Thursday, June 30, 2011

Some Random Thoughts on Marriage

I've long ago come to grips with the fact that I might have to face the rest of my mortal life alone and while that royally sucks, it doesn't feel completely impossible.  Ty Mansfield quotes a fellow gay Mormon thus:

...when I finally decided to give my life to the Lord, I accepted in my heart that I would probably never marry, and I was okay with that.  I also know, however, that if I was obedient to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel, I would have that chance at some time.  I just figured that for the time being I would focus on being a good uncle and brother and son.  I would take care of my parents when they got old.  I would be that quirky single guy in the family ward that everyone knew but just did not know much about.  That was me, and that was fine.  Then along came the woman who was to become my wife. (In Quiet Desperation, 211)

For this man, marriage became a possibility, but even before it was, he had submitted his life to the will of the Lord and was okay with it.  It's said often that happy marriages happen when happy single people come together, i.e., if you're miserable single, you're still going to be miserable married.  That goes for both heterosexuals and homosexuals, I think.  The trick to preparing for marriage, then, is finding happiness in whatever state you find yourself (even Wyoming wordplay lulz). 
Most recently for me, I've seen happiness come from cultivating friendships and building relationships of trust with others.  It has also come by keeping busy with things I love, including fixing cars, playing outside, and reading and writing.  I'm not going to be so unrealistic as to say that those things I do have replaced my desire for a boyfriend or wish to be attracted to girls, but they go a long way towards validating me as a person, if only to myself. 

I remember at one point, when I was in Texas for work, I worked a full 50 hours, but only for four days each week.  The days I had off were lonely and boring; most of my coworkers and roommates and I had different schedules, so I never really had company.  I hated the solitude.  It took a month of lonely misery for me to realize that I could spend those lonely days to do something for me, something that I wanted to do on my own.  
I went to movies that I knew no one else would want to see (see Easy A, avoid Charlie St. Cloud).  I went to the zoo.  I saw three IMAX documentaries in one day.  I tried new restaurants and ate all kinds of new and interesting food.  I wandered around IKEA and the mall, making wish lists of stuff I'd buy when I had the money.  I tried on a pair of $800 jeans (and I looked gooooooood).  I wandered around dealerships and tested tons of cars I'd always wanted to drive.  I even made a picnic for myself one day and went to the airport to watch airplanes take off and land.  I spent my days alone doing exactly what I wanted to do and having fun alone, so that I then could enjoy doing what everyone else wanted when they got home.

I think that preparing for marriage is the same; we're in this lonely position to fall in love with and learn about ourselves, so that when/if we're put in a position to fall for another person, we can do that without bitterness for having to sacrifice some of our wants for theirs.  And of course, we aspire to the ideal that someday, we'll find a person who is excited to go try Cuban food, see Charlie St. Cloud, and test drive Mustang convertibles with us.

I honestly have no idea what the future holds for me.  I wonder if it'll bring quiet mortal solitude, or a life full of good friends, or if I'll marry a girl, or if I'll live a gay lifestyle and somehow be okay with it.  I really don't know.  More often than not, that uncertainty fills me with worry and doubt about my future.  But even though I feel that way sometimes, I still know how to love and take care of myself, and that's the most essential foundation for any of those outcomes.

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