Nearly one in four Brits think marriage is an 'outdated institution'

Wedding season is upon us. Harry and Meghan’s was one of the biggest TV events of the year so far, news of Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson’s engagement just weeks into their relationship set Twitter on fire – and whichever celeb announces they’re getting hitched next is sure to get us over-excited too.

But how do we actually feel about marriage as a nation, and everything it comes with – the fancy ceremony, the intrusive in-laws, the old-fashioned traditions – not for celebrities, but for ourselves? Here’s the lowdown from YouGov’s Profiles data.

1. Most of us do still believe in marriage... but there are a lot of sceptics, too

Nearly one in four (24%) of Brits believe that marriage is an ‘outdated institution’. Awkward fact: 25% of them are themselves married. Of the total population of married people, 12% feel the institution is outdated, compared to 31% of singles.

2. Young people are significantly more likely to think marriage is an out of date idea.

It's primarily younger respondents who feel like the institution of marriage needs a revamp: people aged 18 to 24 are 69% more likely to agree with the statement that marriage is outdated than those over 55, and those aged 25 to 39 are almost double as likely (48%) to think so.

3. Those who think marriage is outdated are more likely to support gay people’s right to get married than the average person.

Even those who think the institution of marriage is outdated still feel everyone deserves to give it a shot. They’re 14% more likely than all Brits to strongly support gay marriage, and see it as a ‘top issue’.

 

4. One in three of us think most marriages end in divorce, and that weddings are a ‘waste of money’.

Even though the majority of Brits do disagree that marriage is outdated, three in ten (30%) think most marriages will end in divorce. The same proportion (30%) feel the cost of the wedding itself is a ‘waste of money’.

 

5. We’re pretty split down the middle on whether we think a wedding has to be flashy.

Only 9% of people definitely think that a wedding should be a large celebration with lots of people, with another 27% agreeing with them (just less strongly). 11% definitely disagree, and another 42% tend to disagree as well.

 

6. And less of us than you might imagine are wedded (sorry) to the idea that you’ve got to be married to have kids.

Only 39% of people agreed with the statement that it’s important to get married before having children, and 25 to 34 year olds are 50% more likely than all Brits to disagree. People who are married are a lot more likely to think marriage is a necessary prerequisite to having children, with 49% of them agreeing with the statement.

 

7. In fact, many of us don’t think we even need a relationship to be happy.

Historically, marriage gets talked about like it’s a part of the formula for a happy, fulfilled life – but the stats show that half of us disagree with the idea that we’re only happy in a relationship.

 

Still, just under 44% of those with a partner feel they would be useless without them, and a third of us (33%) do feel that we’re only happy in a relationship.

8. A quarter of people wish their in-laws would get out of their business

As dreamy as it might be to spend your life with your loved one, unfortunately it’s often a package deal. Just under three in ten (28%) of people in relationships wish the in-laws would keep themselves to themselves.

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