Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Calling all LDS Singles- I want your input

Over the weekend during LDS General Conference the call was issued loud and clear that men (and women) should not put off getting married. To read more about what was specifically said you can check out my Meridian Single Thought column, "Get Married Now!" Consider what I am about to say as the unofficial follow up to what I said in my column (which was written on Sunday night just hours after conference ended).
The thoughts going through my head right now are similar to when the president of a company comes into the meeting and says, "Make this happen!" and walks out. The team can sit around and complain and moan about how he made a directive but didn't provide any directions or leadership. Or they can embrace it, form a plan, and make it happen.
In the few days since the conference, all I have heard is the complaining and moaning. From the men it is mostly complaining about how the women don't want them, or don't like them, etc. And from the women I'm mostly hearing how they want to get married, but can't find any men. And vice versa in many cases.
What I haven't heard is one person say how they are going to change their actions and make something happen. And we need something to happen- at the congregational level, regional, church-wide, and personal levels.
What I am hoping for is that in the next few weeks we will hear that the Church has a new policy or program in store for the singles. But until that actually happens, I want to hear it from you!
How do we go about "making this happen?" President Monson- has literally issued the call "to make something happen"- for singles to get married. Now- how do we change things to make that a better possibility?
I'll go ahead and say this right now. The current system doesn't work. The singles program of the Church is not working. There needs to be change from the top levels all the way down to individual attitudes and activities. I've written multiple columns about what works and doesn't work, and why I think those things are, so I won't rehash those topics here.
But I want to know- Singles- what do you want? What would help you? (And please, for the love, do not give me "i want to be asked out" or "women don't like me" answers. Give me CONSTRUCTIVE answers.)
To prime the pump-
More activities?
A better communications program to share activities?
Classes on communication?
Classes on how to recover from divorce?
A physical makeover class?
Critical analysis from a professional on what you do or don't do right? (I've secretly always wanted to do this.)
More conferences?
More parties?

What? What would help you be able to -
1. meet more people
2. date more people
3. get over issues related to avoiding marriage/commitment

I'm only adding this picture because I find it hilarious. Not because I find it true.

(In case you don't get the joke. This was a real "photobomb" during conference Sunday. In the last few minutes of the last session, this kid just popped into view for a second. If you blinked, you missed it. But thankfully we all have DVRs for the playback!)


  1. I'll answer for my sister since she's single but when I've chatted with her before, she'd like a chance to meet more people HER AGE! She's 35. She works in a small office and doesnt have roommates so church is basically her only source of meeting people.

  2. Julipalooza11:45 PM

    Please no makeover classes. That just emphasizes that "you think I am ugly and can't get a man/woman without a makeover." This is my inner psycho minor coming out, but I like the idea of group communications classes where people have to interact with each other, get out their baggage and accept it and so they can learn how to carry it or store it, if that makes sense. I'd also love to see classes on good old fashioned courtship and how to date, and how to behave on a date. Talking face to face without looking at your phone and texting 5 other people while you're with someone!

    Yes. Communication. It's good.

  3. When dating gets too depressing, I have more than once considered going to a therapist and just saying, "tell me what i do wrong? what do i do wrong in conversation? i know i talk too much! fix it! and while we're at it, fix my body language, my slump, and tell me if i am gross to watch eat!"
    I don't want to hear it from a friend or peer. But I'd pay a professional to fix me.

  4. Just a thought, I am neither LDS nor single. The way I understand it is that as LDS you attend the church in your neighborhood, which is a great idea for many reasons, unless you are single and your possible mates live in a different neighborhood. If I had to pick for my young adult children a way to meet a mate is a "we're serious about finding a mate conference" You'd have to be nominated by your local burg to attend to weed out as many trolls as possible. The local church would know who is "ready" and who isn't, and the singles attending would know the people thy meet there aren't just there for a hook up. And they would also know they had the same basic foundation of faith. Just a thought.

  5. Cadewi11:52 PM

    I'll give a big fat AMEN to Jilipalooza's "I'd also love to see classes on good old fashioned courtship and how to date, and how to behave on a date. Talking face to face without looking at your phone and texting 5 other people while you're with someone!"

    Too many people hide behind their computer - and frankly the age group bracket...really? 10-31 and you're 'kicked out' but I call it graduated but then 35-dead? When I see my sister in law's grandma at a dance - let's just say I haven't been back in a while!

  6. Well, I have somewhat of a list, but the list shouldn't be that difficult.

    1 - I'm looking for someone who will get past my physical looks. I've been told by many, many men that I'm the type of girl they'd love to date but that they are not physically attracted to me. I have been dealing with the issues of my weight for YEARS now. Sadly, after several doctors visits, I've been told I'm in great health minus my weight. Due to other certain health issues, I can not loose weight. Unfortunately, the fat is usually the first thing others see.

    2 - I'd like to meet someone around my age that is still interested in having children with me. It doesn't matter if he already has children, he's got to be willing to have children with me. Again, it's sad to say that most men my age (34) are not looking to have any more children.

    3 - I would like to be able to go out with a man that is totally and officially divorced. I'm sick of getting close to someone, only to find out that they are still married. I hate having the feeling of being some kind of mistress. Even if they've been separated for a long time, it just doesn't feel right.

    4 - I would like the church to start putting emphasis on NOT looking for someone perfect. It seems to me that when you're in Young Women's you're told to find "Mr. Perfect". Yes we all want that, but at my age many people have made mistakes and have baggage, but that doesn't mean that they're not good enough to date.

    5 - I don't think there's a need for more parties or activities that the church puts out. Yes they're fun and exciting, but in the end it seems like the "hanging out" excuse. I'd like to see more classes about dating past your prime. I know that sounds kind of rude, but it seems once you're over 28, your pride and self-worth goes onto a discount shelf.

    I'm a very outgoing person and I'm constantly meeting new people, so I know that's not what my problem is. I've been out many times on blind dates and set ups, but most of the time there will not be a 2nd date. One thing I'd love, is for this guys to come out and tell me why the date didn't go well or why they only want to be friends after meeting me. Hey, how about some classes on how to communicate with others, besides being passive aggressive about it or sending messages via Text, Tweets and Email?

    Sorry about the ramblings. I know I sound bitter about this and maybe I am. Conference did a toll on my soul this weekend.

  7. Cadewi11:53 PM

    ** 18-31 NOT 10** my bad.

  8. Anonymous2:31 PM

    People make excuses. The only thing that will motivate a man to marriage is love. Not obedience to general counsel or priesthood responsibility. That usually ends in can find examples on that if you google LDS homosexuality. Learn to make a man feel special on a date and you will find yourself with many more.
    -used to be dateless, now too many dates!

  9. Anonymous3:11 PM

    BeatlesDiva... I hate to say it, but I didn't even go watch conference this weekend. And I am glad I didn't. Now I can choose to read/listen to the talks I want to. I heard all about the "singles getting married" talks. When I am finally happy with who I am, I am glad I didn't listen and have it take a toll on my soul too.

    You know, finding someone I can love or who truly loves me, that would be the greatest, and marriage would go with that. But with what the church is telling these singles, getting married is the priority and finding love with that person would be the assumed. I don't want that. I want someone who wants me more than just a spouse.

    Too many singles, in my mind, can't just have good friendships with other singles because this mentality always gets in the way, that it is all or nothing. Why can't I date someone for a few weeks, and someone else after that? One date, and because I know I don't want to marry them, if I continue dating then I am committing a sin?

    For these young 18 year old kids, marrying a virgin when you are yourself you start off on equal ground...Speaking as a divorcee, I don't want to marry any of these guys that don't know what they are doing in a courtship or in intimacy. Ok, so you don't have to sleep with people. But for Pete's sake, at least learn how to kiss!! Take a chance and learn how to love a lot of people. Some as friends, some as more, and eventually one of them will become a match for you. But I'm not going to find a match with someone who doesn't feel comfortable with who they are as a single person, because I don't want to lose my identity when I marry again. Someone who thinks they are only half a person on their own won't be able to function if they aren't joined at the hip with me.

  10. Anonymous5:02 PM

    I've stopped waiting for the church to create a good program. I've stopped waiting for married priesthood leaders to recieve the inspiration for what we need. The inspiration is coming to us. We make the change. Each area of the church is different therefore the program might be different in each area.

    In my area, because we are so spread out, we have found that combining a few local wards/branches for our monthly activies helps a lot. More people attend, because they are expecting more fun and because more people will be there. Each ward/branch takes a turn hosting, so the work load on individuals is decreased. Instead of trying to plan an activity for 4 or 5 people every month, you are only planning for 30 people once every 3 or 4 months.

    The activies are meant as a support and alternate interests of different ages, they are not a dating service.

  11. I'll tell you what worked for a group of single women I knew. Group fasting and prayer. Not praying for husbands, but praying for the men in the area to become more marriage minded. Because there were plenty of guys, and they all wanted to date the same 2 girls, and wouldn't give anyone else a second glance. It worked, in very unusual ways, things nobody would have anticipated.

  12. Anonymous9:57 AM

    I personally think a number of small things need to be done but I dont know that the church is willing or able to make the adjustments. First the YM/YM needto move into adulthood rather than linger in the inbetween. I am not talking about giving up friends or video games but they need to be balanced against jobs, service, etc.
    Second I would like to see the church back off the get married rant and rather push the idea of date with purpose date to learn date to find date to grow but not date to get action.
    Third for me most personally break the YW program. Make them stop teaching the YM to be passive brother bashing beige stepford wifesque herd animals. Yes it is safer in the herd. It is hard though to pick one out of the crowd. It is those who walk alone at times that get picked.

