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Why marry after all these years?

Why marry after all these years?

There’s a growing trend in Great Britain (and in the States) of people not feeling the need to be married before they have children together.

So why do people then get married after the children arrive? According to Donna Dawson, a UK specialist, the reasons are complex.

“She says even when couples say there isn’t a specific reason, there is “always something going on underneath”.

“Sometimes it is about marking a different stage in a relationship, or they might have taken a long time because of the bad example they were set by their own parents. There is usually a reason, even if they are not fully aware of it.”

Read more here. Interesting factoid at the end, for a majority of British, weddings are about the celebration, not the commitment now.

Are we seeing this more commonly in the Episcopal Church? What sort of pre-marriage preparation is then helpful, assuming the couple is choosing to get married in the church?


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Jim Pratt

In Canada, common-law couples are legally recognized and have most of the rights of married couples (the exception being Quebec, where provincial law does not recognize common-law status).

In my experience, many weddings are more about the party than the commitment — I have had weddings in which the couple had grown children. In such cases I find the most helpful question to ask, at the first interview, is “Why get married now?” Reasons vary widely — it took this long to save up the money to pay for the wedding, they decided to do it for the kids, the parents had been nagging them. The one reason they don’t say, but which I have found to sometimes be the case, is that they have hit a rocky point in their relationship, and they think that getting married will fix it.

John B. Chilton

According to the latest British Social Attitudes (BSA) Survey, which was conducted in 2008, almost two-thirds of people now see little difference between marriage and living together. Fewer than a fifth of people took issue with it. Just under half thought cohabitation showed just as much commitment as getting married.

Those are large numbers.

Also interesting: “If you cohabited or had children together you were as good as married in everyone’s eyes. It’s only after the introduction of the Hardwicke Marriage Act in 1753 that marriage became a legal concept and unmarried couples became stigmatised.”

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