I know you are all anxiously awaiting my next entry in this trilogy of interviews, so I won’t keep you any longer. Here goes…
What do you think makes a good marriage partner? I think it is just that, a partnership. There shouldn’t be a sense of domination in any way. Nor should one spouse feel overly defined by roles or responsibilities but the entire marriage should be a joint responsibility.
Too many people lump the decision of having kids and getting married together. The two should be separate choices. You should ask the question do I want to be with this person if we don’t have any kids at all? Then you can say as a separate question will he be a good father? That said, I really can’t imagine anyone that I would want to marry that wouldn’t also have the qualities of a good father but I think the 2 questions should be separate.
To me a good test of a relationship is will the person sit through something they don’t care for just because you are in it. I’m not saying they have to love it but is your participation enough to count them in. This is true for both people in the relationship. He better get used to sitting through a swim meet and cheering and I can go fishing or do whatever outdoorsy thing he loves. The other person’s happiness should make you happy most of the time (we all have our moments).
Another test- does the person make things fun that would normally be a drag. For instance, I’ve always said I want to go dancing with my boyfriend. I hate dancing, so if I can have a good time doing that we have genuine chemistry. Maybe that’s silly but there you go.
Finally, the best couples I know have an intellectual chemistry which is tough to define. Do you find the person you are with interesting? Not that they have to be interested in the same things per say but do they approach problems with a similar vigor, are you fascinated by the world? Do you listen to each other in a complimentary way? I could never be with someone who thought I was dumb or vice versa.
Why do you think so many marriages fail? Actually in my life not many do. Amazingly enough at 30 not one of my friends that I have seen get married has gotten divorced. I have met friends after they were divorced but never seen the entire process from someone in my peer group. Even in the Mormon church it seems highly unlikely that there wouldn’t be 1 couple. None of my cousins or siblings have gotten divorced. Perhaps that will happen in this decade but so far so good.
I think when marriages do fail it is usually because of selfishness. People begin to feel that their needs are more important than their spouse, and a partnership becomes 2 separate entities coexisting. Every situation is different and some times people just aren’t compatible but I think usually there is some kind of selfishness involved.
How can you comment on marriage as a single woman who has never had a relationship? Well, it doesn’t take getting shot to know it is not a pleasant experience. Some things you can extrapolate as an observer of life and human nature. I’m sure I will learn a lot when it is my turn but a girl can’t spend 3 decades and not develop any of her own ideas on the topic, so there!
I also have relationships that while not romantic have taught me something about how they work.
What is your ideal family? I have no ideal. I have never been a dreamer in that regard. I’ve only had one time in my life (BYU) where an expectation lived up to lead up. Most of the time it is best to take things as they come and be grateful for what you’ve got.
Will you be happy unmarried, without kids? Yes. It has never been a big dream of mine to get married or have kids. There are lots of reasons why but all I’ve wanted since I was a toddler (literally) is to be on my own, making my own life choices. If the situation comes I will be happy and grateful but I don’t think there is anything wrong with being happy if it doesn’t.
If you did have kids how would you want to raise them? What is important to you in parenting? I believe that kids should be in the world but not of the world. So, yes expose them to movies, literature, friends, education, but do it in a way that maintains their innocence as long as possible and allows them to have true fun. I don’t think kids should be manipulated to be mini-parents. They should be guided and counseled but also feel free to express their own views and ideas. I want my kids to know that I like being with them and that they matter to me and to God.
I do love the homeschooling movement and feel if done well it can give your children the best opportunity to flourish. You can communicate with your child in a way that no teacher can (as wonderful as they may be). The argument against homeschool is always a social one but I feel this is silly because public school can be just as much of a social nightmare. Any education requires monitoring by a parent and an active voice that makes actual learning the priority, not the grade received.
I love that with homeschool a parent takes ownership of how and what is taught to her child. She takes ownership of her child’s peer group, social activities and moral teaching. Not that they don’t have those things, as some might claim, but they are guided by a parent. There may be some who want to offer their children up to the alter of community good but not me. It may seem odd for a single girl to have an opinion on homeschool but I think you will find there isn’t much I don’t have an opinion on!
(I will add that clearly homeschool doesn’t work for every situation. I’m just saying that it would be my first choice if given the chance).
What did your parents teach you about parenting/life? My mother continually teaches me to nurture others. She is a very selfless person. In fact, she even gave up her freedom of movement when restricted to bedrest for most of her 6 pregnancies. This was a very difficult time for our family but she taught me that sacrifices are the most golden family moments. Its like on my mission- the moments where I had given my all, were the one’s where I became a true missionary. The moments in a family where you give all is when you are a true family.
My Dad teaches me each day to find joy in the journey. I get stressed out with the details of life. I put loads of unneeded pressure on myself and always have. He has always been someone who can see a way out of stress and is a true optimist. He also has a zest for life that I admire and hope to emulate.
