We all know the LDS single who’s so eager to be married that he or she instantly gravitates towards anyone who appears to promise a blessed end to single status. Maybe you’ve even been that single yourself.
I know I was. I was always looking but always just spinning my wheels, like that hamster down at the pet store. I was all about finding that eternal companion but never actually finding her. And I felt miserable.
I thought I was doing the right thing. Our leaders, after all, have always talked endlessly about the importance of marriage and family. Our culture is centered around the family. It made sense to go after it directly.
But that’s exactly the problem.
How it works
We all have habits; it’s how we’re hard wired to operate. But if we entertain less effective habits, we’ll keep getting less effective results in life. And it won’t end until we replace the less effective habit with a more effective one.
One less effective habit many singles have is making a beeline for anyone appearing to promise hope for marriage. But when you understand how everything works, you’ll realize you need to ditch the beeline.
Here’s how it works. Marriage means the agency of another person is involved. You can’t choose for others. Someone else has to choose you. That means the most you can do is influence that choice.
That’s why you keep hearing platitudes like “Just be yourself” or “Keep working on yourself.” They’re all true up to a point. Doing these things will influence the right person to choose you.
But beyond that point lies the reality where we all live. This most important choice has many influences, not just the one you exert. Other considerations outside your control can drown out any hope that the blessings you desire will be yours.
Your challenge, then, is to exert your best influence, trusting the Lord to cross your path with someone who will choose you. Are you up to it?
Meet the challenge
I’ve posted before about how you rise to that challenge. Letting go of pursuing marriage directly and adopting a personal ministry is your best approach for exerting your best influence.
Here’s why. When you pursue marriage directly, you broadcast to everyone around you that you are all about marriage. No one really wants to marry someone who is more interested in some personal agenda. So you come off appearing desperate, not busy being who you really are.
When you drop the beeline and adopt a personal ministry, you’re about something more than just you. You let your best self shine while serving others. Devoting yourself to your own personal ministry shakes off the scales of desperation so that others see you as someone interesting, someone worth getting to know better, maybe even share a life with.
Guess what? Now you’re influencing them to decide in your favor.
Other powerful influences exist, yes, but that’s where walking by faith comes in. When you partner with the Lord, He’ll lead you to those with whom your best influence will be more than good enough. That’s because they’ll hearken to the voice of the Spirit when He says, “Give this one a chance.”
Embrace your best self
Living your life in fear that your blessings won’t come is no way to live. The much more joyful route requires you to let go of directly pursuing marriage and instead pursue what will influence others to choose in your favor.
Devoting yourself to your own personal ministry can make the time of waiting more joyful, however long that waiting lasts. Do you want just to endure to the end? Or do you want to thrive?
Let go of directly pursuing marriage. Let it take care of itself. Of course, you’ll keep looking for and pursuing opportunities that arise. But your universe won’t be rotating around them. You’ll be more able to continue your eternal journey joyfully no matter what others choose. So embrace your best self. Devote yourself to your personal ministry today.
Howdy! I'm Lance, host of Joy in the Journey Radio. I've been blogging about LDS singles life since 2012, and now I produce a weekly radio show to help LDS singles have more joy in their journey and bring all Latter-day Saints together. Let's engage a conversation that will increase the faith of LDS singles and bring singles and marrieds together in a true unity of the faith.
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