Skip to comments.Mormon Men Delaying the Walk Down the Aisle
Posted on 05/15/2011 7:27:30 PM PDT by TheDingoAteMyBaby
John Evans is in no hurry to get married.
The 25-year-old returned LDS missionary lives with his parents, works full time, takes night classes toward an English degree and, with law school looming, is building up his savings.
Evans goes on dates, but they tend to be expensive so he prefers developing friendships first. Sometimes he finds it easier just to hang out with the guys at his Mormon fraternity.
My dating pace is right for me, Evans says. I dont feel stressed.
That kind of modern nonchalance is what may be worrying LDS President Thomas S. Monson and other Mormon leaders, who addressed the issue at the churchs recent General Conference.
Brethren, there is a point at which its time to think seriously about marriage and to seek a companion with whom you want to spend eternity, Monson said at an all-male priesthood meeting.
If you choose wisely and if you are committed to the success of your marriage, there is nothing in this life which will bring you greater happiness.
Apostle Richard G. Scott spoke even more emphatically the next day.
If you are a young man of appropriate age and are not married, dont waste time in idle pursuits, Scott urged. Get on with life and focus on getting married. Dont just coast through this period of life.
Their concern is natural. After all, marriage is a core Mormon teaching and temple marriage is a prerequisite for the highest Mormon heaven.
But LDS leaders may be fighting a cultural shift. Traditional dating is almost a quaint custom on college campuses, where hanging out in groups and casual sex hook ups are increasingly common. Students also are worried about their financial stability.
People in the country are pairing up, says Brigham Young University sociologist Marie Cornwall, who teaches a class in family and social change. Theyre just not getting married.
Past church presidents also counseled young Mormon men not to delay marriage, but there is a new urgency.
The median age for a first marriage in the U.S. has climbed to 25.8 for women and 27.4 for men. In heavily Mormon Utah, the median age for first-time brides has jumped from 20 in 1970 to 22 in 2008, and from 22 to 24 for men.
So whats slowing down Mormons?
The picture is complicated, especially in individual cases, social scientists and LDS teachers say, but a clear trend is evident: Todays young Mormons are not nearly as confident in the future, in their economic well-being or in their choices as their parents were.
I really do plan on finding someone, Evans says, and getting married.
Just not yet.
Monson placed the blame for Mormon mens marital foot-dragging on financial anxiety, insistence on finding a soul mate and having too much fun being single. Yet there is no shame in a couple having to scrimp and save, Monson assured the young men. You will grow closer together as you learn to sacrifice, he said.
He told them not to insist on finding the perfect mate, but rather a young woman with whom you can be compatible. A previous LDS prophet, Spencer W. Kimball, once called the idea of a soul mate a fiction and an illusion.
The issue of finding the perfect match seems especially prevalent on LDS-dominated campuses, said David Dollahite, who teaches marriage and family relations at BYU. It produces a kind of market mentality, Dollahite said.
The young men think, I am dating a 9.7, but if I wait, maybe I could get a 9.9.
Financial instability is also real, given the countrys economic downturn. And societal attitudes are pressing in around them, said Larry Tippetts, who teaches classes on courtship and marriage at the University of Utahs LDS institute.
In my generation, when you met someone, you just got married, confident it would work out, Tippetts says. But 50 years ago it was easier to eke out a living than it is now.
At the same time, he says, fear of a bad choice may be paralyzing young men in their search for a spouse. These kids are terrified of making a mistake, he said. They think too much and overanalyze everything.
One problem is pretty stark, Tippetts said. Many young Mormon men, even 21-year-olds who have served missions in foreign lands, have no idea how to set up one-on-one dates because they may never have been on one.
For at least two decades, LDS leaders have counseled high-schoolers not to be romantically involved or go steady, but rather to engage mostly in group dates.
That has been a boon to lots of Mormon boys who were too shy or awkward to ask out a girl, but it hasnt prepared young men for real dating and courtship.
Its hard if youve gone only on group dates before your mission, then you come back with the same mind-set. But now they say, `Go, go, go. For a lot of guys its too much, says Richard Spratt, a 21-year-old returned missionary from Bountiful, Utah. It takes effort to go on an actual date, which discourages a lot of guys.
Facebook and texting were meant to enhance dialogue but may have crippled the dating scene, says Robin Walton, a Mormon from Las Vegas.
Theyve altered our ability to interact face to face, says Walton, 22 and a University of Utah graduate student. After weve learned everything about each other on Facebook, what do we talk about on the first date?
This isn’t surprising. The humanistic culture of the government schools is so powerful that it overwhelms even the relatively strong Mormon culture. Imagine what it is doing to the average “happy-clappy” Evangelical teen and young adult.
As the percentage of women that are liberal is exceedingly high... why would any conservative male willingly spend time in the same room with them... let alone marry one
and since men are more often conservative then women... there is a problem
If you’re looking for a college educated woman... the supply is very limited
people get married when they get married. if they don’t, they don’t.
no big deal.
This is true for American and other Western women only.
From what I can tell, most Mormon women are quite conservative.
I don’t know much about Mormons except that I know a few.
Italians, French, Spaniards, Americans....a whole raft of men and women have practically lived with their parents for years longer than in a previous generation.
You think of someone getting on his car or his horse and striking out on his own at a young age, and such a thought, in comparison with what life has become, seems like a fairy tale.
It is a problem when an opposing culture, you don’t care much for replaces your culture.
Very urbane. Indeed, very European. Democide.
What surprises me is that Mormons believe in no sex before marriage. Usually that is an effective incentive to marry young.
I’ve never met a mormon family with more than 5 kids, anyway. Most I’ve met have fewer.
It’s as easy to have 5 starting at 30 as it is starting at 24.
I laughed out loud when I read the part castigating young men holding out for a 9.9 when they currently have a 9.7.
If they see a problem, then they see a problem, and they don’t want to buy.
But the message is: “Breed. Breed now. Partner be damned; just breed.”
That is hysterical!
Compared to when? Aren't there more than there ever has been, and aren't the colleges mostly female.
"Among adults 25 and older, 10.6 million in the U.S. who earned a master's degree or higher were women, compared to 10.5 million men."
"In terms of finishing college, women surpass men in earning bachelor's degrees, by 1.5 million."
I was wondering what constitutes the difference between a 9.7 and a 9.9 Mormon girl...
It’s easy enough for a guy to have 5 kids when he’s 27, but it ain’t so easy for the dame. If she waits until she’s 27 before having any, she’ll be lucky to pop out 3.
Funny — I thought women walked down the aisle. I thought men were waiting at the altar.
I married at 30.
Mostly because up until I met her, I just couldn’t find a woman worth marrying that felt the same about me - no more reason than that. There was no complicated explanation.
Thankfully it worked out the way it did - I have an amazing wife!
I shudder to think the hell I’d be living had I married any of the girls I dated from age 19 through 27...
I faced this too - and it got worse the older I got.
As a college educated person, I wanted a woman of similar background...I can thank FR for finally meeting my wife, but prior to that they were either insanely liberal, or conservative, but they otherwise drove me nuts.
And the bashing of American women has commenced...
I think he meant CONSERVATIVE college educated women.