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What wedding bell blues?
June 7, 2005 6:52 PM   Subscribe

Not quite ready to settle down? I know how you feel. But then that's only temporary, right? StatsCan releases the results of a study showing that Canadians who delay marriage are less likely to marry at all. Attitude appears to be key, with Francophones being the most likely to say "Ça ne fait rien".
posted by dreamsign (19 comments total)

 
Add one more to the list of Canadians with no intention of marrying.
posted by nightchrome at 7:12 PM on June 7, 2005


I'm actually surprised that the average age for marriage hovers around 30. I wonder if that includes second marriages? I would've thought that the average age for first marriages was younger.

Though I have to say that I laughed at the idea of a 29 year old woman being described as "mature".
posted by cali at 7:16 PM on June 7, 2005


I would marry if women weren't such an impossible hassle, or ridiculously expensive. (I mean the wedding ceremony and all being expensive, don't jump to hasty conclusions)

But I'm not a mature single! My two cousins on my dad's both fit that bill, tho one has a kid now.

Marriage is the new puce.
posted by tweak at 7:32 PM on June 7, 2005


So people who delay marriage are less likely to get married than people who are already married?

Who would have thought?

This does seem to match up with the study that suggested that people who have sex early are less likely to be virgins at the age of thirty than people who do not have sex early on.
posted by flarbuse at 8:09 PM on June 7, 2005


I and a lot of people my age (at least that's what I think - the topic isn't high on my friends' discussion topic list) feel that marriage is an optional extra.
If you want to settle down with one partner and raise kids - fine, most people end up doing so anyway.
But there's no need to get religious ceremonies mixed up in it.
posted by spazzm at 8:31 PM on June 7, 2005


The key distinction between mature singles who did not expect to marry and those who did related to their attitudes.

The key distinction between researchers who are saying nothing but think they are saying something and researchers who are saying nothing and realize they are saying nothing relates to their attitudes.

Similarly, mature singles, who placed no real importance on being married had very high odds that they would not think of getting married.

Similarly, researchers who place no real importance on meaning have very high odds that they will not think of anything meaningful.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:45 PM on June 7, 2005


The key distinction between researchers who are saying nothing but think they are saying something and researchers who are saying nothing and realize they are saying nothing relates to their attitudes.

Not to nurse, but it's interesting that negative attitudes reduce female likelihood of marriage by a factor of three, while for men it's a factor of five. Pleasant surprises in store for some women, but fewer surprise rescues for men. Maybe a factor of the still-male-directed courting game?
posted by dreamsign at 10:06 PM on June 7, 2005


There may be fewer surprise marriages for men, but there must be the same number of marriages for men as for women, assuming men marry women. So all the "research" proves is that their expectations are different, and that is how they formed the groups in the first place. The conclusion is the premise.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 11:40 PM on June 7, 2005


With more than half of all marriages ending in divorce, and men almost always being stuck footing the bill and almost always being stuck giving up their kids, there's really no reason for men to want to get married these days.
posted by nightchrome at 12:14 AM on June 8, 2005


The "half of all marriages end in divorce" thing is a misleading statistic. The relevant statistic is how many first marriages end in divorce, not all marriages. People who get divorced once often get divorced again if they remarry so the percentage of *first* marriages that end in divorce is less than half.

Essentially, if you get divorced once and remarry you are a lousy bet to make it.
posted by Justinian at 1:03 AM on June 8, 2005


Out of sincere curiosity, I would love to hear what people feel/think the point or goal of marriage is today.

As I consider the meaning & implication of marriage on a personal (as opposed to institutional) level, I take into account that I'm 35, a happy life long single woman who has had more than one opportunity to get married and has chosen not to go down that path yet, if ever. I like the idea of marriage and lifelong companionship, waking up to my best friend for the rest of my life, etc. and I realize that it will involve much heartache and struggle as I've watched many marriages crumble, then either revive, fail or both.

I do not want bear children but am open to and comfortable with the idea of adoption, raising children from a previous relationship or just having a dog. I have a large and strong network of friends and will never be content if I'm socially restricted. I'm probably overly generous when committing my time and energy, but I am entirely loyal and faithful on sexual and emotional levels.

When I think of the ideal relationship, I think in terms of a 'partner in crime' (well, 'mischief and mayhem' is maybe a better term) far more than the traditional definition of a spouse or mate. Many of the people that I know, who are my age, think along the similar lines and as I look back over those paragraphs, I see how different those qualifiers are...even against those of my younger parent's generation.

My concept of what a happy marriage would be for me is entirely different from what theirs was, but no less significant, on a personal or institutional level, in my mind. However, I do think it's worthy of some consideration. And I do believe firmly that long term/lifelong, successful relationships contribute a great deal to the sustained health and success of communities.

On the flip side, is this limited to civil services, ordained weddings or religious ceremonies? And why? Are common law unions exempt? Obviously the answer is subject to conjecture, exceptions and specific situations, but I'm more interested in hearing specifically what people think and how they regard the different outward definitions of these relationships in context to what they want and how they feel about them personally.
posted by Frisbee Girl at 1:06 AM on June 8, 2005


frisbee girl- i have the same definition of the perfect marriage as you-partners in everything. my husband and i decided to get married because we had a child together, loved each other and wanted to raise him together. our thought was, why not? if it wasn't for our son, we probably would still be together but maybe not married. there's something about having a child that makes you want to establish something permanent-for them, for you, so you know that everyone is in it for the long haul.
posted by slimslowslider at 2:07 AM on June 8, 2005


In Qu├ębec people don't marry, because they don't have to. People address their partner as 'ma blonde' (also if they are not blonde, although 'ma brune' is also not unheard of) or 'mon chum', and nobody knows if they are married, living together in sin, or if they just met three days ago. It just doesn't matter. And many unmarried couples have children together.
I did marry, but that was for my visa...
posted by kika at 7:50 AM on June 8, 2005


Marriage is an antiquated notion that have no place in the 21st century. What is the value of a contract that can (and will most likely) be broken at any time? What is the value of an institution that has mostly been used for the oppression and possession of women? Professional shit-stirrer, Bill Maher, once said that marriage is a lot like communism, "a good idea that doesn't really work".

