BYU study shows young adults, parents differ on best age to marry


Return To Article
  • raybies Layton, UT
    Dec. 5, 2012 7:46 a.m.

    The best thing my parents did for me as at age 23, about the time I finished my bachelor's degree, and was moving into master's work, to kick me out of the house. They were disappointed that I'd shown no interest in dating (it was expensive and awkward, sheer social torture... and why torture myself when mom's doing the laundry, preparing the meals, and school's all I had to worry about?). I got an appartment alone, and found that coming home alone every night with no one to share my day really sucked. It changed the way I viewed dating and personal responsibility. It took me a couple years of effort, but eventually I found someone I could convince to marry me. It was the best decision I ever made, and thankfully mommy and daddy had little to do with the decision--other than the initial shove out of the nest.

    I'll forever be grateful for parents who insisted I move on with my life, in more ways than just my education...

  • Rose Jorgensen BLACKWOOD, NJ
    Dec. 3, 2012 1:40 p.m.

    I converted to the church at 20, moved to Utah and married at 22. I'm 41 and all is well even with those never ending trials, but times have changed as well as generations. I have four children, and my oldest will be graduating high school in 2013. I personally would love for all our children to finish their education before marriage, but if they find that special someone...I guess it'll be okay. My husband & I didn't finish college, and we'd like for our kids to do better than us. No matter what age they marry they are going to have some debt. That's why its best to teach them about finances while they are young. These days our youth need that piece of paper to get a decent job.

  • Older Mom Roswell, GA
    Dec. 3, 2012 7:50 a.m.

    I think the reason parents may be steering their own children to marry older is to avoid some of the pitfalls they encountered when they were first married. For me I married after my first year of college. I married a RM in the temple and gave up school to support our family while he finished college. After being married about 3 years he started drinking, smoking, selling and using drugs, being unfaithful. From what I later learned he had problems before he went on a mission, but somehow was able to go. His family did not say anything because they were afraid I would back out of the engagement, and he did not tell me. I did not have an education, and I had two small children. I had to endure, I was stuck. He later left me and I remarried a wonderful man that I have been married to for over 20 years.

    I had a friends where the wife worked and put the husband through school only to be left when he graduated. I want my all of my children to have and education before they marry so they are not stuck like I was.

  • Tanya w Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 2, 2012 9:48 p.m.

    Also, it would have been interesting to see the results of a similar study at BYU, since religious ideals could radically affect the outcome.

  • Tanya w Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 2, 2012 9:47 p.m.

    @Diligent Dave, re: "There is only so much that one can mature as an unmarried person. Like marital intimacy and many other things, there is only so far that one can progress as an unmarried person."

    I'm sure you are well meaning. Certainly people "progress" a lot through the experiences of marrying and having children. Some single people progress more than married people because of who they are and their life choices. I agree that for myself marriage put me in a new world of growth that eclipsed the trials of being single and waiting until 30 to find my right companion. Nevertheless, it's not our place to make anyone who is single feel that they cannot be as good or mature since they are single. That is prejudicial thinking that doesn't help people feel comfortable with their place in this world. Some of the best people I know have never married... some of them over 50. Perhaps the truth is that they didn't need the difficult experiences of marriage and children to accomplish their purpose in this life and to be prepared to return to heaven as much as most of us marrieds need them!

  • Kevin J. Kirkham Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 1, 2012 2:57 p.m.

    Sorry Dennis, but my points weren't advocating young marriage, but rather saying that devout LDS kids have a lot more going for them for having a successful marriage than non-LDS kids of similar age. Whether it's a good idea for any given individual is not for you or I to judge.

    RMs live with someone they care about and want to have a good relationship with. That's different than putting on a good face for a few hours on a date. They learn about compromise and negotiating household chores.

    We know that LDS are not underrepresented in the upper echelons of industry so getting married earlier than others doesn't seem to hurt LDS couples. It may actually help as I posited previously.

  • Diligent Dave Logan, UT
    Dec. 1, 2012 9:29 a.m.

    Though I was 26 when I married (my wife was 19), I found that getting married, having children, did as much to help "raise" me (to higher levels of maturity) than just getting older did (or would have further). There is only so much that one can mature as an unmarried person. Like marital intimacy and many other things, there is only so far that one can progress as an unmarried person. Physical intimacy alone, in fact, without being married, lacks the commitment that those who are married, and take their marriage vows seriously, cannot help an individual to accomplish.

    I've heard and read so many individuals say, as the Glenn Campbell song of decades ago put it,

    ...I'm not shackled
    By forgotten words and bonds
    And the ink stains that have dried upon some line...
    ...(That keeps you ever gentle on my mind)

    Sorry, but 'Gentle on (one's) mind' doesn't pay the mortgage, the electricity, the gas bill, the water bill, etc

    Marriage between a man and woman is essential to the survival of society. Early 20's (versus later 20's or early 30's) is better for having enough children to keep society viable in having enough children.

