Mormon Life Short Courtships

curiousnevermo Feb. 2013

Hey all. I have (another) question I hope you don't mind answering. I love Mormon mom message boards (I know, I know), and every so often I see a thread like "How long did you date before you married?" And each of these threads seems to be a freaking competition to see who married the fastest. I'm talking "I went on two dates and then got engaged"

or "We knew each other for a week" and so on. So the question is: is marrying very, very quickly "a thing" in Mormonism? Are members encouraged to marry people they barely know?

Elder Berry
Re: short courtships
curiousnevermo Wrote:
> fastest. I'm talking "I went on two dates and then
> got engaged" or "We knew each other for a week"

Yes and yes and then scheduled our "Celestial Marriage" for 3 months later. Almost 16 years later we are still together.

Anon Regular Lurker
One girl I dated, after the 2nd date, asked me when we were getting engaged....
This was at Utah Valley Community College, which is what it was called when I went there. I started seeing the sister of a friend, who was a missionary companion of mine. We went out twice. The third time, I was asked, with crying eyes, if I was ever going to propose to her, as she had prayed and been told, "Beyond a Shadow of a Doubt", that I was the one for her! After all, the Holy Spook told her so. (Never mind that another girl, told me the same thing, only a week earlier). THe kicker is, I decided to end it, after that night. Well, we were in the same student stake in the area, and lo and behold the following sunday, I see this girl holding hands with another biggie, but I found out, that she was already engaged to this guy, and as I said, this was 1 WEEK LATER!!!! Crazy!! So much for the so-called "Spirit confirming the one you are to marry", that is complete BS!! I had 3 different girls in an 8 month period tell me they had prayed and I was the one. 2 were at the same time! (Maybe polygamy was making a comeback!) IT compleltly threw the so called spirit thing right out the window.

I will outline a typical mormon dating scenario.....boy and girl see each other in class or at sunday school. Both catch each other looking at each other then somehow muster the courage to talk to each other. AFter a couple of weeks, boy gets enough courage to ask girl out on a date, or as it seems to be more and more common, confident girl asks boy out, because boy has no experience with dating and having been told his whole life that touching girls will send you to hell. Boy and Girl go on date, and hormones rage. AFter the second date, boy prays, and girl prays....goes something like this.....Boy: "HF, is this the person I am supposed to marry"??? Meanwhile hormones are raging, and the thought of having sex in the near future makes the bosom burn within...not to mention the nether, the hair stood on the back of my neck, and I feel twinges....must be the right person!!! Girl Prays: "HF, is this man the right one for me?"" (Suddently hormones rage, and the wonderful thought that girl will make it to marriage by the time she is 20, and even though sex has been taught to me as the end all beat all of human existence, she still gets twinges)...guess he's the right one for me!!! 2 months later, after parents, and friends, and bishops telling them to stay away from each other and "don't touch", they are married, having the worst sex of their, or anybody's life, and bam, next thing you know, there is 5 kids, husband is addicted to porn, cuz he never gets any and has been a sexually repressed Omega male his whole life, and she is on Anti-depressants, wondering how this all happened!

NO, this is not autobiographical, it did however happen to several friends, and one of my brothers.

Re: short courtships
Part of it is the Mormon over-reliance on the spirit to make life decisions. So if both people feel "prompted" to get married, often, they go for it.

Part of it is no sex until marriage.

Part of it is Mormons are encouraged to marry and breed young.

Re: short courtships
We met early sept. and were married dec. 20
That was 53 years ago.

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no sex before marriage + 2 years on a mission = short engagements

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In the Mormon World...any relationship that is past the 6-9 month benchmark that hasn't become and engagement, is 99% likely to fail.

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Not for everyone, but definitely more often than the general population.

For me it was a combination of enough mission president talks saying the next step is to go get married and start a family, then teachings from various church leaders that basically (paraphrase) you don't need to find someone perfect and that any two faithful people can make a marriage successful, plus praying in the temple and feeling warm and tingly, and probably a dash of no sex in there mixed in.

Engaged after 2 or 3 months, were going to be engaged for five months but decided to cut it to one month to get-r-done before BYU started back up (thinking, well, we 'know' it's right, so why put it off and have that much longer to be tempted. haha). So, married after about 4 months middle of divorce 5 years later after I stopped believing in the church (and that temple feeling, etc.).

In conclusion, definitely church influenced. Any one of our parents should have smacked me upside the head, but all were happy so long as i felt good about it in the temple. EPIC FACEPALM!

Re: short courtships
Elder Oakes does say in his talk "Divorce,"

"If you wish to marry well, inquire well. Associations through “hanging out” or exchanging information on the Internet are not a sufficient basis for marriage. There should be dating, followed by careful and thoughtful and thorough courtship. There should be ample opportunities to experience the prospective spouse’s behavior in a variety of circumstances. Fiancés should learn everything they can about the families with whom they will soon be joined in marriage."

