I've been thinking a lot lately, about the ideals we have set for us from a young age, of the things we expect from our lives. The Mormon culture perpetuates getting married at a young age, and having a family. These are not bad things, not at all. Marriage and family are key roles in our eternal progression and are to be goals in our lives. I am not saying that they aren't. What I have seen with those of my own age and those older than me is the disappointment, and the feeling of failure, when they aren't married by 22 or even by 30. Guess what, it happens! I feel like we send our young women out into the world expecting prince charming to sweep them off their feet a month into college at BYU. Guess what, it doesn't happen like that all the time. We need to stop giving our girls the preconceived notion that if they aren't married and having babies by their mid twenties that they have somehow failed. I want to raise up a generation of strong girls who become strong women. I want them to be prepared for anything. Be prepared to have a life of your own and follow the Lord as He sees fit to guide your life.
This month we are discussing marriage and family as our lessons and that's where this all stemmed from. I was talking to my wonderful friend one night about this and it really struck me. She is 30, living in Utah, and unmarried. (gasp) I know, hard for you all to believe since it's apparently man and marriage central. It's not, let's just get that out in the open. Men and marriage are everywhere, if you are looking in the right places. She commented that as she left for college someone said, "you'll be engaged by Christmas!" She said that she didn't really believe that and she hated that that was the idea they were all sent out there with. So what do you do when you realize that things aren't working out exactly as you planned? Make one. Make a plan. Come up with what you are going to do with YOUR life. It is your life after all, you make your choices and you get to where you want to go. She said after she graduated she realized she had no plan. Life wasn't what she thought it was going to be and she realized she was living with no real direction. So what did she do? She sat down and made a plan. She is a strong woman, she has a career that she truly loves, and more friends and family around her than she knows. To think that anyone would think of her, or anyone else who is yet unmarried, as less makes my heart ache. I know more than one wonderful woman who did not find their perfect match until into their 30's. There are other amazing women out there who may never marry in life, as no fault of their own. But God has a purpose for them and will give them opportunities in the next life.
So, understand this, life isn't always going to turn out the way you planned it, but it is going to turn out the way you make it. I want girls to go into life with a plan for it. A real solid plan that doesn't fall back on, "well, I'll go to college for something, until I get married and then who knows!" Get an education, regardless of what age you get married, get an education. We have been counselled by prophets, as women, to get a college education. You don't know what life is going to hand you, you may need that career or that knowledge some day to be part of the work force. You may think it unnecessary because you want to be a stay at home mom, but what happens if your husband loses his job, or you are waiting on that said husband? I have always wanted to be a SAHM, and that dream became a reality 7 years after I got married and 6 years after I graduated college. I used my degree to support our family while my husband gained his degree, and I used it to keep us afloat during times of trial.
Am I saying not to want to get married, to not expect it? No, but I am urging you to have a contingency plan. Plan for your life, make it a big plan, dream big. Keep your eternal goals in perspective and dream big about your life. Don't be a damsel in distress waiting to be saved, go out and do something, be the heroine. Be strong, and be courageous. I can't express more how much I care for the young women of today and care about their future. Is my young women's group ever going to read this? I don't know, but I hope to instill in them a desire to want more out of life. I want them to strive for bigger and better things than they ever thought possible because they are all capable of it, they are all strong, they are all daughters of God.