Marriage has become a lower priority to certain audiences and age groups. Some young adults, especially those not grounded in the restored gospel, are intentionally delaying marriage because they see it as a personal life choice rather than a part of God’s plan of happiness.
Here are three “marriage-preparation paradoxes” that Jason S. Carroll, PhD and professor in the School of Family Life at Brigham Young University, says are not prevalent among devout Church members but are nevertheless widely embraced across the world.
1. The Cohabitation Paradox
Many young people see cohabitation before marriage as a “test drive” that will lessen the risk of divorce. This doesn’t fit the Lord’s pattern of marriage, and research has shown that cohabitation before marriage has been associated with greater odds of divorce.
2. The “Sowing Wild Oats” Paradox
Some have the mentality that they need to “get things out of their system” sexually before they are ready to settle down. Studies have shown that this behavior also leads to a higher likelihood of divorce. Keeping sexual relations within the full commitment of marriage creates higher-quality marriages.
3. The “Older Is Better” Paradox
In society, the age to get married has increased, and young people are viewing marriage as a loss rather than as a gain. They see their young adult years as a time to focus on themselves. However, dozens of studies have documented the emotional, physical, economic, and sexual benefits that lasting marriage brings to individuals and to society as a whole.
It is best to look to the Lord’s pattern for preparing for a righteous marriage and strengthening the family as the fundamental unit of society. Teaching and fostering a culture of real maturation and marriage readiness will be the key elements of successful marriages.
Learn more about these common marriage-preparation paradoxes by reading the full Ensign article, “Delaying Marriage: The Trends and the Consequences.”