But Mormon culture knows that that's lip service.

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My husband and I dated for almost four years off and on and we considered odd by Mormon standards. Also we had about a nine month engagement, so everyone assumed...pregnant!

Yeah short dating time and quick engagement is the key to Mormon happiness *rolling my eyes*

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My current husband and I in our late 20's got engaged 6 months after we started dating, and gave ourselves another 6 months before we married. Our Non-LDS friends thought we were crazy because it was so soon. The LDS people we knew thought we were crazy because it took so long to get engaged, and was a long engagement.

A lady in my ward gripped my forearm tightly and looked directly into my eyes and said, "DON'T WAIT!" I told her I was a big girl and could decide these things on my own, thank you very much. 4 weeks later her son got married, and 8 months after that, a baby arrived. Then I found out that she and her husband and half of their children got married under the same circumstances.

On the other hand, my bishop was so astounded that we had the physical thing under control (we really did wait!) that he kept questioning whether or not we felt sexually attracted to each other.

I couldn't believe how it was everybody's business.

CA girl
Re: short courtships
At BYU, we were encouraged to date for as long as we thought we needed but once we got serious enough to get engaged, we should marry quickly so as not to fall into temptation and have sex. I had a lot of teachers and bishops at BYU say the same thing. Most people I knew would date one or two semesters and then get engaged and marry about 3 months later. If you were engaged more than 3-4 months, people at BYU would talk about how crazy and stupid you were to wait. I had one roommate who was 20 who pressured her very unenthusiastic boyfriend to propose because she had "wasted" a whole six months dating him and didn't want to have to start over with another guy. She was dead serious.

I think a lot of young Mormons really believe that anyone who puts the church above all will make a good spouse. In a way, if the church is your whole life, then they have a point in wanting to marry someone who is equally obsessed with the religion. Unfortunately, they rarely think much about personal compatibility, character traits, how they like to spend their money, future goals etc that they want in a spouse, except as to how it relates to the goals set for them by Mormonism. Also, they are encouraged to marry very young to keep themselves safe from the temptations of the world. Seriously. I was in a Relief Society mtg in Salt Lake about 15 years ago and the teacher asked "Why does the church encourage kids to marry so young?" and someone answered "So they don't go out into the world and become tempted by the world and fall away from the church." Everyone in the room nodded in agreement but even as a TBM, I thought it was awful. They are purposely using marriage as a trap for their children. And they are proud of it.

When I got engaged, I'd known my husband 7 months but we'd only dated 32 days. We got married 4 months later. My parents told everyone we'd been dating a year because they had the sense to be embarrassed by how quickly I jumped into marriage. But honestly, compared to my 2 roommates, I was the cautious one. Both of them met their future husbands in September, three months after I first became friends with my too-soon to be DH. One dated 30 days and got married the day before we did, 4 months later. The other dated 2 weeks and got married the week after we did. We were all quite giggly and proud of ourselves at the time.

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Hell, if I followed this practice, I'd have more divorces on my hands than all of Hollyweird combined...

I can hardly stand living with myself, let alone with a mate

Bite Me
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Knew each other for 7 years before exclusively dating for 5 months before getting engaged. Engaged for 4 months before getting married in the SL Temple.

Been married for 20 years next month.

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I lived that!

I was at BYU. It was time for me to find my "EP" (eternal partner). I went on one date with my husband. We were engaged the next night, and married in 3 months.

Dumb, dumb! I was extremely lucky marrying someone based on hormones, being a Senior at BYU who was supposed to leave with a husband, and having prayed about it. It could have ended very badly.

They are horny
When you are a 22 yo virgin, you want to get laid/married ASAP.

Elder Berry
Marriage is a focus I think because humans are absurd creatures. The most import fact in marriage of any stripe in my opinion is how enriched your life is because of it. If time is an indicator of enrichment, then you've had a better endowment than some signs, tokens, and The Garden of Eden story can give a person.

Congrats again.

Re: short courtships
Was it SWK who said that any man and any woman who are living the gospel can have a successful marriage if they just obey the commandments and work at it?

If everyone's cookie-cutter anyway, why wait? Just grab the first one who looks relatively attractive (even that may not be necessary if you have enough faith) and head to the temple!

Hormones and self-delusion make for a dangerous cocktail of fast weddings and leisurely repetance.

Re: short courtships
We got married three months after our first date, which was 2 weeks after we first met and we barely knew each other by the first date. We were discussing marriage after 2 weeks of dating and engaged after 5. In all honesty, our decision to get married was based so strongly on "feelings from the spirit" that we are EXTREMELY lucky to still be together. Looking at how reckless we were in deciding to get married that quickly still makes me cringe, but even if we had waited another 6 months, there were so many things we never would have learned about each other without living together that the extra six months wouldn't have made a significant difference.

Regarding axeldc's thoughts, looking back, wanting to have sex didn't really play a role in the decision to get married as we were already engaged before we started feeling tempted to go beyond LDS approved boundaries for unmarried couples.

