Some of you may have asked what is the point of another personal development book. C.S. Lewis said, "We read to know that we are not alone." A lot of mid-singles feel alone. We have extended families, friends, children, and coworkers. But, none of that really makes up for being happily partnered. No one feels this loneliness more acutely than mid-singles living in a religious culture that values marriage above everything except your covenant relationship with God Himself.
No one was doing this work before us. No one was speaking and writing books to Latter-day Saint mid-singles. Mid-singles are the most underserved demographic in our faith. It is almost as if we collectively felt shame even acknowledging that divorce exists among our people or that anyone is living in a less than ideal family situation, as we define the nuclear family in our faith. We have paid a price for holding up a perfectionistic ideal of the abundant life. It means the people most in need of spiritual comfort are least likely to get it. We wanted this book to feel like a conversation with a cherished friend that really understands us. As a teenager, I had a book that helped me feel understood in my fears and insecurities and I read it over and over again for hopeful reassurance. We hope this book will be something similar for you
We are also acutely aware of how disorienting it is to be a newly minted mid-single, whether through divorce or death. Both in and out of the church, the loss of a marriage turns your world upside down. But because we value marriage so highly in our faith, the loss of a companion can feel like the loss of your faith and your foundation. You realize how much your very identity has been tied up in your marriage.
I have to confess that, when Cathy and I were in our long-term marriages, we sometimes looked disparagingly on those who could not make their marriages work. If that has been your mindset, divorce comes with a tremendous amount of shame when it comes knocking at your own door. You become one of those people you previously disparaged. You no longer feel secure in the foundations you have built your life on.
We designed intentional courtship to be practical as well. We want it to be a survival guide for mid-singles who are seeking to reclaim their shalom (peace and wholeness), build happy and positive lives, navigate the minefield of our faith community (including adjusting to celibacy), and ultimately building new and better relationships than ever before. We believe this book would not achieve its mission unless it was both comforting and practical. It needs to provide reassurance that life can get better, and also practical advice for where to start and how to proceed.
While we were writing Intentional Courtship, a good friend of mine from high school got divorced. He said to me, "Where are the manuals for how to do this? I can't find them anywhere. Maybe we're going to have to write some." I told him we had him covered--although it has been a while in coming. We know we were not the only people out there who desperately wished for a great book written especially for Latter-day Saint mid-singles when we entered single life. So we wrote this book because no one had. It is the book we wish we would have had when we started our mid-single journeys.
There are a lot of personal development and relationship books available to us now. We draw on some of the best of these for wisdom in Intentional Courtship. However, mid-single Latter-day Saints are unique. Most cannot buy into the simplicity of traditional Latter-day Saint idealism, nor do they want the pessimistic realism of our larger secular culture. So this book provides practical wisdom for navigating the vagaries of mid-single life in the church, while giving you the vision and hope to aspire to everything we want and strive for as Latter-day Saints.
Whatever stage you currently find yourself in on your mid-single journey, you will find uniquely applicable wisdom for you. It will help you reclaim your peace, make progress in personal development and relationships (and start dating after decades of marriage), and ultimately find lasting and eternal love if that is your desire. So, watch for our launch in November Buy a copy of Intentional Courtship, make some hot cocoa, and curl up on your sofa with this book. We hope it will become one of your most valuable resources and trusted friends.