Pretty much every person on the planet would say that, when they decide to get married, they want to stay married for life.
Obviously, that doesn’t always happen, but new data found that people are taking one important step that might help them avoid divorce: They’re dating longer.
These findings come courtesy of Bridebook.co.uk, a wedding planning website in the U.K. For their survey, the website polled 4,000 recently married couples and asked, among other things, how long they had been in a relationship before they tied the knot. The answer: 4.9 years, on average.
But the data gets even more specific. The average couple dates for 17 months before moving in together, lives together for 22 months before getting engaged, and then spends about 20 more months engaged before getting married. The average couple ends up spending 3.5 years living together before saying “I do” and a lot of couples go this route (you know, just in case your parents give you sh*t about it): 89 percent live together in some form before they get married.
People are also waiting longer to get married, which isn’t exactly a shocker. Women on average are getting married at almost 31 years old, while men are getting married at nearly 33 years old. (Compare that with 22.6 years old for women and 24.6 years old for men in 1971.) Most couples said they’ve also had two serious relationships before they meet The One.
Apparently the majority of people are looking at marriage as a partnership they want to enter into, which is always good to hear. Nearly 85 percent say they discussed marriage before the proposal and 83 percent felt no pressure to get married.
Nearly everyone said they got married to show they were committed to their partner, while very few cited social pressure, financial reasons, and convenience—which used to be reasons for getting hitched, unfortunately. Married couples also think their choice was a good one—95 percent say they would recommend marriage to other people and 85 percent say it makes a relationship stronger. Eighty percent also said they’re even more committed to each other now that they’re married, and 60 percent said they’re happier than they’ve ever been.
The number of divorces is at its lowest level since 1971, the survey notes, so clearly we’re on to something.
Obviously, the choice of when to get married is personal and every couple is different. You could just as easily have a strong, happy, and lasting marriage if you got hitched at 25 as you would if you got married at 35. But, if you’re waiting to get married and keep getting pressure from relatives to tie the knot, feel free to point out that it’s totally normal to take your time these days.