When I got home from the mission things moved pretty comfortably in that area of my life. I started dating a girl not long after I got home from the mission. We dated for close to a year before things fizzled. Then I met another girl and we started dating not long after that. That one last for the longest time. I've revisited that one a few times on this blog, but from start to messy finish, that one took several years to unfold.
In the midst of that time one of the high councilors in my stake would always give me a hard time about not being married, except it wasn't in the joking, everything is going to work out kind of way. It was in the good-natured, but poorly delivered, "you're a good guy, how come you're not married" kind of way.
One time he started asking me about it and it couldn't have been worse timing. Things had just gone sour (again) with the girl I had been dating, and he actually said something to the effect of, "well you're friend just got married, you should follow his example. Don't you want to get married?" It just about destroyed me at the time, so I told him in my most earnest and pain-filled voice, "Of course I want to get married, do you think that I'm avoiding it? Do you think that it's not something that I'm conscious of every minute of every day?"
I think what bothered me about this well-intended brother was that I felt like he had a pretty good feeling for who I was as a person. He knows about my level of Church involvement and activity. He had seen me serving quite extensively in the Church, and I guess I just felt like he should know that I get it: I'm a return missionary without any obvious hindrances toward marriage, so I should be actively pursuing it.
I felt like I was, but it was hard to be constantly reminded that I was coming up short in an area of my life of which that I was actually very incredibly aware.
Sometimes I have a problem with the way people in the Church approach the topic of the young single unmarried adults. There was a lot of reference to it at this last General Conference, and even in my last stake conference it was a topic that was broached repeatedly. I (generally) don't like the allocation of blame allotted to the men because for every young male in the Church who avoids marriage because he is a man-boy and afraid of taking on that responsibility, there is also a similarly afflicted female version of that person.
I guess I don't like it because it's an over-simplification of what the overarching problem is, that there is a cultural shift in the marriage and relationship dynamic in the world which bleeds over into Church members. Unfortunately, the people of the Church are not unperturbed by the social mores and so as the world goes, sometimes we also follow.
I don't have much more insight into this subject other than those thoughts. All I can say now is that being on this side of it, I'm grateful for how things worked out. I don't know that I'm better or worse off getting married now as compared to when I originally thought that I would, but I'm happy things worked out the way that they did. I feel like I'm with the person who best complements me, and every miniscule thing that happens in our new lives feels like a confirmation from heaven that now was the right time, the right place, and the right person with whom to get married. I feel like I can say along with Elder Holland, "some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don't come until heaven; but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come." My path didn't allow for me to get married until this point, and I'm glad for it. For some people it comes right when you're 22 and for others it comes perhaps much later in life, but it always arrives when we put our faith in the Lord.
I'm just grateful that He is in charge and that I am not. My blueprints for success are much messier than His.