Do You Need To Get Married? Opinions From Irish Bloggers

Read time: 5 Minutes

Marriage in Ireland has changed a lot over the years. Not only is it now legal for same sex couples to wed, but figures show that the way men and women approach marriage in 2017 is vastly different to our view of the institution just a few decades ago.

In Ireland, there are approximately 22,000 marriages per year, with a rate of 4.8 per 1,000 population tying the knot annually. Although this seems like a large number, it’s quite a drop from 1973 when the marriage rate stood at 7.42.

The most notable in change is in how long we’re waiting to get married. Nowadays, the average age of a first-time bride and groom being 33 and 35. That’s a sharp increase from the seventies when the average ages were 24 and 26, respectively.

Same sex marriages make up almost 5% of all marriages and religious ceremonies account for just under 65% of marriages.

So as the numbers continue to change, we’ve talked to a number of Irish women, of varying relationships statuses to find out of their thoughts on marriage matches the stats

Laura Breslin– Married, mum of two. Blogger at

Laura Breslin - blogger

My experience

I’m not sure I can say I specifically always wanted to get married but I always wanted a loving partner and kids. Who doesn’t want to be loved!?

Growing up I wasn’t the type of girl who dreamed about the big white fairlytale wedding, who kept the scrap books of dresses etc. It just wasn’t me.  The act of marriage was certainly on my radar and I wasn’t adverse to it in any shape or form.

I had been going out with my now husband for eight years and were engaged for two years before we got married. Although we did meet very young, it wasn’t a totally spontaneous decision. We didn’t speak a huge amount about it nor was anybody surprised when we got married it just seemed like the logical next step in the relationship.

Marriage didn’t change our relationship. Well maybe a lighter bank balance after the wedding day itself! After ten years we had been through a lot so marriage wasn’t going to change our relationship really. The biggest change came after we had kids I think.

Is marriage still a priority?

This is a difficult one. I think the traditional view of marriage as in church wedding, man, woman, multiple guests, big white dress has evolved. Marriage now for me anyway has become so much more about the union of two people and that’s irrespective of gender. Anything goes and that’s rightly so.  You only have to look at the massive support the 34th Amendment to the Irish Constitution had (Same sex Marriage Bill 2015) to see marriage it still a feature for young people today just probably not in the traditional sense as our parent or grandparents would have viewed it.

Are there benefits to being married?

I am an Accountant so from a tax perspective there have been some financial benefits certainly.  In terms of social or emotional benefits, l I’m not sure. I think our relationship would still be the same if we weren’t married. Again, it was having children that had the profound effect.

Louise Murphy – Engage, mum of one. Blogger at

Louise Murphy talked about marriage

My experience

I always wanted to get married. I always saw myself making that commitment to the right person

When I met my partner we had an instant connection and without even talking about it much we both knew we wanted the lifelong commitment. However his proposal was spontaneous and I wasn’t expecting it!

Since we’ve been engaged, we’re so much more of a team. I feel like it brought us together and made us work harder for the future we want.

Is marriage still a priority?

No I don’t think marriage is as much of a priority for my generation as it was for my parents and grandparents. I think people these are leaving it longer to get married and are cohabiting more. In my group of friends, we’re all in our very early thirties and we are having the first wedding of the group this August.

Are there benefits to being married?

At the moment the main benefit for us to be married would be financial. However we are in no rush to get married right now and are quite happy with a long engagement and waiting for the right time to have our wedding.

Andrea Mara – Married, mum of three. Author of The Other Side of the Wall, Blogger at


My experience 

I think I always wanted to get married. It’s probably not very progressive of me to admit that, but it’s true. I remember playing weddings when I was about eight, and taking out a pencil and paper to design my wedding dress. I have a very clear memory of deciding with friends that we’d all join convents if we didn’t find husbands. Feminism, how are you!

I guess when I was growing up in the eighties it was very much the norm to get married, and I picked that up from watching what was going on around me. I’m careful with my own children to tell them that some people get married and some people don’t.

I met my husband when I was 25, and we were together three years when he got down on one knee during a weekend in Mayo. I had no idea he was about to propose, so it was very much the romantic gesture I’d always hoped for.

Realistically, we both knew it was on the cards for us, even if we hadn’t spoken about it. We were living together in an apartment we co-owned, and even though we hadn’t used the M word, neither of us had expressed a lack of interest or belief in marriage either.

Our relationship didn’t change after marriage. We came home to our own place after our honeymoon and went back to work as normal, and I don’t think it felt particularly different.

To me, the big difference came a year later when we first started talking about when we might have children. That was a huge leap, and that, to me, felt like the bigger commitment than signing the marriage register.

Is marriage still a priority?

No, definitely not. Back then it wasn’t acceptable to have children or live together without being married, whereas today it’s completely normal and very commonplace. So without the social pressure to get married, there are fewer reasons to do it. It comes down to whether or not the couple would like to be married, and whether or not they can afford a wedding, and no doubt, there is still family pressure for some. But taking away the societal pressure has to be a good thing.

Are there benefits to being married?

I think there are some benefits but it very much depends on the person. I have friends who said they did feel different after getting married – more emotionally secure. I can understand that, though I think it’s something that varies on personality type and relationship dynamic. And I have a very practical friend who married her long-term partner for tax purposes, so yes, some might do it for financial reasons.

There are perhaps small social benefits – I found it easier to say “my husband” than “my partner” or “my other-half”!

But beyond that, I’m not sure there are. Ireland is a very different place today. In any given workplace there are people at all levels who have partners and children but no wedding ring – something that was unheard of one or two generations ago.

Yaz O’Connor – Not married, mum of four. Blogger at

Yaz O’Connor - blogger

My experience

I myself am not married. I really don’t feel the need as to be it’s just a piece of paper and makes no difference to the love and quality of a relationship. Nor does it have any affect on your parenting weather you are married or not. If two people are in a loving relationship I don’t see why a piece of paper matters other than for tax purposes or possible guardianship reasons. There should be respect and compassion for each other regardless of taking vows.

Is marriage still a priority?

I think the pressure is still there from the Catholic Church to get married, it’s been taught for centuries that to have sex or a child out of marriage is sinful. Women were unfairly punished for this as we can see from history. I think some people still value those awful ideals full of judgement. Also the government put a lot of focus on marriage for tax and social welfare purposes, i.e you can only get home carers tax credit for your partner if they are a stay at home parent but only if you are married as far as I’m aware or living separately. Cohabiting as a couple but not married doesn’t seem to mean much.

Are there any benefits to being married?

The government put a lot of focus on marriage for tax and social welfare purposes. For example, you can only get home carers tax credit for your partner if they are a stay at home parent but only if you are married or living separately. Cohabiting as a couple but not married doesn’t seem to mean much.

Irish Life is one of Ireland’s leading financial services companies with over 1 million customers. For over 75 years, we’ve been helping people in Ireland look after their life insurancepension and investment needs.

Author: Irish Life

Irish Life is one of Ireland’s leading financial services companies with over 1 million customers. For over 75 years, we’ve been helping people in Ireland look after their life insurance, pension and investment needs.

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