10 reasons a traditional marriage is better than a two-year beta marriage

Compiled by Herb Scribner, Deseret News National Edition

Published: Wed, July 30, 2014, 2:20 p.m. MDT

 Trying to figure out if you should try this beta marriage thing and do a two-year trial, or to be married in the traditional sense? We're here to help you figure it out.

Trying to figure out if you should try this beta marriage thing and do a two-year trial, or to be married in the traditional sense? We're here to help you figure it out.

(AlekZotoff, Getty Images)

Would you take the opportunity to have a two-year trial marriage? Most millennials would, researchers say.

Time magazine reported Monday that 43 percent of millennials would support a marriage that included a “beta” period — or a time in which the couple would re-evaluate their relationship after two years together. After all, research and experts have both suggested that the first two years of a marriage are the most crucial.

So what would a beta marriage look like compared to a traditional marriage? Here’s a peek at the differences between the two:


In a beta marriage, you may avoid conflicts or be slow to reach agreement, especially because you’ve only got two more years left in the relationship anyway. And, that behavior won't change, even if you wanted to extend the marriage. Most couples don't change their arguing habits over time, research has found.

In a regular marriage, you may be more willing to work things out, especially because you both want to spend the rest of your lives together. And you may actually live longer, according to a Brigham Young University study.

Having kids

In a beta marriage, you may need to extend your marriage contract after having kids, although you're probably more focused on your career right now. Research by The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania found millennials are more interested in building their career than having kids right now.

In a regular marriage, you may be more focused on finally bringing your idea of a family into fruition, although you may still be considering whether or not you should have a kid at all, with the birth rate at a record low, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.

Going to a concert

In a beta marriage, you may be more focused on the good times — rocking out, meeting people and being one with the music, man. After all, concerts and festivals are essentially like Disney World for younger people, one study found.

In a traditional marriage, you may be more focused on making sure your special someone is comfortable. Are they having a good time? Is the music too loud? These are questions that could become increasingly more important. Two-thirds of Americans are in bed by midnight anyway, research has found.

The future

In a beta marriage, you may be weighing two plans: one with your significant other, and one without him or her. Two roads for two possibilities. Plus, if you're a millennial, planning your next meal is more important than readying your future.

In a traditional marriage, you may be completely committing to a future with your spouse. Many married couples often are faced with issues of relocating or adjusting their lives for their spouse's goals.

Meeting the in-laws

In a beta marriage, you may not be too worried about meeting the in-laws. After all, they should like you for you, right? Not if the science behind first impressions holds true. But whatever, if they don't like you, maybe someone else's parents will instead.

In a traditional marriage, you may feel as though the pressure is almost too much handle. You’ve got to really work at these greetings and impress these folks, especially if you're going to spend the rest of your life communicating with them. Not getting along with in-laws, after all, can lead to some health issues.

Meeting the friends

In a beta marriage, you may dislike your spouse’s friends and avoid them for the next two years. Millennials are making more friends at work anyway, a LinkedIn study found, so you may already have a group to chill with for the next two years.

In a traditional marriage, you may begin to think long-term earlier, since arguing with friends and family can lead you to the grave a lot earlier, according to a study by the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. Are they people you’re going to be comfortable around for life? How can you find the common ground?

Spending money

In a beta marriage, you’ve got two years to really figure things out. You may spend a little extra or go a little crazy at the department store sale. You may also be asking your parents for help, too, Fobes reported.

In a traditional marriage, your bank account is shared. You may be more likely to make tough financial decisions together and save a little bit of money, the Labor department found.

Living arrangement

In a beta marriage, you may be more likely to rent. After all, millennials are more likely to rent nowadays anyway, USA Today reported. Why own a home together if it’s just a two-year plan?

In a traditional marriage, you may be more likely to own a home — and use a cool New York Times article as a reference, too.


In a beta marriage, your union would end without paperwork or legal documents. So, you may avoid the hassle before the beta period and live together anyway, which may actually not lead to divorce down the road, according to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

In a traditional marriage, you have to fill out all that legal paperwork and be one of the many United States couples filing for divorce every year, according to the CDC. So you may think more deeply about dissolving the relationship.

Finding love

In a beta marriage, you may not be entirely sure that you're with the right person. It's totally possible that things may not work out. Those who get married before 18 usually split before the second year is through, one expert found.

In a traditional marriage, you’ve made a full commitment to be with someone forever. While it's also possible the relationship may not work out, you're banking on the fact that it does.

Email: hscribner@deseretdigital.com

Twitter: @herbscribner

1. BYU Track Star
Los Angeles, CA,
July 30, 2014

My two cents. This article if anything will be a conversation starter. Prehaps some Beta relationships will break-up as a result of it. It will also lend more ammunition to the Committment-phobic Mid-Single guys still holding out that something better will come along. Relationships are work. Some of us should not be in any kind of relationship. period.

2. FatherOfFour
July 30, 2014

I have good friends that have been together 11 years. They were married in Massachusetts in 2005. They are both from Utah and although they were active in their church in Massachusetts they chose to have their Utah pastor come out and perform the ceremony. He is an old family friend. In 2008 they adopted a child from a young lady who knew it was not time for her to raise a baby. They have been there since birth, literally. Years later they moved back home to Utah and were married (by that same pastor) last December. Unfortunately though in Utah only one of them has parental rights. If the other one dies the surviving parent has no legal rights to the child he has raised for the last six years, literally all of this young boy's life. They were in the process of fixing all that when our governor decided to nullify their marriage and stop those proceedings.

3. Schnee
Salt Lake City, UT,
July 30, 2014

I see no use for such a thing, mostly because I see the period between engagement and marriage as the equivalent. Of course I realize that my being fine with cohabitation before marriage does produce that option whereas those who oppose it wouldn't have that option.

4. giantfan
Farmington, UT,
July 30, 2014


There's research that shows that couples who cohabitate before marriage or more likely to divorce anyway, if they do decide to tie the knot. You'll have to google it yourself since DNews won't let me post a link.

5. koseighty
The Shire, UT,
July 30, 2014


Sadly, the state of Utah doesn't care how many families it has to destroy in order to maintain the sanctity of families.