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Real Reason Marriage Is on Decline

The Real Reason More People Are Saying "I Don't" to "I Do"

With marriage rates in a funk, the recession has been an easy scapegoat. But while a bad economy may dent the marital rate, is that really enough?

BBC Magazine suspects "modern life," interferes with old-fashioned marriage, because our lives are too hectic to plan a wedding. Sure, there is the grad school couple who delays wedding plans until campus employment isn't listed as their main source of income, but the real problem isn't that we're too busy to plan. It's that weddings have become elaborate extravaganzas that require the coordination of a musical on opening night.

When our parents married, mom bought a white dress, grandma ordered a cake, and the happy couple consummated their first dance in a church gymnasium. Today the perfect wedding is a fairy tale. It's your day. The big day. And it better be perfect.


Manufacturing a perfect day, whether natural or manmade, is impossible, but oh how we try. Hunt down the perfect dress on wedding blogs; book your venue two years in advance; coordinate a photographer, band, florist, officiator, and whatever else I've forgotten. It requires planning, down payments, and way too many shopping trips with mom. It can be more stressful than marriage itself!

The problem isn't that life is too hectic, or that weddings went bust with the economy, but that our wedding must haves read more like a list of demands than a bride's hopes. Are we too busy, or are our weddings?

Source: Flickr User Studio Nouveau

Join The Conversation
danakscully64 danakscully64 6 years
Sounds like your wife might be suffering from depression. What she's doing to you and the kids isn't right. :( *hugs* It's not marriage itself that scammed you, it's the person you're married to. That's not right and hopefully you two can work together to make some changes.
vabeachbum vabeachbum 6 years
My husband put off getting married for an entirely different reason. He is a super responsible sort (my total opposite lol!) and wanted to wait until he had a house, steady job, and the means to afford a wedding. Our wedding was super small and under $7,000. That included his suit, my dress, venue rental and food, dj, etc. I don't understand putting yourself into debt over a wedding. If you have the means, great, but I know people who are on their second and third kid and STILL paying off debt incurred over their wedding. I can understand waiting until you have the means to have the wedding you want... that's a lot more responsible than putting yourself $50,000 in the hole over something that may not even last.
Smashboxchick Smashboxchick 6 years
With divorce rates being as bad is they are people are afraid they'll get divorced as well. No one wants to get married if there is a good chance they'll be getting within however many years. And I actually have to agree with Scammed. Men usually need sex in their marriage, and once they aren't having sex they'll feel like the marriage is over. Some women feel the same way.
Pistil Pistil 6 years
None of these reasons really resonate with me. I'm in a long term relationship with nothing against marriage, no interest in a wedding, but I'm in no rush to the court house. I have every intention of staying in this relationship, but I'm just not thinking about marriage right now. I don't know if it's my age, character, or the times. It worked for Goldie Hawn.
danakscully64 danakscully64 6 years
Unless they're rich, people who spend 40k on a wedding are nuts :p
HollyJRockNRoll HollyJRockNRoll 6 years
I was just talking about this yesterday with my boyfriend. It is EXPENSIVE getting married. The average American wedding is $40,000. When I say average I am talking about the basic hotel wedding with the same pasta primavera, prime rib, menu, corny DJ etc. My cousin had a really nice, origional sort of wedding and I'm pretty sure it was under $10,000. She had two bridesmade, held the reception and ceremony at her hunsband's family's home. They used the ipod to play music, and it was a sort of bohemian theme. It wasn't as over the top as the weddings you see on TV, but I remembered it in detail more than I do the more expensive weddings I've been too. With the economy in the tank its too expensive to tie the knot the way celebs do and on TV. I say find someone who owns a really nice garden and pay them money to marry there and have a huge BBQ after (as someone already suggested). Most men don't care, and the fairytale should be marrying someone you love-not some $10,000 gown.
danakscully64 danakscully64 6 years
*(that's why it's more common with women not wanting sex)
danakscully64 danakscully64 6 years
Scammed: "Loss of novelty does not justify a wife giving her husband a sexless marriage" That's a little sexist. It happens the other way around too, sometimes the men isn't interested in sex. Women cheat at almost the same rate as men. Also, you have to remember that often the woman does MORE work and is too tired/not in the mood (that's why it's more common with men not wanting sex). It's not like people in sexless relationships go out of their way to make the other spouse feel unwanted, often one partner doesn't want sex for one reason or another (the pill can kill the libido for women, not getting enough sleep at night - being up with the kids or whatever - can make someones too tired, having body changes after having children, stress, etc), . In many households with children, the Mom stays at home (or works in addition to this) with the kids and her job never ends. The husband comes home, expects to have a meal, then relaxes while the woman continues working until she goes to bed. After 15 hours of non-stop work, how can she be expected to be in the mood? Too many times I've seen one spouse do a lot more work than another. Nothing is sexier than helping out around the house and with the kids. :)
danakscully64 danakscully64 6 years
That's funny you say that saga because a lot of men say the opposite :p
sagagirl sagagirl 6 years
Marriage is more beneficial for men than it is for women. I like the freedom of being single, I haven't met anyone that could make me want to give that up. Women today can provide for themselves so marriage is no longer necessary.
danakscully64 danakscully64 6 years
What about higher rates of commitment-phobes? I'm seeing more of that than ever, experienced it myself recently.
Frenched Frenched 6 years
I'm married by the court but not by the church and the only reason I haven't been married by the church is pretty much the fact that some family wants to have a flashier, bigger kind of wedding. I hate it and it's just not my style.
LaSigh LaSigh 6 years
I think jazzy's point is not without merit- I think it just depends if you spend a lot of money on "our day" (good to go) or on "my day" (eek), at least that is what I have experienced in my bridesmaid time. Skg- ultra small sounds SOOOO nice. At the moment, our guest list is 70 people and of that 55 are family (we're not Catholic but our families are very much so) thus the reason elopement keeps coming up- that's a hard guest list to shrink without hurting feelings. I'd also like to say "Hi!, I'm new here but I've been reading yall for a while and think the reasonable tone of this website is awesome"
bengalspice bengalspice 6 years
I had a large wedding of 400 ppl this year, and I think I'll continue to regret it for a really long time. The biggest problem was that it was MY PARENTS who wanted a big flashy wedding, not me ... and since they were paying I had to accept the pushing and prodding away from the small wedding at City Hall in the simple dress I wanted. I actually envy girls who have the small diy weddings. My wedding will always remind me how my parents don't respect that I'm more American than I am Bengali, that showing off what money can buy is more important than their daughter's happiness and peace of mind [or the fact that they are now struggling to put my brother through college now].
onlysourcherry onlysourcherry 6 years
Um, weddings should be like everything else, within your means. If someone wants and can afford a big wedding, it's kind of crazy to assume that means they don't plan to work on their marriage and they can't afford a down payment on their house.
LaSigh LaSigh 6 years
I'm planning a wedding right now- and elopement has been brought up many, many times at this point. It's just, sticker shock at the cost of a venue. 1700 dollars to stand outside and then dance for three hours (total)? Or to rent the flagship for (again) three hours (when I know they don't make that on a Friday night during tourist season) The second "wedding" is said- everything triples in price. There is a point when you charge too much and the people stop buying- I think wedding are getting to that point. There is no need to go into debt for a wedding! One day of happiness followed by 12% interest- that will be a happy day even if you do it at the courthouse and remain debt free.
Bettye-Wayne Bettye-Wayne 6 years
So yesterday less people were getting married due to recession, today (the real reason, apparently) less are getting married because they don't have time to plan the wedding... I wonder what it will be tomorrow.
starbucks2 starbucks2 6 years
If money wasn't an issue, I'd probably have the big, fairy tale wedding. But we already have a kid and a house. I have better use for that money. I'd rather invest in the marriage, than the wedding...
fuzzles fuzzles 6 years
Good god. Lighten (or light one) up.
fuzzles fuzzles 6 years
jazzy, Agreed. I say, elope and have a backyard BBQ with family and friends at a later date. Photos? Give every guest a disposable camera and let the good times roll!
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