Reluctant to Marry
By Victor L. Brown, Jr.
Overcoming normal fears can help one prepare for eternal marriage.
Victor L. Brown Jr., “Reluctant to Marry,” Ensign, Apr. 1992, 44
There are many reasons why members of the Church are single. Some people are willing
to marry and yearn for an opportunity to love, be loved, and begin a family. Some have
been so badly wounded by such things as abuse in childhood or marital troubles ending in
divorce that marriage or remarriage terrifies them. Others may lack the physical or mental
health required to enter into marriage. But some quite simply are reluctant to do what is
necessary to marry and establish a family. It is those members, struggling with normal
fears and apprehensions, that I would like to address.
Since Joseph Smith, the Lord’s prophets have encouraged loving and supportive marriage
relationships. Our living prophet, President Ezra Taft Benson, has continued that
admonition. To the single men in the Church, he counseled, “Do not be caught up in
materialism, one of the real plagues of our generation—that is, acquiring things, fast
paced living, and securing career success in the single state. … Honorable marriage is
more important than wealth, position, and status.” (Ensign, May, 1988, p. 53.)
To the single sisters President Benson said, “I would also caution you … not to become
so independent and self-reliant that you decide marriage isn’t worth it and you can do just
as well on your own. Some of our sisters indicate that they do not want to consider
marriage until after they have completed their degrees or pursed a career. This is not
right. … Our priorities are right when we realize there is no higher calling than to be an
honorable wife and mother.” (Ensign, Nov. 1988, p. 97.)
What perplexes me as a stake president is that many of those who are reluctant to marry
are active members of the Church and are decent, honorable men and women. They strive
to live the gospel and follow the counsel of the prophet and other leaders. I believe their
reluctance to marry often can be attributed to factors or attitudes that immobilize them.
Among these factors are fear of marriage, other priorities, and lack of relationship skills.
Consider them briefly.
Overcoming Fear of Marriage
We must face the fact that an entire generation has been raised on a diet of unhappy
stories about marriage. The devastation of this cannot be overestimated. Most people who
read the newspapers or watch television news are aware that a large percent of marriages
fail. They are ever more aware of the ugliness of abuse and its innumerable victims. By
the media-portrayed standards of the world, infidelity appears to be normal and fidelity
However, not much attention has been paid to the other side of the issue; there are happy