In 2013, the wedding industry in the United States was at $53.4 billion. In 2016, that number rose to $72 billion. It’s anyone’s guess what it is this year. By all indications, the number is in the high billions. The success of the wedding business depends on one crucial factor. The wedding proposal. In 1960, 72% of adults were married, in 2012, the number was only 51%. People are now choosing to marry later, or not marry at all. This is one of the factors to take into consideration when we think of wedding proposals in the country.
Traditionally, in heterosexual proposals, the man is the one who proposes. He has a few concerns before he goes through the proposal. The most important is the length of the relationship. 42% of men take this into consideration before they pop the question. The next is the health and lifestyle of the partner. For 36% of men this takes priority. This is also from the perspective of lineage and raising a family. The finances of the man comes in at 35%. This is a big one, because life actually begins after the proposal. He will need money to conduct the wedding with the bride and the families. Apart from that, payment for a house, furniture and furnishings also add to the list. Does the partner want to start a family or not is a big point too. It is a point of thought for 32% of men.
The quality of sex is important in any relationship and for the man it constitutes 28% of his attention before the proposal. Close to at 26% is cohabitation. If patterns have already been established, it makes things easy in the long run. Strange but true in these days, but the approval of the partner’s family is important to a man. Come to think of it, it’s not very strange.
Having approval makes things easier, going forward. Politics is divisive as we have seen and that’s the case in a relationship too. 16% men believe that a partner’s political ideals or beliefs are vital to the long-term commitment. The partner’s previous relationships also feature here. And a small percentage is concerned about the absolutely perfect ring.
No matter the demographic, the main concern is finances. The man’s own finances, the partner’s earning potential and the debt the man may have. While the man feels okay about the debt he may have, the woman’s debt seems to make him uncomfortable. The man tends to take a lot of the financial pressure on himself. He may also be expected to be the breadwinner of the family and having a lot of prior debt can be a daunting prospect. In fact, 27% of respondents thought about their own income and how much they might be able to earn in the future. Their own debt, be it student loans or outstanding amounts on their credit card was something they thought about. Since weddings are extravaganzas, men also thought about wedding costs. This is apart from the expenses of the engagement ring. That took up 6% of their time and thoughts.
Speaking of engagement rings, over half the number of male respondents agreed that they felt pressure to find the exact ring that works perfectly for the situation. Seeing how the trend is to spend big money on the ring, 50% of the men felt that the price that had to be paid was a huge criterion to deciding when to propose. A man is expected to shell out at least three months of his salary to buy a ring. An absurd and unrealistic expectation that is also putting major pressure on the proposal.
In fact, it puts massive pressure on the man too because close to 40% of them feel that their partner has too high expectations from the ring. The fear of disappointing the woman features high on the list. There are some things to think about here. Many times men are clueless about the kind of ring to choose or even the size of the ring their partner wears. There are ethical issues at play too. As awareness of blood and conflict diamonds increases, people are wary about where they are getting their forever keepsake from.
For a lot of men, proposing to a partner entails giving up their freedom and this is something they are not too comfortable about. In fact, a small percentage of men believe they cannot see themselves living a life with the person they are with right now. After a length of time, men begin to feel pressurized by the woman to commit to a wedding date. This pressure is off-putting and makes men pause for a while.
This engagement research was conducted across age and income groups and recorded responses from 1,001 American men. The survey was taken up for Laguna Pearl and The Pearl Source. Both sites provide interesting alternatives for engagement rings such as pearl rings.
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