My girlfriend is a feminist/socialist/agnostic and she initially agreed with my views and refusal to play the marriage game. But later, she quietly confessed wanting to get married. She wanted to have some symbol of our love and commitment. The words 'boyfriend' and 'girlfriend' imply some kind of temporary relationship that isn't very deserving of anyone's respect. The words 'wife' and 'husban' command some level of respect and inappropriately conveys some sense of maturity. But I don't give a damn about what other people think. I resent the idea that one must validate their relationship through marriage in order to appease those who place value in such things.


But I grudgingly agreed to the idea of getting married. I concede to my girlfriend, that there are legal and financial benefits to getting married. For example, should one of us be seriously imjured in an accident, the "husband" title would give me automatic powers for decision making I wouldn't necessarily have otherwise.

And then she speaks of having a ceremony, with friends and a ring and then I start to think to myself, wait a minute are you really an agnostic, socialist feminist? She insists that the ring need not be expensive. A simple wedding band will suffice, she says. And yet, if I am to play the marriage game, I would need to do as Peoples Jewellery suggests and spend at least two months salary on a ring! Otherwise, what would people think? (After all this is mostly for them, right?) "That cheap bastard" is what they'll call me, not wanting (or able) to understand my rationale.

I don't believe that love is forever just because I say "I do". I don't believe the potency of romance and love can last forever. Instead the shape of love changes over time; it evolves and becomes more comfortable. But that does not mean romance must die over time, instead it quietly lingers, always present instead of forgotten and taken for granted. I never want to take my spouse for granted. So for that reason, I'll play the marriage game, because really, it doesn't change a thing.
posted by haasim at 8:32 AM on June 8, 2005


Not to nurse, but it's interesting that negative attitudes reduce female likelihood of marriage by a factor of three, while for men it's a factor of five.

Well, dreamsign, I think you and the researchers have cause and effect backwards. There can be no reduction in likelihood of marriage because of attitude, since the numbers must be equal (one man marries one woman). There is only an increase in the likelihood of surprise for women. Women apparently seem more negative about their prospects for marriage than men, therefore women are more often pleasantly surprised when they get married. I want one of these government research jobs.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:49 AM on June 8, 2005


wpg, you're making the mistake of retrospective patterning.

This is about predictive ability and based on correlation, not causation.

One hundred men and one hundred women. Various ages, attitudes, and levels of education. Let's say that a number of them will marry (each other. equal numbers). Which ones are most likely to marry?

These stats tell us, if the correlation is good, that it will likely be:
- those with the most positive attitudes regarding marriage (no surprise there)
- those in certain age ranges, by sex (equal numbers, sure, but different ages by sex)
- those with higher education levels

Note that the study doesn't discount intervening variables and effects. A higher education level may make one think that they have better prospects, yielding a more positive attitude about marriage.

Furthermore, though the complaint about correlation versus causation is omnipresent these days, few people seem to realize what correlation is or why it matters to sociologists/insurance companies/stock brokers, etc, etc, etc. Let me ask you: if you found a 100% correlation between two variables (in any subject), would it be valueless if you could not determine causation?
posted by dreamsign at 10:06 AM on June 8, 2005


That depends on whether I am a salesman or a doctor.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 11:20 AM on June 8, 2005


"Out of sincere curiosity, I would love to hear what people feel/think the point or goal of marriage is today."

From an individual point of view, or from society's point of view? From society's point of view, the most important function of marriage is probably to make it easier to raise children. Compared to other species, newborn human infants are completely helpless, and extremely demanding. Having two parents in a stable, committed marriage makes it easier to manage the stresses of child-raising. My understanding is that common-law marriages (couples living together without a formal commitment) are much more common in Quebec; but the birthrate is also quite low.

From my own point of view, the reason I married my wife wasn't to have children, it was because I wanted to spend my life with her. Even when we're old and wrinkly. :-) I realize that in theory we could spend our lives together without getting married, and that our marriage could fail at some point in the future. But I think marriage improves our chances: it forces you to think hard about the future, and to make a decision to commit to the other person. You know that the other person has thought about it and made a decision, that they're not just with you because of inertia. And if you run into serious problems at some point in the future, I'm guessing (I don't have any evidence at hand) that you'll work harder to try to save a marriage than a common-law relationship.

The wedding itself is a lot of work, but it's a good way to find out how well you can work together on a big project. And of course it's another form of commitment.

Marriage also brings social support from family and friends, although the increase in common-law marriage has diminished the importance of this. (In our social circles, common-law partners with children are treated the same as married couples.)

I don't mean to imply that everyone should get married, of course! If you choose not to marry, there's nothing wrong with that. But it does have some big advantages, particularly if you're thinking of having children. I'd suggest thinking pretty hard before having children outside a stable marriage.
posted by russilwvong at 3:35 PM on June 8, 2005


Hubby and I got married for the benefits (this was before domestic partners legislation). Love and commitment were personal and private and didn't require any legal documentation, but health insurance etc was a different matter.
posted by Quietgal at 7:02 PM on June 8, 2005


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