I just noticed the new snazzy template over at Celibate in the City. One of the links (new, I think) is to JL’s first post from six months ago. I remember reading it at the time, and laughing at her dating misadventures. This time something else stood out to me — her poignant lament about the plight of single members.
Another motivation behind this blog is the alienation of single mormons. I love the church but it was designed to serve the family. Many of us feel left behind and left out, myself included. Because we are single and not having sex and don’t have a partner in the gospel to share our burdens, we face challenges that the sexually satisfied marrieds do not. I think it’s harder to be a faithful member when you have no one to pray with, no one to wake you up Sunday morning to go to church with, no one to sit in the pews with, no one to enjoy your Sabbath with, no one for family home evening, no one to read scriptures with…
When I meet someone new at church and they ask me who my husband is and I tell them I don’t have one, then I have to endure their puzzled looks which then transform into pity. Next they ask me why I don’t go to the singles ward (a congregation solely for singles). Underneath that question is veiled, ‘So why aren’t you married, what’s wrong with you?’ That’s what they really want to know.
Three years ago, while visiting my mother, I had a shocking epiphany. . . . My mother said she sure felt sorry for my cousin being that age and still single. A sudden wave of horror passed through me. In a few years my mother and aunts would talk about me in the same way. I got sick. I said, “Please don’t feel sorry for me when I’m 30 and single. I’m going to be doing lots of things and living my life and enjoying myself.” My mother sat silently for a moment. Then she said trepidly, “Do you think you’re going to be single when you’re 30?” “Probably. Don’t hold your breath for my marriage.” That ended the conversation. She sounded scared for me, like I told her I was going to catch a disease. What a long strange disease it’s been.
I don’t have the same firsthand experience JL does, because I managed to avoid the LDS stigma of late-singlehood by marrying at 22. But my secondhand observations dovetail with JL’s experience: It seems that single members — especially women — often feel that they don’t fit in in church. I wish that this were not the case. I wonder what we as members can do to make it better.