  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    Dec. 1, 2012 7:11 a.m.

    @Keven J. K...Return Missionaries are a clueless as they were when they went out when it comes to relationships. Your opinion on this matter resounds in missed college opportunities, babies that can't be supported, a burden on parents and blown relationships. That's reality. A fairy tale is what you described.

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    Nov. 30, 2012 7:41 p.m.


    Oh, I get it. "Personal revelation" = do what you want and blame it on god.

    Makes perfect sense.

  • first2third Elmo, UT
    Nov. 30, 2012 7:29 p.m.


    1. Parents want kids to marry later in life
    2. Kids are marring later in life.

    3. First time in history kids are listening to parents!

  • Y Ask Y Provo, UT
    Nov. 30, 2012 7:03 p.m.

    Would you look at the guns on that bride in the picture! I bet she benches 250 at least. She looks old enough to marry to me. Just watch out, Mr. Groom, or she will clean your clock!

  • Janet Ontario, OR
    Nov. 30, 2012 6:47 p.m.

    One of our daughters married at 18, one at 24, one at 28, one at 31... The quality of each one's choice had nothing to do with the age at which she married. It was more about how well she knew herself, how well she knew her future husband, and how well she knew what she wanted out of life.

  • nrajr SANDY, UT
    Nov. 30, 2012 6:11 p.m.

    Re: JoeBlow
    I did not suggest that there is a specific marriage age. My comments were based on LDS belief (which I believe most Deseret News readers are), that God communicates with those who will listen through living prophets and personal revelation. The idea of personal revelation should indicative that we believe that the “when” of marriage is a very personal thing, and that a loving Heavenly Father, who knows us best, can tell us when the time is right. I was not making any suggestions to those who do not share those beliefs.

  • kargirl Sacramento, CA
    Nov. 30, 2012 4:44 p.m.

    There's no age limit on making mistakes and no minimum age to get the right answer. Even widows or widowers can remarry and be unwise in their choice. First time, though, I would suggest that at least a year living on one's own, actually paying one's own way, getting up for work and making one's own decisions, would go far in knowing what it means to meet life head-on. A person needs to handle his/her own self before attempting to become part of "we".

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Nov. 30, 2012 3:27 p.m.

    "God gave us prophets and personal revelation so we don’t have to plow through and experiment with the myriad of ideas out there on how to live our lives, and how to be happy."

    People are different. Some 23 year olds are more than ready. Others, far too immature.

    There is NO right age. One size does not fit all, regardless of where the council comes from.

  • nrajr SANDY, UT
    Nov. 30, 2012 3:11 p.m.

    From my LDS point of view, prophets have counseled on the subjects of when people should marry and the nature of parent – adult child relationships. God gave us prophets and personal revelation so we don’t have to plow through and experiment with the myriad of ideas out there on how to live our lives, and how to be happy. But regardless of religious persuasion, I believe parents should help their adult children make wise choices, but respect their children's right to make their own decision. Today, in our hubris, we disregard the wisdom of history and experience in favor supposed independence. The result is the same mistakes, with accompanying consequences, repeated time and again.

  • Bill Shakespeare Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 30, 2012 1:49 p.m.

    That groom in the picture best think twice before trying anything funny. His lovely bride has a couple of pythons for arms! Amazing!

  • WEK Dallas, TX
    Nov. 30, 2012 12:42 p.m.

    My parents told me they would stop paying for college unless I waited to get married until I finished--so I waited until I graduated and got married at age 23. Interestingly, In Utah most people seem to think that age is about right. Outside of Utah (Texas, for example) most people think I got married at an insanely young age. Frankly, I would have been fine doing it even earlier--but I wanted to get out of school without undergraduate debt. I haven't decided whether I'll do the same thing with my kids.

  • Kevin J. Kirkham Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 30, 2012 11:53 a.m.

    We know that RMs are more mature and have more experience living day to day with someone (not just a roommate you may see now and then). With more girls going on missions now, they too will gain this. They understand the blessings and joy from serving others and working for a greater thing than themselves. This gives devout LDS kids a huge advantage over others their own age. Having the same values and morals is also a big plus. Being surrounded by others who share those values and cherish marriage and who help teach them to be better spouses (RS and EQ lessons) also help them. Having beliefs about the eternal benefits also incents couples to work hard on their marriage rather than just giving up when times get tough. Men may work/study harder knowing that their wives (and children?) are counting on them. They'll forego more time wasting activities. The bottom line is that devout LDS kids have a HUGE advantage over others in having a successful marriage. We old geezers shouldn't fear them marrying young.

  • Why would I? Farmington, UT
    Nov. 30, 2012 11:26 a.m.

    Why would I take the photo seriously when it's obviously posed? Sheesh.

  • majmajor Layton, UT
    Nov. 30, 2012 11:10 a.m.


    LOL. You are correct! Besides the looks on the parents' faces, body position..., her guns also make the photo funny! Mom is concerned her son won't be the man of the family! LOL. You kill me.

