Friday, March 25, 2011

What's wrong with you that you don't date?

After my post last week about infertility, I started to think about how similar it can be in many respects to being single, especially as you approach, and pass, 30.

People might look at us and assume we don't have kids because we don't want them or because we're waiting to pay off debt or finish degrees or because I really don't want to clean out the room I'm using as a sewing room and turn it into a bedroom again or whatever other reasons they might think of.

And that's because our efforts to have children are not things we do in public (thank goodness). Nobody sees all the charting I do. Nobody sees all the months we tried on our own. Nobody sees all the doctor appointments I have now. Nobody sees all the prayers we offer, the tears I cry, or the talks we have after we turn out the lights at night and my fears suddenly find voice. They might see us exercising, or notice we take daily vitamins, or other small things. But those aren't things you automatically assume someone is doing because they are trying to get pregnant.

Now to being single.

I had a roommate once, when I was the ripe old age of 24 and she was the ripe old age of 19, and the last time I ever had roommates, ask me, "What's wrong with you that you don't date?"

I had no idea how to answer that. It's just as rude as asking a married couple, "What's wrong with you that you don't have kids?" Although I can probably come up with a snappy answer to that if you give me a second.

But being single you are doing a LOT of things that are helping you that aren't really visible to the whole world. Nobody sees you working through and living your budget. Nobody sees you learning household skills that will help you no matter what house you live in. Nobody sees you expanding your mind and talents as you develop who you are. Nobody sees the look on your face when you get home and remember there's nobody there to share your good/bad day with. Nobody sees the hours spent in the scriptures or in prayer that build your relationship with your Heavenly Father so that you can learn to fully trust Him. Probably 99% of the things a single person does to put them in the best position possible to get married are not seen by anyone.

Yet everyone is always full of "great advice" for single people. A lot of it sounds the same as the "great advice" they give infertile couples. There's, "just relax," and, "it will happen when you aren't looking/least expect it," that both of them get. There's the stories for infertile couples about how if you start looking into adoption you'll get pregnant, or for single people about how if you go to the institute dances/get online you'll meet someone just like my sister's in-law's cousin's neighbor did.

When you are single people will assume it's for all kinds of reasons - you're too picky, you're too focused on school/career, you're into porn, you're homosexual, you're.... And yet none of those reasons have to do with what is most likely the real reason - it's not the time God ordained yet. God is in charge. Let let Him do what's best.


erinannie said...

Your post made me think of my college roommate who married at a nice, young, LDS age. But it took over 10 years, and several attempts (natural, medical, etc) to conceive.
I hadn't seen her since college, when I did get the chance to see her last year. Here I am in my mid-30s still quite single.
15 years of history to catch up on, but we both knew the first thing that would come up. Why didn't she have children for so long, and why was I still single?
She brought the subject up as I played with her darling twins. She said it beautifully. We take what we are given, and search for happiness in our unexpected lives. Then she said, "I wouldn't have wished my path on you, and I know you wouldn't want your path for me. I always hoped others were happier than what I was living with. And then I realized, I have to be happy with what I have!"
Such a simple, yet powerful statement. In one simple little way she managed to make it okay that neither of us got what we thought we wanted, but that we were free to be happy with what we have.
Be happy with your now!! (And don't be afraid to cry when it hurts!)

Natalie said...

My cousin's been married for 2 years, and her mom in the last few months has started in on the "my grandmother's biological clock is ticking!" line. She doesn't know her daughter has been trying basically since she got married. It makes me cringe for her; it's like salt in a wound.

I know a lot of women in their late 30s who've never been married and don't have long-term partners; it seems like just another lifestyle choice to me; at least, i figure it's more polite to assume that.

Roxie said...

That assumption Natalie is exactly the type of thing I'm talking about here. It's just as rude. How do you know that those women don't desperately want to be married and it just hasn't been the right time in God's plan for them to be married yet? You don't. You can't. And making any kind of assumption is no more polite than any other kind of assumption. As far as you know those women want more than anything to be married but they are living their lives as happily as they possibly can regardless of their situation.

Roxie said...

The fact that my husband and I got married in our thirties was not a lifestyle choice for either of us. It was just life.

Morgan -Ing said...

Why do people feel like it's THEIR business? I will never understand...

Jinxie said...

I like this a lot, the original post and all the comments. Thank you.

Laura@livingabigstory said...

Another beautiful post -- it's so hard when people open their mouths when they just don't understand. It adds to the heartbreak/fear when people make silly, trite statements which make you feel like if only you'd do x-y-z, you'd be married (or later have children). Especially for those of us who got married older, infertility is something many of us have had to struggle with. Thanks for the honest words.

(Could you email me at my email connected to this? I wanted to ask you something but you don't have an email connected to your account.)