You’re Not Married Yet?! & Other Common Questions for Singles in Utah

canstockphotoThere are certain expectations in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and high on that list of expectations is marriage.  The pressure to marry is so profound that young people begin to hear the “you’ll be next” gibes before they even leave high school (don’t believe me? check out the MormonProbs hashtag on Twitter). Utah has the lowest median age for first marriages in the nation, and it is difficult to escape the probing questions about marriage, even when you’re not a part of the LDS culture.

The constant nagging to get married is such a drag that one of our readers sent us this message, “I would love to see a post about being a single women in utah above the age of 21! It’s one of my biggest pet peeves about Utah’s expectations of women when other women look at my hand and say ‘not married? don’t worry, it will happen!'”

We feel your pain, reader, and have compiled a quick list of common judgmental statements questions surrounding marriage in Utah culture:

Why aren’t you married yet?

This question usually comes with an up-and-down assessment of your body, like the person is searching for evidence of the vestigial tail that’s keeps you from committing. In that moment they want you to confess some profound and personal flaw. “Oh, that’s why she isn’t married yet. She is embarrassed about having a third nipple!” The thought that you aren’t heterosexual, don’t support the patriarchal institution of marriage, or you just haven’t met someone yet, doesn’t even cross their mind. What this question is really asking is, “What in the heck is wrong with you?”

You’re not married yet?!

The person’s tone is full of shock and dismay, and the word “yet” is clearly italicized. This question dismisses all of the awesome things going on in your life, like that trip to Istanbul, your latest marathon, and your master’s degree. To the person asking, all of those things are just distractions that have prevented you from the important things in life. You know, the real measure of your personal worth and success: having a spouse.

Are you and your significant other ever going to get married?

You and Tim have been dating for 3 months, not 13 years, but your friends and family are already urging you to tie the knot. To you it is insane, but you live in Utah, so questions from family about whether someone is “the one” start around the fourth date. Most parents would be mortified if their 19-year-old daughter came home from her 12th date to announce nuptials, but the Smith family feels relief. They thought it was never going to happen for little Emma the spinster.

You want to get married, right?

You almost feel pity for the person asking. You can see their whole carefully constructed world disintegrating in their wide-eyed stare. Getting married was the greatest moment of their life–they haven’t done much since or before–and they need to hear that everyone wants what they have. They’re begging you to tell them that your late night pot-lucks in your studio apartment aren’t that much fun, and the hot new guy that you’re dating this week, he’s not that good in bed. No, all of that awesomness is just a cover for the fact that you’re secretly longing to get married. You think about lying to them, but you don’t have time for that, so you just shrug your shoulders, say, “not really,” and go on your merry-single-way.

All good humor aside, these questions can feel alienating and hurtful for someone who wants to get married, but hasn’t found the right person, or someone who can’t afford to get married. They also blatantly ignore the fact that some people can’t legally marry their partner, and some people think that the institution of marriage is bullshit. So unless someone talks about their romantic life and the trajectory of their long-term relationship, could you just stop bringing it up? We would really appreciate it.

 

 

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