Can I Marry Even Though…?
Dealing with Roadblock of Feeling Inadequate
By Abby Viveiros and Dr. Thomas B. Holman
Cryshel reveals the impact depression can have on how we feel about ourselves and our chances for success in marriage:
“I grew up in a quiet town, where most of my friends weren’t even sure if depression was real, but I always knew the truth. My mom has been on depression medication my whole life. Depression is a painful disorder, and its feelings can alienate a person. Although depression has always been a part of my mom’s life; it has never been in charge of her life and has never separated her from her family. Depression has hurt my family though; when my brother was nineteen he committed suicide. He was smart, funny, and successful, but that was not what he saw in himself. Depression can rob a person of a realistic view of life and of [themselves]. I know how it feels, because I struggle with it as well. Sometimes it feels like my life is a waste of time and everything is pointless. It feels like I am worthless and unworthy to be loved by anyone. Depression is hard to recognize in yourself, because it is a part of your thoughts, and might even feel like it is a part of you, but it isn’t.”
As you date and prepare for your future, you may be worried about such a roadblock – a unique challenge, an abnormal trial, or an ugly past – that dampens your hopes to one day be married. Even though you have the worthy desire, you may think your “Achilles’ heel” is too big a flaw for a worthy person to accept. Maybe you’ve had a problem with pornography or another addiction in the past and you worry it will affect your chances for a virtuous marriage. Perhaps you suffer from depression like Cryshel, or anxiety, Maybe an eating disorder plagues your hopes for a happily ever after. If you happen to have one or more of these issues and you worry about your roadblock of inadequacy, do you still have a chance at a happy and healthy marriage? Do you have a chance at a finding someone wonderful who will cherish you? YES, you do. The right questions to ask are: Are you willing to believe it? And are you willing to address your roadblock so you can get yourself to the marriage starting line? You are the only one who can make that choice, but perhaps we can provide a bit of encouragement.
There’s Only One Kind of Person to Marry: The Imperfect Ones
You don’t need to be perfect to date or marry. And in our culture where perfection is expected, don’t waste your time beating yourself up because of your imperfections. Remember what Richard G. Scott said about searching for a perfect person to marry? (This also applies to you who feel inadequate due to your imperfections):
“I suggest that you not ignore many possible candidates who are still developing these attributes, seeking the one who is perfected in them. You will likely not find that perfect person, and if you did, there would certainly be no interest in you. These attributes are best polished together as husband and wife.”
Imperfect people date every day, and many of them move on to have happy marriages. For that reason, your task is to get yourself as healthy as you can. If you have a major issue that others may consider a red flag, now is the perfect time to address it. If not now, you must at some point. Choosing to ignore your problems will likely backfire down the road. For example, one of our studies found that individuals who positively dealt with their childhood difficulties reported higher marital quality than those who had not come to terms with their earlier issues.
As you read about common roadblocks, you will notice how frequently we suggest seeking help from Christ and Heavenly Father. We want you to know our testimony that all healing is possible through our Savior Jesus Christ, as we learn in Matthew 4:24:
And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.
It is only through Christ ultimately that true healing, repentance, and recovery happen. For some people, recovery comes quickly. For some, it takes longer. And still for others, a full recovery does not come in mortality. We are told in the scriptures that Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” was not removed from him, even though he was obedient and prayed to God to remove it on multiple occasions (2 Corinthians 12:7–10). Rather than being bitter, Paul took glory in God’s plan not to remove his thorn and continued on his mission. As Alexander B. Morrison stated in Valley of Sorrow, “If we are to survive the trials of life with our faith intact, there is, quite simply, no other answer: ‘Not as I will, but as thou wilt.’ must be our motto. Only through submissiveness can we find lasting peace.” He later writes, “And never forget: ‘All your losses will be made up to you in the resurrection, provided you continue faithful. By the vision of the Almighty I have seen it,’ said … Joseph Smith, who knew more about anguish, disappointment, and spiritual affliction than most.”
Each roadblock can be quite serious and require a lot of work. Through our Savior’s help and guidance, He can work through others such as family, friends, church members, ecclesiastical leaders and professionals to help you. Healing is personal and the direction you receive might be different than someone else’s. The important part is to continue to reach out to our Savior. He knows the guidance you need to tackle your roadblock and help you prepare for marriage.
Let’s return to Chyshel, whom we met at the start of this article:
“Everyone is meant to have joy in their life, and everyone is worthy of love. I didn’t fully realize my depression until I was married, because I was too afraid to share my feelings with anyone before. I always just pretended they didn’t exist and never let others see me cry. Hiding those feelings was one of the biggest mistakes of my life, just sharing how I feel helps to lift the burden from my shoulders. Depression is real, and it is not your fault, life is worth it and so are you.”
In the next few articles, we discuss mental illness, eating disorders, and pornography addiction – all serious issues that need to be handled prior to marriage. Each article is organized around Questions we have heard from young adults and Answers to these questions.
While we are only able to scratch the surface of educating you on these issues, our goal is to help unload this burden from your back by providing a summary of the roadblocks, answering specific questions about how they affect dating and marriage, and educating you on the reality of recovery. You must have hope for recovery! To this end, we discuss recovery from both a secular and gospel perspective and share experience of others who are in recovery for each issue.
This article is one of a series. For others in the series, see: