"Hi Bre! I live in Utah and have been following your blog for quite some time now. I was wondering if you could give me your thoughts, advice and perspective on something. I'm younger than you, and living in Utah I often feel the pressure to be married. When things don't work out with guys I date I feel pressure and I know deep down it's ridiculous. From an LDS perspective, what has helped you always keep a good perspective and, quite frankly, not freak out? You're very young yourself but I'm sure a lot of your friends have gotten married along the way. I'm sure you're aware of how people marry extremely young and just want your advice on how to avoid that mentality and just enjoy life!"
I received this comment on my blog not too long ago. I read it at a busy time and completely forgot about it until now. I just read it again and realized I actually have quite a bit to say about it.
I grew up in a small Utah city where everyone knows everything about everyone else and nearly everyone is LDS. It was fun and I loved it, but it was also frustrating. I realized at a young age the judgmental nature of others. There was (and still is) this expectation to do the right thing and if you made one step out of line it was the town's topic of conversation until someone else messed up. It frustrated me then, and it frustrates me now. Of course, we're all judgmental sometimes, but we should constantly be striving to be nonjudgmental. Because aren't we taught that the only one who can judge is God? I've said this for years and I was so happy with President Uctdorf mentioned it in one of his talks; when you judge someone for doing something, you are just as much (if not more) in the wrong than they are for doing whatever it was they did wrong. "Let he who is without sin among you, cast the first stone."
I moved away to college when I was 18 and I was excited for a new experience in a new place. But I realized quickly that this college town was not much different than my home town. There are thousands of college students but somehow we all know personal things about each other. I'm sure this is true for a lot of other places around the world too, but because I'm here it seems extra annoying.
I've dated my share of men in college and I'm here to tell you, Anonymous, take your time. There have been a couple guys in the past that I just knew I was supposed to marry and I knew they would make me happy. But I was young and those feelings were based on shallow infatuation. I'm 23 now (hold the gasp) and I've finally figured it out (yeah, right).
If I fall, I fall fast. I don't tiptoe to the edge of the pool and slowly ease my way in. I run full force off the diving board and, sometimes I hit my head on the bottom. I can't open my eyes underwater so I become blinded. I don't see the neon flashing sign in front of me saying STOP THIS ISN'T RIGHT. This happens all too often, not just with me, but with a lot of people. We become so infatuated with our significant other that we ignore the red flags. But infatuation is not love. And marriage is hard enough without the added problem of lust being greater than love.
I never felt major pressure to get married until last year. I was dating a guy who was absolutely perfect. He was (and is) one of the kindest people I've ever known. I told myself that I couldn't let him go because I'd never find someone more perfect than him. I've never heard one bad word said about him and, of course, my friends and family adored him. But there was always something missing in our relationship. I tried to ignore it but I never really could. And I couldn't understand why God would give me this perfect man if we weren't meant to be together. My parents would always say to me, "Bre, maybe he is perfect but that doesn't mean he's perfect for you." I didn't listen to them (because who listens to their parents? (we all need to listen to our parents)). But they could not have been more right.
Que sera, sera. Whatever will be, will be.
It took me months and months of praying for the wrong thing, to finally pray for the right thing. I couldn't bring myself to ask for help to move on. I didn't want to move on. But one day I finally asked. I asked for help in moving on and I prayed that God's will be done. It worked. It took a long time, but it finally worked.
There are days when I still wish I could marry that boy, and I tell myself that's normal (it's normal, right?). But I realized that the pressure I felt to marry him came from me. I was pressuring myself because I thought everyone else wanted me to get married. I had to learn not to let anyone around me make me feel pressure to do something I knew wasn't right.
The truth is, Anonymous, it's hard. Dating is hard. I think we all feel pressure sometimes to get married. That's why so many of my friends have gotten engaged and then quickly realized that it wasn't right. (Or worse, married and then quickly divorced.) If you ever come to a point in your relationship where you say, "Well, we either break up or we get married." YOU BREAK UP. I have never understood when people say that because if you're even thinking about breaking up with this person over marrying them, you should not get married.
And another thing. And this is something that I constantly have to remind myself when going through hard breakups. One of two things will happen. Either things will work out with that person, or you'll find another person who will make you realize why it never worked out with all the others.
Don't ever let the pressure of others force you into a relationship that you know (or think) isn't right. The truth is, nobody knows you better than you know yourself, except God. He's the person you should be listening to most. The hardest part of this is that God isn't going to just lay everything out on a platter for you. When you're wondering if something/someone is right for you, you must make a decision on your own and move forward. Then ask God if it's right and if it isn't, you'll know. Just keep close to the Spirit so you can receive revelation when it is given.
Remember that when something is right, the adversary will give you doubts about it. Don't lose sight of the revelation God gave you that it was right. Don't let the adversary take that right thing away from you. And when it comes to deciding who you'll marry, the adversary will work extra hard on you because you're one step closer to God and one step farther from him.
Life is hard. It's full of hard decisions and hard relationships and a lot of other hard things. But I can tell you one thing, it's a lot easier when you stay close to God. Light and darkness can't coexist. Keep filling your mind, spirit, and time with good things.
All of this reminds me of something I wrote almost a year ago.
"Nobody knows what it is they want, until they find it. How many love stories do you hear that start like this, "I wanted a girl who acts this way and looks like this and loves doing this, and I finally found her!!!" No. You hear love stories that start like this, "I just knew. She was everything I never knew I wanted." And it stops them in their tracks.
You are exactly what someone is looking for. They just don't know it yet."