Thursday, October 31


I was talking with a dear friend last week and our conversation landed on the experiences of some single women we know and love dearly. One had been called into the Relief Society presidency of our ward and is just a fabulous lady who I see actively engaging a diversity of sisters in our military ward here overseas. There are not a whole lot of datable single men, if any in our ward. Everyone arrives in our ward married with family in tow for the most part. Anyhow, after this woman had been called into the presidency, another woman in our ward said to her, "How did you get that calling, you're not even married."

!!! ??? !!!

I am so glad I don't know who said this because I might have a hard time forgiving them. My comment was one of despair saying I thought we were beyond that small mindedness. I mean, didn't Sherri Dew shatter that view decades ago?! I've heard that at the general authority level of the church, there is a lot more open-mindedness than at the local level and this gets a nod. Over the years I have been so encouraged by some of the ways my single friends have been engaged in their ward and stakes through hefty callings that value their ability to serve, completely regardless of their marital status.

Another single professional sister was my favorite Relief Society teacher when we moved here. I asked this friend about her and apparently she's gone inactive. Sadly, when life and faith got hard, it became too difficult to her to have a social life without the tools of her peers - coffee, alcohol and the bar scene. I can totally understand that for someone living single over here. I've heard it many times from the handful of single women I've gotten to know here through our neighborhood or Ryan's coworkers. Hard. And yet singles do it all over the world and thrive. It's possible. But I don't think it's a piece of cake.

I only endured the single professional life for three years and it felt excruciating. Three years. That's nothing! Hopeful relatives and friends' inquiries sometimes felt like judgements and were hard to endure at times. In a faith that encourages young adults to be married sooner than later, there was pressure internally and externally. And if heaven forbid someone reached 30 without finding someone to marry, everyone wondered what was wrong with them.  I just heard this again last week from a recently returned sister missionary's mother trying to set her up on a date with a 30 year old! Oh it reminded me of freshman year at BYU when eyebrows would raise if you went on a date with an RM. The longing to find someone to share life's journey with was sometimes overwhelming for me.

I'm posting this just in hope that we can give wide berth to our single men and women when wanting to ask about their love life. How can we connect in a supportive way?

Further, I hope we recognize that marital status should never be a litmus test for ability to serve in the church.