By KERSTIN SMIT
According to a recent Associated Press story, postponing marriage is a national trend. Not surprisingly, however, it hasn’t caught on at BYU, where students value marriage both in action and conversation.
In a random phone survey reaching 337 students in March 1993, the median age of marriage reported for BYU women was 21.1 years.
Nationally, the average age for women is 24.5 years, as reported in a recent census bureau report.
The average age of marriage has increased to 26.7 years for men nationally. At BYU, men marry at an average of 22.9 years.
Students are not surprised by these results, saying BYU itself makes earlier marriages common.
“Outside of Utah, thoughts of marriage are far from the college experience,” said Julianne Jackson, a sophomore from Provo, majoring in dietetics.
Deon Travers, a 24-year-old junior from Whittier, Calif., majoring in health sciences, agreed.
Travers said many hands shot up in his accounting class when the professor asked, “How many people got engaged over Christmas vacation?”
“Marriage is part of the values instilled in the school and the church,” he said. “It’s part of the ideal.”
At BYU, the “window of time” for the acceptable age of marriage is smaller, said Amy Stansel, a sophomore from Michigan, majoring in social work.
“Eighteen to 20 is too young, 20 to 23 is right, and after 24 it’s like, why aren’t you married? What’s wrong with you?”
Stansel and Jackson thought half of BYU students come specifically to get married, but the BYU survey results show otherwise.
Thirty-nine percent of single students said the intention to get married had no influence on their decision to come to BYU. Fifty-one percent said the intention to marry had minor influence, and 10 percent reported a major influence.
Among married students, 59.5 percent reported marriage had no influence on their decision, 32.6 percent reported minor influence, and 10.9 percent said it had major influence.
Travers said friends at the University of Utah told him he’d be crazy to get married at BYU, but friends here, who are recently married, give him friendly pressure towards marriage.
Similar friendly pressure is put on Annette Grigsby, a 22-year-old junior from Oneda, Tenn., majoring in animal science.
She said there is a lot of pressure at BYU to get married early, and that some people even push marriage away so they’re not part of the stereotype.