If you are newly engaged or newly married, this article may come as a shock to you. But according to statistics from reputable agencies such as the United States Census Bureau, marriage is very rarely forever. And saying, “I Do,” does not mean FOREVER, but only about 20.8 years (And that’s if you are REALLY lucky!)
Meanwhile, the wedding industry is making billions of dollars planning extravagant weddings for people that they know might not make it to the 20-year mark as a married couple. Of course, while its all fresh and new, and in the planning stages, weddings and marriage can be likened to a Cinderella story. Far too many people ignore the facts and figures about marriage and think for some reason that their relationship has the anecdote to divorce. So women and men, walk into the marital relationship blindly. And then are blindsided by the failure years later.
This isn’t to suggest that you shouldn’t get married, or that marriage as a whole is a farce. Instead, this is just a reality check that is designed to help you realize that marriage isn’t the glitz, glamour and fairy tale that most people think it is. As of 2009, 56% of first time marriages ended in divorce within 20 years. And 33% of marriages do not make it to the first decade. There are also some interesting findings that suggest cultural differences and upbringing make a massive difference in how likely you are to see your marriage end in something besides a happily ever after. According to the US Census Bureau, Hispanic and Chinese men and women stay married longer than their American and Canadian counterparts do. Experts believe that North American culture is adopting a view on a disposable lifestyle that clearly involves marriage. To be to the point, when people aren’t happy – they simple excuse themselves from the marital table and walk out rather than try and work on the marriage.
Now that we have the formalities and statistics on marriage cleared up, its time to discuss another interesting fact and figure. The cost of weddings! According to the cost of weddings dot com, “US couples spend $25,631 for their wedding. However, the majority of couples spend between $19,223 and $32,039. This does not include cost for a honeymoon.” Comparing that to the cost of a home, or the cost of a college education – both of which offer lifetime longevity, it seems that society has gone crazy when it comes to wedding planning. Is it really WORTH this much?
For a sane person, meaning one that is not raged up on love hormones and idealisms about ‘happily ever after’ spending this kind of money on a wedding is downright absurd. In fact, it would actually make more sense to save this money and the frivolous expenditures of weddings until you reach the estimated 20.8 years of marriage. After all, reaching a martial milestone felt by less than half of society is really something to be excited over. But investing this much money into a wedding? And worse, is that much of this money is financed, as it is becoming customary and normal for couples to take out loans in order to cover the costs of nuptials. When you weigh the long run payout, it is downright insane on many levels.
Buying Into the Myths of Marriage
According to Victoria Fleming, PhD, author of the best selling book, “You Complete Me and Other Myths About Marriage,´ too many people have bought into the common myths of marriage. They are also socially obligated and pressured to marry as a rite of passage into adulthood, often times before they have truly experienced adulthood for themselves. In her book, she reveals the top 10 myths of marriage and asks couples entering into marriage, or suffering from problems in a marriage to ask themselves whether any of these myths of marriage applied to them. Idealisms such as marriage will change someone, we’ll be happy once we get married, love will keep us together and that another person ‘completes them,’ are misguided reasons to get married and often lead to divorce. Believing that you are marrying the ‘perfect person,’ or that having children will make the marriage a family are also false socially pushed pretenses that cause problems within a marriage. And in her marriage counseling practice, she estimates that over 80% of her clients admit to having preconceived notions of marriage that fell short compared to the reality of the siutation.
The bottom line is that marriage is a lot of work. You should be excited about getting married. You should be invest your time and effort, and even some money into your future. But going into a marriage with false predictions of what life will be like, is a big mistake. Instead of spending so much money on the wedding, spend the money on couples counseling and retreats, and other venues that will truly make your marriage stronger. And that make it last more than average 20.8 years.