BYU Marriage Pressure

Mormon marriage pressure at BYUs

Written by Nicole Loumeau
Tuesday, 09 June 2009

Education: Check.

Work Experience: Check.

Marriage: Check.

Graduation: Check.

According to the BYU-Provo student news Web site, 51 percent of students who graduated from BYU last year were married. But only 3 percent of the Yale University graduating class was married, and overall the U.S. national average of married graduates was 11 percent, says BYU news. Is there something about BYU schools that makes students feel like they must get married?

There are students who said they come here with the prospect of leaving married. “I do feel like there is a lot of pressure to get married, but I like it,” said Jeff McLeod, sophomore in history education from Pleasanton, Calif. “One of the reasons I came to a BYU school, is so I can be married with children before I graduate.”

However, some students said that, because they are international, they do not feel this same pressure to get married before graduation. Ingunn Sorensen, freshman in psychology from Oslo, Norway, said, “I do not feel the pressure, but I think it is because I am from Europe. Where I am from, people do not get married so young. I feel like I am here to get an education and will head home before I get married.”

Another international student, Pepe Maiava, junior in English from Samoa, laughed and said about the pressure to get married here, “I feel it’s stupid. I do not want to get married before I graduate.”

Religion faculty member Marcus Martins, who was a bishop of the BYU-Hawaii 7th Ward until 2004 and teaches a class here about achieving eternal marriage, said about the students in his ward, “I always encouraged endowed ward members to pursue meaningful relationships leading to a temple marriage. I did so because this is an indispensable step towards eternal life.”

A study conducted by a BYU-Provo student found that on average, couples at BYU usually date about six months before becoming engaged; 41 percent of married students met at a church activity; and the average age students are when they get married is about 22. Compare this to the U.S. Census Bureau, which says the national average for when people get married is 27.

Sorensen said she does not feel that here in Hawaii there is as much pressure to get married as there is in Provo. “I feel like our school is small and very laid back - so I do not feel so much pressure. But I feel like if I went to school in Provo, I would feel very pressured to get married before graduation.”

Toby Redd, sophomore in biology from Bremerton, Wash., said, “Don’t get married because of pressure - because, most likely, you will regret it. It affects you not only in the short run, but also the long run, too. And it will affect more than just you; it can also affect your family as well.”