the example she was for all of us… not as a single woman – but as a strong woman with purpose, struggles and faith. She’s the kind of woman I want to hang out with…

Yes, let's reach out to one another.



  1. There is SOO much I could say in a reply to this, actually all my thoughts would be a post within itself so I will try to keep it brief.

    One thing I think bothers me the most is that single sisters in the church are all thought of as one group like we are all identical, and people forget we are individuals. Just like the married sisters we are all different and don't have the same feelings about things.

    Temple attendance is hard and uncomfortable. Its like I have heard many LDS single females say also you feel excluded from many of the blessings of the temple, it can be like a knife through the heart. I can relate to so many others when they say being told that I will get paired up with someone (or tacked on to some other marriage) after I die brings no comfort. Especially with the words from my Patriarchal blessing that make it seem I should already be married.

    Being Single in a family ward you can go from feeling invisible to feeling like a service project or worse yet a burden.

    One of the absolute worst parts of being single has nothing to do with being in the church or not, it is the fear of being alone in old age, and not having enough money to care for yourself, wondering how long it will take for someone to notice you have died, or maybe ending up in a nursing home with no one to come visit. Its a terrifying thought.

    Please know I am not under some illusion that marriage is easy, I know its not and there is a lot of work to make a marriage work, I know some are in unhappy marriages and sadly some even end but even if it does end those that were married know that at some point someone loved you, someone chose you, was excited about you, someone wanted to build a life with you. Someone wanted You. No matter what I achieve in my life at the end of the day I am still no one's choice, it is painful, and as others say embarrassing.

    Now I consider myself lucky compared to some single sisters out there, especially after reading the comments on the blog post linked here. Our ward is by far not as rough as some can apparently be (Like the fact I have not been told to find another ward because the ward doesn't know what to do with me) I have made some great friends in the ward that treat me as a person and care about me as an individual, and not like I have some fatal contagious disease but I also know the sting of harsh comments made by insensitive people (If I was more righteous I would be married and if I worked on that I would find someone).

    oops so much for keep my response short but there you go a few quick thoughts on how I feel about the topic.

  2. Thanks for sharing your perspective Chell. That helps us understand better what the challenges are. No one wants to be a project. Everyone wants to be wanted and loved. More tact, less judging, more understanding about doubts and fears, more talk of hopes and dreams is what is needed. e


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