The single life vs. married life

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Walking through the Wilkinson Student Center and overhearing a table full of single students talk about their dating lives results in two choices: slow down to catch the interesting stories or walk faster because it’s painful to hear.  

Perceptions of married and single life differ all over campus. (Photo illustration by Chris Bunker)

For married students, overhearing single students talk about their dating lives can either bring back memories of their dating days or cause them to want to stop and give single people dating tips because, after all, they’ve been through the “dating game.”

Katie Skovran, a married student who recently graduated from BYU in English, recalls times when she overheard single people talk about their dating experiences.

“Sometimes I feel frustrated for them because I used to be analytical about dating and would over read into things when I was single,” Skovran said. “Now, I know that it can work out and everything doesn’t need to be perfect. It will end up right in the end, and people shouldn’t worry too much about dating.”

Katie’s husband, Steven Skovran, who is studying exercise science, also feels that single people over analyze dating and should take a less stressful approach.

“I wish guys and girls wouldn’t just play the game and be more honest with each other,” Steven Skovran said. “Understand what a first date is for, which is to get to know someone. Just because someone asks you on a date doesn’t mean that they want to marry you.”

For single people overhearing married people talk about their lives, responsibilities and routines, the subjects will either be interesting to them or just plain strange.

Everywhere in the world there are stereotypes about certain people — even at BYU.  Though there is a good mixture of married and single students, BYU freshman McCall Lewis, a nursing major, agrees that it’s easy for single and married people to place stereotypes on each other.  

“A stereotype that single people place on married people is that they are boring,” McCall said. “Also, I think a lot of single people think that some people are too young to be married.”

Ashlyn Sandstrom, a freshman living in Provo studying cosmetology, similarly has heard that when people get married they become less interesting. She has also heard that once people get married they care only about their relationship with their spouse.

“Usually married people start acting more mature, but almost boring,” Sandstrom said. “Not in a bad way, but they just seem to start caring only for more important things in life.”

Single people who perceive married people as only being absorbed in their relationship with their spouse are noticing the reality that many married people have to face.

BYU professor Mark Ogletree teaches Living Prophets and Marriage Preparation and has noticed the change in responsibility for many married couples. He has seen these changes both through his personal experience in his marriage and through seeing married students at BYU go through the transition of single life to married life.   

“All of a sudden, when you get married it’s no longer about you,” Ogletree said. “Now you have someone you have to share your life with. Now it falls on you to really try to meet the needs of someone else.”

Single BYU students who have friends get married understand that their relationship with their friend will go through some changes.

BYU sophomore Jai Knighton, a dance major, also finds that married people’s outlook on life changes.

“Priorities change and dedication to work and school generally takes over, which leaves behind the social scene of young adults,” he said.

Ogletree prepares his students in his marriage preparation class about the relationship change between single and married friends.

 “One of the things I tell my students is that when you get married your friends are going to change,” Ogletree said. “Once you’re married you’re going to notice that you have a lot more in common with married people and it’s difficult to hang out with single people.”

BYU student Grant Peterson, who is studying Information systems, has been married for 9 months and has noticed that he doesn’t hang out with his friends as often as he did before he got married.

I need to constantly remind my friends that we can still hang out and we can still do things,” Peterson said. “They literally think that married people … that all their doors are closed and that they don’t want to hang out with anyone else other than married people.”

Peterson feels that his single friends have abandoned him and looks forward to hanging out with his friends once they’re married too.

“I feel that single people look to married people as if their lives are over and that they’ve moved on as if to say, ‘I’ll see you again when I get married too someday, and then we can party again,'” Peterson said.

Peterson’s wife, Carly Peterson, a BYU junior studying early childhood education, feels that being married doesn’t put her ahead of single people.

“…Being married doesn’t make me feel more mature,” Carly Peterson said. “I feel that rather I’ve been through different life experiences. I am still pretty young, and I look at older people who are still single as more mature than me … because they’re older and have had more life experiences.”

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