The person with honest intent doesn’t need lots of time giving introductions. – Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
This article was brought to my interest when a woman spoke to me of her confusion for why the latter-day Saints marry oftentimes quite young and quite early in a relationship. Though we as a people may be wise to wait a little longer sometimes, here are some reasons I’ve found for why the saints can both create and maintain marriages better faster and stronger than any other people on the face of the earth (studies show latter-day saints are much less likely to divorce than other US citizens, etc.). The woman with questions of these early marriages thought it was just so they could have sex. This is far from the truth. As you will see in this article, the latter-day saints base relationships off of far more than corporal pleasure.
- They have an extraordinary ability to make and keep long term agreements. when they were baptized, they received the Holy Ghost to be their constant companion so long as they continue faithful, and repent of their sins when they fail. The Holy Ghost helps them have vision of the future, and helps them discern the character of others. It also reveals to them when there is danger, and reveals to them the comfort of God when they are on a good path, namely, with a person whom they could build a good future with. One can never overestimate the power of the Holy Ghost.
- They believe it is an essential component of saving one’s eternal soul
- They love one another, and are not hard hearted
- They are trained to be ready for childbearing from coming from large families, and from being taught that childbearing is a commandment from God not to be postponed
- They are mature for their age, having participated in more adult roles via church leadership and service. A good social scientist will tell you that the appropriate time to marry has less to do with age and more to do with maturity.
- They recognize the spiritual danger of spending inordinate amounts of time with someone of the opposite sex to whom they are very attracted to. They understand that to use someone else’s body for pleasure without offering them long term, even eternal, fidelity and service, is robbery.
- They do not base their marriage on bodies. Some have said that the latter-day saints marry early because they are forbidden from sexual relations outside of marriage, and are just excited to start having “legal/sanctioned” sexual relations. Some have said, “if you can’t have sex, what can you do?” These critics have failed to understand that relationships are built by assessing character rather than assessing bodies. Marriages built on bodies rather than character are the most prone to failure. Courting involves friendliness, minor touching of affection such as holding of hands and small kisses, but does not include touching of the private parts of the body, under or over the clothing. The world fundamentally misses the concept that exchange of bodies is a privilege reserved for the highest commitment, that of marriage. Joining the bodies without joining everything else (the love, the goals, the purpose, the home, the children, the finances, the risks, the reward, the fidelity, the devotion, the confessions, the sympathies, the patience, the mercy), is mockery before God. The uniting of the bodies is not casual, but rather it is the most sacred and reserved act known to humankind.
- They have a firm foundation of character, and know how to discern the character of another person, so as to not fear entering a long term, even eternal, relationship. The less honest and faithful ones past has been, the more difficult for that person to be reliable, and the more difficult to it is for themselves and others pertaining to them to make gravitus advances.
- They understand the doctrine that there is no such thing as a soul mate, a one true love which if not selected would result in a life of chaos and disappointment. Any two people can be compatible if they are abiding by the teachings of Jesus Christ the Lord. Once someone has married, the person they marry becomes their soul mate. Love is created, not found. It is a choice, not something you just fall into.
- They are happy. What is more attractive that a happy person? Many will stand in line for a chance to be wedded for a person who radiates joy in their countenance. Joy is the purpose of life. Though we go through much sorrow, the latter-day saints know how to have joy in the midst of trials because of the hope they have in Jesus Christ, whom they love, serve, and adore. They look forward to the coming of Jesus Christ, and know that there will be world peace very soon. Real. World. Peace. Very. Soon. How can a person with such a knowledge refrain from shouting for joy, and from their visage bursting forth with light and majesty! The hope in Christ’s promises are sufficient to send the soul soaring upward forever in light, and joy as bright as the morning sun, they cannot refrain from gladness!
Note 1: We do not judge one another when marriage does not come as soon as one would hope. Some pass through the valley of sorrow of singlehood, and Christ the Lord weeps with them. Their trials will make them strong, and nothing can hold them back from receiving every blessing power and glory which are promised to the saints so long as they hold out faithful and make an honest to God effort to keep all of the commandments of God, including TRYING to find a marriage partner.
Note 2 : We enter marriages with faith that they won’t fall apart so easily because we have tools which we can use to sustain marriage.
Note 3: I’ve heard several people complain that they entered marriage too fast and had a divorce and left the church from it all. I never suggest that people not ready for marriage get married. I do suggest that the mature teachings in the homes of latter-day saints often prepares people to be sufficiently mature for marriage roles at an earlier age than society at large. Each man and woman must be careful about marriage, but not unto paralysis. Latter-day saints recognize the eternally important role of marriage in both development in this life and development in eternity, so they are excited to learn about and apply unto the principles of marriage and family life. They make mistakes like everyone else, but glory be to God, they know where to turn for help.