Accidental click but, I'm going to go ahead and comment - only in Utah do
people care about this stuff. There are far more important things going on and
you guys are busy splitting hairs over when people marry, when women should pray
in conference, how much caffiene is too much and all kinds of other silly
I'd be interested to see if these numbers correlate to any information on
financial aid from parents. Are teen marriages more likely to be happy with
their parents are financial stable and offer to help with college costs, kids
etc? I think that has a lot more to do with it than age. Help from extended
family is something a lot of people don't have and in my experience some
people are miserable without it.
Different strokes for different folks; some people can marry at nineteen and
live happily and others marry in their thirties and struggle. These articles
that the DN insist upon running come across as the Church wanting to generate
more future missionaries and tithe payers. As Joe Blow says, there's no
right way to go through life.
I'm sure the idea that more babies would equal future economic prosperity
can be defended, but that's really not helpful to individuals or couples
looking to plan a future together. For example, if my parents had said to
teenage me "We expect you to have eight kids because it'll be good for
America," I would have rolled my eyes and moved along. Likewise, I
wouldn't dream of trying to pressure my kids into producing a ton of
offspring for some future hypothetical benefit to society. How many do they
want? What are their goals? How would X number of kids work with the goals they
have? These are the only relevant questions.And for the record, I
don't personally see a reluctance to have kids in my local area, or among
my HS friends. Looking around my ward, young couples are having kids pretty much
right away. I realize this is a very small sample size, but maybe this is why I
kind of greet these concerns with a shrug.
@DiligentDave. I highly doubt that the LDS Church lowered the missionary age to
account for fewer 19 year olds being in existence. I think this is much more a
logistical matter that allowed for more opportunities for young men and women to
serve. Obviously, if there are fewer people living in the world, we would need
fewer missionaries to maintain the proportional status quo. Lowering the
missionary age is an act of CHANGING the status quo to propagate the gospel
I said in a comment before that sub-replacement birth rates are (or well may be)
at sub-replacement levels now. Let me elaborate.The year that showed
the highest number of "children or record" in the LDS was in 1992, the
age our oldest daughter was born. Church membership exceeded 5 million for the
first time then. And there were 124,000 children of record.Fast
forward to 2012. Children of Record totaled 122,273. But 5 years ago LDS Church
Membership Dept changed their formula. Since then, they no longer subtract 9
year olds who are not baptized. Best guesstimate is that if the old formula was
still used, # of Children of Record would now be 92,766. With total membership
almost at 15 million, this would indicate that current LDS birth rates worldwide
are about 26.1% of what they were then!Hence, the Mormon TFR might
well be below sub-replacement! In fact, the recent change in mission service
ages might have been done in light of too few young men born 19 years ago who
then could serve NOW. More sister missionaries will help. But we need more
babies born, even among Mormons!
I think the reason for the higher risk in the late teens/early twenties has much
to do with basic human development. The brain is actually still developing
until about age 25, according to most studies. I and most people I know were
very different people at 18 than we were at 25. Marrying before that age
increases the likelihood each partner will develop into very different people,
with radically different political and religious beliefs, among other things.
Robin,I'm not sure anything you said invalidates studies
like this. Of course it matters who you marry, and the article points this out
multiple times. However, as I said, who I was at 18 and who I was at 25 were
very different. Had my wife and I met earlier, we might have been incompatible.
I met my wife when I was 16, and I knew almost immediately that I wanted to
marry her someday. We wound up dating and waiting for five years as college and
a mission was accomplished, but I am 100% convinced that our marriage would
still have been an unqualified success had we married even at that younger age.
That said, I would never advocate for a typical wedding age of 16, or even 21.
Whatever the age, just make sure that both the brain and the heart are fully
engaged when choosing a mate. It's the single most important decision
you'll ever make.
well.... you can say it takes the right person and the age doesn't
matter...but there is a serious fallacy (and red herring) here, for sure. AT AGE
20...that might not be the right person. When they are older...more experienced
and mature...then the likelihood of being the "right" person increases.
I'm a lot better person than I was when I was young....and more capable of
making a relationship work.
You should marry someone WHEN you fall in love and have found the right
person.Age is irrelevant.
"The right time to marry is not a simple math equation with a clear
answer." Certainly not for the individual, per se. But for society at large,
statistics can help us better understand things.The personal and
family aspects of marriage should not be viewed solely at the micro level. Let
me explain.A problem we have both in the US, in the world, and even
among supposedly fecund Mormons, is this. We are having too few children. Yes,
even Mormons, are having too few babies.The US birthrate since the
early 1970's, has been at a subreplacement level. Primarily the anchor
babies, and a little more, from mostly illegal Latinos, largely from Mexico and
Central America, has kept the US the closest of all advanced nations to exact
replacement. But still, we've remained at subreplacement for about 40
years!Low and declining birthrates also caused the Great Depression.