  • toosmartforyou Farmington, UT
    Nov. 30, 2012 11:07 a.m.

    At what age to marry is one of the least important considerations. It is more conincidental than anything else. Persons who make age the primary focus of when they should marry might bring some baggage into their life for many years to come. What a silly criteria.

  • SportsFann Bountiful, UT
    Nov. 30, 2012 10:55 a.m.

    Hey mommy and daddy, your children are adults and it is THEIR decisions on who and when to marry. Back off and live YOUR life and them them live THEIR lives. My advice to people who have parents such as this: Move away from them...far away! I have a son who is just shy of his 24th birthday and he is married and they are expecting their first child. They are in school, working hard and enjoying this part of their lives. I couldn't be more proud of them.

    Nov. 30, 2012 10:30 a.m.

    Look at the arms on that girl!! Wow

  • eastcoastcoug Danbury, CT
    Nov. 30, 2012 10:17 a.m.

    Two Flinching,

    BYU is not in the PAC 12 because they don't win the big games and there is some bias vs. Mormons. They do about as much serious research as the PAC 12's sociology departments which is...not much.

  • Two For Flinching Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 30, 2012 10:02 a.m.

    These types of studies are the reason BYU is not a member of the PAC-12.

  • BYU Track Star Los Angeles, CA
    Nov. 30, 2012 9:55 a.m.

    I'm thinking of the term "Elephant in the room". The Urban dictionary defines it as such:

    A very large issue that everyone is acutely aware of, but nobody wants to talk about. Perhaps a sore spot, perhaps politically incorrect, or perhaps a political hot potato, it's something that no one wants to touch with a ten foot pole.

    Young people in our culture have to deal with Elephant in the room as best as they can. Earlier marriage than their American peers is a solution. Their parents on the other hand are in denial such an Elephant exists at all.

  • Diligent Dave Logan, UT
    Nov. 30, 2012 9:34 a.m.

    cjb's comment essentially on nature vs nurture on this subject should well be noted. The fact that 'young people' are delaying marrige, doesn't necessarily mean they're not having sex. And that is bad!

    The greatest prosperity in this nation was both accompanied and followed by young couples getting married earlier. In fact, I would argue, the so-called "baby boom" (1946-1964) was what really ended the Great Depression, and, for decades, prevented it again!

    However, most people don't know that the US has had subreplacement birth levels since the early 1970's! Both the Great Depression, and our current 'Greater Depression?' have been preceded by major birth dearths. From 1910 to 1945, US birth rates were subpar. Same is true for this Recession/Depression!

    Yes, I understand, that the correlation between age and personal economic circumstances seems to be geared toward higher ages. But what may appear to be better at a micro-economic level is bad macro-economically.

    Why have so many 'young people' at universities, preparing for jobs that won't be there, because too many of them have failed to self-reproduce sufficiently because they married too late & had too few children, preventing sufficient consumer demand?

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    Nov. 30, 2012 9:27 a.m.

    Look at those arms, she must work out.

  • sally Kearns, UT
    Nov. 30, 2012 9:17 a.m.

    As a parent, I don't think it matters when they get married, even in high school. Finances will always be an issue until they learn to set goals and follow through with a budget. The give and take of chores, raising children, health issues, employment is a challenge no matter when they marry. As a parent, I would rather the girls have babies young while they still have the energy to enjoy the experience. Then they have the time when their children are older to finish college, if they choose, then have a career.

  • eastcoastcoug Danbury, CT
    Nov. 30, 2012 9:16 a.m.

    I bet most fathers want their daughters to wait and their sons not to. btw - the bride in that photo has huge biceps. That young man has no chance with the death grip...

  • Opinionated Sandy, UT
    Nov. 30, 2012 9:10 a.m.

    If parents expected chastity out of their unmarried children, feelings might be different.

  • Seminole sandy, UT
    Nov. 30, 2012 9:03 a.m.

    It's not definitive about age. . .Really about 2 people commit level towards The relationship. Major benefits and major draw backs to both. I'd still go with what prophet says dnews. . .

  • Tacoholic Farmington, UT
    Nov. 30, 2012 8:40 a.m.

    I got married at 24 and I love being married. It's so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.

  • majmajor Layton, UT
    Nov. 30, 2012 7:24 a.m.

    Did anyone see the photo in the article? Take a look at the mother of the (groom?). In that photo, you can see that she doesn't look like she appreciates, another woman taking her son! LOL With her position in the photo, I wonder if she plans on being between them the rest of their lives... LOL

    The father at the same time, looks like he is glad that it is done! LOL

    Just one perspective, and I was entertained.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Nov. 30, 2012 6:51 a.m.

    Nature intends for young people to begin coming together at puberty. This is not our culture anymore, but it is natures intent.

  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    Nov. 30, 2012 5:17 a.m.

    30+....school's out of the way, career is on track and maturity level is much higher.