When I was younger, I always envisioned my future wedding and having a family. As I grew older and into my teenage, early 20’s, I began dating. I think during this time I lost sight of myself, of my faith and became calloused towards even the idea of love. I went through multiple tumultuous relationships, many of which carried a common theme: I gave everything to men who simply wanted one thing from me (and I’ll let you jump to that conclusion) and upon receiving whatever they wanted, they’d bail. Essentially, I was left thinking there was something faulty in me and in retrospect, the only thing I’m finding faulty in myself is my infallible ability to forgive and to love. Regardless of how calloused I became, a part of me still gripped onto the hope that good love would eventually find me.
I reached a point where I no longer wanted marriage or children. I would be perfectly content just being me. Perhaps it was my will to be independent. I’d like to think it was just my way of understanding that in order to be independent was to be content with being alone. Not necessarily in the dark, depressing tone of “forever alone,” but rather relying on yourself for happiness and strength.
I opted for online dating merely as a joke. I thought it was a sham despite some of my best friends finding lasting relationships through online dating websites. Being settled upon the idea of never getting married or having a family, I was okay with just flirting and “seeing what my options were.”
I had talked to a few men. I went on a handful of dates, but nobody ever really stuck. However, around November 2014, I began chatting with a man whom I truly grew fond of. He was simplistic, pragmatic and honest. He seemed genuinely interested in me and as much as that feeling was mutual, I was terrified. It was one of those situations that seemed “too good to be true.” Out of fear, I deleted my account and pursued other options. Upon those options failing me rather quickly, I returned to online dating and we stumbled upon each other again. He quickly asked me out (my theory is because he was scared I’d disappear again if he didn’t ask me out soon). We met up at the Cheesecake Factory, where we enjoyed great conversation and even better food. We agreed we both wanted to meet again. Within a week, we went on four dates. On the fourth date and after deep conversations discussing our pasts and what we hoped for in this coming relationship, he asked me to be his girlfriend (something that was sentimental to me because I had explained to him how in my past relationships, the relationship was never truly defined – I never knew if it was okay to call the guy I was dating my “boyfriend” or not).
Upon dating this man, I began to feel things I forgot I knew how to feel. I felt safe, secure and unconditionally loved. He saw past all my imperfections and loved me even deeper. He saw me for me. I know this all sounds cliché, but he reignited my love for love. And to fall in love.
Over time, I began to see a different side of love. The forever kind of love. During our conversations about LDS, I remember him explaining that families are the core to the faith. I didn’t really grasp this – I just thought “okay, they place a high value on family. I like that.”
I met with missionaries earlier this year. We visited the Temple’s visitor’s center (since I’m not a member of the church, I cannot enter the Temple). While at the Temple, we were shown this series of films that encompassed the importance of families. The series followed a family that loses a grandparent. The mother explains to her children that while she misses her father (their grandfather), she was at peace knowing that she would be reunited with her father in Heaven after death. At the end of her explanation, she says, “Families are forever.”
That line forever stuck with me.
I envisioned my wedding again. I envisioned marrying my boyfriend. I envisioned having children and naming our first one after our fathers. I envisioned building a family with my boyfriend. For the first time in a long time, I wanted marriage and a family. I wanted forever.