I know you think I should be writing about rainbows and sunshine right now after being a newlywed. However, I feel really strongly that I need to talk about a different aspect than just the cake and the pictures.
I have a lot of friends that I know are struggling with being single.
I had a rough dating "career". I was engaged when I was 18. I was in love, but that's not enough to get married. We were so young and didn't have a solid foundation of who we were and what we were looking for. We didn't get married for a thousand reasons, the number one reason being that he just left me. Real life set in and he gave up. There were countless others such as him telling me he wasn't sure he could love me if I gained weight, all the way to him wanting me to stop school so I could support him financially. I have no resentment towards him. I know that he was young and immature too, and I'm sure he learned from the experience just as much as I did. He's a good person, just wouldn't make the best husband for me. If you want more details and are maybe going through something similar, I'd be more than happy to share them with you. Going through hard things makes it more worth it when you can help someone else as a result.
I also had a boyfriend who I thought was fabulous cheat on me to the point where it crossed the line of morality. That might have even been harder than my called off engagement. I was nothing short of disgusted. This guy had a great reputation, especially at church. People thought he was totally put together, and I admired him and was completely devoted. Then one night, he told me about his inappropriate actions that had been going on for awhile. It absolutely made me sick to my stomach. I can not even begin to tell you how I felt. I was as helpless as a turtle pushed onto its shell. I had a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that someone I cared for so much could do something so awful to me and I had zero control over it. I felt worthless. I spent a fair amount of time meeting with my bishop (religious leader) and learning about forgiveness and the atonement. Maybe I'll share more about that experience and what I learned later. It actually makes me happy to think about now because I know I grew so much during that time.
Those were probably the two biggest dating hardships, though there have been countless others. In dating, you do your best but others still have their own choices to make. The venture to find your spouse is not an easy one- not for me at least. It's enough to tear you up inside.
I don't want to focus on the negativity. I know dating and being single is also awesome and fun. I want to give some hope to my lovely friends that I know have that heart longing to love and be loved by the person they will spend forever with. I was like you. I wondered how my life would play out. I questioned whether or not I would ever get married. I had a heart bursting with love. I wanted a marriage where we both loved and respected each other. I didn't then, but I know now that it's completely possible to have. I know I've said this a thousand times, but I feel like the blessing I've had of having such a wonderful husband has a direct correlation to some of the trials I've gone through, including with dating. Everything that I've gone through in life I would go through 100 times more if I knew Clint would be there for me at the end. None of you know my life story (unless you're Clint), but if you know some of it you know that it's saying a lot. I was still very blessed, but I didn't have the easiest childhood.
Be patient. Use the time to become the kind of person that you know the future husband you dream of deserves. I remember the Summer after my called off engagement I threw myself into working to improve myself and cultivate my talents. I took two dance classes. Dance was my therapy and made me feel free from my chains of heartache that otherwise would have bound me. I spent time with people I loved. I set high goals and held myself to them. I developed better study habits. I learned the healing power that comes with serving others. I learned about forgiveness and humility. I can't even begin to write how much I learned. If I hadn't gone through all those hard things to push me into becoming the person that I am, maybe I wouldn't have been enough to end up with my amazing husband that I love and treasure so much. Dating is difficult, but hang in there. Don't let yourself become bitter. Don't let resentment creep into your heart- it only does bad to you. There are great people out there, never forget that. Don't lose hope. Look to the future with a smile, it holds great things for you!
Know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Had I known what was at the end of my tunnel, I would have waited a thousand years.
If you haven't been able to tell already, we're insanely in love with each other.
Even when you find the one who is perfect for you, things aren't perfect. However, nothing is more worth it. Nothing. Not being right. Not traveling. No career. Nothing is more worth it! It can be the source of incredible happiness, and it has been for Clint and I. You'll probably have some disagreements like if having a big TV or a trip to disneyland is more important. Or maybe something like how clearing the table does not just mean putting everything on the floor right next to it ;) but somehow, it'll make you love each other even more. Aside from having the gospel of Jesus Christ, Clint is the biggest blessing in my life! Thank you Clint, I love you with all my heart!