Single and married members of the Church see the challenges facing singles in a very different way. In a survey of Church members, singles overwhelmingly provided a few very specific answers, while the married respondents only mentioned those issues a few times, while giving very different responses.
With this disconnect is it any surprise that we, as a general church membership, struggle so much to include and help our single adults? I hope that the following survey results and commentary will help you better understand the needs of the singles, and with that knowledge, create more effective singles programs in your area.
The survey was posted in various LDS-oriented Facebook Groups such as, “LDS Midsingles of the World,” plus on several wards’ email lists. In all, there were 675 survey responses. The answers are a bit skewed due to the large number of singles that responded, but that only helps provide a greater insight into the challenges of the singles.
Of the 675 responses, 625 individuals reported that they are active members of the Mormon Church, 48 are inactive, and 5 were non-Mormons.
Question: Are you now married, widowed, divorced, separated, or never married?
Question: How old are you?
Question: If married, or previously married, how old were you at the time of your marriage? (If married more than once, please enter age at time of first marriage.)
Question: If married, or previously married, how many times have you been married?
Question: If you have never married, do you intend to, or hope to marry someday?
Question: If you are single, would you say that you have intentionally postponed marriage?
I asked the two questions above in order to dispel the myth that singles don’t want to get married, and/or that they are intentionally postponing marriage. The responses from the singles clearly indicate that they do all hope to be married someday, and very few have ever postponed marriage.
Question: According to the National Survey of Family Growth, the median age for women to enter a first marriage (in the U.S.) is 25.8 years old (of women who marry). But only 44% of women will marry by the age of 25. In your personal experience, do you find this to be true within the Mormon culture?
A sample of the written responses to this question-
It seems if a marriage does not occur by 25 or so, it just doesn't happen, or not for 20 plus years.
I find they are younger.
I'm not sure-when I first married we were all getting married quite young-now my brother is 33 and still not married and now imagining life again and no one even seems to be real focused on marrying.
It seems to me that most Mormon women are married by 23.
I tend to socialize among older singles so it seems like a large number marry later but I think that may have to do more with my proximal bias among my friends
I think the median age is younger, and higher than 44% marry by age 25.
I think that there will be a fast growing number of unmarried Mormon women, due to the huge imbalanced gender ratio. Most YSA wards are 2:1 or even 3:1 women.
The numbers for Mormon culture are leaning more and more towards the national standard for first marriages. More people are putting it off until college is done. With the new age requirements for missions I feel that the age number will decrease for women.
The responses to this question were of particular interest to me. If you review the responses to the question regarding respondent’s age at time of marriage, you will see that 68% of respondents were married before the age of 26.
Question: If you have never married, what do you perceive to be the biggest challenge for LDS singles keeping them from marriage?
265 written responses were given. Here is a sampling. The answers provided below were the “every third response” in the spreadsheet, and not selected for content.
Lack of men! Who is there to marry?! If they are there, they are either addicted to porn or video games. We are raising a generation of boys that never grow up.
Mormons don't know how to date, just hang out. Pornography addiction. Men not being interested in women. Mormon scale of attractiveness
Inability to find someone who they feel valued, trusted, and loved by. Fear of inability to meet expectations of future spouse--not measuring up.
No suitable dating opportunities
Men come home from their missions at (now) 20….Meanwhile, women older than 20 and single are perceived as left overs, by 25, old, by 30 spinsters because of the male population for the reasons mentioned previously. As a result, the women become more and more accomplished and therefore more and more intimidating and ultimately not the sweet, young thing the 20 year old had in mind as the "perfect" lds girl
It is no longer a priority, people would rather hang out, go to parties, on cruises, etc then be married.
Guys don't seem to want to commit or ask girls on dates. Or there just seems to be a lack of worthy priesthood holders (on the east coast).
trust, some people will not open up to others
not having quality men to marry
Meeting single LDS men
Economic downturn, unrealistic expectations, looking for lust and not sure how to find love
Lack of dating opportunities
The ratio of men to women.