Love by numbers | Marriage then and now


With the excitement around the Royal Wedding showing that marriage isn’t an outdated institution, we’ve done some research into how it has changed over the years. We surveyed over 1,000 married couples on all different aspects of married life; half were newlyweds, and half had been married for 25 years or more. Here are the surprising findings…

Back when Prince Charles and Princess Diana were newlyweds the average age for marriage was 24 for women and 22 for men. But,  as they near their 30s, Prince William and Kate Middleton represent the average age of current newly weds.

Age when getting married isn’t all that’s changed. A surprising 92% of newly weds now live together before marriage; that’s compared with just 10% of their previous generation.  Also, 50% of newlyweds told us that they had been on a ‘break’ at some point before they were married, while just 20% of the couples who had been married for 25 years plus could say the same.

Family life has also changed, with one third of newlyweds raising children before they got married (just 9% of the previous generation had children before getting married). However, more than a third of newlyweds said that their primary reason for getting married was that it provides the best environment for bringing up children. On the other hand, their parents’ generation said it was the best way the celebrate love.

One thing both generations can agree on is that communication and supportiveness are the most important ingredients to make a happy marriage!

Dr Gian Gonzaga, our Senior Relationship Scientist added:

“Whilst a lot has changed in the journey couples take to marriage, one thing remains true.  It is important to take the time to understand if you and your partner will be compatible across the long haul. Research tells us that people who get married to a partner that they are not truly compatible with have a significantly higher risk of getting divorced. Living together, having a short separation or having children together before marriage are highly personal decisions, but whatever individual choices people make it’s most critical that they enter into a relationship with the right person.”

This survey was carried out by online market researchers, OnePoll, between the 11th and 18th April 2011. The survey gathered data from 505 married adults of 25 years or more and 530 married adults of one year or less. All adults were British and aged 18+.

For further information, a detailed breakdown of the survey findings from OnePoll, interviews with Dr Gian Gonzaga or for married couple case studies, please contact: Julie Thompson Dredge or Rebecca Oatley at Cherish PR: ;


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