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Thursday, August 11, 2005 

They Just Keep Getting Younger

I think the youth of the church get married WAY too early. Indeed, I was married (with a youngster) at age 19, but I think that just proves my point. But I am not your “typical” LDS Wedding Story. In fact, over the past year, I’ve thought about this topic a lot. I am happily married with two beautiful children and therefore PROMOTE marriage and all of it’s glory, but I sincerely believe that the timeline set forth by tradition, culture (a reason to have sex) has been placed WAY to early in life.

There is so much pressure for LDS youth to get married. Earlier this week, Sarah mentioned how she thought that she lacked worth for not being married around the same time as all her friends. Knowing Sarah like I do…I watched this struggle. The ironic thing is that I also watched her having so much fun being single, which I don’t think she realized. She had some pretty dang cool experiences because she had that time before she met “her match” in life. Growing experiences that will only benefit her marriage.

I am now watching several of my brother’s friends (and I’m speaking about the girls) and their quest to catch a husband. It is slightly disturbing to see. Not unlike when I was younger, these girls of 18 and 19 are so focused on the need to find that husband that there is absolutely no focus on being their own person and really living for themselves. It makes one wonder whether there had been much progression from the 1800’s. Please note that I am NOT saying that all LDS girls/women completely give up their identity to marry young and start popping out kids…but I DO think that there is precious little focus on developing into the woman who will be the wife and mother BEFORE she’s a wife and mother.

I truly hope that I am raising my two girls in such a way that they will want to develop and grow into their own person before they marry. I want them to discover what it is that truly makes them happy so that they don’t look to someone (and perhaps get married) to rely on that person to do that job for them. It just doesn’t work like that. The blessings and the joy that comes from being married are many. However, it is my opinion that too many LDS folks think that “LIFE” will start once they are married.

Life TOGETHER starts on the day you are married. Just don’t forget about life as YOU.

My daughter is getting married next month. She is 19. Nobody pressured her, in fact, just the opposite. You disregarded the effect-affect of hormones in their decisions. I think a lot of kids get married early rather than uh, screw around, and they can't resist.

I got married young AND I was a young mom. I love my life and am happily married. It works for many people. My point is that there seem to be many people who get married so young. (I'd like to argue TOO young, but since I got married so young, I really can't.)

hormones are a very natural and necessary part of life. They are also very real. Hormones shouldn't be why you get married.

annegb, congrats to your daughter!!

Anne, do you think that's why your daughter is getting married?

We all have those friends/are those friends that are married that want you to be just as happy as they are - married! You know, the friends that believe that they are happier because they are married.

We all have/or are the friends that set you/me up on dates with friends and try to do everything to get you/me to marry a friend or a friend of a friend. They want you/me to be happy just like they are.

Happy = Married!

I know these individuals well because once I was one of them.

Now I am on the other side looking in, once married, still young (?) and now single with friends trying to tell me that their life is better because they are married.

I should be mad, maybe hate these friends for the pressure they put on me to be married.

But how can I considering I was once them?

My point is that pressure from the church, peers, surroundings, community, etc. may produce unnecessary pressures to get married, to get married young, to settle, to hold on to what is in front of you for fear of being alone forever.

Are these good reasons for marriage? Of course not!

Regardless of community, friends, life style, religion, etc. Marriage (from an LDS perspective) is eternal. To give into marriage "pressure" is pathetic.

I know first hand.

Do it for the right reason. Marriage is not an "equal opportunity" scenario.

We don't have to say yes just because someone asked AND we don’t have to ask just because someone thinks it is time we do.

Marriage is one of the few instances where I recommend taking time and being selfish.

** Is s/he going to be a good mate? Father? Mother? Grandparent? Provider? Loving, caring, compromising individual?

Or am I attracted to this person because they are financially stable? Strong? Religious? Handsome? Sexy? Able to provide for a family? Comes from a family I want to be a part of, etc? **

I think it is important to ask your/myself these questions no matter how old or young you/I am and ask the questions from the mates perspective as well.