What do you think is a true friend? In the quest to save the family sometimes I feel we could focus more on friendshiping in the church. Especially in the single-world friends have been a huge support for me. As wonderful as my family is when I think of the trials of my life I can also see a friend who was there to see me through.
I’ve also had so many laughs with friends over the years. A true friend loves and deserves love back. A true friend sacrifices time to be with you. A true friend has chemistry that just works. A true friend listens when you need to vent and gives you frank counsel when required. A true friend you could see every day and yet go years and still have that connection. A true friend should not be work in the traditional sense. It should be a happy work. (Its actually hard to describe a true friend, but you know it when you see it!).
One of the things I have struggled with in the last few years is maintaining an active social life. It used to be so easy for me to gather people together. Now it seems so difficult. Even to have lunch with a friend can take weeks of planning. I wish I had one friend I could call on a Friday night with nothing to do and do something. That almost never happens. People are just too busy. Even getting people to come to book club or other activity can be so hard. I’ve noticed I have more success with dinner parties or when hosting something for my swim group. Not sure why but I’m trying to figure it out. I love to entertain and would love to plan cute get-togethers. After the year I’ve had I kind of got out of the habit. The Christmas Swimfest gave me a ton of confidence and I already have a Valentines Swimfest in the works.
It just sometimes feels that while friends are so important to me, they are less important for people with families. There are exceptions which I am very grateful for and I understand the predominance family should take. That said, it can still be hard and lonely to feel that everyone else has moved on to the next step and you are still in college-mode. As much as I loved college nobody wants to be at the same spot forever.
What is the hardest thing to do as an adult? Finding balance. It always seems that one part of my life is taking over whether it health, work, family struggles, exercising whatever. Achieving balance is the goal of a lifetime.
In what ways has adulthood disappointed you? This is such a good question for me because I wanted to be an adult so badly. I would say the greatest disappointment is the mundanity of life. I don’t know what exactly I expected but so much of life is routines and doing the same thing over and over again. Even in the most glamorous jobs there is a fair amount of tedium. Its just part of adult life.
I also wish I had taken more advantage of time off as a young college student to explore or go places. I think because my parents traveled I assumed I would be able to do that later, and I have been very blessed in that regard, but its hard! Its hard to find the time, get off work, get ready, catch up when you get home etc. Its something I should have enjoyed more when I had the chance.
I was also in a rush to finish everything. I set a goal and I want to get it done now. This is why weight loss has been so tough for me because it is not something that can be done right in a few months. It takes years, a lifetime really. I don’t like things that take a lifetime! Again, I should enjoy the journey more.
If you could have your dream job what would it be? I think it would be cool to work in a political campaign. I also love public speaking and think I might take a stab at politics some day. I feel I would be a good advocate for causes I believe in but I am sure the whole process would drive me crazy (again the waiting and the tedium are my struggles!). Also, I think it would be great to teach college, especially at BYU. I have pondered a PHD before but there are so few positions in the liberal arts that it does not seem like a good choice. Still, it would be my dream job.
Are you disappointed to not be doing your dream job? Yes but I’ve learned that how I work is much more important to me than what I am actually doing. Working from home and being my own boss is worth any sacrifice- even working in accounting all day! I get chills and feel nauseated at the thought of going back to ‘cubicle Hell’ as I call it.
My only regret in working alone is I don’t have the chance to mentor people. I benefited greatly from mentors in my youth and I hope to someday have that chance as an adult. I’ve enjoyed teaching in my ward the last 2 years and feel I have been a mentor to some of the younger girls (and I feel I mentor my younger siblings) but I’d like to find someone that I can really guide and mentor.
What is your greatest flaw? Definitely holding grudges. I grew up seeing the world in terms of bullies and victims. That’s how I survived. I learned that people who abuse do it again and I kept them in that spot forever. There are still people from my life that I struggle with anger and resentment towards. I know it only hurts me but it is tough. I get better each year at forgiving and hopefully by the end I will be something like my Grandpa Richards who loved unconditionally. That is my goal to be like him because he was so much like Jesus. My relationship with Christ helps polish me each day and that includes grudges, resentments, fears and everything else.
Do you wish you were skinny? I’d be lying if I said No. As I mentioned in my last post judgement has always been tough for me to absorb and unfortunately being fat carries tons of judgement. I still feel great resentment at anyone who places a label on me because of my weight. It would be nice to not deal with these judgements. However, I suppose society would just find something else to judge and I’d have to deal with it. I do appreciate the strength my journey has given me and being heavy forced me to rely on God for praise because in a few moments that was the only place I could get it. And maybe I do a little bit of good correcting prejudice and speaking out. If that was the case, it’d all be worth it.
Well, that’s a lot. Probably more than any of you care to read but it does me a great deal of good to say it. The next entry will be on my views on the political and social issues of the day. Should be pretty fun! (I have had an interest in politics since I was in grade school and voted in every election since I turned 18. It is very important to me).