Officially, the Church gives some very general counsel regarding when to get married and to whom. Basically, we are encouraged to date and marry someone of our faith; someone who is worthy to go to the temple. We are encouraged to get to know the person well through dating and spending time with one another before getting married.
Through auxiliary programs like Young Womens and Young Mens we are encouraged to not date until we are 16, to not date seriously/exclusively until later (after missions), and to have longer courtships rather than long engagements (people have different interpretations of this counsel). Anything beyond this counsel is cultural and/or personal, and while I AM interested in hearing what someone’s Young Women’s leader or mother or roommate told them, I will regard it as cultural influence and not Mormon doctrine….and that includes that one Brigham Young quote about males becoming menaces to society after the age of 27.
I got married at 25. I think that is a great age to get married, if not a little on the young side.
To be honest, I was a little surprised that I didn’t meet the love of my life my freshman or sophomore year at college. Looking back I’m not surprised, but back then I was. You see, my mother had gotten married at 19. In my realm of understanding, I thought that’s how things were done. It had worked out well for her. I just thought…
There is some sort of Mormon culture myth that says that college is the proper time to get married. Granted, for a lot of us (not all of us) college is the time where we are around a lot of other like-religioned people of the opposite sex. But Heaven’s sake, now that I am an adult…marriage is the LAST thing I want my college kids thinking about. Sure they can meet someone, but I would rather have them wait to get married until after 25 or graduation, which ever comes first.
I want my kids to be focused on doing well in school. I want them to have no regrets about what they studied or how well they did. Life and education do not end after a bachelor’s degree, and while I want them to have FUN, I also want them to have options if they want them later.
Also, having a job or a career is one of the most valuable life experiences a person can bring to a relationship, male AND female. I really want my kids to experience and enjoy work. I want them to learn to be independent of parents, family, and friends. I want them to BE somebody, meaning, I want them to figure out who they are BEFORE they get married. I want my kids to understand the Gospel as young single people with testimonies of their own. I want them to see how they fit into the Gospel as single adults, because they do…and I want them to be comfortable with that. Because I was, and that’s what I know.
Nothing is more frustrating than relying on the Lord’s timetable, but in my wait, I gained a testimony of right time, right place, right person. I spent a lot of time on my knees then, trying to understand God’s will for me…I learned how to rely on the Lord for comfort and guidance, not on a boyfriend or even on parents.
I am SO thankful for the time I spent as a single adult in the Church, to find my place. I am SO grateful that I had the opportunity to work, to manage my own money, to gain experience, and to figure out who I was before I became someone’s wife and partner.
If it had happened another way, I’m sure I would have been fine, even great…but I will encourage my kids to wait. I don’t want them to bow to some antiquated cultural pressure to get married young. I want my kids to be ready. Gees, at 25, I was barely ready. I would have liked to have done a couple more things before Todd came along, but I also knew that the timing was right. He was the right person at the right time. And I chose him over those couple of other things I wanted to get done. And I’m glad I did. I have never regretted that.