ABOUT GRATITUDE. Yesterday Cathy
and I went to lunch as part of celebrating our third anniversary. I remarked to her that one of the advantages of being a divorcee is that I take our marriage less for granted.
I got married the first time when I was 26 years old. We had a child 11 months later. To some degree, I was going through the motions of what American Latter-day Saints do. I graduated from high school, served a mission, went to college, and got married when I was in graduate school. It's kind of the life plan we all expect to follow. I loved my first wife and my family, but I think I kind of just expected it would always be there for me. I took it too much for granted. Perhaps I thought what I was doing and the way I was living was just normal. But normal isn't special.
Having a lengthy marriage and then getting divorced woke me up to the fact that we are not simply entitled to marriage. Our spouses ALWAYS have choices. Even if you feel really solid with someone, that is partly a result of their devotion and conscious choice to be with you. That is a great blessing and a high honor. We should really never take it for granted. We should celebrate it every day, and not just on anniversaries.
Cathy and I dated for a good chunk of 2016 and were "just friends" for all of 2017. At the end of that year (literally the last day of the year) I wrote her a letter and asked her to date me for marriage. I didn't know it at the time, but she was dating two good men, who both had serious intentions, and trying to decide between them. So I complicated her life. Even with the great options she had and even though we had stopped dating a year prior, Cathy chose me. I don't take that for granted. She could have chosen otherwise. So I consider it a great blessing that she chose me.
Before I even met Cathy, I learned that we can only enjoy something to the extent that we are grateful for it. Our enjoyment is directly proportional to our gratitude. I enjoy my marriage and the love that we share so much because I am deeply grateful for it. I am grateful for another chance at life and happiness in marriage. I am grateful for someone to love everyday in a special way. I am grateful for the kind of family life that I once took for granted as being "just normal." Because I feel abundantly blessed, I feel abundantly happy. That is the secret my friends.
Be grateful for what you have. Be happy for others when good things happen to them. Be enthusiastic and embrace your life for its possibilities. Life is not merely to be endured. It is to be lived. So take chances, have adventures, love deeply, and live it well.
Jeff & Cathy discuss the challenges and blessings of mid-single life. As highlighted in our most recent General Conference, single adults have now become the majority in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
During our mid-single years, we each felt like a minority in our church – many mid-singles feel like they don’t fit in. Little did we know that we were all in a class that was becoming and now IS the majority of our adult members! President Ballard and Elder Gong both cited in their talks at General Conference in April 2021, that more than 50% of our adult members are either-divorced, widowed or not yet married.
President Nixon talked about “The Great Silent Majority” of Americans, the same applies to mid-singles. Why are we silent? 1. Because we are busy and have a lot on our minds and on our plates 2. We may not feel comfortable speaking up 3. We just plain aren’t there because some of us become less active. Why? We are dealing with painful emotions. We don’t like being talked about. Divorced men tend to get treated with suspicion and women tend to get pitied. Transitioning to celibacy from marriage is hard. We may feel less relevant in a family oriented church as we adjust to less traditional family units.
We have compassion for all of those concerns it is worth living a covenant life despite all the challenges associated with it. 5 good reasons to stay on the covenant path and to start speaking up:
- There are more of us than we thought and there is strength in numbers.
- There are more opportunities to date within the Church than ever before.
- The eternal blessings of being sealed in the temple are just as real now as in our twenties.
- There is power and strength in our covenants to withstand the turmoil in these last days. Standing in holy places gives us support while we are without a spouse.
- We can give our much needed perspective and compassion as people who have experienced loss and grief in ways that no one else can.
Our Church and communities need your voice! You are the great silent majority. It’s time to not be silent anymore. Allow your voices to bless and build the Kingdom of God.
LILY Pod Episode 1: The Silent Majority