During the priesthood session of General Conference
, President Monson addressed the men of the LDS Church and spoke to them of marriage. Here are just a few excerpts, to give you a taste of what he said:
Now, I have thought a lot lately about you young men who are of an age to marry but who have not yet felt to do so. I see lovely young ladies who desire to be married and to raise families, and yet their opportunities are limited because so many young men are postponing marriage.
Said President Harold B. Lee, “We are not doing our duty as holders of the priesthood when we go beyond the marriageable age and withhold ourselves from an honorable marriage to these lovely women."
President Gordon B. Hinckley said this: “My heart reaches out to … our single sisters, who long for marriage and cannot seem to find it. … I have far less sympathy for the young men, who under the customs of our society, have the prerogative to take the initiative in these matters but in so many cases fail to do so.”
Brethren, there is a point at which it’s time to think seriously about marriage and to seek a companion with whom you want to spend eternity. If you choose wisely and if you are committed to the success of your marriage, there is nothing in this life which will bring you greater happiness.
President Monson was not the only prophet to bring up marriage. Elder Scott mentioned it as well, and there was one more, but I can't remember who. Suffice it to say, marriage was a hot topic of this Spring's General Conference.*
But why, you ask, am I bringing this up?
There are two reasons. One of them has to do with the responses I've heard from guys my age. The Salt Lake Tribune recently solicited feedback from young men on the talk,** and most of the statements were just excuses as to why it's hard to date now, and the reasons why men are delaying marriage. I've heard them all before -- men want to be financially secure, they want to make sure they pick the right girl, they're scared of making a mistake, etc. Something I hear a lot goes a bit like this, "I've tried dating, but I always get rejected. I've been hurt before." This is what I want to say in return, "Yeah, yeah, yeah -- so has everyone else. Everyone has failed relationships until they don't. You are going to feel heartbreak until you don't!"
The second reason I'm bringing this up is a little more in-your-face. So be prepared.
An older woman in my congregation in Austin recently said to the single women, "The prophet was talking to the men at conference, but it goes for you women, too!"
And here's the thing: It doesn't! It doesn't go for women, too. That talk from President Monson was specifically for single men to hear. He was not
addressing single women. If women in general had a role in the problem of delayed marriage, the prophet would've addressed the women. He would've given a similar talk during the General Relief Society Meeting
. But he didn't!
I have so many girlfriends who wrack their brains about what they are doing that's keeping them from getting married. They wonder what's wrong with them and what they should be doing differently. They think that perhaps there's something else for them to learn before they get married. It's absolutely ridiculous! And though they mean well, some friends and family members don't help at all. They will often say things like, "You should act like this, or you should wear that." They go on and on about how men are stupid, and women need to practically bend over backward and be the aggressor to get men to see what they need to do. Essentially, they are making excuses for men and telling women to do all the work.
Yes, some women need to improve. Yes, some men are doing what they're supposed to, and I'm sure they didn't even need to hear President Monson's admonition to get married. But in general, men are the ones who are delaying marriage, and women are doing just fine. They don't need to analyze and re-analyze what they're doing wrong because they're not doing anything wrong! It's men who need to be responsible and quit being afraid of making a mistake or getting rejected. Men need to stop hanging out and looking for a perfect girl.
For me, what it comes down to is how well I know myself. I constantly gauge whether I am doing all I can to be a person someone would want to marry. Sometimes I need to improve, but I can honestly say that most of the time, I am just waiting. Waiting for a guy to grow up and follow the prophet.
* For the full talk by President Monson, see Priesthood Power
. For videos and transcripts of the entire 2011 General Conference, see April 2011 Sessions
** For the full article, see Why young LDS men are pushing back marriage
Thing I'm thankful for: examples of responsible men