My family is awesome, I am pretty cool too... or so I think. But when I look back at my youth (my marriage) I think that possibly if I had asked myself only a handful of the questions I have stated above I would have realized that my marriage could possible have been a result of status growth for my husband - desire to belong to a "cool" Mormon family - having nothing to do with me as an individual, or even he and I as a family with children.

Marriage - it isn't something to take lightly, especially in this religion because, as repetitive as I can be and as we all know, in THIS religion marriage is ETERNAL.

Be you young or old or just in between, don't take it lightly and don't do it just to do it or because everyone else is.

Making the right decision from the get go is easier then trying to correct things later.

I promise.

I changed so much between the time I was 19 and 22 - I was like a different person, literally. A world of emotional growth and change. I married at 24, and I'm so glad that I had the experiences I did, prior to marriage. I'm not sure what type of man I would have picked as a husband, if I'd picked him at the age of 19. I was kind of an idiot at that age. Of course everyone is different, but generally, the 19 year olds I meet (male and female) are just babies, emotionally, with not enough life experience and dating experience to make good decisions about who to pick as their partner for the rest of their lives.

sue m...I quite agree. I WAS a baby at 19. I've had to go through a lot of personal growth and still "learn" to be someone's wife...someone's mother. There have been parts of my married life that have been very hard because of that.

Alice, even though it's not a place you thought you would be, I'm glad you shared your point of view and what you've learned. It IS important to choose wisely...good points.

Yes, unfortunately, I think it plays a huge part. She is marrying a kid who's almost 25 and served a mission, though, so I have hope.

We were very adamant that she not marry early. I truly wanted her to travel, go to school, and experience life. I don't think she got any pressure to marry early, except from herself.

Also, you know, Barbara Bush married at 19. She just wasn't a student, had no other aspirations, hated school, and loved George Bush. And look how that turned out.

While I think there is something to be said for developing yourself before marriage, I think it's a mistake to insist that someone should "develop[e] into the woman who will be the wife and mother BEFORE she’s a wife and mother."

Life is development. We change, learn and grow every day. We change, learn and grow before marriage, during marriage and after marriage (in the case of divorce or death). Marriage is part of our lives and therefore part of our growth. Someone who chooses to marry is not choosing not to grow, they're simply choosing a new kind of growth.

Age shouldn't matter for marriage. We should be encouraging our daughters, sisters and especially ourselves to marry prayerfully and wisely at all ages.

harping heather, I'm not saying that you stop growing when you get married...but learning about yourself, your wants and desires from life IS SO MUCH HARDER after you get married and have kids.

Every chapter in our life is about GROWTH and progression. And while I dissagree that it's a MISTAKE, I'm not INSISTING that anybody do anything. I think that everyone should have a growth period for themselves before they get married. If they can do that by age 18 or 19...awesome. Good for them.


you mention "learning about yourself, your wants and desires from life" as if these are secret treasures buried deep within that it takes time to uncover. But I think that these are things that you develop, and can develop them just as easily married as single. You choose which wants and desires and personal characteristics you will develop by your actions, they aren't predetermined.

I have to dissagree. When you are a wife AND a mother, your focus is NOT on yourself. It is MUCH harder to have that personal growth...not impossible...HARDER.

perhaps learning to focus on others instead of yourself IS personal growth... we grow to be more selfless. Which is more fulfilling and self-expanding: sacrificing one's own time and interests to serve others (i.e. spouse and children), or pursuing our own interests?

Perhaps i'll never learn to fly an airplane or scuba dive or speak Portugese because instead i'm helping to raise five children... but the things i'm learning as I sacrifice for those children are ultimately more important and valuable.

I have to say, I've been married three times and I do not enjoy being married. Two of my husbands (first died)were and are good men. I still do not like being married.

I didn't know I wouldn't like it, it looks extremely attractive. But I am not having fun. I think I will be quite happy in the lower third of the celestial kingdom.

