Has marriage served its purpose?

These days, everybody seems to be putting in their ha’porth about marriage. It’s becoming quite emotive. I don’t see why I shouldn’t add to the discussion.

As I’m a wedding celebrant, you might expect me to be pro-marriage, but it’s not as straightforward as that. After all, would I be happy marrying a couple who I believed were incompatible, or doing it for the wrong reasons?

Historically, marriages were often made for reasons of wealth, power and succession and life-spans were shorter.

A marriage today is viewed quite differently from the way it was viewed in our parent’s – and certainly grandparents’ – generation. Today, expectations might well include romance, children, financial stability and friendship, as well as great sex.

We want different things when we are in our early twenties to what we want in our forties, so arguably marriage shouldn’t be for life.

Divorce rates are high, so, seemingly, marriage isn’t working. One point to balance this a bit is that couples who marry over the age of 25 are statistically far less likely to divorce. Moreover, a lot of remarriages are proving durable.

Marriage tends to be later than it used to be. Apparently, 89% of women over 35 are fertile, and 13% can still have children at 45, so ‘late’ weddings make sense. Also, more mature parents have more chance of bringing up their children sensibly,

A good marriage can bring stability and happiness to the couple and their offspring. Witnessing their parents working at their relationship is a good example for the children.

I believe that if people marry for the right reasons (eg love and respect), and they are reasonable in their expectations, then marriage is still a valuable institution. It needs to be worked at, but can you reasonably expect success in anything without effort?