by Dr. Randy Gilchrist, LDS Psychologist
www.LDSdimension.com (FREE LDS online dating site)
The emphasis on marriage and family in the church can be a double-edged sword. When married and with kids, most members feel validated as a complete, whole member because of the tremendous church emphasis on getting married and having kids. Unfortunately, conversely, members—whether married or not—without kids often feel like they do not fit in. In addition, single members with or without kids often feel like they do not fit in as well. Most of this “second class member” attitude, I believe, is implied by certain members and not intentionally offensive. Unfortunately, some other members can be openly rude and exclusionary on this topic on purpose. Either way, feeling like a second-class member at church can make for a very unpleasant experience and may put a member at risk of becoming less active or even completely inactive. The spirit on love, acceptance, connection, and comradery can be missed and lacking for many single members because of such attitudes. What should be a positive experience to look forward to every Sunday can become the opposite—an experience to dread.
The Proclamation to the World in 1995 clarifies the tremendous emphasis on marriage and family life for member of the church that indirectly may contribute to some of these feelings and attitudes towards single members. Key marriage and family quotes from The Proclamation include the following:
WE, THE FIRST PRESIDENCY and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children….
THE FIRST COMMANDMENT that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife…
THE FAMILY is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ…
Suggestions to Cope
1) Consider a Singles Ward: Singles wards exist in an effort to not only provide additional opportunities to meet, date, and marry fellow active members, but also to create an environment where singles will hopefully feel more comfortable, normal, valued, and accepted. Like with any ward in general, some singles wards may seem better and more enjoyable than others. But if you don’t care for one, please consider trying another. The extra drive may be worth it. Some single members, when reasonably able, may consider moving to an area with more active singles, such as Utah, Idaho, or Arizona.
2) Get Involved in Ward, Stake, and Regional Singles Activities: The more people attend such events, the better and more enjoyable they will be. Be a part of the solution, not the problem (of “nobody being there”). Support such activities. If all active singles in a region participated in these events, imagine how great they could be. And all it takes is 1 good connection that can happen in such an environment. You never know who you might meet and hit it off with by just attending and socializing.
3) If in a Family Ward, Get Involved in Callings and Other Opportunities: The busier you are in service, the less you will hopefully be focusing on feeling different from married members. “Losing yourself in service” will help in many ways, including less time to be concerned about the sometimes negative or insensitive remarks or attitudes from a portion of members.
4) Remember your divine worth. All of us are the children and offspring of God, and all of us are Gods in embryo (Romans 8:16-17; Acts 17:26; Psalms 82:6). All deprivations of mortality will be corrected, either in this life or the next. No blessing will be withheld from righteous members, including marriage for those who desire it. So, carry yourself strongly and hold yourself high. Don’t let a few bad apples spoil your church experience. Remember the old saying, “if it is to be, it is up to me”.
“Many of the most important deprivations of mortality will be set right in the Millennium, which is the time for fulfilling all that is incomplete in the great plan of happiness for all of our Father’s worthy children. We know that will be true of temple ordinances. I believe it will also be true of family relationships and experiences.”
--Dallin H Oaks
The Great Plan of Happiness
Ensign, Nov. 1993
Because ultimately, eventually, "…neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord" (1 Corinthians 11:11).
INFO FOR READERS--
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|2018-04-02||Randy Gilchrist||Healthy relationships, Communication, Spirituality|
About the author
Hello, my name is Dr. Randy Gilchrist (aka "Dr. G"). I am a licensed clinical psychologist, a licensed marriage & family therapist, and a certified hypnotherapist in private practice in Roseville, CA (www.dr-rg.com), practicing since 1997. Also, I am happily married in the temple (Manti) since 1996 and have 4 sons. I am a volunteer writer and contributor to LDS Dimension. I use my training, education, and experience to share insights with LDS Dimension on all things of interest to the LDS dating community. Please read my articles and columns on this site to assist you in your online dating journey. Also, to be considered for an answer in a future Q and A column, please email me your dating/relationship oriented questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Finally, I also offer a powerful, effective worldwide custom hypnosis recording service just for LDS Dimension members for weight loss, pornography, and many other issues of concern to those in the LDS dating community (please learn more now at www.dr-rg.com/lds; email me questions to email@example.com).