“Why aren’t you married?”: Day 8

(At the temple with my friend Erica)

This post is what you would call the monster. Meaning, this aspect of my life lies at the forefront of my many fears and expectations for myself. But it is an important part of my journey. So, probably with a few tears on my end, I will be honest with my experience concerning this question.

Anything I write here is for myself. But, it is also a part of me I really am ashamed of. As I have grown up I have realized feelings are precious things, and so are experiences: no matter how painful they are, even when compared to other people’s own experiences. But this is one of those cases I have to fight to let myself accept my emotions.

Please don’t think less of me for writing this. Believe me, if I could move forward without writing it I would. But I can’t.

I could talk about how much pressure is out there to be married before or after a certain age. But I won’t. I could also talk about whether or not it is necessary to even be married or if women should pursue careers first. But I won’t.

No, this is about me and my deep, overwhelming desire from a young age to be married in the temple and have a family. And not just to anyone. It must be to someone I feel I can trust my whole self to. I have a firm belief this desire has followed me from before I was born. It isn’t something I can rightly explain.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I have had ample opportunity to date and actually have been proposed to. (I forgot about that until recently when I talked to my mom. Moms remember these things.) But it isn’t really about getting married. At least, not at the deepest part.

It is about finding someone who is willing to commit themselves to me in all aspects of life. Spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically. It is about taking on life’s struggles with my best friend, as cheesy as it sounds. Perhaps I am an idealist. Regardless, this dream has served as the center of my life a very long time.

But, despite everything I am not yet married.

And it terrifies me sometimes. It is irrational, perhaps a little selfish but it is real.

I remember being 16 or so during a young women’s conference and hearing a talk by someone in the presidency. She was not married and proceeded to tell us how, no matter if we marry or not, no blessings would be denied us in our lives. I am sure it was a beautiful talk. But hearing her words my heart broke a little.

The reason I felt so anxious, no matter how gently or caringly she gave the message, was because I realized my dream could very well not happen. So, ever since, there has been a small knot of grief locked in my heart especially as the years have passed by.

This little knot has grown throughout my life. Once was when I was 21. I fell for and confessed to a young man who I had dated for about eight months. Once I told him how I felt, he looked at me, told me I was a great girl and. . . just left. Literally. He stepped into his car and drove away. I never saw him again.

I remember being at my sister Jessica brother in law’s wedding reception. I tried hard to stay busy the whole time but afterwards I broke down, because it was painful for me to sit alone as everyone else danced with their partners.

I remember talking to my father when I was 24. I felt deeply impressed I should go on a mission for my church. But I didn’t want to. I looked at my father and told him it was because I was afraid I would be too old to get married when I got home.

Then on my mission I turned 26 and told my mission president what I told my father. But at that time things were a little different. I was in love with one of the missionaries I was serving with.

I remember the fateful moment I returned home and called him and felt perhaps things could work out. It was only a few days later I learned he had a girlfriend. Six months later he was married.

This last summer I attended two weddings for my younger siblings, two for my cousins and one for one of my dearest friends. I am sorry to say it was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I was happy for them, but lonely for myself. I hated the way I felt as I watched them be with their significant other. It was a feeling of being left behind.

Since then I have pictured what the future will be like, watching my siblings have children. While I stay where I am.

That is what it feels like to see your life pass before you, as your dream remains unfulfilled.

Oh gosh this is hard.

So here comes the question, “Aubrey, why are you not married?” The answer is I don’t know. At least not completely.

But I will say this. Despite not knowing, I can now see more clearly who I am and where I stand then I ever have before. I have had many wonderful life experiences in college, Europe, on a mission and through continued work and education.

I have had to fight myself many times concerning this, because I often think if I move forward with my life I will lose everything I ever wanted or that I am giving up. But this is one of the lies which prohibits growth. We can’t sit and wait until our dreams happen before we can move forward.

That is the thing about dreams; we don’t have to wait for its fulfillment to be fulfilled as a person. But I can only see these truths now that I have gone through many experiences.

So, at 29 I look forward on a path which I can’t see the end of and I have a choice. I can stop and refuse to step forward into the unknown. Or I can believe; believe there is something better waiting for me, that I can be happy now, and my dream will come true.

I just need to wait and be happy living in the now. That may be the hardest trial of faith any of us encounter in this life.

But for me, I think I am learning a little more each day how precious the time I have is. Why waste it limiting my attentions to blessings I don’t have yet?

I hope to look back at this post years from now and see how lucky I was to have waited as long as I did.

I also hope I will be grateful for taking the time to face my fears.

Thank you for reading.

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