Wednesday, January 23, 2019

From my drafts: Weddings & Utah

From my unpublished drafts, post written in October 2017:

One of the lovely ladies in the training class for my new job--um, oh yeah, I got a new job--she invited me to her wedding. I hope to be able to go, but I don't know yet if it'll happen. I don't love weddings and neither does the hubs. I really only mention it because this is the third wedding I've been invited to in less than two and a half years.

Maybe that doesn't sound like a lot, but to put it in perspective, in the 16 years I lived in Texas we were only invited to one wedding. One. And I was a part of the wedding party. All of my friends and acquaintances were older and either already married or never planned to be.

When I lived in California, I only attended three weddings... four, if you count the one where I was the bride. That's it, just four, and that's not a lot when you consider that in my whole life, all 36 years before moving to Utah, I was only invited to/attended a total of five weddings.

It's interesting because it seems to say something about the culture in Utah that there are so many weddings. Talking to another of my training classmates, a 25 year old with an almost one year old baby, she told me the average time from meeting-to-matrimony in Utah is only three to six months. She sort of laughingly said that she's considered years behind the mommy curve because most first time mothers in Utah are eighteen to twenty-one years old.

Young people here graduate high school, go on missions, then come home and get married. It's pretty dang fast. But, how much time does that really give them to get to know one another? Not a lot, that's for sure. A quick, illustrative statistic: the divorce rate in Utah is 73% for women and 68% for men. 3-4% above the national average for each gender.

The first time I got married, I was too young. Some may argue that the second time I got married, I was still too young. They would be right. Married at 18 and again at 21, I wasn't then who I am today. I wasn't grown up, just because the law says so. I wasn't prepared for the responsibility that came with being married.  Fortunately, my current husband and I grew in the same direct, for the most part.

But how often does that happen? If the statistics are correct, only a little better than a quarter of the time. That's a heck of a lot of divorces, especially in a place where the predominate religion says that a woman can only have one eternal, heavenly husband. Somewhat of a double standard, considering the same doesn't apply to men.

My point is only that there seem to be a lot of weddings going on around here, considering the number of long-term marriages is so low. The couple from the first wedding I was invited to since moving here, for example, actually only stayed married a few months. It's a little bit scary, when you think about it, because many, many of these short term marriages are producing kids. Not just one or two, but a LOT of kids. Kids who will grow up, graduate high school, go on a mission and then get married without really knowing who they are first.