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Joyfully Single

An excerpt from the book "Joyfully Single"
By Will Head

First The Bad News

Since 1957, the buying power of the average American has doubled, yet the number of very happy people remains one in three.

Prevention, April 2004
  • Anyone who gets married today has a better than 50/50 chance of getting divorced. In fact, our divorce rate is now climbing towards a projected 60 percent!
  • 55 percent of all divorce proceedings begin within the first three years of marriage.
  • 43 percent of all first marriages end in divorce within the first 15 years.
  • 65 percent of second marriages break up, and 75 percent of third marriages don't last.
  • Divorce rates among Christians and other religious faiths have climbed to 50 percent.
  • Couples who live together prior to marriage tend not to fare any better. In fact, 40 percent decide not to marry the one they move in with, and up to 85 percent of those who do marry, divorce.
  • Depending on which survey is cited, only 5-25 percent of those who stay married report that they are happily married.
  • Finally, here's the one that's always a real crowd-pleaser (I even had a female workshop attendee throw one of her shoes at me after hearing this!): If you are a single female over 40, you probably have a better chance of winning the lottery than you do of finding a partner and achieving a happy marriage. (Hold on to your shoe! If a happy marriage is still one of your goals, don't stop reading; later in this book we will discuss how to greatly stack the odds back in your favor.)

These are sobering and disheartening statistics. Yet in spite of these current trends, why do 90 percent of us in this country still choose to marry at least once in our lives? Why are we willing to take the risk of making a commitment that may end in heartache and regret? For most of us it comes down to this: Love is what makes the ride worthwhile! (Franklin P. Jones). It is the hope of sharing joy with someone you love that continues to encourage us to take our shot at achieving marital bliss. Now, on to the good news!

Now The Good News
So if a happy, committed, life-long relationship is such a desirable thing, what's wrong with this picture? Why are so many of us falling short when it comes to finding and sustaining long term relationships, as well as enjoying marital bliss? It comes down to this: If more of us learned how to be happy while we were single, we would greatly increase our chances of being happy as a couple.

Joyfully Single is not an oxymoron. We can be single and happy. In fact, we may even have more reason to be hopeful about eventually enjoying a loving, nurturing relationship because we still have the opportunity to be smarter about choosing partners!

But before we get into how we can increase our current levels of physical, mental, spiritual, and relationship joy, I promised some good news, and here it is. Why do I remain optimistic about the future of love and marriage in our society in spite of the current trends? Because of this: There are relationships that are working! There are couples who are happy and joyful. What does that mean for you and me? It means that it is possible to attract and enjoy successful relationships. It's just up to each of us to learn what is working for others and put it into practice in our own lives!

Would you like some more good news? Those of us who are currently single and unattached still can look forward to the possibility of falling in love again! Though that may not seem possible or even desirable to some of us who are still recovering from a recent break-up, most of us would agree that the benefits of loving and being loved far exceed the risks. As Martha Beck reminds us in her recent book The Joy Diet, one of our greatest sources of joy is connecting with other people. Is there a chance we might get hurt when we open ourselves up and become vulnerable in order to connect with another person? Absolutely! Yet the desire to love and be loved will continue to lure most of us to do whatever it takes to taste the sweet nectar of love and adoration once again. Here's some more good news. Falling in love and being a couple is good for you. Though this book focuses on how we can be joyful regardless of our current relationship status, here are some additional lifestyle benefits that may help to motivate the more timid of us to possibly give marriage another try.

Married couples:
  • Are healthier and live longer.
  • Are generally more content and satisfied with their overall quality of life.
  • Have sex more often, enjoy it more than their single counterparts, and reap the benefits of safer sex.
  • Achieve higher income levels.

(Note: Obviously there are some great benefits to being single or I wouldn't have much to write about. You will find more on these later on in this book. However, if you currently don't have a significant other in your world and want some immediate love and affection, take heart. Studies also show that people with pets live longer and are healthier than those without. And Louise Hay affirms in her books that pets can be a great source of unconditional love. So, why not drop by the animal shelter nearest you and bring home the furry life-extender of your choice!)

Here's one last bit of good news before we move on to the seven premises of being joyfully single. I believe that each of us, if we are willing to do whatever it takes to improve our relationship skills and our power to attract loving and caring people into our lives, will eventually have the opportunity to experience the happy and healthy relationships we desire. This hope is best expressed for me in a saying that hangs on the wall of a favorite church leader of mine: To believe in God is to know that all the rules will be fair and that there will be some wonderful surprises along the way!

