Marriage at the time of the Anglo-Saxons (410 AD to 800 AD) was different to how we know it now. Marriages then were political and strategic to create diplomacy and trade amongst families. Nowadays marriage begins with true love. Most adults know how it feels to be in love. But what is love? What does love do to you when we speak of true-love? According to the Oxford English Dictionary online, True-Love /ˈtruːlʌv/ means: ‘faithful love’, ‘one whose love is pledged; a sweetheart, beloved’.
The emotion known as ‘love’ is jumped by neurotransmitters or chemical messengers released by the nervous system. The brain has many kinds of neurotransmitters each initiating different responses, especially when it comes to love. In humans, the neurotransmitter called oxytocin activates a female’s feeling of affection, trust and security towards another person. In males, oxytocin functions in a similar way. But another neurotransmitter called vasopressin, strengthens the bonding experience. There are three stages of love: desire, romance, and attachment. Once the initial desire of attraction has drawn two people together, romance sets in. The couple become increasingly focused on each other which then forms a bond, an attachment which can lead to a long-lasting relationship such as marriage.
The first step of marriage is announcing the engagement; the proposed marriage is then announced. This is celebrated with close friends and family members. The period of time from the engagement being announced to the wedding day itself is used as preparation for the couple’s big day. Nowadays, an engagement can be from a few months to several years. After the marriage is announced, the couple can proceed to arrange their wedding. Once the couple are married, the first weeks are often left in a daze. After the ‘honeymoon period’, married life can properly begin and for some couples, will move in together for the first time.
Despite the fact that more and more divorces are pronounced in the United Kingdom, there are still many more marriages being solemnised and with some who go on to celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary.
‘Figure 1 shows that 60% of marriages are expected to survive to the 20th wedding anniversary, and the average marriage is expected to last to 32 years assuming that divorce and mortality rates remain unchanged from those in 2010’.
Figure 1: Cumulative percentage of marriages ending in divorce or death by anniversary, 2010 England and Wales
Source: Office for National Statistics
Wedding Planners Guild UK Ltd, Award in Professional Wedding Planning, Wedding Planner – English Version
 BBC, (online) http://bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17351133 (accessed 14th February 2015)
 OED, (online) http://www.oed.com (accessed 19th January 2015)
 Wallace, A., 2011, The Brain on Love: Science World, 03/11/2011, Vol 67 Issue 7, p.12-15
 ONS: www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171778 35169 pdf. (accessed 7th May 2015)