From 1910 to 1930, birthrates declined steeply. The US really didn't fully
get out of the Great Depression until the post WWII 'baby boom'! And
then, birthrates climbed as high as 377 babies born for every 200 adults. This
is how to get out of economic depression!
I agree with Sir Robin, that there are two questions here. "When should I
marry", might be something that can be aided by statistics. "Whom
should I marry", is something that an expert would never pretend to know.
And since the two questions are intertwined in real life, the value of knowing
when is not that helpful. I woud say though, that delaying marriage has a big
downside for the offspring: less healthy genes and a bigger generation gap.
It's maybe not a concern for just one generation, but if there are three or
four generations in a row that marry late, it becomes a real problem.
"Among those more likely to thrive married than single are young adults,
mothers and fathers and men in general..." THRIVE is the key word. Those who
get married and do things right do better, generally, from what I've
observed, than do those who don't get married until they are older. The
emotional nubility of young adults is better than those who are older. Also,
parents, that is, those who have children, thrive better and more. This phrase
from Genesis is, as I told my wife the other day, IMO, directed more
specifically toward the male, and not just to people in general—"It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet
for him." —Genesis 2:18 Studies show that women fare better
emotionally (though not always well) after a divorce than men do. Both fare
badly. But men even worse than women. Looking at me and my wife, I know I need
her more than she needs me, emotionally. Hence, it is not a surprise to me that
men, in general, as the report says, do better married. It is better for them
emotionally and generally otherwise too.
Sometimes it all depends on the couple. My parents were both college grads when
they married in their mid-twenties. They divorced after 20 years and eight
children. My in-laws were married as teens still in high school. They're
still together after 48 years. My spouse and I were in our early twenties when
we wed, and after lots of hard work, sacrifice, and maturing, we've been
married over 2 decades and our marriage has never been better. It's less
about "finding the right marriage partner" and more about "making
yourself the right marriage partner."
Maturity may or may not be a factor of age. I've known older people who are
immature, and younger ones who are mature. I agree with 'Brave Sir
Robin' that marrying the RIGHT person is most important. I was 26 when I
married. But my wife was just 19.But I would have married at 21, if
I had found then the right person.But how do we define
"right"? Attractive to you, physically? It helps. Similar goals.
Personalities that complement each other. And commitment to working things out,
and staying married are also very important.One of my
brother-in-laws gave me great advice. Get engaged as many times as you like. But
marry only once! I was engaged twice, married once.As a society and
as parents, we generally do a poor job of preparing young people both about and
for marriage. We also do too much to prolong adolescence. I like to have fun
more than most, on one hand. But I also think our society promotes silliness and
"lightmindedness" way too much. We can enjoy ourselves. But we also need
to learn to better prepare ourselves mentally, emotionally, and socially.
Maturity does come with age, so I can see how young marriaged couples have a
bigger chance of their marriages not working out. But I would like to add that,
no matter what age, understanding that marriage is a huge commitment and
isn't to be taken lightly is a critical part of a succesful marriage. I
have a few friends who got married VERY young and have had many long, happy
years. In my opintion, it all depends on the couple and their commitment,
maturity, and standards.
Science like this is a red herring. When you marry doesn't matter at all -
WHO you marry is what matters.To put it another way, if you are
married to the perfect person, would it matter if you had gotten married at 19
or 29 or 39? No. Likewise, if you chose the wrong person, would waiting a few
years have made that person suddenly the right one? No. The reason teenage
marriage divorce rates are so high isn't because of age, it's because
of poor judgment and low self-esteem.My advice to anyone is to set
high standards in what you want in a spouse, keep your eyes open, and when you
truthfully and honestly can say you've found that person, marry him/her.
Whether you're 21 or 31 when you find that person doesn't matter.
Late enough that you can support the few kids you may or may not want to have,
rather than struggle with a litter someone else wanted you to have.
I don't think the age matters as much as other factors, such as depth of
friendship, and time spent dating. Our Mormon culture of speed dating into
eternal marriage doesn't exactly help in this endeavor (my opinion). Of
course, age could be directly related to an individual's ability to make
some of these decisions, but rushing into marriage after only a few months of
knowing the person isn't exactly a recipe for success.
Too bad the data is broken down by teens, 20's and 30's.Obviously a 21 year old is much different than a 28 year old.Hard
to argue that there is a "right" age to marry or that we should all
follow someones ideal scenario.People are different. What works for
some would be a disaster for others. Pressuring others to marry at any age is
selfish. Pressuring others to have kids or have more kids is also selfish.There is no "right" way to go through this life.
The summary to this article is slightly misleading, age matters not just for
married teens years are past, but ALSO for those in their early 20's.
There is still significantly higher divorce from those who marry between 20-23.
There are probably a number of reasons for this and not enough room to discuss
them here, but it suggests that mid 20's is the right time for most people
to begin to marry.