Saturday, November 17, 2007

Do Mormons get married too quickly?

One thing that I've never understood is how to us Mormons get married so soon after meeting someone. I've never been married, so I can't really say, but I really can't imagine meeting someone and getting engaged within a few months and getting married within a year of first meeting each other. But I have known lots of Mormons who have done that. All I can ready do is speculate as to why.

I guess as far as choosing the right person, it's really a personal decision, but the timing of the wedding should be a little more practical. After all, the first part of any relationship is always great, so to me it makes sense to test the relationship a little. It's well known that when people first fall in love, they will often ignore the other person's negative characteristics. So enough time should pass so that both people are out of this initial phase of the relationship so they can objectively see if any of those negative characteristics should prevent them from pursueing a longer relationship.

If two people get married too early in their relationship they risk one of the following consequences:
1. Divorce or separation
2. Being married, but wishing they had been a little more cautious before getting married in the first place.
I say "risk" because these aren't the only possible outcomes, but they have already happened to many people and the risk can be reduced if people just took more time to get to know each other before they got married.

So why do people get married so quickly? Again, this is largely personal and done a person by person basis. But I do know one reason why some Mormons have moved up their wedding date: sex. In the church premarital sex is condemned. However, some people either want have sanctioned sex sooner or they are worried that they will break the law of chastity before their wedding date, so they have moved up their wedding date. And not just their wedding date, the date they get sealed in the temple. Am I they only one who finds this disrespectful to the sealing cerimony? People are going to rush into making sacred covenants for sex?

Think about it: A man and a woman decide to get married at a certain date, but they realize that they would like to have sex at an earlier date, so they move their wedding date up. They've turned a short engagement to an even shorter engagement because they want sex. Don't they know the risks they are taking? (See risks 1 and 2 above)

I'd like to provide an alternative. I know this isn't going to be kosher, and most other Mormons won't agree because they've been taught the opposite, but when taking a long view of the potential consequences this is the safest: Mormons should start having sex before marriage.

If Mormons had sex before marriage they wouldn't need to get married so quickly. It is true that premarital sex has its negative consequences, but in the long run it reduces the risk for future unhappyness.

Let's take a look at the potential consequences of various actions:

Action A : Get married quickly to not have premarital sex.
Consequence: potential that everything will work out, but there is risk that it will end in divorce, separation, or unhappyness. In practice, not spending enough time before marriage makes it very difficult to tell what the outcome will be.

Action B : Longer courtship and engagement, but have premarital sex.
Consequence: Some type of church discipline, but that is only temporary. And eventually it can be repented of. There still is some risk of divorce, separation, or unhappyness, but it is greatly reduced because the two people have a better understanding of their compatibility.

Action C: Longer courtship and engagement, but no premarital sex.
Consequence: This is by far the best option. There still is some risk of divorce, separation, or unhappyness, but it is greatly reduced because the two people have a better understanding of their compatibility.

There may be some people who feel that any dating strategy that involves premarital sex cannot be ideal. But I'm not saying that it's ideal, I'm saying that better than what is currently practiced. Based on the probability of potential outcomes in the long run, the consequences of the above actions are ranked C > B > A.

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