It is a truth universally acknowledged that young single adultish people gathered together in any fashion will at some point acknowledge or converse about dating and/or the lack thereof.
In my many conversations with these my fellow singles, I often hear stories of friends being at a wedding and hearing, "You're next." Or stories of attending their parents' ward at Thanksgiving or Christmas (or anytime, really) and being asked, "So, are you seeing anyone?" (OK, so maybe these are my stories.)
Sometimes singles may get a little tired of responding to that question, and it is true that many friends seem tired of being constantly asked if they can be set up with someone. They're tired of getting bridal shower, wedding and then baby shower announcements from others, while the days, months and years seem to pass without being any closer to that themselves.
I used to feel that way, too. But not anymore.
A few months ago I decided to wise up. I started asking myself why it bothered me. Did it bother me because I was jealous of others' happiness? Heavens no! I plead and fast and pray for others to find someone with whom they can share their life.
Was it because I didn't want to be dating anyone and it annoyed me? Also a negative. I do want to be dating someone.
Was it because it brought to the forefront so readily the fact that I was still single? Most likely.
But why did it change? Because I started to look at it differently.
The world tells women they don't need men in their lives. It tells men they can do as they please. It tells us that we are better off building our lives separately, and then perhaps coming together, if it's convenient. It tells us that fathers and mothers are not important to a successful family; that children are not necessary; that children can wait; that motherhood isn't really all that great; that marriage is actually a pain; that a life well-lived is a life lived for yourself.
When people encourage me to get married or tell me they can't wait to see who I'm going to marry, my hope is restored. When I read awesome blogs about how couples are making their marriages work or how motherhood is wonderful, it reminds me of the ideal for which I am seeking.
There is much that belittles and downplays marriage and families these days. I don't need any more of that. So thank you'to those who are relentlessly interested in whether or not I've found someone. And thank you to those who still believe in happy marriages.
Thank you to those who have beautiful marriages and have shown what love really is.
Thank you to those who have struggled in their marriages, but have shown that commitment and covenants, sacrifice and selflessness, supersede prideful ambitions.
Thank you to those who have seen marriages fail or had your own marriage fail, yet still propose it as one of God's greatest blessings when couples work together in righteousness.
Thank you to those who are barely beginning their marriages and are so devoted to each other that you even forget to talk to your single friends. (OK, so that's a half-hearted thank you. Seriously, can't we still be friends?)
There is something remarkable and wonderful about marriage that I don't fully comprehend just yet. But the Lord said, "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh" (Genesis 2:24). That is powerful. That is love.
So, at least for me, I don't mind it when you ask me questions about dating. In fact, please do. And please tell me how much you hope that I will marry someone wonderful. Please tell me how marriage is hard work, but that it's worth it. Please tell me about love and forgiveness in your marriages. Please keep telling me. Please keep reminding me.
There are enough nay-sayers in the world. I think we all need some more yay-sayers.
Elizabeth Stitt is a Brigham Young University journalism graduate and University of Utah professional MBA graduate. She blogs at lizstitt.blogspot.com.