The Traditional Georgian Marriage

The Traditional Georgian Marriage

weddingicon.jpgThe FINANCIAL -- Georgians have more traditional views on marriage than most every other European country, and have one of the highest marriage rates.

wedcake.jpgThe FINANCIAL -- Georgians have more traditional views on marriage than most every other European country, and have one of the highest marriage rates.  Georgians polled by Georgian Opinion Research Business International virtually never lived together before marriage, and were among the least likely to say that it is ok to do so. Furthermore, a full 65% of respondents were married at the time, one of the highest rates in the study.

Working with WIN Gallup International to conduct the most recent European Values Survey, GORBI polled around 1500 Georgians.   There were several questions asked on marital viewpoints that show Georgia to be on the extreme edge of many opinion axes.  Take one example: when asked whether “marriage is an outdated institution,” an astounding 98% of Georgians disagreed. The only other country who even broke 90% was Turkey.

As you might expect, European views on marriage vary geographically.  Most eastern European countries have more traditional values than the rest of Europe, and views become more liberal as you move west and north.  Georgia, however, presents a few interesting quirks that illustrate some of the cultural differences between these Caucasians and the rest of Europe.  While Georgians obviously have a strong affinity for weddings and babies, and find family very important for fulfillment, they feel that women aren’t alone in their need for marriage.  They also believe, at least in words, in an egalitarian household and a mutual need for family from both sexes.



Cohabitation and Children

GORBI asked each of their respondents to give their opinion on the statement, “It is alright to live together without being married.”  Only 31% of those asked agreed, and a full 48% disagreed. While this third of Georgians may be ok with others living together, they are still quite traditional in practice; only 2% had actually lived with a partner out of wedlock. The only other two countries that fell below the 40% agreement mark are Turkey and Slovakia.  For contrast, 92% of Luxembourgers felt extramarital cohabitation was perfectly ok. 

Georgians don’t only think that marriage is ultimately important, they also think having children is a must.  The EVS created an index to represent the “freedom to choose children.”  The percentage of people who feel that having children is a duty is subtracted from those who feel that it’s up to the individual.  The resulting index for Georgia is 20 – the lowest in all of Europe. In contrast, Sweden’s index is 92.


Men and Women

There is an interesting note regarding Georgia’s attitude toward children in its near equal treatment of men and women.  As you’d expect, nearly all Georgians say that both a father and mother are necessary for a child to have a happy life… but this necessity runs in both directions. 

Nearly all Georgians (98%) believe that women need children to be happy, but not only women have this need. When asked whether having children is necessary for fulfillment, around 93% said that it was true of men as well.  Georgians even believe that men and women should have an equal part in raising the child; when asked if men should take as much responsibility as women for the home and children, more than 95% agreed.  Whether this is true in practice is a bit harder to study.

While traditional expectations for marriage and babies are still near universal in Georgia, there isn’t as strong a male chauvinist imbalance as one might expect, at least in declared opinions.

There were 1500 Georgians included in this analysis. The error margins for studies of this kind are +- 3.5% at a 95% confidence interval. Visit our website at for more articles.




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