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Mormon Men Delaying the Walk Down the Aisle
Beliefnet ^ | April 22, 2011 | Peggy Fletcher Stack

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 don’t 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 church’s recent General Conference.

“Brethren, there is a point at which it’s 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, don’t waste time in idle pursuits,” Scott urged. “Get on with life and focus on getting married. Don’t 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. “They’re 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 what’s slowing down Mormons?

The picture is complicated, especially in individual cases, social scientists and LDS teachers say, but a clear trend is evident: Today’s 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 men’s 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 country’s economic downturn. And societal attitudes are pressing in around them, said Larry Tippetts, who teaches classes on courtship and marriage at the University of Utah’s 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 hasn’t prepared young men for real dating and courtship.

“It’s hard if you’ve 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 it’s 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.

“They’ve altered our ability to interact face to face,” says Walton, 22 and a University of Utah graduate student. “After we’ve learned everything about each other on Facebook, what do we talk about on the first date?”


TOPICS: Current Events; General Discusssion; Other Christian; Religion & Culture
KEYWORDS: dating; didalittletoomuchlds; lds; marriage; men; mormon; mormonism
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1 posted on 05/15/2011 7:27:40 PM PDT by TheDingoAteMyBaby
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To: TheDingoAteMyBaby

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.


2 posted on 05/15/2011 7:34:00 PM PDT by achilles2000 ("I'll agree to save the whales as long as we can deport the liberals")
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To: TheDingoAteMyBaby

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


3 posted on 05/15/2011 7:37:18 PM PDT by sten (fighting tyranny never goes out of style)
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To: achilles2000

people get married when they get married. if they don’t, they don’t.

no big deal.


4 posted on 05/15/2011 7:39:59 PM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain & proud of it: Truly Supporting the Troops means praying for their Victory!)
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To: sten
As the percentage of women that are liberal is exceedingly high...

This is true for American and other Western women only.

5 posted on 05/15/2011 7:43:39 PM PDT by SIDENET ("If that's your best, your best won't do." -Dee Snider)
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To: sten

From what I can tell, most Mormon women are quite conservative.


6 posted on 05/15/2011 7:45:06 PM PDT by TheDingoAteMyBaby
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To: TheDingoAteMyBaby

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.


7 posted on 05/15/2011 7:45:59 PM PDT by combat_boots (The Lion of Judah cometh. Hallelujah. Gloria Patri, Filio et Spiritui Sancto.)
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To: TheDingoAteMyBaby
Another problem is that a modern divorce can have you wrung dry and destroyed in every sense of the word. One of my acquaintances even lost her own home (don't know why, I never asked, fearing that I will get the whole story.) She ended up nearly in the street, was living with friends, completely broke. Today a marriage is a gamble with your life; and the rate of divorces is high. And why wouldn't that be so if a divorce offers a financial gain to one side and an opportunity to do the same thing again?
8 posted on 05/15/2011 7:48:13 PM PDT by Greysard
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To: xzins

It is a problem when an opposing culture, you don’t care much for replaces your culture.


9 posted on 05/15/2011 7:58:06 PM PDT by Jonty30
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To: xzins

Very urbane. Indeed, very European. Democide.


10 posted on 05/15/2011 7:59:05 PM PDT by achilles2000 ("I'll agree to save the whales as long as we can deport the liberals")
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To: TheDingoAteMyBaby

What surprises me is that Mormons believe in no sex before marriage. Usually that is an effective incentive to marry young.


11 posted on 05/15/2011 8:00:09 PM PDT by TheDingoAteMyBaby
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To: achilles2000; Jonty30

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!


12 posted on 05/15/2011 8:05:29 PM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain & proud of it: Truly Supporting the Troops means praying for their Victory!)
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To: sten
If you’re looking for a college educated woman... the supply is very limited

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."

13 posted on 05/15/2011 8:08:09 PM PDT by ansel12 ( JIM DEMINT "I believe [Palins] done more for the Republican Party than anyone since Ronald Reagan")
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To: xzins

I was wondering what constitutes the difference between a 9.7 and a 9.9 Mormon girl...


14 posted on 05/15/2011 8:14:47 PM PDT by achilles2000 ("I'll agree to save the whales as long as we can deport the liberals")
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To: xzins

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.


15 posted on 05/15/2011 8:16:21 PM PDT by Jonty30
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To: TheDingoAteMyBaby

Funny — I thought women walked down the aisle. I thought men were waiting at the altar.


