Don’t rush to say ‘I do’

By By Emily Rodriguez-Vargas

By Emily Rodriguez-Vargas

Some students decide to get engaged and married faster than they decide which major to pursue.

“The number of married students at the U is huge: about 40 to 50 percent of our student body are married,” said Scott Carver, the director of the Associated Students of the University of Utah’s Non-Traditional student board.

Young couples can feel pressured into taking the fast lane to marriage by the predominant culture of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Utah and many other factors as well.

A Jan. 17 press release by the LDS Church said at the end of 2006, 72 percent of Utah’s population was LDS. Given that figure, 45 percent of women of the LDS faith are married by 19, according to LightPlanet, a Web site about world religions. The number of men married at this same age is 23 percent. By the age of 21, 74 percent of LDS women and 49 percent of LDS men are married.

This might be a news flash: Marriage is not a solution to loneliness, a cure for personal problems or an escape to a world where everything will work out just because you’re together. It is hard work, and you have to live with someone who knows your worst habits and weaknesses.

“Marriage for younger people could be challenging due to financial strain, emotional strain, and trying to find yourself and understand your roles while making a marriage work at the same time,” said Mary-Kathryn Amott, a graduate student in marriage and family therapy. She said many young couples are still unaware of how to handle all the stresses of life that become even more complicated in marriage and family life.

Once the wedding party and honeymoon are over and the wedding gifts are unpacked, reality sets in. Things don’t always go as anticipated. It’s natural for every married couple to have problems. Some of these can be intensified, however, by one or both of the individuals lacking important traits such as good communication and interpersonal skills, putting the other first and having the emotional maturity to forgive and forget.

As the state with the highest birth rate in the nation, it’s no surprise that many students at the U decide to start a family right away. According to the pregnancy and parenting Web site, www.surebaby.com, $9,000 to $11,000 can be easily spent on diapers, formula, baby furniture, clothing, baby gear and more in the first year. Many sleepless nights staying up to hold a crying infant can start to take over a life that previously consisted of fun dates, free time and few responsibilities.

Getting married and starting a family at a young age, although very brave considering the above challenges, is sometimes not the best idea, especially for young women. If you do want to complete your education8212;which should be your main priority when in college8212;dropping out of school to raise children might not be the fastest way to achieve your goals.

Divorce rates in Utah are slightly higher than the national average, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2008 Statistical Abstract of the United States, with 36 percent nationally, and 40 percent in Utah.

Sadly, it is no surprise that, according to David Schramm from the department of family and human development at Utah State University, 18 percent of young couples in Utah file for divorce before celebrating their first anniversary.

Having to go to court for a divorce can be a long, expensive and strenuous process. According to www.maritalstatus.com, divorce has an average cost of about $20,000. Divorce can take 90 days to years in Utah, depending on factors such as whether or not children are involved and whether the couple has come to any agreements on their own.

You owe it to yourself to make sure that you marry the best possible person for you, at the right time in your life. Couples that haven’t had the chance to really get acquainted with one another, including strengths and weaknesses or lack of maturity, before they commit themselves to one another for life, are headed to the divorce courts sooner than they might realize.

As Georg C. Lichtenberg said, “Love is blind, but marriage restores its sight.”

It will save you a lot of heartache, energy and money in court costs to take off the rose-colored glasses as soon as you start to discuss marriage and to take things slowly with deliberate consideration before saying the words “I do”.

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Emily Rodriguez-Vargas

Kevin Merriman