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02 September 2014

Have our views on waiting for marriage changed?

Years ago the norm was very much that a man would court a woman, ask her to marry him, they'd get married, they'd live together. That’s the way it went. 

Now, our views on marriage have certainly changed and so many of us are having casual relationships and living together way before marriage, or perhaps not even getting married at all. We’re meeting partners in different ways, through online dating websites, and going on multiple dates, with several different people, before we meet our perfect match.

There are still plenty of people out there who wait for marriage before consummating their relationship (3% of people in the USA) but with so many of us living free and independent lifestyles, it's no wonder that bleeds into our relationships too.

In the 1950s more people waited for marriage but not as many as you might think. 11% of people in the USA waited for marriage back then. That figure has dropped dramatically in recent years. Most of
the people who wait for marriage are part of a religious group but generally we don't teach abstinence in schools.

People of our grandparents' age were supposedly more likely to wait until marriage but not as many of them did as we might think. It's just that people weren't as open about their relationships as we are now.

We've realised that there are a number of benefits to living with and sharing a bed with someone before you get married. Not only do you get to know that person better but it's a good chance to work out if they really are the one for you. Living with someone can make you realise how incompatible you might be before you get tied up with marriage and have to go through the lengthy process of divorce. 

Because so many of us are seeing these benefits, it's becoming more and more common for couples to live together for a while before even thinking about marriage. A lot of people also say you should 'try before you buy'. Not being sexually compatible with someone can ruin a relationship and if someone waits until marriage then it might be too late to find this out.

Waiting until marriage (or not) is a personal choice. Whether you decide to live with a partner, take more than one partner or wait until you find the one, that's up to you. In the modern age, people are more open to different kinds of relationships and how people handle them. 

Generally, people who get into sexual relationships before marriage aren't against waiting and wouldn't judge anyone who did. There are people, however, in both camps who just can't accept how the others handle their own relationships. Unfortunately, even as these numbers dwindle, this is always going to be a problem. In reality, how you conduct yourself in love and life is no one else's business.

Part of the reason our views on waiting for marriage have changed over the years is, in part, thanks to the free love movement in the 1960s and 1970s. This period taught us that it's okay to have fun with people, even outside of marriage. Another contributing factor would be the sexual images we see in the media. This is one of the biggest indicators of how comfortable we've become with sexuality in general.

What are your thoughts on the subject?

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1 comment

  1. Its an interesting topic. I was with my husband for 6 years before we married, I had an 11 month old child when we met so we were pretty much a family from the start. I don't think you can truly know someone until you have lived with them but each to their own


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