16 posted on 05/15/2011 8:17:26 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: achilles2000

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...


17 posted on 05/15/2011 8:18:38 PM PDT by RockinRight (Cain in 2012)
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To: sten

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.


18 posted on 05/15/2011 8:21:22 PM PDT by RockinRight (Cain in 2012)
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To: SIDENET

And the bashing of American women has commenced...


19 posted on 05/15/2011 8:21:57 PM PDT by RockinRight (Cain in 2012)
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To: ansel12

I think he meant CONSERVATIVE college educated women.


20 posted on 05/15/2011 8:23:34 PM PDT by RockinRight (Cain in 2012)
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To: Jonty30

Um...not true at all. Even at three years apart:

Child 1 - 27
Child 2 - 30
Child 3 - 33
Child 4 - 36
Child 5 - 39

If you want them you can do it. And closer in age is easier still.


21 posted on 05/15/2011 8:25:11 PM PDT by RockinRight (Cain in 2012)
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To: Jonty30

3 is normal. 5 is as large as I’ve seen.

Nonetheless, where there’s a will there’s a way. A 30 year old male would probably marry a somewhat younger female, so let’s say she gives birth every 2.75 years. That’s about 40 on her 5th child, so that’s really not that hard.

We have a couple (Catholic) up the road with 13 kids. She’s actually very young for 13 kids, and (apparently) very fertile.

Her oldest is only about 25....my wife taught him in her math class. Where there’s a will.......


22 posted on 05/15/2011 8:25:27 PM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain & proud of it: Truly Supporting the Troops means praying for their Victory!)
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To: achilles2000

The 9.9 is a blonde.


23 posted on 05/15/2011 8:26:30 PM PDT by Palladin (Sarah Palin in 2012!)
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To: RockinRight; sten

I dated the President of the NOW chapter of her University, after a few months with me she had resigned and dropped out of NOW.


24 posted on 05/15/2011 8:30:16 PM PDT by ansel12 ( JIM DEMINT "I believe [Palins] done more for the Republican Party than anyone since Ronald Reagan")
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To: achilles2000

The diff between a 9.7 and a 9.9:

she only tells blonde jokes.


25 posted on 05/15/2011 8:35:39 PM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain & proud of it: Truly Supporting the Troops means praying for their Victory!)
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To: xzins

I dated a Catholic girl back in High School with 13 kids in their family. She and a sister were born in the same year. Then a brother born the following year, and two more brothers born in the same year following that IIRC. Real neat family, and an interesting study in demographics with all of the issues and problems that a sample of 13 people might give.


26 posted on 05/15/2011 8:35:50 PM PDT by 21twelve ( You can go from boom to bust, from dreams to a bowl of dust ... another lost generation.)
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To: achilles2000

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.

Come on. Getting married at 24 is a bad thing? I don’t think so for one minute. I was 28 and definitely glad I didn’t get married at 20. People should not get married before finishing college and getting a job for sure. How awful to advocate getting married at 20.....I guess we do need our welfare folks and McDonald’s workers.......it is insane to marry at 20.....sorry but it is.


27 posted on 05/15/2011 8:40:28 PM PDT by napscoordinator
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To: RockinRight

Oh I know it can be done, but the older she is when she starts, the less likely the success.

I’ve heard that a 27 year old woman has only half the chance of getting pregnant than if she had been 19.


28 posted on 05/15/2011 8:43:34 PM PDT by Jonty30
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To: RockinRight
I bashed nobody.

If you wish to produce data to refute my statement, the floor is yours.

29 posted on 05/15/2011 8:43:34 PM PDT by SIDENET ("If that's your best, your best won't do." -Dee Snider)
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To: Jonty30

I had my first at 26. We’re expecting our 6th in October. I haven’t hit my 40’s yet. Still time for a couple more. It can be done. Oh, no twins, either. :0)


30 posted on 05/15/2011 8:46:16 PM PDT by samiam1972 ("It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish."-Mother Teresa)
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To: TheDingoAteMyBaby
“It takes effort to go on an actual date, which discourages a lot of guys.”

Duh?

Guys who think like that are not marriage material. It also takes effort to be a husband and father. It takes effort to just plain grow up.

31 posted on 05/15/2011 8:48:01 PM PDT by Lauren BaRecall (Boehner, you B@st@rd!)
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To: napscoordinator

My niece was 19 and her husband had just turned 21. He is a carpenter and she is going to a local college to become a teacher. They own their own home and just had their first baby a few weeks ago. Virgins when they got married so earlier was better for them. They’re doing great! I think your broad brush is a bit ridiculous.


32 posted on 05/15/2011 8:51:10 PM PDT by samiam1972 ("It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish."-Mother Teresa)
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To: RockinRight
my cousin married late..age 40...to a woman who was 35...they wanted children...she had always planned on have SEVEN...

so they began....she had a baby every year for several years and whalaa...she had her seventh...

but they didn't stop at that...they now have 11...

a woman is fully capable of producing babies up into her 40's....she just needs a willing partner....

33 posted on 05/15/2011 8:52:32 PM PDT by cherry
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To: samiam1972

Lol.

You’ve been blessed.


34 posted on 05/15/2011 8:56:38 PM PDT by Jonty30
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To: samiam1972

My niece was 19 and her husband had just turned 21. He is a carpenter and she is going to a local college to become a teacher. They own their own home and just had their first baby a few weeks ago. Virgins when they got married so earlier was better for them. They’re doing great! I think your broad brush is a bit ridiculous.

Just as using your ONE experience is ridiculous. We will see how they do in ten years. By the way, they don’t own their own home. Maybe in 30 years they will but definitely not yet.


35 posted on 05/15/2011 8:56:56 PM PDT by napscoordinator
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To: napscoordinator

Okay, his twin brother married the year before with similar results. My parents, my brother and his wife, my nieces in-laws, my in-laws, my husband and I all got married before the age of 24. This is just immediate family here. Should I go on? I have lots of friends.

You’re right. They don’t own the home outright yet. However, he bought it on a 15 year loan three years ago. He didn’t see the point of renting and bought a small 3 bedroom home after he got his first job out of high school. So they’ll own it before too long. There are stories like this all over the place. Sorry you’re not seeing it. It’s pretty amazing! Good, strong conservative kids.


36 posted on 05/15/2011 9:03:07 PM PDT by samiam1972 ("It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish."-Mother Teresa)
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To: napscoordinator

I couldn’t even afford to move out of my mother’s house at 20...


37 posted on 05/15/2011 9:03:52 PM PDT by RockinRight (Cain in 2012)
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To: samiam1972

I know people who married very young and did fine.

I, OTOH, could barely afford gas and car insurance at age 20...so thankfully I wasn’t married!


38 posted on 05/15/2011 9:05:58 PM PDT by RockinRight (Cain in 2012)
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To: RockinRight

My husband couldn’t afford it either. He was waiting tables while getting a higher education. I taught and worked at a children’s bookstore to help us pay bills. We both delivered newspapers on the weekend. I was able to quit working when he got his first “real” job and we’ve always been one income. We made it work.

I know that it’s not for everyone. Not everyone finds the right person early in life. I just didn’t like the broad brush of everyone that marries before age 24 must be on welfare that was stated up thread a bit. Seemed kind of silly from my point of reference.

Good night, all! My kids are up with the sun and it’s past my bedtime. :o)


39 posted on 05/15/2011 9:10:42 PM PDT by samiam1972 ("It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish."-Mother Teresa)
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To: xzins
Your thinking (or at least expressing the subject as you have) is normal for the "secular (non-Mormon") society, but to a devout Mormon, the hereafter is of utmost importance and as they've been taught from the cradle onward, a man (and woman too, for that matter) MUST have a spouse to "attain the Celestial Kingdom."

Without a spouse, one would languish in a lower heaven and it's not acceptable (according to Mormon standards,) therefore marriage is a "must" not an "option."

40 posted on 05/15/2011 9:13:13 PM PDT by zerosix (native sunflower)
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To: TheDingoAteMyBaby

What about all those spirit babies waiting to be born?


41 posted on 05/15/2011 9:34:04 PM PDT by Keli Kilohana (Editor, ZARR CHASM CHRONICAL [sic], Sore, WV)
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To: samiam1972

I glad. I still think it is crazy. I have seen many military folks get married at the ages you claim and it is failure. Anyway until death we will never know if they will survive....same with those that get married at a responsible age. My sister got married at 23, 15 years ago so yes it does work but it is statistically more difficult and ends in divorce. I am just thankful that my sister found a good husband and four children later are doing great. But at least they finished college first. I guess that is where the responsibility part comes in. Those who don’t finish college typically don’t finish their marriages either. You need to have that desire to be successful in ALL aspects of life.


42 posted on 05/15/2011 9:45:19 PM PDT by napscoordinator
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To: cherry
a woman is fully capable of producing babies up into her 40's....she just needs a willing partner....

It depends. Some couples (we know a few) waited too long and can't get pregnant now that they're in their 40s and are finally "ready" (whatever that means).

As someone who's done it (had children in her 20s, 30s & 40s), I will say that even though its possible, it gets more difficult, physically.

Our last baby nearly killed me, literally. I had a dangerous, high-risk pregnancy and my heart stopped in the delivery room for reasons my doctors still aren't completely clear about.

The "bounce back" time afterwards is longer, too. It takes longer to get your figure back, have your joints return to normal, etc.

Older parents need to be fully aware of the fact that some doctors are going to push tests like amniocentesis very hard, and they need to be willing to take a stand with regard to whether or not to test, and the results of any testing done.

I have a friend who was told that her doctor would no longer see her as a patient if she didn't have a battery of tests done because of her age and the increased risk of various genetic diseases. She told him to take a flying leap, but some people are not that strong in their convictions.

43 posted on 05/15/2011 9:56:32 PM PDT by mountainbunny
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To: cherry
a woman is fully capable of producing babies up into her 40's....she just needs a willing partner....

It depends. Some couples (we know a few) waited too long and can't get pregnant now that they're in their 40s and are finally "ready" (whatever that means).

As someone who's done it (had children in her 20s, 30s & 40s), I will say that even though its possible, it gets more difficult, physically.

Our last baby nearly killed me, literally. I had a dangerous, high-risk pregnancy and my heart stopped in the delivery room for reasons my doctors still aren't completely clear about.

The "bounce back" time afterwards is longer, too. It takes longer to get your figure back, have your joints return to normal, etc.

Older parents need to be fully aware of the fact that some doctors are going to push tests like amniocentesis very hard, and they need to be willing to take a stand with regard to whether or not to test, and the results of any testing done.

I have a friend who was told that her doctor would no longer see her as a patient if she didn't have a battery of tests done because of her age and the increased risk of various genetic diseases. She told him to take a flying leap, but some people are not that strong in their convictions.

44 posted on 05/15/2011 9:56:32 PM PDT by mountainbunny
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To: xzins

“But the message is: “Breed. Breed now. Partner be damned; just breed.”

That is hysterical!”

Not really. He is the CEO of his organization, and like all CEO’s, is trying to grow his organization.

BREED, BABY, Breed! BREED NOW ! ! ! Do it for the company!, errr, Church!


45 posted on 05/15/2011 10:09:04 PM PDT by GladesGuru (In a society predicated upon freedom, it is essential to examine principles,)
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To: napscoordinator

“I guess we do need our welfare folks and McDonald’s workers..”

Might this unenlightened one ask in which alternative universe welfare folks marry? Same for McDonalds workers?


46 posted on 05/15/2011 10:12:36 PM PDT by GladesGuru (In a society predicated upon freedom, it is essential to examine principles,)
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To: GladesGuru

Might this unenlightened one ask in which alternative universe welfare folks marry? Same for McDonalds workers?

Have you ever been to Appalachia. I guess you obviously haven’t. One of the most welfare ridden areas in America. You need to get out more.


47 posted on 05/15/2011 10:14:49 PM PDT by napscoordinator
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To: xzins

Yes, most of us have fewer. We have 3, that was plenty. We have never felt any pressure whatsoever to breed, breed now, breed often. That’s just a product of your imagination. We married when I was 24, my wife 26.

A family down our street has 12 kids. I know a couple families that have 6 or 7. Most of us have in the 3-5 range.


48 posted on 05/15/2011 10:18:50 PM PDT by Choose Ye This Day ("As government expands, liberty contracts." -- Ronald Reagan)
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To: RockinRight

Lol! I’m waiting for the superiority of asian women comments...


49 posted on 05/15/2011 10:32:41 PM PDT by Amberdawn
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To: Amberdawn

You mean Latinas are not the best?

Have you seen Miss Venezuela? Any Miss Venzuela?


50 posted on 05/15/2011 11:41:01 PM PDT by bajabaja (Too ugly to be scanned at the airports.)
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