“Are there trees in Arizona?” This question has brought upon a great deal of debate on my Facebook wall the past few days. I have watched the controversy ensue and I have seen people trying to support the claim by sending pictures, using a google map, and sharing stories of trees in their Arizona yard. Even still many people feel that those trees aren’t quite “real” enough. They aren’t as big, or as green as trees in other states. The fact that people don’t believe there are trees doesn’t change the fact that they exist. In my mind’s eye, this is evidence that seeing is not believing, but believing is seeing.
As a single adult, I’ve discovered people love to claim that marriage is out there for everyone to experience. They will show pictures from their wedding days, and tell their stories about falling in love. Some people on the opposing view point show how their marriage wasn’t “real” enough and how they got divorced. On some days, whether we believe it or not, marriage is real and was instituted by God. You can look right at it and be seeing it with your own two eyes and not believe it. On the other hand, you can see no prospect for dating in any direction whatsoever and still know that this institution is real.
Believing in marriage has helped me to see hope in the future that would not exist if I based my perspective only on the lack of prospects and potential dates. You see, believing that one day I can become a wife and mother leads me to make different choices in my life. I am better able to “Watch and Learn,” as L. Whitney Clayton has said.
In his talk, Clayton points out several things that we as single adults can observe about marriage. He said, “First, I have observed that in the happiest of marriages both husband and wife consider their relationship to be a pearl beyond price, a treasure of infinite worth.” As someone who is single, nothing makes my heart more sick than observing a marriage where people do not appreciate each other. As one who has been waiting a long time, I hope that I never take my eternal companion for granted.
Next he says, “Successful eternal marriages are built on a foundation of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and adherence to His teachings”. This is something that as a single adult we can develop now. I believe that as we come closer to the Savior Jesus Christ we are becoming closer to our future spouse, even if we don’t know who they are or where they are. Each day we can choose to develop faith by doing the small and simple things like reading and praying.
The third lesson he teaches is, “Happy Marriages rely on the gift of repentance.” As single adults we can practice now by sincerely saying we are sorry when we make mistakes. We can be ready to admit that someone else is right. We can choose to be kind when someone else is wrong. We can constantly be striving to become more. Repentance means to change; we can always be changing into the person God wants us to become.
Fourth, “I have observed that in wonderful, happy marriages, husbands and wives treat each other as equal partners” Respect is an essential part of any relationship. We can practice respecting our friends and learning to work as a member of a team. As a single adult there are moments when I become ultra-independent and don’t let other people help me with things. I think that I and others can practice sharing the load, and admitting that sometimes other people have strengths in certain areas that we have weaknesses. When we work together with God, we and our spouses become unstoppable.
Fifth, The happiest marriages I have seen radiate obedience to one of the happiest commandments- that we ‘live together in love’ ” It is my opinion that Dieter F. Uchtdorf said this best: “Love is spelled T-I-M-E” Often the hardest part of developing relationships in today’s world is that we are busy. We forget to stop and really be with people around us. We forget the beauty of old fashioned conversation. My challenge for all myself and everyone in this area is to have at least one meaningful conversation with someone every day. Then when we are in those marriage relationships it won’t be new or different. It will come more naturally.
In conclusion, just as there are trees in Arizona, marriage also exists, and believing in marriage helps us to see how great our future relationships can be. We can practice these relationships now by remembering the value of our relationships, developing faith in Christ and His teachings, repenting, respecting others and working as part of a team, and loving each other through sharing our time. If it’s been a while since you’ve believed that marriage is possible for you I challenge you to practice these principles. If you’re in a marriage I invite you to remember the value of the relationship you are in. Most of all, I remind us that believing is truly seeing the hope for all of our futures.
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.