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Newlyweds ‘try before they buy’ before tying the knot

By Elisabeth Edvardsen on April 26th, 2011 2 comments

Ever looked at your parents or grandparents and wondered why they married so young? Some of you might be tying the knot in your early to mid-20s now, but these days it’s becoming more normal to wait until you’re approaching the 30s before considering marriage.

A new study by relationship site eHarmony shows the different path young couples today, such as  Prince William and Kate Middleton who are both approaching 30, travel to marriage, compared to the paths their parents took a generation ago.

30 is now the national average for first-time brides and grooms and living together prior to marriage is the normal thing to do – it would so have been frowned upon some generations ago! – with a staggering 92% of newlyweds saying they lived together before their wedding.

Another interesting finding is that it is more common today for couples to get separated at some time during their relationship, only to get back together and eventually get married. Half of the newlyweds surveyed had spent some time “on a break” from their partner before going on to marry them, compared to only 20% of those married 25 years ago. Again, much like Kate and Wills who famously were broken-up for a few months in 2007.

The reasons couples cite for marriage have also changed remarkably over the past generation. More than one-third of newlyweds today say that being married provides the best foundation in which to bring up children, and they cite this most often as their primary reasons for getting married.  By comparison, their parents were more inclined to view marriage as the best way to celebrate love.

What do you think readers, are you getting married because you want to celebrate your love to each other or is it because you’ve already have kids and feel this is the next step in life’s unknown future? Or perhaps both?

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  • 92% of newlyweds live together before they’re married? That’s not just staggering, it’s unbelievable. I can’t comment on eHarmony’s survey procedure but going from 10% among couples married 25 years to 92% for newlyweds seems fishy to me.
    If that’s true, it’s tragic. The level of investment required for long term relationships, not to mention raising kids, belongs in a setting of commitment.
    ‘Try before you buy’ has a nice ring to it. But intimacy (relational, emotional, physical) can’t be tried on like a new outfit. Treating it as less than a total life commitment is inviting trouble when the tests to relationships inevitably come. And for those that try and change their minds and move on, there are relational consequences that they’ll take with them.

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