As I sit edging ever nearer to my late twenties and browsing my Facebook timeline, it is becoming increasingly difficult to avoid the continually frequent engagement and pregnancy announcements of my peers.
After almost 4 years of being in a relationship, the inevitable and persistent “When are you getting married?” question from family and friends has well and truly reared its ugly head. It is impossible to attend a wedding without at least one “You’ll be next” comment or watch ‘Don’t Tell the Bride’ without shedding an over emotional tear. When my partner bought us a trip to Venice, a number of people suggested there was no point in going unless he was planning to propose.
With all the potential stress and cost of organising a wedding and a reported 42% of marriages estimated to end in divorce , is it really worth it? OnePoll surveyed 2000 adults who are either married or in a long term relationship to gauge whether or not owning a marriage certificate is the be all and end all of a relationship.
Of those in long term relationships, the desire to marry appeared to be more common amongst females with 62% of women admitting they’d like to, compared to just 55% of men. Surprisingly only 4% said they wanted to marry because they or their partner are religious. 5% confessed they wanted to get married to be the centre of attention for the day. Astonishingly, 6% of men wanted to get married just to have a stag do, compared to only 2% of women wanting to marry for a hen do. Perhaps even more shocking was that 3% said they wanted to get married just to show off the ring on social media!
In contrast we asked those who do not want to marry what their reasons were for this. 38% said they believe marriage to be an outdated tradition, or as one person called it “…an outdated patriarchal institution”. 46% said they think it is pointless with one respondent eloquently stating that “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” . Unsurprisingly, 45% said they don’t feel the need to get married to prove their love and 21% also said they wanted to keep their independence.
Many also claimed that they were reluctant to get married for financial reasons. 35% claimed that weddings are too expensive, with 23% saying they would rather spend the money on a holiday. Age also played a role in judging the financial implications of marriage. Respondents aged 18-24 were least likely to want to marry for financial security whereas 38% of 55 and overs said financial security was actually more likely to make them marry their partner. This suggests that the younger generation may be more financially independent.
It’s no wonder the cost of a wedding puts people off getting hitched, with unmarried respondents estimating that the big day will cost them £12,972 and those who got married in the last 5 years reporting an average spend of £9,096.86.
Laziness and uncertainty also came in to consideration with a surprisingly high 12% saying they couldn’t be bothered to organise it and more than 1 in ten admitting they weren’t sure if their current partner is ‘the one’.
Top ten reasons those in long term relationships don’t want to get married
I don’t feel the need to-54.29%
I think it is pointless-45.71%
I think it is an outdated tradition-37.71%
It is too expensive-34.86%
I / my partner is not religious-28.00%
I would rather spend the money on a holiday-23.43%
It would take up too much of my money-22.86%
I want to keep my independence-20.57%
Too many people get divorced-13.71%
My partner doesn’t want to-12.57%
When quizzing those who are already married it was apparent that family played a big role. 16% said that they wanted their family to share the same surname. A further 5% said their families wanted them to get married.
In fact 15% of unmarried respondents and 13% of married respondents said they felt under pressure to get married to keep other people happy and a third said that their friends or family nag or hint about marriage a lot.
4 in ten said they married because it is traditional, with one respondent saying they got married because “In our day that is what people did.” 11% said they did it for financial security with one romantic noting they did it “for tax rebate”. 6% said they did it to make their partner more likely to stay faithful and one said they “can’t remember” why they wanted to get married.
Almost 3 in ten unmarried respondents said they feel envious of their friends and family when they get engaged. 15% of married respondents said they announced their engagement on social media and received an average of 92 ‘likes’ for the post.
When asked if they would ever let their partner arrange their entire wedding, including choosing the dress or suits, in a Don’t Tell the Bride style, a vast 57% of women were against the idea, compared to only 30% of men who said no.
With the amount of time spent together before getting married averaging at just over 3 years and 9 months (and it being a leap year) perhaps I ought to think about popping the question myself. But with nearly 7 in ten saying that being married made no major difference to their relationship, maybe the money could be better spent elsewhere.
With other matters taking priority and less of a stigma surrounding unmarried couples and parents, it seems society deems it more acceptable not to get married nowadays. There are other means to ensure financial security and long standing traditions are certainly waning.