Does this mean we will all meet our soul mates and live happily ever after in this life? As the Moody Blues were fond of singing, It ain't necessarily so. Yet, as we will learn later in this book, there are a lot of things we can do to increase our personal power to attract more love into our lives, and with a bit of effort and a dose of good luck, even attract the love of our life. Even if all of our previous Prince Charmings turned into King Disappointings, we still have reason to hope that the best is yet to come!

In addition to this, who said a romantic soul mate is our only possibility for a happy and loving relationship? Opportunities to love and be loved can be found within our own circles of family, friends, and co-workers. There are also unlimited opportunities to connect with and give a leg up to those less blessed in our communities. So why not take a hint from Melvin, Jack Nicholson's character in As Good As It Gets, and choose to look on the bright side of life? Why not choose to believe that we can learn to be joyfully single and that some wonderful surprises still lie ahead?

Let's begin now to envision and do the soul work we need to do to attract more of the love we want in our lives. As Tony Robbins would say, You gotta believe it before you manifest it! And as the Bible teaches, All things are possible to those who believe! Hopin' is just a lot more fun than mopin'. Read on. There's more good news ahead!

7 Premises To Being Joyfully Single
Enough already about the joy each of us can realize from a committed relationship. What if I never marry or re-marry? What can I do to increase my physical, mental, and spiritual joy, as well as get more happiness out of the relationships I already have with my family, friends, and co-workers? When are we going to get to the joyfully single stuff? Glad you asked! But before we can get to the how to's, let's take a moment to review the seven premises for joy on which the principles of this book are based.

#1-It is not necessary to have a significant other in our lives to be happy!!! If we haven't already figured this out, this is a biggie! As Paul wrote in the New Testament, each of us can learn to be content regardless of our external circumstances. Buddha also taught that through the practice of daily meditation it is possible for each of us to stay centered and joyful no matter what might be happening (or not happening) in our external world.

#2-It's unrealistic to expect to be happy all the time. In fact, if we find ourselves giggling uncontrollably throughout the day, we might want to consider cutting those little blue pills we've been taking in half, like the doctor told us to do when he prescribed them! Happiness and a sense of well being are by-products of our choices, our attitudes, and how close our reality matches our expectations. If we want more up times than down, all we need to do is learn how to reduce the number of choices we make that lead to the blues and the blahs and increase the number of choices that lead to inner peace, contentment, joy, and love.

#3-If it's going to be, it's up to me. If we want to attract a significant other and/or more healthy and happy friends into our lives, it's up to each of us to do whatever we can to be more attractive physically, mentally, spiritually, and to improve our relationship skills.

#4-"Just Do It!" If we really want to bring about change in our circumstances or character, we need to not only acquire new information and insights, but we need to apply what we learn as well.

#5-As Richard Dreyfus' character told Bill Murray's in the movie What About Bob, Baby steps, Bob. Baby steps. Gaining new skills, habits, and thinking patterns is easier when we begin with small moves. For example, if becoming more fit and enjoying better health is the goal, then don't try to run the Boston marathon next weekend. Instead, at this moment, put this book down and just walk to the mailbox and back. Then, build on this accomplishment tomorrow and each day that follows. Baby steps, Bob. Baby steps!

#6-We were created to experience happiness. It has been said that man is that he might have joy. If we are not experiencing happiness on a regular basis, it's our job to discover why not, and to learn to make new choices that bring more of what we want in our lives.

#7-It's not so important who is right, but what is right. It is important to learn what is true, what isn't, what works, what doesn't, and what gets the results you want. If you are not already a dedicated seeker of the Holy Grail of truth, then commit today to hunger and thirst after it.

As Plato said, The unexamined life is not worth living. It's important to examine our choices and not continue to do what we are doing if we are not getting the results we want. Let's decrease the crazy moments of our lives by not continuing to do the same thing and expecting different results! Let's give ourselves permission to take risks, to try something new as well as make mistakes. Let's also not just do something because this is what our parents or our cultures have expected us to do. If we haven't already, let's reclaim our agency to examine the results of our choices and not attempt to blame others for the consequences of these choices. Let's accept responsibility for our own happiness and not continue to hope that someone or something else will come along to make us happy.

It's also important to make the pursuit of knowledge, truth, and wisdom a priority in our lives. Let's honor this priority and continue to learn how to make more joyful choices by reading, listening to books on tape, going to workshops, meditating, praying, and journaling. Let's do whatever works for us to further enable us to discern truth from what is custom or what is convenient. Let's begin applying what we learn today and pay it forward whenever we can to create a better world for ourselves, for those we love, and for the rest of our planet.

Now that we have examined the seven premises of being joyfully single, read on to discover the one thing everyone on this planet wants more of, which is readily available to any of us regardless of our current socioeconomic circumstances. Enjoy!

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Would you like to read more of "Joyfully Single?"
Click here to learn more about the book and to purchase it.

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