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And the plan of happiness is for all of God's children in all our diverse circumstances and individual challenges. Marriage is far from a magic pill or constant party and romantic love is an very modern invention. Anyway I'm repeating a lot of what you said. Thank you for sharing. You clearly already have a much firmer grasp on what God has in mind for you and don't need to worry about the well wishers on either side that think they know better than Him. Wow, that was really beautiful.

Thank you for sharing your insights, and thank you for serving like that. Interesting thoughts. I'm really glad I personally didn't have to try to reconcile these two opposing lifestyles.

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Beautifully written. I agree with you completely. The first and greatest commandment was not marriage, but to live God. The second was to live our neighbor. And as a married mother of two, I feel so often that my sphere of influence is limited to just my family. I completely admire your ability to work and influence so many. And honestly, my years spent single were glorious! I felt like I was much more spiritual and service-oriented then. And I miss the intimate friendships I had then. Like you said, my happiest moments, even as a wife and mother, are when my relationship with my Savior is strongest.

Finally, getting married is no cure to loneliness. My cousin just became a widow in her thirties, and my brother just passed away, leaving a very young widow and young family. We can't depend on anything in this life, except for our Savior. God bless you, and bless the work and service you are doing. Thank you Ben! I couldn't agree more. Marriage isn't the end of all our striving. Jesus Christ is. Which is good cuz I'm really good at starting stuff, but not so much at finishing--but, I digress. Another angle is that when we're counseled against "looking beyond the mark", the mark is considered to be Jesus Christ.

When we elevate any principal above Him, we're on shakey ground. Expecting the experience of marriage to fill all holes the in your heart that are meant for Jesus Christ only, sets you up for codependency, and puts you on a collision course with the reality of your daily need for him. Marriage can certainly bless and have a sanctifying effect. Believing marriage has more power to bless than Jesus himself is, to me, a form of idolatry. Idolatry of marriage. And Him crucified. I don't know you personally but I love you and I love this an a totally felt the spirit reading it.

I know so many people who struggle being single in the LDS church for various reasons and this just hit the nail on the head. You don't need a relationship, you need Christ! I love it!

Positive Paradox

I think if everyone in the church understood this we'd all be happier and wouldn't expect marriage to solve our problems. Thank you for sharing your beautiful insights! Ben, powerful words. As an older single sister with similar struggles, I've felt unintentionally marginalized in the Church because I'm single.

Not by all, not even by most, but-everything seems to be focused on marriage as the only thing I'm really missing! You said that some would have you believe that "happiness is found in being in a committed romantic relationship" and we both know that that isn't the sum truth of our existence. I would say that happiness is found in being in a committed relationship, spiritually speaking; with our Father and elder Brother. Other than that, we are where we are and who we are and how we are-and what others think won't bring us happiness.

That comes from within and above. Thank you for your strong testimony. Thank you, this is so beautifully written.

The Principle Centered Life: Paradox -- Or Positive Living?

I especially love the idea of relationship with the Savior and helping others as being more talked about and important in the scriptures than eternal marriage and family. I struggled for years at church because I didn't fit the standard ticky boxes--I'm married to a non-member and don't have kids. I'm glad you are staying true to what you believe and being the person you are inside. I'm glad you are working with the "neither" box and not letting either part be a phase.

I really hope that it continues to be a thing you can work with and that you aren't forced to choose one half or the other. The man I married in was single all his life he was 50 when we married and he created for himself, an purposeful, authentic life in which he was very content and happy.

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Yes, he was lonely at times. Now I am married to a man with no regrets, a strong sense of self worth, and a sense of empathy and humility towards the suffering of others. I honor your choice and courage to create your own space outside of any and all boxes. Please continue sharing your thoughts and experiences, which helps us all so very much. Well said. Wrong as it is, I think we all tend to pigeon-hole people into nice little categories Mormons don't have a monopoly on that!

What I appreciated that is usually not present in these types of blogs is that you are working through your own thing while trying to live the gospel of Jesus Christ. Humans are just that--imperfect humans. If one really wants to find fault with something wrong said in General Conference, it can be done. But it's all about the spirit in which it is said. I doubt President Uchtdorf meant that if you aren't married, you are thwarting God's plan. Maybe the other leader you heard from really did mean that.

I think that's his opinion, nothing more. But the single best thing about all this is that you didn't get on a soapbox about how The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints should change their stance on marriage. If one really has a testimony of The Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, and President Monson, how can one not believe that we all have our trials and problems, but some of them are more visible than others. Hang in there and live the gospel the best you can. Somehow, things will work out.

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I don't know how, but I believe that. I hope you do, too. I respect your decision and your thoughts and feelings. I saw that you didn't find anything in the scriptures linking the Plan of Salvation and marriage, and wanted to share a perspective. The Book of Mormon does not directly mention it, but Doctrine and Covenants does talk about marriage, in particular sealings.

Without sealing families the "whole earth would be wasted at His coming.

Philosophy of Life

There is no more direct way to fulfill this than creating bodies for His spirit children and teaching them truth and loving them as God loves them. There are some things about the nature of God you can't fully appreciate until you love your spouse like Christ loves the church a process that can't be completed in this life I'm sure , or you weep over your children. Think of the missionary scripture "if your not be great with one soul that you have brought unto me, how great will be your joy if you bring many souls unto me! Please, I understand you have your own path and I don't know how things work out, but marriage is an eternal principle of the Plan of Happiness.

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The Family Proclamation states "circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Just live your life as you choose, and afterwards you will give an account of your choices, if you chose good then you'll receive eternal happiness and if you chose evil or lived in rebellion to God, then you'll receive everlasting misery. It's a no Brainer really. I don't mean to be confrontational. But, I just had to respond to a previous commentor who said, "There are some things about the nature of God you can't fully appreciate until you love your spouse like Christ loves the church a process that can't be completed in this life I'm sure , or you weep over your children.