Wednesday, June 19, 2013

How to Be A Happy Single Mormon Woman

Now that I have explicated my views on women's issues in the Church, I will now proceed with another question I have been asked frequently: How can single Mormon women maintain a sense of peace and contentment about their lives? As a single 26-year-old who has mingled with single women in Boston, Washington DC, England, Hong Kong, and St. Louis, I have observed patterns of living that make some single Mormon women happier than others. I have been richly blessed to observe and associate with incredibly happy single women--not because they choose to be single--but because their way of living gives them a certain perspective  that enhances their contentment. They also realize that one of the gift of time is one of a single's greatest blessings, and they know how to use their time meaningfully. Here are general trends I have found. This list is certainly not news for many, nor is it meant to be exhaustive.

1. Happy Mormon single women stay faithful to the Church's teachings, no matter what. They are steadfast in their testimony of Jesus Christ and look to Him as the ultimate source of peace and joy. They maintain patterns of scripture study, prayer, church worship, visiting teaching, and uphold their callings.

2. Happy Mormon single women are curious about the world about them. This pattern of living can come in a variety of ways.  For me personally, this has involved becoming familiar with cultural attractions in every city I have lived in, staying tuned with current events, discussing ideas with others, and reading widely. Single women should be aware of their places as citizens of the world.

3. Happy Mormon single women exercise and maintain a healthy diet. They understand that the soul and body are inextricably connected. I have personally found that physically taking care of my body has made me lead a more disciplined life, experience less stress, and most of all, be more receptive to the Spirit.

4. Happy Mormon single women travel. I have seen traveling as one of the most enriching and rewarding ways to use one's time, create lasting memories, as well as broaden one's perspective. Traveling should be conducted within one's means: it can range from a simple day trip to going abroad.

5. Happy Mormon single women serve others. Whether they are serving roommates or part of a volunteer organization, these women understand the value of utilizing their means and skills to contribute meaningfully to their sphere of influence.

6.  Happy Mormon single women go to the temple as often, and, if possible, are temple workers. Understanding the temple in all of its depth can be one of the most meaningful ways women can spend their time while single. As a former temple worker who experienced this blessing, I think single Mormon women should consider being a temple worker, if possible. If not, attending the temple should nonetheless be part of a pattern of living.

7. Happy Mormon single women perceive first dates as an invitation and nothing more. I think that women should understand that men may ask them out for a variety of reasons. Certainly, the man may be greatly interested. However, men may ask a woman out because a trusted friend recommended her to him. Or perhaps the man may be new in the area and is simply trying to get to know people. Whatever the reasons behind men asking women out, happy single women do not read too much into a first date. They view it as an invitation to get to know someone else better, put their best foot forward, and, if interested, show it in an appropriate manner.

8. Happy Mormon single women have (or striving to have) marketable skills to contribute  to society and provide for themselves. These women value education, and they strive to use the intellect God has given them to benefit themselves and others. Stimulating their minds gives them a greater sense of their potential, heightening their sense of peace and satisfaction about themselves.

9. Happy Mormon single women realize that life is hard. It can be really hard. Yet they remember that disciples of Jesus Christ are not entitled to a life void of trial and affliction. They know that as long as they are faithful to the gospel of Jesus Christ, they are entitled to God's blessings.

10. Happy Mormon women forge meaningful friendships with both women and men. While being single, I have been greatly enriched and uplifted by other women, both single and married. We all have a lot to learn from each other.  Sadly, I have seen that the the paucity of males in singles wards sometimes makes women view other women in their ward as only romantic competition, rather than enriching companions. I believe single women can find greater happiness by avoiding this kind of perspective, no matter how dismal the female and male ratio. In addition, I have been greatly blessed by my friendships with other men, many of which never became romantic. Sometimes as single women we focus so much on viewing men as potential (and not potential) romantic prospects that we lose the opportunity for important male friendships. Not every friendship with men will (and should) lead to romance, but that doesn't mean that male friendships aren't meaningful.

11. Happy Mormon single women maintain their talents, as well as develop new ones. Maintaining skills and discovering new talents is one of the most rewarding way to spend one's time. I can't express the excitement that women have in their eyes when they learn a new instrument, perfect a language, or develop a new hobby. Self-education, as well as formal education, is another way to celebrate our God-given intellects.

12. Happy Mormon single women stay connected to their families. No matter how far from home they live, they strive to maintain contact with and visit both immediate and extended family members. They recognize their important roles as sisters, aunts, nieces, cousins, etc. They support their families in times of joy and trial.

13.  Last of all: Happy Mormon single women are flexible. They plan their lives in pencil, realizing that life paths are amendable to change. They realize that God's intentions may not be what they anticipated, and they strive to keep their lives aligned with what He wants.





11 comments:

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    1. Thanks! I thought of you when writing this--in a good way. :)

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  2. Sarah-I completely agree. All the years I was single I made the decision to be happy. I tired to do and strive to be most of what you mentioned above. I truly believed that I could be happier single than married to the wrong person, which helped me avoid saying yes to the wrong men. I was happily single when I met your uncle Kevin and glad I had waited for the right person and family that have truly blessed my life, including giving me such a fabulous niece like you!

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    1. Thank you Jeannie. I thought of you and other wonderful mid-single adults when writing this. Thank you for your wonderful example. I hope we can meet up soon! :)

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  3. I love this post! Thanks, Sarah!

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  4. I would like to expand that title to read "How to be a Happy Mormon Woman."

    Well, OK, so maybe we shouldn't tell married women to worry about numbers 7 and part of 10. But you've outlined many principles that apply to maintaining one's self worth through all stages of life. Sure, details are different among life's phases, but I believe that women who were able to establish these kinds of habits/mindset in their single years find they cope better during BIG life transitions, like marriage, motherhood or even career advancement. If these habits weren't established early on, I think women find they spend a lot of their beginning years in marriage and/or motherhood and/or career (or school) realizing just how vital these habits are. Granted, to be completely fair, these habits *are* lifelong pursuits. I wouldn't want any woman being hard on herself because she doesn't do all these things perfectly all the time, no matter her phase in life.

    As a single woman I did my best to establish many of the above habits. As a married woman I'm continuing the process -- particularly numbers 3 and 13.

    Anyway, aside from my rambling, great insights, Sarah!

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    1. Thanks Katie! While writing this, I also thought how much of this applied to married women too. You are a great example of these traits I am talking about. :)

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  5. As a single Mormon man, I became much happier when I disconnected righteousness with getting married.

    I know many very righteous people who got married as well as many people who aren't that righteous who are married, too. Granted, perceived righteousness doesn't always match up with actual righteousness. However, having served in various leadership positions, I have seen men and women who, for instance, shirk church assignments and still get married.

    I admit that righteousness may play are role in marital happiness.

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  6. OOPS! That comment by "Owens Family" was supposed to be under my profile. Sorry 'bout that!

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  7. I loved this post, Sarah! Very thorough and thoughtful.

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