Love and Marriage
Americans believe that love is the main foundation of marriage. Most who never have been married say they would like to be at some point in their lives. However, statistics show Americans aren’t rushing to the altar, and the US marriage rate is at an all-time low — only 51% of adults were married in 2011, according to US Census Bureau statistics.
The romantic ideal of marriage plays out in survey data that show whether they are married or not, Americans are more inclined to choose “love” as a reason for marriage than any other factor. In a 2010 Pew Research Center survey, love wins out over “making a lifelong commitment,” as well as “companionship,” “having children,” and “financial stability” as a very important reason to wed
Among married people, 93% say love is a very important reason to get married; 84% of unmarried people say so. Men and women are equally likely to say love is a very important reason to get married.
But love only goes so far. Most Americans cast cold water on a central premise of many a song or poem, that each person in the universe has only one true love. About seven-in-ten (69%) people do not agree with that notion; only 28% do. Among those who do agree, men (31%) are slightly more likely to do so than women (26%). Young and old, married and unmarried are equally skeptical.
Do You Want to Marry?
Especially for those who have never wed, marriage remains a life goal. About six-in-ten (61%) men and women who have never married say they would like to get married, according to the 2010 Pew Research survey. Only 12% say they do not want to marry and 27% are not sure.
That same survey found that a trip to the altar is not so appealing for those who have been there before. Among divorced adults, only 29% say they would like to marry again, with women more likely than men to say they do not want another trip down the aisle. Among widowed men and women, only 8% want to wed again.
Men and women’s attitudes about marrying for the first time are not different among young adults. But among never-married adults ages 30 to 50, men (27%) are more likely than women (8%) to say they do not want to marry.
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