If you look around at the family setups in the children’s school, you really do see every type of family there is. There are married couples, both heterosexual and same sex, there are separated and divorced families, step families, single parent families and children living with foster families or family members.
The children take far less notice of this than adults tend to – in their eyes, they are just friends with different family setups – they don’t really questions it at all. There has been the odd question about why so and so has a dad that doesn’t live with them, and we just explain as best we can. They know that sometimes, marriages don’t work out, for a variety of reasons. They know that sometimes, people live together as a couple, but they aren’t married – and again, there are a variety of reasons for this.
Tying the knot is, for a lot of people, a chance to confirm their commitment to their partner in front of family and friends, something that has long been a tradition; and for some it’s the traditional vows and commitment that make it so appealing. 69% of people surveyed by slatergordon.co.uk believe the biggest benefit to marriage is the commitment to a relationship, and 42% see financial security as the main benefit.
However, we know that today there isn’t just one face of marriage, and marriage means something different to everyone. Whether you choose a religious ceremony, or a small civil gathering on the beach, the wedding you choose can be a reflection of you as a couple.
Of course, for many, marriage isn’t even on the agenda. Cohabiting couples and single dwellers are more than common in 2017. There is no pressure to get married – in fact, 69% of people believe there is less pressure to get married now than there was 10 years ago. Many families are perfectly happy to live without the marriage certificate and the wedding ring. Remarriages are no longer a taboo either, with many people finding love with a new partner after a divorce or separation, and going on to have a second, third or fourth wedding ceremony!
We got married almost 11 years ago now, just 3 years after we met, and 8 months after our first daughter was born. We married in a church, less for religious purposes and more for tradition – it was the church where all my family had been married. Both us of always knew that marriage was on the agenda – it was something we both wanted, both as an outward commitment and a financial safety blanket, as well as providing stability and security for our daughter. I know it’s not for everyone, and I certainly don’t think getting married makes for a perfect relationship. Some of my best friends are bringing up children without a marriage certificate to their name, and are doing a wonderful job of it – it doesn’t make you a better parent!
At the end of the day, you do what is right for you. As long as you are happy, secure and loved by those around you, whether that is a husband, wife or best friend, then that is all that really matters, isn’t it?