Mormon Parenting: Eyres: Guys, make marriage your goal

Published: Friday, July 20 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

We were at the wedding reception of a good friend’s daughter the other night and noticed something interesting and a little disturbing.

After the cutting of the cake came the traditional toss of the wedding bouquet by the bride and the flipping of the garter by the groom.

As the bride prepared to fling the bouquet over her head, all the single girls gathered to try to catch it. And they really did try. The one who got it had to literally wrestle it from her competitors. She, as the suspicion goes, will now be the next one to get married.

But it was a different story with the guys. As the groom pulled the ceremonial garter from his bride’s leg and got ready to flip it, no single guys stepped forward. In fact, they kind of cowered away. The announcer started calling them out by name and finally got a dozen or so guys assembled. The groom flipped the garter into the air and no one tried to catch it.

What’s up here? The bouquet catch is supposed to predict which girl will get married next, and all the girls there apparently wanted that to be them. And the garter catch predicts which guy will marry next, and no one was interested. Again, WHAT’S UP?

How have we come to this place in our LDS Church culture where marriage is somehow less attractive to guys than to gals?

The attitude — the single attitude — being exhibited by more and more young men in the church is a problem. Not only for them but for the girls they are not dating, or proposing to.

Have we forgotten (or have they forgotten) that eternal marriage and raising a family is the apex of mortal experience and the essential core of the plan of salvation and of happiness? Do they think timing doesn’t matter and that they can put off this most crucial and most joyful of all of life’s experiences for as long as they want? Is the single life really so attractive that they are willing to forfeit everything else for it?

Or are they just scared?

The part of it that bothers us most is that what we know in the restored church and gospel should make us less and less like “the world” and less and less likely to adopt the attitude of putting individual freedom or financial well-being ahead of the joys and responsibilities of marriage and family. Yet we seem to be becoming more and more like the world, delaying marriage and family that might get in the way of our careers or our single independence.

Excuse our candor, but guys, wake up! There is nothing more important or more exciting than the search for your eternal partner. And the way that search should transpire is via the somewhat forgotten art of dating. Not just hanging out, but actual one-on-one dating where you get to know each other and decide how far you want a relationship to go. Romance is actually quite a wonderful thing, and anyone who is not searching for it is missing something.

And it doesn’t just happen. God doesn’t just suddenly reward you with the girl of your dreams. It is a search. It takes a certain amount of desire and a certain amount of effort along with a certain amount of prayer. And if your problem is that you are looking for perfection, get over it, because you won’t find it.

Fall in love, make the ultimate commitment and then grow together into something better than either of you could ever have been individually.

Start by stepping forward and lining up at your friends’ weddings — and jump up to catch that garter! Then if you catch it, go out and make the old next-to-be married tradition come true; and if you don’t catch the garter, go out and prove the tradition wrong by getting to the altar before the guy who caught it.

We are here to tell you, as we’re sure a lot of other people already have, that the search is worth it. And the result and the reward will make your old single days seem pale and meaningless by comparison.

Richard and Linda Eyre are New York Times No. 1 best-selling authors who lecture throughout the world on family-related topics. Read Linda's blog at www.deseretnews.com/blog/81/A-World-of-Good.html and visit the Eyres anytime at www.TheEyres.com.

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