5th Ask Josh – I’m still unmarried

In Uncategorized on July 24, 2008 at 12:20 am

josh, how is it possible that i am still unmarried? given that i am an lds female from california and first had a boyfriend at age 12, mathematically i should have been married last year. it has been statistically regressed!


Dear LDS female from California,

Given that this question is very similar to the last question, if not in content then by feelings behind it perhaps, you pose a legitimate challenge to me to give a fresh response that can be rooted in the same ideas without repeating myself.

Before I even attempt to answer your question, I first have to point out perhaps a flaw in your math. You say that mathematically you should have been married last year on account of your steady dating at the age of 12. Statistically, LDS youth who start dating at an early age are 32% more likely to engage in steady dating and consequently are 27% more sexually active at an early age. I don’t have any evidence to support the idea that early dating means early marriage, though I don’t deny that such evidence may exist.

May I be so egotistical as to assume that the statistical regression you speak of is my dating regression I cited in my last article. The fact that you thought the regression pertained to you at all tells me that you must either be a BYU student or at least a resident in the Provo/Orem area. If you should have been married a year ago, as your question begs, you must be 21 years old now as statistically, the ones who do get married are on the average married at about 20 for the girls and 22 for the guys.

The regression was used to predict the frequency of dates you go on, not the frequency of marriages. From experience I have seen many shy people marry the first person they date, on the other hand I have seen experienced daters who are sought after by many for dates yet still remain single. Just as we should not mistake movement for progress, nor should we confuse action with results, neither should we confuse dating ages and frequencies with marriage.

Judging by how you look so much at the numbers and facts, I can guess that maybe you listen to your head and sometimes less to your heart (cheesy as that may sound), allow me to illustrate: When a guy shows interest in you and takes you out on a first date. What do you pay most attention to? Do you ask yourself whether or not you two are getting along? Does he make you laugh? Does he make you feel important? Does he listen? Or are your questions more along the lines of whether he would blend in well in your family photo? How does he size up compared to the guy I pictured in my head? Can I stand to be with someone who dresses like that? Do I approve of his hobbies? Do we have enough in common? Instead of treating relationships like an inventory where you check off qualifications for a job, maybe you should just stop thinking so much and just feel your way through.

That said, I shall now attempt to answer your question. Considering what I know about you, you must have showed some degree of charm and/or beauty at an early age if you were able to get at least one boy to commit to boyfriendship during early adolescence (though I can’t imagine the relationship going much deeper than him walking next to you silently between classes in middle school and then hugging each other goodbye as you got on your separate buses, but I digress).

So, as charming and beautiful as you might be, LDS female from California, you must feel like something must be wrong if you aren’t statistically “on schedule.” Assuming that you assume that you must have a problem, I think you may be a bit like the blind girl in Rabindranath Tagore’s poem:

One morning in the flower garden a blind girl came to offer me a flower chain in the cover of a lotus leaf. I put it round my neck, and tears came to my eyes. I kissed her and said, “You are blind even as the flowers are. “You yourself know not how beautiful is your gift.”

You being blind to your own beautiful gift, perhaps think that there is something wrong with your suitors. I imagine you get suspicious of anyone who shows interest in you at all. Not to worry though, you probably share the same mentality as a few great minds, to wit:

Abraham Lincoln – “I have now come to the conclusion never again to think of marrying; and for this reason; I can never be satisfied with any one who would be blockhead enough to have me.”

Boyd K. Packer (also Grouch Marx) “There is a phenomenon involved in courtship that is as strange as anything in human behavior. When a boy and a girl start to relate to one another, if the boy feels a heavy attraction for a girl and pursues her too strongly, surely he will be repulsed. And if a girl is too forward with a boy to whom she is attracted, he will reject her immediately. About all she has to do is telephone him twice and that ends that. While it is absolutely necessary that this deep attraction take place, if one or the other of the partners makes an expression of it too soon, the relationship is destroyed. In the early stages of courtship, if that happens, we say something like this: ‘I can’t stand anybody who really wants me.’ It reminds me of Groucho Marx, who received an invitation to join a prominent San Fransisco club. He sent the invitation back with a notation, ‘Any club that would have people like me in it isn’t fit to join.'”

Solomon “I am sick of love” (Song of Solomon 2:5).

Goethe “If I love you, what business is it of yours?”

I can say that I have had experiences where I chased after certain girls and the moment they started liking me in return, I suddenly was turned off. I have also had experiences where I was pursued, stalked even, by girls I had no interest in. The moment they stopped, I got concerned and started going back after them. Not that I was trying to play games. There was just something of a paradigm shift somewhere during that transfer of pants-wearing in the relationships.
I know you want a better answer than that, and I’ll try to get that to you. Coming back to your question, I hope this gives you perhaps something to think about as you ask yourself why you are still unmarried despite your dating history. And maybe you just have some adjusting to do in how you demonstrate love and how you respond to it.

Or maybe it’s something as simple as bad breath or a fear of commitment with a less-than-perfect guy.

  1. “So, as charming and beautiful as you might be, LDS female from California, you must feel like something must be wrong if you aren’t statistically “on schedule.” This is so true. From experience, if I’m not on schedule, and when others point out my age and single-hood, I tend to think, “What is wrong with me? What did I do to deserve this?” I’ve learned however to think, no, to know, that (see 4th post) I am beautiful and need to emphasize my beauty. Not only that, but He that thinks I am more beautiful than ever is creating the painting of my life. HE knows the colors that need to blend and the hues that need to be enriched before the painting can become complete ( allow improvement of yourself so that you can be paired with someone else of worth and beauty, such as in marriage) We do not know why it may take so long for some of us, but we must have hope, and faith that the Lord knows what is best for us. And then when we look back, we will realize that statistics or opinions or discouragement didn’t matter because we were obedient and faithful and blessed with a mate that was worth the wait. Sorry Josh, I just had to throw some opinion in. Your fantastic by the way. 🙂

  2. Thanks for contributing, Kelda.

  3. read Ensign articles from August 2008, they are beautiful and give hope to the single person.

  4. i was actually referencing my own survey, also conducted in fall 2007. the study included age of ‘first exclusive relationship’, age of marriage, home state (mostly pertaining to utahans), and gender.if i do recall, you helped with this assignment. great memory.i appreciated your thoughtful answer. especially lincoln’s quote. i’m going to have to write that down somewhere.and i think you know just how worried i really am about this question 😉

  5. I like the Boyd K. Packer quote. Interesting that a general authority made comments in that regard.

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