News and musings about my life as a civil celebrant
Is Marriage past its sell-by date?
Is Marriage past its sell-by date?

23 April 2018

What’s the point of marriage? Fewer people seem to be tying the knot these days. Certainly, more couples are divorcing.

Is marriage too much like hard work?

However, a little common sense – and effort – can make all the difference.

But before you even start, can you judge who would be a good match?

Alike or different?

Opposites attract (and can often have a successful marriage), but like-minded people sometimes make the best matches. Similar education, interests and even intelligence can prove advantageous.

I’m not denying that attraction may play a huge part. And I’m not suggesting couples take an IQ test before marrying. However, if one partner is a lot more intellectual, say, than the other, it could be a risky partnership. Particularly, after the novelty of marriage has faded. Both may find it difficult to understand, communicate with and relate to the other. That is a recipe for break-down.

As a civil celebrant, I had a chat with a couple who, to me (but this was our first meeting), seemed a complete mis-match. She took every decision for him. She didin’t take his wishes into account, it seemed, and he was reduced to a puppet. Sorry for the anti-climax, but I don’t know whether they actually married, or whether the relationship survived!

Rip van Winkle?

Night birds and early-to-bedders may not last. If one is always tired and likely to be grumpy while the other is sickeningly fresh, the chances of harmony are not high. Equally, socialites and stay-at-homes are unlikely to appreciate the other’s preferred lifestyle. (They may do, if they work at it.)


Are you a saver and your partner a spender (or vice versa)? This situation can cause enormous stress, for obvious reasons. You need at least to compromise, if you can’t actually agree. A big ‘ask’, as your financial blueprint is an integral part of your psychological make-up.


Mixed marriages can be – and often are – successful, but statistically they have greater chances of failure. Again, compromise is vital here, and that’s often far from easy in this area. It impinges not just on you two but, critically, also on children.  You must be fully in agreement on this before you commit to a shared life.


One of you may be very active politically, and the other indifferent (or you may both be  fervent supporters of opposing parties).  Then you had better clear up what each expects of the other before you enter into your relationship. Politics is another area where intolerance seems to rule!


Hopefully, before you enter into a long-term relationship, you determine what each partner might want in terms of sex and come to an agreement.


I am not a marriage counsellor, but I do believe that following these tips can really help your relationship. Sorting things out before they become a problem is paramount. Listening to each other, patiently (and calmly) explaining your viewpoint and, even, expectations are invaluable. Compromise is a skill well worth cultivating.

Happy marriages are the product of hard work as well as love and luck.


Photo by Frans Hulet on Unsplash

Michael Gordon can help prepare and conduct a tailor-made civil ceremony in or around London or, indeed, in Europe. Telephone me now on +44 (0)7931 538487 or contact me directly by e-mail.

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