I was recently sent a survey from my old Ward in NYC. They explained they were going to do a series of lessons on marriage and they wanted to get an idea of the general feeling towards relationship from the NYC Mormons.
I decided to fill out the survey for mostly for my own masochistic reasons. Most of the question were typical Mormon stereotypes. There was a multiple choice question I found indicative of their true purpose in sending out this questionnaire, the question is very telling of the attitude of those in the Mormon faith towards marriage.
What answer below best reflects your feelings on dating and marriage?
- I’m ready to be married now, get me out of this dating game now
- I’ll get around to dating when I have time, but for now I’m chasing my dreams
- Dating is fun, but the idea of getting married is terrifying
- I feel like my dating life is in balance with the other aspects in my life
#1 is a statement I heard countless times while in the church. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was the most frequent response from their young, single adult audience. There is an idea brewed in the minds of the young and sexually frustrated that the moment they say "I do" everything in your relationship is all taken care of, and that you will always be perfectly in love and happy.
Alex, my Never-Mo boyfriend, and I have been together for almost a year and we are in no rush to seal the deal. This is the first relationship I have been in where time is no issue. We’re already having sex and we both have independent lives. This is also the first time I have been dating someone where relationship milestones are not reached every week like clockwork. The romantic comedy element adds a lot of excitement to Mormon relationships. I have noticed that it feels like our relationship is lacking in excitement merely because he is not shouting "Marry me!" But that is simply a reaction to developing a healthy relationship based on common Interests not getting into heaven. By taking our time and removing the threat of unrealistic expectation, we are able to develop a healthy, loving and honest relationship. So when I reached the final question on the survey I could not resist answering honestly.
- Is there anything you would like the bishop to know?
Here is what I wrote…
"When I was Mormon the pressure to get married was horrible and I was unhappy. It's not the Bishop’s fault. The church as a whole has an idea of relationships that is unhealthy. Getting married is a choice some make. Not getting married is also a choice. When I was a Mormon the men were all under sexed and over-stressed about the idea of getting married. They had unrealistic and, frankly, childish ideas of relationships. The relationship was less about love and more about what their wife was going to do for them. Now, as a Non-mormon, I have learned a lot about what makes a healthy relationship. It’s not about finding the most church going, reverent, a-sexual person you can find. It is about opening yourself up to loving yourself and owning that. If you are a Mormon who drinks and does not attend church find someone else who lives life this way. Don't try and change who you are for the hope that you will get married and have sex. Be yourself...not what the church tells you to be. I filled out this survey as if I was still Mormon. But then I thought it would be better to be honest and tell you the truth. To show you that love outside religious expectations is real true and awesome love!"