We've been married eight years and are very happy together, but there was something about no longer believing that God destined us to be together that has made our relationship seem a little more frail. On the other hand, being aware that we are solely responsible for keeping our relationship happy because God isn't going to bail us out if things get tough will make us more careful about keeping our relationship strong.

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No kidding.
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Definitely a mormon thing. When I went back home after my 1st semester at BYU I was asked CONSTANTLY if I was engaged yet, why wasn't I engaged, did I at least have a boyfriend. I was barely 18 years old, for goodness sake!

No matter how many times I told people I had no intention of getting engaged or married at least until I was done with school they never believed me. I can't tell you how many times I got, "oh, that will change when you meet the right guy, honey." B*( SH#(!!! Btw,I only went to BYU b/c it was the only place my parents would pay for.

I have three siblings who met, started dating, got engaged and married to their spouse within a 2 - 3 month period. Two are now divorced, one is still married but things are not going well.

Getting married to someone you don't actually know is one of the stupidest things I've ever heard of. Regardless, it is a mormon "virtue," or at least better than premarital sex!

Re: short courtships
Yep, they sure do and its all about the sex! Hubby and I had sex before we were married and confessed to his bishop. He told us that if he told the stake president about our transgressions, he would probably make us wait a year to get married. Bishop didn't think that was a good idea though because we would probably end up having sex again within that year and never make it to the temple. Instead, he told us to get married quickly and be really careful about not slipping up again. Haha, we kept "slipping up" up until the week before our temple wedding, but we sure didn't tell Bishop that!

Re: short courtships
I was not active when I met my husband (who is a never-mo) while working (after having served a mission, dealt with a serious illness and finally finishing school). We dated for eight months before getting engaged.

We set the wedding date for six months later (my parents were very upset about my marrying a non-member, not in the temple and about the long period of time between the engagement and wedding. Of course, it was a little late for what they were worried about to be a concern, since unbeknownst to them we'd been living together since we got engaged).

Three months after I got engaged my younger sister got engaged to a guy she met at a singles dance and had dated for one month. They set their date for THREE WEEKS after they got engaged. Everyone dropped everything to make sure her temple wedding was perfect.

So, fast forward to 22 years later. My sister was divorced to her RM husband (who it turned out, not only slept around, but hit her and did drugs) within three years (about 2 years and 10 months longer than it should have been!). My "disastrous" marriage that was doomed to "end in heartbreak" is still going strong.

So, everyone has a different experience, that's mine.

Met my JackMo husband and got preggers just past the one month mark
We were in our mid-thirties and totally NOT virgins - I think we held out for 3-4 weeks in the beginning. Got engaged ASAP, married in the church at 3 months. Sealed in the Temple a few years later. He was Mormon Royalty, so all the rules didn't exactly apply to him.


Re: short courtships
joesmithsleftteste Wrote:
there was something about no longer
> believing that God destined us to be together that
> has made our relationship seem a little more
> frail.

If it helps - I don't think you have to give up the idea that you are perfect for each other. I still believe that my husband is my soulmate. Even without believing in God, I think there is something almost magical about true love. But maybe I'm just a hopeless romantic.

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my nephew will be home from his mission in 3 weeks. I asked what he was going to do when he got home. His sister answered that he was going to be going to BYU-IDO, and he be getting married in about 6 months.
She was dead serious. He doesn't even have a girl friend! To top it off, he's only dated once in his life. That was his prom. She got married last year.

The whole family sees nothing wrong with this idea. In fact, mom has already been planning the reception. Her other kids got married within 3 months after getting engaged.

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Wow. I shouldn't be surprised, I know, but really? Planning the reception when your kid doesn't even have a boy/girlfriend? Wow. How scary is that?!!
Elder Berry
I could have written the same thing plus 8 years more
We double your time but mirror your facts - exactly.

The things my wife would have discovered had we "known" each other better would be my homosexual experiences, abuse by a scoutmaster and my drug and alcohol use as a teen. She would not have married me.

Be both felt a more than sexual desire to marry. It felt destined.

I love this post because I realize we weren't as strange as we thought we were. No one we've known has a courtship like this, yet from RfM I'm hearing quite a few.

I wonder if only happens in cult religiosity like Mormonism and Moonies?

The big letdown that also is a "blessing" to me is the fact that regardless of this fairytale of Celestial Marriage, real marriage can be the real thing. No temple required.

Re: short courtships
I have some friends that have been married for a number years and they were married in the temple and sealed. Strange that even though they are married they are not living together.Divorce is not an option because one them would have to give up their temple work. Now the bishops know this because they are going to seperate wards. As long as the tithing keeps coming in I guess it is O.K. They can't live together here on earth but they are sealed for all time and eternity. Bottom line is just because some people are married for decades doesn't mean it is a good marriage. Just because some may fool those on earth, do they think they are fooling God?

"Recovery from Mormonism -"