One of my favorite movies is "The Shawshank Redemption". It's a wonderful film about hope. Towards the end of the movie the character Red says "Get busy livin' or get busy diein'". All too often I think we choose the latter instead of the former. For my purposes today I've altered the quote to: "Get busy Swimin' or get busy drowin'". As of March 23rd 2010 I jumped out of the dating pool, and slipped into the hot tub for two that is marriage! And I really love the hot tub! Now, I reflect back into that dating pool for a moment and gain some insight that I wish I would have had when I was there. Today, I came across this interesting info-graphic:
At first glance this is an extremely negative info-graphic. Depressing really. Made me glad that I am in a loving committed relationship with a wonderful, charming, beautiful, hardworking, fun-loving, woman! (I know! She's amazing!) Then, being the optimist that I am I flipped some of the numbers. I did some basic calculations and came up with some surprising results that I wish I would have been aware of when I was flopping around in that dating pool. Now I know you might be thinking, "what does this guy know??? He's already married! He doesn't know what it's like in these troubled waters!" Well, let me tell you, in "Mormon dating time", I spent 21 years in that treacherous tidal pool! So, I know all too well what you're going through! So, here's my advice:
If any of you need a refresher on what a date is I refer you to Elder Dallin H. Oaks, May 1, 2005 talk, "Dating versus Hanging Out", where he passes on his grand-daughters three P's definition.
In my life sometimes, when I feel like I'm drowning, I find that I need to step back and just look at the numbers. While I was serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Cape Town, South Africa, in order to find people to listen to our message we went tracting. Tracting is the process of going door to door in a neighborhood and knocking on each door. I hated tracting. I despised it! I almost would rather have been attacked by a Cape Buffalo than to tract. OK, maybe I didn't hate it that much, but it didn't give me a whole lot of joy. Now as I broke down the tracting numbers using the statistics that they gave us at the time I realized, although not an ideal way to find a "Golden Contact" (one that is willing to accept the gospel and be baptized), the practice had merit. The fact was that, if done long enough, it would statistically produce results. This didn't really change the way I felt about it, but it did give me hope that knocking on all those doors would eventually lead to finding someone that was ready to hear and accept the gospel. I can't recall at this time if it ever did produce any results. However, it is in this vein that I present to you the mathematical results that will hopefully give all you single adults out there some hope for marriage in the future. And, if you are anything like me when I was out there dating, this should give you some comfort in what seems like the vast ocean your in. Maybe.
Let's start at the bottom of the info-graphic/ pool. Truth is, 5.4% of you will NEVER get married! Sad. I know. Some will never know marital bliss. But hey! Let's flip it around. That means 94.6% of all people on earth will get married before they die. Those are pretty good odds! It will happen sooner for some, and it will take longer for others. As mentioned before, I was in the latter category. So now, let's look on the bright side. You will most likely get married at some point in your life! Congratulations!
Now lets break down what it will take to get into the hot tub. According to the statistics in the above info-graphic; There are roughly 3 million first dates every day worldwide. 3 million multiplied by 365 days equals 1.1 billion first dates yearly worldwide. The United States consists of roughly 4.5% of the worlds population. So 4.5% of 1.1 billion first dates in the world is 49,500,000 first dates that occur in the Unites States. Consequently, every year there are 2.5 million marriages here in the United States. So, 49,500,000 yearly 1st dates in America, divided by 2.5 million yearly US marriages . . . that means, on average, you will need to go on 20 first dates before you find someone to marry. TWENTY! That's it! Twenty first dates dates? That's not a lot of dates really. Heck, if you went on one date a week with a different person you could technically find someone to marry in less than 6 months! That gives the maxim "Ring by Spring" real legitimacy! So, get out your sunscreen, jump in the pool, and start to count down those 20 first dates!
Want to get married faster? Well, put on your snorkel and flippers! According to the said info-graphic, If you date somebody that is in the same area and avoid long distance relationships, you can decrease the chance of a break up by 22% for men and 18% for women. So, to increase your chances, date somebody that lives nearby. If you do this, you can take off roughly 4 first dates Reducing the first date number to 16!
Want to get married even faster-er??? We're talking Michael Phelps speed here folks! Again according to the above info-graphic. When you start dating someone, you can reduce the break-up percentage by around 20% by totally committing to your boyfriend or girlfriend, keeping your focus on that person and only that person while dating. By maintaining a faithful relationship while you are dating you can knock off another 4 first dates. That brings the first date number down to only TWELVE first dates! WOW!!!
After looking at these numbers I'm beginning to think that one should put on some water-wings, that is, be a little picky about the people you date. Sitting down and making a wish list for a potential marriage candidate seems to me like a good idea, listing the qualities and characteristics you find desirable. However, I do have to caution that being too specific on such a list may be detrimental to these numbers and you may just end up on more first dates. After all there may be some ugly-ducklings paddling by that after some time and tender loving care just may turn into the swan of your dreams. Or should that be bullfrogs . . . tadpoles? Anyhow, you get the gist.
Well there you go! You're sitting back on your pool float enjoying the sun! Now it's not my intention to over simplify here. It's my wish that these words can give you a little bit of hope when it comes to dating. I know dating and being single is difficult. We pin our hopes and dreams to the day that we will finally get married. Truth is, I wish I would have read something like this while I was splashing around. Now, I'm sure you'll experience the ups and downs in the giant wave relationship lagoon, but hopefully, as you look at the big picture, you'll learn to ride the waves. Because, isn't that what life is all about? To learn to enjoy where you are at this moment? As I sit here in the hot tub, I think it is. So, take a step back and know that statistically 94.6% of you will get married at some point in your life, so enjoy the waters your in right now!