The following article originally ran on LDS Living in September 2015.
It was the week before I met my fiancée—but for all I knew, I was going to be waiting another 10 years.
I felt discouraged, disheartened, and just plain tired.
“The day will come when you feel you have met your eternal mate.”
It was right there in my patriarchal blessing.
I read those four words over and over and over, “The day will come.”
I knew that my patriarchal blessing said that I would be married. I felt that the blessings which I had received were real when I was promised a spouse. I believed that if I was obedient, then everything would work out— at least in some kind of a the-Lord-knows-better-than-me type way.
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But knowing about those blessings didn’t change the fact that loneliness had become my constant companion. I distracted myself with dates, and instead of isolation, I chose business as my solace.
I attempted to weary the Lord. I tried to play the dating game exactly right. I prayed; I fasted; I went to the temple. But despite going on over 1,000 dates, my attempts felt completely fruitless.
I felt like Sheri Dew when she said, “Believe me, if fasting and prayer and temple attendance automatically resulted in a [spouse], I’d have one” (“You Were Born to Lead, You Were Born for Glory,” BYU Speeches, Dec. 9, 2003).
I tried to think about the day when my promised blessings would come. As soon as I tried to imagine it, a quote flooded my mind and extinguished the fire of doubt, only to drown my hope of timing: “Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don’t come until heaven” (Jeffrey R. Holland, “An High Priest of Good Things to Come,” general conference, Oct. 1999).
I know I was supposed to feel comforted, but the thought that I might never get married at first was shocking and then turned into something awkwardly settling, before shifting into a deep understanding of my purpose here in life.
But the thoughts remained—maybe my wife died with the pioneers. Maybe I’m just not meant to marry in this life. I had tried, and I was tired . . . just tired.
I became content knowing that my future was in God’s hands while my present was in mine. I chose to do all that I could do, find a positive attitude, and move forward. I decided to move on with my life.
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I wanted to quit (whatever that meant), but instead, I gained hope—from heroes like Sheri Dew—that there was more to life than just being married.
It was then that I wish I had heard what Dallin H. Oaks said in an area conference to 225 stakes in the southeast U.S. “We should not feel discouraged if things that we pray for have not yet happened . . . it shouldn’t matter if we are single or not . . . if we just do our best and trust in the Lord and His timing” (Personal notes, Dec. 2015).
But as many people say, finding a spouse happens in a way that is totally unexpected. I mean, I met a girl on a hike and proposed two months later.
I can’t say that it was the way it was supposed to happen or that destiny brought us together—but it just happened.
The point isn’t that you should be content with never getting married—the point is that no matter what your stage is in life, make sure you live it.
There is so much beauty in life and if we are only looking to fulfill one desire, we may miss out on all the richness that awaits us. Just like the story of the man on the cruise ship who didn’t participate in any of the activities because he was too focused on other things and didn’t take time to find out what possibilities were available to him. Don’t let being single hold you back; don’t let not being married be the reason you live beneath your potential.
“The day will come” shouldn’t be a discouraging phrase but an emboldening rally to soak up every day that we can. We might not know when that day will come or what that day will hold, but we will find it by moving forward.
What in the world are you waiting for? The world is already waiting for you!
Lead image from Getty Images.
Check out Zack Oates's book, Dating Never Works. . .Until It Does. Zack Oates has been on over 1,000 dates. And while not all of them were great, he did learn a lot of great lessons from them along the way. Find out tips and hints to successfully navigate the dating game—all from someone who has been there.