While growing up I was taught that there is no such thing as a stupid question. So in honor of my learning I would like to propose that while a question may not be stupid, it may be insensitive. As a single adult surrounded by many well-intentioned people, questions tend to arise. These questions sound something like this: “So, what’s wrong with you, anyway?” “Are you even trying to get married?” “Do you want to get married?” “You do like boys (girls) right?” I would like to address these questions today with a loving, but firm response. As we learn in the Bible, “avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law for they are unprofitable and vain.” (Titus 3:9)
1. What’s Wrong With You?
First, “so what’s wrong with you anyway?” Well honestly, just like the person asking this question, and everyone else, I am imperfect. Sure I have things that are wrong with me, but that question is unrelated to my marital status. You see, many of my married friends still struggle with imperfections too. You don’t just get married and become perfect overnight. Asking what is wrong with us is like asking why God make a mistake on His creations. Marital status doesn’t change your worth! President Lee said in regards to singles, “in your ranks are some of the noblest members of the Church -faithful, valiant, striving to live the Lord’s commandments, to help build the kingdom on earth, and to serve your fellowmen ((Harold B. Lee, Strengthening the Home, pamphlet, 1973, p. 8). If we are noble, faithful, and valiant, maybe there isn’t anything fundamentally wrong with us.
However, If I’m understanding correctly, the real question well-intentioned folks are asking is “why won’t someone marry you?” I think that someone won’t marry me yet because it’s not the right time, or I haven’t found a right person yet, not because I am flawed or unmarriable. (Yes, I did make up that word!) As examples of those who didn’t get married quickly in life, I submit the names of Sheri Dew and Kristen Oaks. Sheri Dew is one of the most incredible people I know. She is successful and well accomplished in her career, and in her faith. She does a lot of good everywhere she goes, but she has not yet been given the gift of marriage. Kristen Oaks was single until she was in her fifties. What’s wrong with someone who married an apostle? Why wouldn’t someone marry her? My thoughts on this matter head back to timing, and the Lord’s will. The Lord was saving Kristen Oaks for a special place in His plan, and He is still doing so with Sheri Dew. Since God loves me just as much as them, I like to think that He is saving a special place and time in His plan for me too.
2. Are You Trying to Get Married?
Second, “aren’t you even trying to get married?” To be honest, not always. There are times when the whole situation is frustrating and I back off from trying to date. It can be a pressure cooker situation sometimes. However, most of the time, myself and many of the other single adults I am associated with are genuinely trying! Most of the young men are taking many young ladies on dates, the ladies are putting themselves out there, flirting, making time available etc. However, for many of them they still haven’t had it click yet. Just like in any endeavor of life, practice makes better. You can be trying to become an Olympian, work hard, train, and still not make the team. That doesn’t mean you didn’t try.
3. You Do Like Boys, Right?
“You do like boys right?” My response- duh! Just because you like basketball doesn’t mean you can dunk! Many of my friends do struggle with same gender attraction. That is a serious trial and I feel very deeply for them. However, most of us are attracted to members of the opposite sex. Attraction alone is not enough! We are on a quest to find our best friends, and our helpmeets. Finding a marriage companion takes time and great care because it is a decision that affects not only your life, but the life of your family, and future children.
4. Do You Even Want to Get Married?
James E. Faust sums it up well when he shares the following counsel and story:
“Too often we are thoughtless and insensitive to the feelings of these choice souls among us. One well-meaning priesthood leader, concerned about one of these choice single women whose heart was aching for companionship and a more fulfilling life asked, “Why don’t you get a husband?” She replied in a good humor, “Brother, I would love to, but I can’t go pick one off a tree” (President James E. Faust, Welcoming Every Single One, Ensign, August 2007).
In behalf of all the single people out there, we appreciate your concern very much, but now that you have responses to these questions, please avoid asking them in the future. We know you mean well, but sometimes your questions come across very differently than you intend. Please choose not to be offended by my direct response, as I and others have chosen not to be offended by your questions. We know that you simply want what is best for us. We want that for us too, but please remember that most of us are living happy and productive lives regardless of our marital status. Nothing is more wrong with us then you, we are marriable, valuable, and waiting upon the timing of the Lord.
Ashley Dewey is extremely talented at being single. Hobbies include awkward conversations with members of the opposite sex, repelling third dates, talking to boys about their girl problems and to girls about their boy problems. In her spare time she also has a very fulfilling school life, work life, and social life. Besides being a professional single, Ashley is also a BYU graduate with a degree in linguistics (Aka word nerd). She enjoys studying other languages, particularly American Sign Language, and finds most all of them fascinating. She is currently pursuing a masters degree in Teaching English as a Second Language. Ashley works most of the time and has often been accused of being a workaholic. Currently she works full time as a merchandiser and supervisor in a retail store, and part time doing social media work. On her day off she works (really it doesn't feel like work) in the Provo LDS temple. The only kind of work she finds difficulty focusing on is house work. Her favorite activities in her free time are reading, writing, creating social experiments, and spending time with great friends and family. Specific activities with those family and friends include: going to concerts, plays, dance recitals, BYU basketball and football games, and watching sports on television.