As we all know, Paris is a very romantic city. Honestly, how could the “City of Lights” not be romantic? Walking the streets of Paris, riding a boat down the River Seine, and admiring at night the beauty of the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame, tells you all you need to know about love and romance! This place exudes romance! And love!
Paris is unique among the great cities of the world. It is breathtakingly beautiful; excitingly vibrant; amazingly romantic; stocked full of exciting world-class monuments and museums; historically significant; a culinary masterpiece; and wonderfully and tinglingly sensational in all its splendor. Paris is, without a doubt, the “love capitol of the world.
So, what brings us here? Simple, really. We are here interviewing more successfully married couples for our fourth book about love and marriage around the world.
What we have found in our Paris interviews is this – marriage is alive and well in Paris, France! You see it everywhere! Couples of all ages holding hands as they walk down the street, kissing on street corners, romantically embraced waiting for a bus or the Metro, and gazing into each other’s eyes at a brasserie or a café. The French people are a very loving and affectionate people. They publicly and privately express their undying love for each other. They do so unabashedly!
While romance is everywhere in France, it is important to understand the facts about love and marriage. In 2012, the French average age for marriage of woman is about 28 and for men it is about 30. The average birth of children to French woman occurs a little under the age of 30.
Current estimates are that co-habitation for up to two years prior to marriage occurs among French couples somewhere between 40% and 50% of the time. The number of unmarried couples in France has increased four-fold in the last 20 or so years. Only in Sweden is marriage less popular among Europeans, which might explain why over 40% of French children are born out of wedlock.
In terms of divorce, current estimates are that the divorce rate in France has increased by about 40% in the past decade, where more that one-third of marriages now end in divorce.
Contrary to the pronouncements of some of the popular media, people do, in fact, find someone to love and continue to get married in France. Those who suggest otherwise are being disingenuous and ignorant of the facts. Marriage is making a comeback according to those we interviewed on this trip!
Our favorite couple we interviewed on this trip lives near the Musee du Louvre, that great Paris art museum enjoyed by patrons from around the world. What a splendid and magnificent place it is! Its location on the famous and romantic Seine River makes it even more appealing.
Adelaide and Francois have been married for 15 years. They have two beautiful children. She is a school teacher and he is a financial analyst. They recall so fondly the day they got married nearly 16 years ago. It was a church wedding in what had already become a very secular country. While neither is “religious” in the traditional sense of the word, both insisted that they have a traditional church wedding. And yes, they did live together before they got married (a year)! When asked if that strengthened their marriage, both replied that it didn’t necessarily. They lived together only out of economic necessity as both were just out of college and they lived together to share expenses.
By their own words, Adelaide and Francois have had a wonderful marriage! They have borne two beautiful children (a boy and a girl), achieved financial security because they both work outside the home, own their own home, and share the responsibilities of marriage equally. They both reported that they “could not imagine life without each other” and look forward to a lifetime of marriage.
Clearly, Adelaide and Francois are happily married. Our interview with them revealed that their marriage is nearly a perfect match to the “ideal couple” we have written about in our several books and our many blogs.
But here is the question-of-the-day – are Adelaide and Francois unique in France or are they typical? Our answer – their marriage is typical of the great marriages we have discovered around the world. And the truth is this – marriage in France is alive and well in 2012!
The most important lessons we have learned from our interviews in France are this – get married closer to 30 years old, don’t have children in the first year or two of marriage, have a job, have a post-high school education that leads to a trade or skill, and, beyond everything else, truly believe that your mate is the one for you before you decide to marry and settle down. Get it right the first time! The French example is the world example. Success in marriage comes from those who wait until the time is right, and then act on it.
There was a time when young people in France thought it unnecessary to get married. But the truth is this – those same young people have begun to realize that marriage to the one you love for a lifetime is a good thing. We agree!
We always knew love was alive in France. On this trip we discovered that marriage is as well.