Now more than ever, couples just aren't in a hurry to get hitched.
According to a new survey conducted by Bridebook.co.uk, not only are people waiting longer to get married, but they're spending more time in their relationships before they say "I do," meaning couples know each other very well if and when they walk down the aisle.
The wedding website's team analyzed information from 4,000 recently married heterosexual couples and found the average couple spends 4.9 years in a relationship and 3.5 years living together before they get married. In fact, 89 per cent of couples surveyed lived together before they tie the knot.
The survey also found that modern couples are getting married quite a bit later than the last generation — brides and grooms are on average eight years older than they were in the 1970s.
These days, if the study is to be believed, we don't feel as strongly as our parents about marriage, with 83 per cent of respondents saying they don't feel pressure to get hitched. We also have more relationships before we get married, with individuals saying they've had at least two serious prior relationships.
Common-law arrangements are growing even faster than married couples.
According to Statistics Canada, common-law arrangements are growing even faster than married couples. Between 2006 and 2011, the number of common-law couples rose 13.9 per cent, more than four times the 3.1 per cent increase for married couples.
For the most part, people (91 per cent) said they tied the knot to show their commitment, while others (2 per cent) cited social pressure, financial reasons (2 per cent), or out of convenience (2 per cent), showing that for this generation (at least, in the U.K.), love is the strongest reason why people get married.
But whether you've been together for one year or five, there are still important discussions couples should have before they put a ring on it.
According to advice columnist Wendy Atterberry, couples should talk about the following before saying 'I do':
- Outstanding debt
- Whether you want or don't want children
- Where you want to live
- Bank accounts and bill-sharing
- Division of household labour
"Do you want to sleep with just one person for the rest of your life? Can you and still be happy and satisfied?" she asks. "If not, you need to discuss either the possibility of an open marriage, strategies for keeping the spark alive, or waiting on marriage until the idea of monogamy isn't a death sentence for you."
Marriage doesn't make you any happier than living together, which may be why some couples choose to wait longer before they get engaged.
And according to one study, marriage doesn't make you any happier than living together, which may be why some couples choose to wait longer before they get engaged. However, the older you are when you start cohabitating, the more likely you are to stay together.
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