I almost married someone I shouldn’t have.
I graduated from BYU in December of 1999. I moved back home and out of Utah to be close to friends, family and because I would have better prospects finding a teaching job.But… I moved back very apprehensively. I felt like an outcast because I graduated from BYU without getting married (I never did receive that tuition refund for failing to receive my M.R.S. degree). I felt that my chances of finding someone weren’t very good. I did the most logical thing I could; I threw myself into the social scene.
At one dance I was joking with a guy and said, “Yeah, some people think that there MUST be something wrong with you if you graduate from BYU without getting hitched.”“Well… is there?” he asked.
Maybe there was. Maybe I wanted it too bad. I found it soon after, though.
I got engaged to someone that I’d dated for just a few weeks. This is not a guy that I would have been attracted to, respected, or considered a possibility for myself when I was at BYU. There were specific things about him that I hated from the beginning, but I smothered those feelings. After a few weeks of our engagement, I broke it off.
Agreeing to marry him was the stupidest decision I’ve made in my entire life. I am positively ashamed of it to this day.
Why did I do it? There were a few contributing factors. I was lonely—all of my friends from home were married when I got back. I felt like there was something wrong with me that made Mormon guys not like me—too outspoken, too educated, too tall? Plenty of other people got engaged to people they barely knew and it worked out fine—but this wouldn’t have.
There is something in Mormon culture that makes getting engaged and married in a short time acceptable. The primary reason seems to be to prevent fornication. Does it actually work? Not well enough to warrant the pressure that is put on people to marry quickly and/or make bad decisions.
This was the event in my life that put the seeds of doubt in my mind. I didn’t leave the church for over a year after this, but this is where it started. I’m happy now with my life as it is now, so maybe it’s a good thing that I went through this, but I still reflect upon those events with embarrassment and some self-disgust for being so weak and spineless in the face of the pressure.
I will be married this August to a man I’ve loved for the last four years. We will be married outside at a vineyard by a judge. I know exactly what our marriage will be based on—our love for and commitment to each other and the desire to build a future together. It certainly won’t be hurried on unduly on by outside pressures or a desire to prevent fornication.
And I’ve got to say… that’s just how I think it should be.