Utah State University

Mormons, Marriages and Economics

Not being married I do not know the specifics about it, but having parents that have been married 32 years I’ve heard a lot about it.  I also have a twin brother, which is kinda like being married.  But only kind of.  My parents have been married for 32 years yet still argue, disagree on certain things, and can irritate each other.  I do the same with my brother, but I’ve learned to put up with it.  So I figure this is what marriage must be like, because it’s what I’ve seen and what I’m used too.

Thinking about economics and marriage now, I ponder as to why my mom has not divorced my dad.  He’s a lawyer and makes a lot of money, and I’m sure she would get a large chunk of it.  But perhaps it would be in her greatest interest to stay as she will have a more constant supply of money and presumably because she loves him.  Mormons (and more specifically students at BYU) are stereotypically known to get married at young ages without dating for long periods of time.  While I have not known anyone personally who has done that, I’m sure we’ve all heard the stories.  Elder Jones gets off the mission, 3 days later he’s engaged.  Yada yada yada.  What are the economics behind that?  Well, like Kelsey said ‘you don’t have to go through the hell of dating anymore’, and especially for guys dating can greatly increase sunk costs.  Getting married soon is like making an investment, putting all your eggs into one basket.  It wouldn’t make a lot (though some) to put all your eggs in several baskets because you can only get married to one person (legally.  And why would anyone want more than one wife/husband?).

Getting married quickly can have its benefits, but also its downsides.  ‘The crazy comes out after you put the ring on’, they hide things they didn’t want you to know until it’s too late, now that you’ve fully committed they stop putting on their best behavior and you see their true face, etc.  Once you’ve shown them you’ve fully committed, they see your willingness to be in the relationship, so they pull and tug to see how much you’ll give them.  Some of their incentive has gone away.  But of course engagement is not a strict contract and can be terminated at any time.  Maybe there should be a website to rate men/women so you can find out how they are before you date them.

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