  13. Anonymous6:19 PM

    Do you really want our input? In the comments section you write the following:
    "I don't want to hear it from a friend or peer. But I'd pay a professional to fix me."
    If what you are doing isn't working CHANGE what you do! I have followed your column and haven't seen you change much.

  14. Anonymous-
    Yes, I absolutely want the input from singles about what they want to see different from the LDS Church singles program.
    Which I think is clearly very different from wanting to hear my friends say what is wrong with me personally.
    And I think that was very obvious, but you just wanted to make a swipe at me.
    And if you haven't seen a change in me over the past 10 years, then I don't believe you have been reading my column all that long. 10 years ago I was writing about the lists of boys I couldn't decide between, and how I loved the craziness of being single. That is a far cry from the things I have written about recently, isn't it?

  15. I find it much more helpful to have activities in which we get "forced" to talk to people one on one or in small groups for a time. So many people, if they are single at my age (35) - whether from divorce or just never married, are shy and somewhat insecure. Large group activities, dances, etc. only cater to the few who are more outgoing naturally. I'm more of a homebody and don't like loud gatherings, so how will I ever meet my mate at such activities?

    I also second what annieology suggested. Great idea.

    Finally, we spend a lot of time taking offense or beating ourselves up about our current situation, and, on a personal level, that HAS TO STOP if any of us "older" singles will ever find happiness regardless of marital status.

  16. Claire10:33 PM

    I've found that I'm more relaxed and open when I go to activities that I truly enjoy doing or have an interest in, i.e. Service act., Rook tournaments, class on Color Code...
    I tend to avoid dances, potlucks, hikes... There's never going to be the perfect activity for singles. Just pick and choose and RELAX. Desperation, bitterness and negativity is never attractive.

  17. Anonymous11:30 AM

    Ditto to Claire.

    My advice --


    that's what i've had to tell myself, and honestly, i've never been happier. we as single people can be so neurotic about the opposite sex, dating, and getting married. where has the neurosis gotten us? are any of us closer to marriage because of it? no. i remain open to dating and marriage, but i'm not hunting down opportunities as if my life fulfillment depended on it. i'm in the life situation that i need to be in right now, i have faith in that.

    2. let go of the timing factor

    you are guaranteed marriage if you are faithful. eternity is just as real as this life. yes, sometimes it sticks in my craw that i have to waaaaaaaaaaaaaaait for so long, but i've surrendered that to the Lord and now feel *almost* completely peaceful about the situation. and i'm happy for the time i've been given on earth, in whatever situation i find myself in.

    Why am I lower-casing?

    Erin, what if you could let go of the single thing for a while? Even though you are proactive and positive about it most times, I feel like it still defines the way you look at yourself, etc. Let go of it. You have so much going on in your life right now. You are preparing to do so many wonderful things, and you have a bright future ahead of you, without a doubt. Being single doesn't mean there is a deficit in your life. You are moving in the same direction as your married counterparts, they are moving in the same direction that you are. Everyone is moving towards the same eternal goal. We all end up with everything at the end.

    I don't think I'm making any sense. I just wanted to say that at a certain point I think we need to move on and realize that the single messages are perhaps not targeted at our age range anymore. I used to listen to those talks and get so angry. Now I listen and know that I am doing my best, if marriage comes, it comes, if it doesn't come right now, that's no reflection on me. Everything the Prophet says about getting married isn't necessarily advice I can or need to take at this stage in my life. That's totally ok.

    I don't think changes in the way the singles program is run will necessarily do anything. Hearts need to be changed, and the way that is done is by living the gospel. That's what I hear most from the Church these days, more messages about gospel living, and less on how to deal with being single, how to find a spouse, etc. I love it. Just focusing on being an exceptional Latter-Day Saint makes me so happy. It also helps me feel involved in the Church and valued as a contributing saint on equal standing with everyone else, whether they are single or married.

    You're great, Erin. I wish you peace and a calm sense of well-being, and a hastened response from the Peace Corps!

  18. Anonymous3:38 PM

    I agree with anonymous. Let it go for awhile. You may find that you are passionate about writing about it, but why? What drives that passion?
    I suggested that you make a change. After reading today's column (and your insistance that I was making a swipe at you), I realize I could have been more specific. Change how you interact with the opposite sex. Record your results if necessary. Singles activities work for some and not others because some people have perfected their approach. It just seems like you are going in circles with dating and marriage and linking it with church.


Thanks for leaving a comment!

Working Girl

Recently, I've been picking up work as a background extra on various projects. In the past month or so I've worked on 3 different m...

Keep Reading! Popular Posts from this Blog.