Contributed by Thomas B. Holman
If things aren’t going well and you are doing all you can, don’t get overly discouraged and don’t let it weigh you down with doubt, discouragement, depression, and despair and giving up on eternal marriage or God’s commandments. Think of Nephi. In 2 Nephi 4 we see a very discouraged Nephi. He had just lost his beloved father. His brothers were again trying to kill him. He understood the plan of salvation as well as anyone in his day and certainly knew of the importance of the family unit, and he had done everything he could to keep his family together and harmonious. But he finally had to leave part of his family and flee. Is it any wonder he was discouraged? In this state of mind he found fault with himself and his tendency toward anger at times. But despite all this he was able to say “I know in whom I have trusted” (verse 19). We too need to keep the faith, staying faithful and finding meaning in life while being single longer than you wanted.
Sister Susan Bednar, the wife of Elder David A. Bednar of the Twelve, noted this: Many young adults become disillusioned, disheartened and discouraged because events they thought would happen in their lives have not yet occurred. Some mistakenly believe that if God hasn’t given them the happiness or blessings they were hoping for or thought they deserved, that He doesn’t care. To show their displeasure with God, some lose faith, dishonor covenants, put their trust in worldly pleasures and turn from God to self. Instead of having feet to follow the path of righteousness, they deviate from the gospel plan, wander off and become lost.
Not too long ago, I spoke to a group of LDS young single adults about dating and marriage. After my presentation, a young man, I’ll call him John, spoke to me and expressed concern about dating. It seemed that he could get 1st dates, but not many 2nd or more dates. John came from what in his community was a minority race and he believed that made it difficult for him to get more than one date with a young lady. Several of his returned missionary friends from that same racial group gave up on dating LDS girls, transferred to other universities and many of them were now married—to non-LDS women. John said to me, “It just isn’t fair and it isn’t right. Is that what I am going to have to do to get married? What is wrong with these Mormon girls? I’m lonely and I’m frustrated. What should I do?” The setting was crowded with lots of people hanging around so I couldn’t say all I wanted to say to John. But I suspect many of us have “characteristics” we think—and maybe others think—make us less likely to find an eternal mate. So I want to tell you what I wanted to tell John: “John, your friends have made serious mistakes. Don’t do what they did. What should you do? It’s really very simply, John, if not as easy as you’d like it to be. Your answer to what you should do is found in the scriptures. Go read about Moroni. Listen to what he said; “And my father also was killed … and I even remain alone…. And whether the [Lamanites] will slay me, I know not. I am alone. My father hath been slain in battle, and all my kinfolk, and I have not friends or whither to go…” (Mormon 8:3, 5). Notice he doesn’t talk about a wife or children. In all likelihood he was a young single adult. Moroni may have lived as many as another 36 years on his own, not only alone but in constant danger. Many Nephites denied the Christ and defected over to the Lamanites (Mormon 6:15; Moroni 1:2). Can’t you just hear Moroni’s friends; ‘Come on, Moroni, you are going to get killed if you don’t go with us! You’ll never have a wife and children. That’s just not fair, is it? Do you want to live alone on the run and maybe still get killed anyway? Just come with us and desert over to the Lamanites! They have lots of beautiful women you could marry.’ John, that is what your friends have done. They knew the truth, they are returned missionaries, but they in essence denied the Christ and deserted over to the world. Don’t do it, John. Moroni did live on the run for all those years and it can’t have been easy. But he stayed faithful! He knew and understood, really understood, the doctrines. He knew what would be his if he remained faithful! He gave us one the classic definitions of faith: ‘…faith is things hoped for and not seen (for example, freedom from being hunted, an eternal companion, children of that union, eternal life with his wife and family in the presence of God); wherefore dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith” (Ether 12:6).’ Think of what more came to him that he certainly do not foresee. He was the one chosen to reveal the golden plates to Joseph Smith! Is that cool or what!? Was it worth it to live alone in fear of your life for a few years in order to get that privilege?! No question. John, please be a Moroni, it will be eternally worth it. And chances are you will find a wonderful, faithful young woman to marry even if one hasn’t come along yet.”
Elder Bednar spoke of a young man, married only three weeks when he was diagnosed with bone cancer. He asked Elder Bednar for a blessing. Elder Bednar found himself asking this unplanned but inspired question. “If it is the will of our Heavenly Father, do you have the faith not to be healed?” Let me rephrase that question: “If it is the will of our Heavenly Father, do you have the faith not to be married?” Elder Bednar continued: “They (the young man and his wife) needed to overcome, through the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ, the ‘natural man’ tendency in all of us to demand impatiently and insist incessantly on the blessings we want and believe we deserve. We recognized a principle that applies to every devoted disciple: strong faith in the Savior is submissively accepting of His will and timing in our lives—even if the outcome is not what we hoped for or wanted.”
If you have read, studied and applied what we have suggested, you are ready to date and get in relationships with greater confidence! You can do it! Remember, God is no respecter of person, which means He loves every one of his children and will bless every one of them as they need it. He can and will bless you to be able to change if you need to change and move forward with confidence and faith!
This article is one of a series. For others in the series, see: