Why get married? Financial security? Commitment? Someone to help do the washing up? What’s in it for women these days? match.com’s relationship expert Kate Taylor pops the question, and reveals the very surprising answers…
Picture the scene: a man drops to one knee in a candlelit restaurant, nervously holds out a diamond ring and asks his girlfriend, ‘Darling, WHY would you marry me?’
It’s not a romantic image, but is one that might become more common, as recent research by match shows more men than women now want to get married. The 2010-2011 LoveGeist report – the largest survey of UK daters – revealed 51% of men want to commit to wedded bliss, compared to just 49% of women.
So – why get married?
Put bluntly, why would women want to get married now? With financial security easily achievable by single females, can we look forward to a future where it’s men staring moodily into jewellers’ windows while women buy wedding magazines just to line their cats’ litter trays?
As match.com’s relationship expert, I can tell you that a lot of women on dating sites still long for wedded bliss. match is the UK’s expert on everything to do with love – from finding it to keeping it – and every day we hear from females who dream of ‘happily ever after’. But why do women want to get married?
Firstly, security. Even though couples can now live together without the neighbours raising an eyebrow, let alone a net curtain, simply cohabiting doesn’t satisfy most women’s urge for long-term commitment. We might live with men before marrying them – to get an idea of their lifestyle and to see if they know their way around a 60-degree hot-wash – but eventually we won’t settle for less than getting married and settling down.
Our favourite films still end with a wedding, from When Harry Met Sally to Pride and Prejudice. We know that standing up in front of friends and family and declaring everlasting fidelity still means something to a man. It’s his way of showing the world that he has picked you out of everyone. Somehow, sharing a bag of chips on the night bus home doesn’t quite have the same promise.
In fact, the traditional reluctance of most bachelors towards marriage is a big reason why women want to get married. The simple fact that men do drag their feet towards the aisle (and they do: the average age for UK men to first tie the knot has now risen to 32, for women’s it’s 30), lets us know that men realise it’s a Very Important Matter.
Luckily, of course, the main reason women want to get married is love. Yes, you’re thinking, ‘Duh!’ but this is actually a modern phenomenon. Recent research by Forbes magazine in America revealed that ‘mutual love and attraction’ has only recently become the number one reason that men and women want to get married.
Even in the 1980s, men were still rating, ‘emotional maturity’, ‘a pleasing disposition’ and ‘dependability’ higher than love, while women recovering from the effects of World War Two in the 1940s only ranked love at number five. We now want everything emotional to come from our other half – as women move towards more independence in our lifestyles, we look for emotional independence less and less.
When asked: ‘why get married?’
“We might answer that we want to love and be loved, to have and be held”
So, fellas, if you’re the one in the restaurant nervously proffering the diamond sparkler, don’t be scared. There are a million reasons why a woman would want to get married, and one very important one why she’d want to marry you. She loves you.