words of urgency came out of North Temple and Main Street on Sunday, I noticed Facebook feeds going nuts. Now before anyone accuses me of being a bitter old man, let's just say that I am probably the last qualified person to speak on marriage--after all, look at where mine ended and the reasons why...Still, there's a Spanish phrase that says: "Mas sabe el Diablo por viejo, que por ser Diablo" which loosely translates to: "The Devil knows more because of being old than being the Devil"---dang that sounds so much better--and wiser--in Spanish, doesn't it?
So with the wisdom of my old age and knowing now what I wish I'd known then I write this for anyone who is/will might be feeling the pressure to "just find someone to marry" and sort everything else out later or as it maybe in some LDS circles--quickie weddings. I was probably guilty of that, I started talking marriage only a few weeks after dating, I mean we were all doing it, partly because everyone else was at it in my peer group. Was it the big dream wedding & reception? Was it the respect from family, friends and society that we all wanted? I'm sure no one in the church hierarchy sits in councils and says: "Get them married fast, before you know it they'll be popping kids and trapped in the system" but isn't that inherently one of the by-products?
At about the time when a guy is off the plane from their mission, the message of marriage is pounded and drilled into them. Not women, because face it by age 21 most of them have a kid or two in tow, that's just the way it is... LDS society as I recall really has little or no regard for singles and let's face it a single man in the church can pretty much resign himself to being without a calling--maybe a lowly clerk, ward missionary or Elder's quorum teacher if they're lucky, but in reality there's no respect or hopes for higher callings until they're married, as if the marriage alone makes one wiser, nobler and qualified to move up the leadership ranks. I suppose it is more about culture than policy or worthiness but again, that's based on my experience and very unscientific observations. Now having made all those generalizations, I know there are some people who have better sense than that and actually try to finish school, have a career and have done a little soul searching and find themselves before jumping into a lifetime of marriage. The other 85% of us jumped right on and trusted that the $8.50/hr job and good blessings from heaven would make our marriages work...eeeek!!!
So if you're still reading this and thinking that I might say something like "in spite of my bad experience marrying young, broke, uneducated and before I even had a chance to figure out which team I really played for I still think we should follow the prophet's counsel and hurry up and marry" WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!! I hope kids (of both sexes) have more sense than that. Graduate from college, do that semester abroad, go to graduate school if that's where your heart takes you, travel a little and run with the bulls in Pamplona, get a real job that pays a professional salary, date around (sleep around?--ok if my kids are reading this this doesn't apply to you!!). If you're not sure you're straight, please figure that out and live with it, being in a relationship of any gender is not easier because anyone has the body parts you want/like, people are complex no matter what we think we are and by all means please don't think that marrying someone of the opposite sex is going to make you straight--that's just not how it works!
You may call me a hypocrite and that's OK. My failed marriage gave me two beautiful children who are my life and my world, but man, how much better a parent and a person would I had been if situations were different, had I waited to be in a better place and let's face it in a better position to be able to more educated decisions instead of the alternative. I suppose it is probably best to be glad for what I have and not grieve for what is not. Obviously my grumpy old age and life experience makes me say extreme things like this and that's OK. You may or may not agree with me and that's OK, I was a know-it-all 20-something at one point and nothing or no-one were going to stop me.
Enough rant yet? Oh, I haven't even got started...