I'm flying to Provo, Utah for a close friend's wedding. The friend is actually the missionary who baptized me when he was serving in my area. Crazy, huh? He gave me an amazing gift and brought an avowed atheist to church after seven years of not going to any sort of church.
But, it's not all roses. Recently, I had a crisis of faith after my last relationship ended. I was so stressed that I got sick. Only my mom, best friend, bishop and a few of our current missionaries know about it until now. It wasn't because of anything scriptural, it's because I felt that I wasn't good enough. Really. I was being pragmatic since I knew that I probably won't find my eternal companion. Don't get me wrong- I'm positive I'll get married in a few years (I'm twenty-six). But, my partner will probably be outside of my faith. It's a numbers game and, despite going to every Mormon singles event within a six hour radius, there just aren't that many that I would even consider dating.
For those of you who don't know much about my faith, that's a HUGE deal. Long story short: Mormons stay in our own lane when we marry. Some people do marry non-members but, it's a minority. Outside of places like Utah and Idaho, it's probably more common. But, it's still not that common. The typical Mormon life cycle goes like this: birth, growing up, serve a mission, attend college (usually BYU or BYU-I), get married (usually young), and start having kids (usually 5-7). If you can't have kids, there's usually an expectation that you will adopt. When you get married, you get sealed for time and eternity in a temple. In order for this to happen, you and your spouse must be fully endowed members of the church.
But, if you're like me and kids aren't in the cards for you, you will find yourself in your bishop's office trying to figure out what your future in the church is. Don't get me wrong- my bishop is awesome. But, it's hard to know what your role is in a faith that is so central to family and children when you 1) cannot and do not want children and 2) are not willing to adopt (it's expensive and time consuming). You wonder if anyone within your faith will marry you knowing that kids aren't part of that package. It makes you wonder why, when exposed to this wonderful thing, you wonder if your contribution won't be enough. In layman's terms, it sucks. There are a lot of wonderful things about the church but, this isn't one of them.
It made me stop attending Relief Society. Every single lesson seemed to circle back to children and marrying within the temple. I also know that I'll probably be the subject of church gossip down the road. Do I care? Maybe a little but, not that much.
I have had to come to grips with reality. Are there great guys in my faith? Sure. Would some of them be okay not having children or waiting on getting married in the temple? A minority. Would I likely find one in an area where I'm a religious minority to begin with? I doubt it. First off, I will probably delay fully going through the temple. If a missionary can wait twenty years (give or take), so can I. Honestly, I'm fine if it doesn't happen during this lifetime. Secondly, I'm not caving to anyone to have (or adopt) children. I came close to agreeing to it down the road with the last guy I dated but, will never compromise again. I haven't wanted them since I was a kid myself. I wasn't even interested in baby dolls!
I'm not sharing this for sympathy or anything. I'm sharing this because we're all human. We're all good enough and there's no reason to forget that. Everyone deserves love and happiness. Don't ever sell yourself short. Your path may not go the traditional way but, as long as it goes the way it needs to, who cares?