This post originally appeared at http://malcolmravenclaw.com/lds-advice/aging-out-of-singles-ward/
I’m aging out of the single’s ward and I feel like a failure because I’m still unmarried. I’ve made good choices throughout my life and I’ve worked hard to put myself out there in the dating scene. Despite my best efforts, nothing significant has happened to me in terms of relationships. The gospel is supposed to make us happy, but it’s hard for me to feel that way when each Sunday, I’m constantly reminded that I lack the blessing I want most in my life. How can I motivate myself to continue being active in the church when I feel like a failure?
Thank you so much for your question. I can understand the feelings and frustrations you are experiencing. Two weeks before I turned 31, the church organized five single stakes in my area and then reemphasized the church policy that singles wards are for those aged 18-31. I remember sitting in that stake conference surrounded by literally 1000′s of attractive singles, and facing the reality that in two weeks, I would no longer be a part of those single’s stakes.
Transferring to the family ward at 31, never having been married, was a tremendous challenge. Not only had I never been married, but in ten years of attending a single’s ward I had never even had a committed girlfriend and now I was being cut from one of the most significant sources of dating prospects, the single’s stake. My last Sunday in the single’s ward was so hard on me. I met with the Bishop in tears, not understanding why I had never even come close to finding a spouse, or even a girlfriend! I went home discouraged and sad.
However, I received a text message that afternoon from a friend, inviting everyone to a birthday party for her roommate. Even though I didn’t know the roommate, I figured that I was no longer in a position to turn down opportunities to associate with others singles and determined I would go to the party. There, I met a very beautiful girl named Amie who recognized me from one of my comedy performances. We began chatting that week and enjoyed some fun conversation. I mentioned to her that my first Sunday in the family ward was coming up and that I was feeling a little apprehensive about moving on from the single’s ward.
When I showed up to church, it was overwhelming for sure. I sat in the overflow by myself surrounded by happy families with their rows of children and wondered why the Lord would have allowed me to end up in this position. It was then, out of the blue, that Amie came walking in and sat next to me. That was the first time I had seen her since we met at the party and ultimately ended up being our first date. Amie also became my first girlfriend. So think of that, for ten years I had been in a single’s ward and NEVER had a girlfriend, yet on my first Sunday in the family ward, at age 31, I had my first date with my first girlfriend.
To me it was the Lord teaching me that He was still aware of me, that He knew who I was and that He had a plan for me and perhaps most importantly that He had not forgotten me. Amie and I dated for two months and had a wonderful relationship. We ultimately determined that it was not to lead to marriage and we went our separate ways, but have maintained a warm friendship since then.
I have now been in that family ward for two years, and there are a few things that have helped me stay in my ward and find peace and joy in my circumstance that I would like to share with you: