I’m thinking about weddings a lot recently. Probably because I’ve been going to lots of them. Many friends and family members are getting married, announcing engagements, and thinking about marriage. ‘Tis the season.
It’s led me to think a lot about the peculiar way we “peculiar people” find and marry our mates. Here are some things I’ve noticed (in a totally non-scientific, non-sociological, strictly-observational way):
- · Courtships are fast. Couples who barely know each other get engaged.
- · Young girls (say, around 18-19 years old) think a lot about marriage, way more than girls of this age who aren’t LDS.
- · Most Mormons have no problem with 19-year-old girls getting married.
- Young Mormon males are considered ready to get married after a mission. Schooling is usually not really taken into consideration.
- · Lots of young Mormons (especially girls) have a fairy tale view of marriage. One young woman I talked to discussed with zeal her love for the Disney princesses, then proceeded to carry on a spirited debate about how many children she would have when she married (five). She just turned 18.
- · Returned missionaries aren’t told to get married six months after they come home, like they were twenty years ago, but they still clearly understand that marriage is the next step in life.
- · Young married couples no longer are having babies within the first year of marriage. Some do, of course, but it’s acceptable to wait a year or two.
- · Spiritual attributes are highly prized when searching for a mate. A family member broke up with an otherwise promising guy because he didn’t read his scriptures enough.
- · BYU is still the happy hunting ground.
- · The decision to marry is often made abruptly. A friend’s daughter is marrying her “best friend.” They’ve known each other for many years, but had never dated … except for one date — before deciding to marry. My friend’s question to me is the title of this post. “Is one date enough?”
- · Mormon couples are quite savvy about sex. Much more than they used to be. (I’m not saying they’re doing it before they get married, but they know a lot about it … and want it. Blushing brides and shy grooms are the exception, rather than the rule.)
I talked recently with a marriage and family therapist who said she considers the Mormon method of marriage to be a system of arranged marriage. And if you think she has a problem with that, you’d be wrong. She says she’s worked with so many clients who shun commitment, slide into cohabitation instead of marriage, hang out instead of date and hook up instead of have real relationships, that the marriage-centered culture is a great thing. Mormon marriages, have a lot to offer, despite the quirks and problems.
I’m wondering whether my observations align with yours. What have you noticed about Mormon marriages, engagements, and the world of the in-love? And if you’ve been married a while, how have things changed?