You’ve been working up the courage for months to pop the big question: “Will you marry me?” Now that you’ve made the decision to forge ahead, you want the moment to be perfect. How about proposing on Valentine’s Day? What could be better, right?
Wrong. According to my research, couples who were married on or within seven days of a major holiday made up 70% of all of divorce cases filed. In such instances, the individuals involved found themselves swept up in the emotion of the moment and made the mistake of marrying for the wrong reason.
Since legal, same-sex marriages are still relatively new, most divorce statistics either reflect heterosexual couplings or don’t differentiate at all. However, the limited research into same-sex divorce suggests that it is actually low in comparison with that of heterosexual counterparts. According to UCLA’s Williams Institute, approximately one percent of gay marriages dissolve each year, compared with two percent for different-sex couples.
Still, the fact of the matter is that, sexual orientation aside, Valentine’s Day, as well as other major holidays, can put undue stress on any relationship. There will already be the general feeling of excitement and anticipation in the air. This can lead to trying to make the occasion extra-special by proposing—and giving your mate something he or she will never forget. Of course, they will tend to want to respond in kind.
This is a bad move all around because the prevailing air of joy and love can create a “false positive.” That is, the overwhelmingly positive feelings of the day can create a subconscious conflict with the seriousness of a major commitment like marriage.
Unfortunately, reality eventually sets in. Couples who marry in the heat of the moment almost invariably find their relationships falling back to earth, when their heightened expectations fail to live up to their dreams.
It might come as a surprise that many same-sex divorces occur within a year or so of the marriage. With the LGBT community having waited so long for same-sex marriage to be legally accepted in many areas of the United States, one might think that LGBT couples might hold marriage in higher regard, compared to the majority of heterosexual couples, and would show greater resolve to keep it going.
It is important to understand the pressures that many members of the LGBT community may feel to get married. Since the community fought so hard to have same-sex marriage legalized, some might feel they are obligated to tie the knot and show the world they do not take their rights lightly.
There also appears to be gender correlation behind the prevalence of LGBT marriages and divorces. Earlier this year, the UK Ministry of Justice reported that for every gay male couple who files for a divorce petition, 3.2 female couples do so.
The possible reasons? Generally, women tend to initiate divorce at a higher rate than men. Moreover, gay men tend to be older than their lesbian counterparts when they get married.
There is strong evidence linking age to the divorce rate, with prevailing wisdom suggesting that individuals have a more clear idea of what they are seeking in a partner later in life, and thus are less likely to marry someone who would not be a good fit.
It might also be suggested individuals tend to be less impulsive as they grow older—and avoid proposing on Valentine’s Day or other holidays, or otherwise making a big show of their relationship.
While marriage should be fun and joyful, it should be approached seriously. That is why proposing on the stadium Jumbo Tron at a concert or sporting event is probably a terrible idea. The same goes for asking your significant other to marry you in front of everybody at a family event. While it may be true that it trivializes the solemnity of the institution, more importantly, it puts your partner in an awkward and potentially embarrassing position.
They may say “yes” just to get through the moment. They may even go through with the wedding—but they may also wind up harbor lingering resentment that can have long-term repercussions in the relationship.
Your partner probably doesn’t care if they wind up as the next YouTube sensation. Just remember that this is one of the most important and intimate moments in both of your lives and you should honor that.
Valentine’s Day is a fantastic day and you should absolutely take advantage of it to have fun and shower the love of your life with flowers, candy, romantic music, and a candlelight dinner. If you feel strongly about your partner and are ready to take that next step, don't let an arbitrary holiday or outside pressures dictate your actions when it comes to the decision to get married.
The facts and statistics mentioned throughout this article are available to guide you—but most important of all, let your heart lead the way!
About the Author
Jason McClain is the star of the Amazon Prime television series, Life Can Change with Jason McClain, a ground breaking inspirational talk show and motivational teaching series launched. He launched MyDivorcePapers.com 15 years ago after his own divorce. Since that time, his website has helped 500,000 expedite their divorces without the need of attorneys.