I did not get married until I was 21. I was very active in institute and although I would have liked to have found someone, I wouldn't change the experiences I had for anything. I am glad that I had the chance to grow and socialize before marriage. I didn't date much until college either so the added experience was neccesary.

My sister and her husband dated for about 5 years before they got married (well, he was on his mission for 2 of those) and I think I am just as happy as them.

Age shouldn't be the issue. It should be maturity. I was way too immature to get married right out of high school and the Lord knew that. He will place people where then need to be when they need to be there.

Do hormones play a part?? Could it be that people feel ready to get married when their bodies feel ready?? Some people mature physically fast than others, could that play a role in their being ready for marriage?? Sex is nice, but not the sole reason I married my husband. Maturity is a answer there.

I just notice that your link to FMH is to the old site, do you guys think you could update it? (I tried to find an contact email and couldn't) Thanks!

I'm not talking about "pursuing your own interests" I'm talking about developing into the person...the individual BEFORE adding a spouse and children into the mix. Of course MUCH of our personal growth comes from serving others, especially our family. I'm not trying to take away from any of that.

I can learn to scuba dive as a mom and a wife and probably not care that I didn't do that before I was married. But things like communication, self esteem, personal worship/spirituality, etc are keys to a successful marriage. It would be wonderful if these skills were developed before marriage.

I agree that all of those are great things to work on before and after marriage. But one shouldn't DELAY marriage simply because they aren't a perfect communicator, or they haven't perfectly developed spirituality and self-esteem. In fact I doubt that one CAN develop these beyond a certain point outside marriage, because marriage teaches you so much about communication, spirituality and self-esteem.

Rob, I think you are confusing what I am saying. If you find THE ONE and you are ready to get married...GO FOR IT. It is MY OPINION (and I'm not speaking for anyone else) that so many people in the church get married too young and that there is SO much pressure "culturally" to do so.

Sorry I don't mean to confuse or misconstrue. I simply think that if you have found THE ONE, then you should marry him/her, regardless of whether you're "ready" or not. The only exception would be if a young man had not yet served his mission.

As to the cultural pressure within the Church, I can't really comment on that, not having grown up in an LDS-heavy community. But there is definitely a doctrinal focus on marriage and family, and I think that is a good thing.

As for marrying "too young", if they have found "the ONE" and the man is an RM, i see no reason to delay. Unless perhaps someone is "too young" to really know how to recognize the promptings of the Spirit, i guess. If they're just marrying "for hormones" as someone suggested, then it's not a good match no matter how old they are. And if it is because the Spirit confirmed the match, then it is a good match, no matter how young they are.

anyways, we can agree to disagree, I think this horse is long dead. it just makes me sad when i see what i consider to be worldy or "modern" attitudes invading the Church, and attacking it from within. To me, the Church's teachings are timeless, and do not need to be changed for shifting social attitudes.

My dear, Rob...the funny thing is that we don't really dissagree on MUCH...just that my opinion there is so much pressure to get married at an early age. NEVER would I discourage anyone from getting married if they've found THE ONE.

You have a LONG time to be married. If you develop yourself before you get married, that long, wonderful marriage will be THAT MUCH MORE WONDERFUL.

The horse is buried...you should guest blog next week :D

Mormons are weird. You guys used to send bibles to young women to try and steal them from their families. You sent me one when I was about 12 years old and my Dad freaked out! Can't say I balme him now.

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This Week's Topic:

  • The Sabbath Day

Various Authors

  • Monday:
    Kaycee opted out of Mormondom 4 years ago. She calls herself agnostic.
  • Tuesday:
    Sarah is not your average Gospel Doctrine Teacher.
  • Wednesday:
    Carrie Ann comes from pioneer stock, and lives in Provo, but is open minded and fair.
  • Thursday:
    Ned Flanders hasn't been to church in a while, but maintains an interest in all things Mormon.
  • Friday:
    John C. is an academic with a sense of humor and a testimony.
  • Saturday:
    JP's not going to church and feeling okay about it.

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