Sunday, August 11, 2013
That's pretty much what happened in church today. Only it wasn't dark, and there weren't any clowns, and my bastard cousin wasn't present. Just me, seven teenagers, a "better than sex" cake, and a whole lotta dream crushing information.
"Guys...today is the day we have ALL been waiting for. Today we are diving in and we're going to have an open and honest discussion on one of my favorite topics."
"I'm so excited," Gabby said, "I've been waiting for this for months!"
"Are we discussing marriage?" one of the boys asked.
"Yep," I replied.
"Is that 'better than sex cake?" the new girl asked.
"You said it not me," I answered, "but if your parents ask it's chocolate caramel cake."
"Or 'better than scriptures' cake," Nathan pipped in.
"Brilliant," I smiled. "Now, let's just state the obvious. I am single." I made direct eye contact with our visitor. "Ladies, am your worst nightmare in the flesh."
They stared at me confused.
"No need to act like it's not true. None of you are sitting there thinking, 'Gosh, I hope I end up careening towards 40 and am still single'. I know what you're thinking, you're thinking, 'please God, don't let me end up like her: old, husbandless, childless, lifeless".
Gabby shook her head in disagreement.
The other girls' sat like wide-eyed statues.
Ryan 2.0 quietly said, "sad".
"It is what it is folks. So let's just be open and honest. I am a Mormon's worst fear...I am *lower kingdom material."
"Sad", said Ryan 2.0.
"Ok, now that we have that out on the table let's dive in. What is marriage and how has marriage changed in the last 100 - 150 years?"
They threw out some ideas:
1. Marriage doesn't mean as much as it use to.
2. Marriage doesn't last.
3. People don't take marriage serious any more.
4. Gays can get married.
This is where I cut them off....because the last thing I wanted was for them to naively go off on gay marriage only to have me launch into an uncontrollable diatribe about the ridiculousness and completely misguided idea that "gay marriage will destroy the institution of marriage". I doubt they, or their safely structured social construct of marriage is prepared to have their minds blown by the realization that heterosexuals have "destroyed the institution of marriage" all on their own and that our gay brothers and sisters have had nothing to do with the current state of marriage an/or families.
So I launched into a social science history lesson about the the modern view of love, marriage, and gender rolls. I looked at the girls and said that women have been culturally conditioned to believe the lie that love and marriage is something that makes them whole and fulfills their every whim and need, that gives them value and their lives meaning. I turned to the guys,
"And you all are in an incredibly difficult situation. Women expect you to be strong and solid providers AND we want you to be sensitive and meet our emotional needs. Except we really don't, because at the first sign of emotion we get scared and view you as being weak. We tell you to 'man up' and to stop being 'a woman'. How confusing is that? It's crazing making if you ask me."
"Sad", said 2.0.
I moved on...but before we really begin...
"We haven't started yet?" the new girl asked.
"Nope, I'm just setting the stage for what we're really going to discuss."
She looked scared.
"Now, as I was reviewing the material for this month's topic I kept running into a statistic that I spent an hour researching this morning. As your teacher I want to you be informed consumers. I know you will probably hear this statistic multiple times over the next month so we're going to talk about it right now. Because it sounds super amazing and paints Mormon marriages out to be 'safe guarded'. It leads you to believe that if you are married in the *temple your life will be full of unicorns and rainbows, and cherubic faced babies where every day is a spiritual high full of love and happiness. That's not the reality kids..."
I then commenced a lecture about the methodological shortcomings of a study done in 1981 that stated that only 6% of all temple marriages end in divorce. I explained that that 6% came from a relatively small sample size and that most LDS marriages that end in divorce do not include a temple divorce.
They looked confused.
"What's a temple divorce?" one asked.
Oh boy...this is going to lead to AWESOME discussions around the family dinner table tonight...
I explained that when one is married in the temple it is recognized by the US government as a civil marriage as well as by the church as a religious marriage. I stated that a civil divorce dissolves the civil marriage but unless one gets a temple divorce you're still technically married to that person in the next life.
"Oh yeah," said new girl. "My sister was married for 6 months and her ex husband won't do his part so she can have a temple divorce."
"Yeah, it can be hard to get a temple divorce," I responded.
Minds. Were. Blown.
Fear fell upon several faces.
"What? What about if you don't like that person?", "What about kids?", "What about getting married to someone else?"
"Welcome to the messy reality of not having all of the answers."
"Sad," said 2.0.
"So, the real statistic is that temple marriage or not, roughly 50% of you will get a divorce at some point in your life."
"Sad," said 2.0.
Depressed looks fell upon the rest of the crowd.
"Ok, so with that cheery introduction let's dive in..."
"THAT WAS JUST AN INTRODUCTION?" said the new girl.
"Yep," I said, "so," I clapped and smiled, "what is the difference between a *temple marriage and a non-temple marriage?"
"Temple marriages are forever," one said.
"Eternity," said another.
"That's A LOT of commitment," said a third.
"Sad," said 2.0.
And thus begins our month of marriage lessons.
Stay tuned because next week we're discussing marriage prep AND the "single sister" clause.
This. Will. Be. Epic.
It will also surely lead to my release.
Posted by Carrie at 4:05 PM