One of the first things Jess Wassom felt after finalizing her divorce was utter, dark despair.
“I felt numb. This can’t be real, can it?”
Wassom, a BYU-Idaho alumna who graduated in April 2020 with a degree in marriage and family studies, is one of many students who have been divorced or had engagements fall through.
According to McKinley Irvin Family Law, a couple gets divorced in the United States every 36 seconds. This adds up to 876,000 divorces per year. According to the World Atlas, in 2018 the state of Idaho had the fifth highest divorce rate in the country. BYU-I is no exception to this statistic.
Benjamin, a freshman studying business whose last name has been held for privacy reasons, said that in his experience with conservative Christian cultures, there is a push to get married young.
“I grew up in southern Texas, in the Bible belt,” Benjamin said. “The kind of place where everyone knows your name. I will be honest; I felt pressured to marry young because I wanted to have sex and I was afraid of upsetting God if I didn’t follow the law of chastity. Sex is a terrible reason to get married. Don’t do it. I got divorced after an ugly, bitter marriage after one year. It sucks.”
An article by Brides.com say’s that before looking for love again after divorce, one should seek to know one’s self again and cultivate positive friendships with others.
Alivia Fairchild, a former BYU-I student, said that for her, the healing process was a rollercoaster.
“I was married for two and a half years to my ex-husband,” Fairchild said.
Fairchild reports that she has been climbing out of the abyss ever since with a combination of medication, Jesus, neighbors and counseling.
Fairchild said that as she has begun putting herself out there again, she has learned to love herself.
“I am looking to get married again someday, but for now I am happily single and taking care of my son, who’s four now,” Fairchild explained. “After a bad marriage, I am okay being on my own.”
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints endorses marriage and happy families. In a talk titled “Choosing and Being the right spouse,” Elder Neal A. Maxwell said that preparing for marriage starts with being the right person.
“The key is to have our eyes wide open to our own faults and partially closed to the faults of others—not the other way around,” Maxwell said. “When we focus on finding the right person, we should also focus on becoming the right person for someone else. The strengths we bring to a marriage will undoubtedly contribute to the success of the marriage.”