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Is marriage important in Korea?


Marriage is a significant milestone in many cultures around the world. In Korea, marriage has been an essential part of the social fabric for centuries. However, with the changing times, modernization, and globalization, Korean society is undergoing a transformation, which has led to a shift in attitudes towards marriage. In this article, we will explore the importance of marriage in Korea.

Historical Perspective

The institution of marriage in Korea has undergone significant changes over the past few centuries. Earlier, marriage was considered more of a social obligation than a personal choice. The parents would arrange marriages based on socio-economic status and family background. However, with the advent of modernization and Western influence, young people started rebelling against this practice.

Gender Roles and Marriage

Gender roles in Korea have been quite traditional. Historically, men were expected to be the breadwinners while women were responsible for taking care of the household and raising children. Marriage was seen as a way for women to fulfill their societal expectations. However, with changing times, women’s roles have evolved beyond traditional roles, leading to a shift in attitudes towards marriage.

Marriage and Social Status

Marriage has always been associated with social status in Korea. A person’s marital status can significantly impact their social standing, especially for women. Married couples are given more respect and consideration than unmarried individuals. However, this perception is slowly changing as more young people choose to remain single.

The Pressure to Get Married

The pressure to get married in Korea can be immense. Parents start worrying about their children’s marital status from a young age, and unmarried individuals are often stigmatized by society. This pressure is felt more acutely by women than men.

Changing Attitudes Towards Marriage

With the advent of modernization and globalization, attitudes towards marriage are changing in Korea. Young people are increasingly choosing to pursue education and careers rather than settling down early. Moreover, the rise of the feminist movement has led to a questioning of traditional gender roles and societal expectations.

The Rising Trend of Singlehood

The trend of staying single is on the rise in Korea. Many young people are choosing to remain unmarried due to various reasons, such as career aspirations, financial independence, and personal freedom. This trend is gaining acceptance in society as more people recognize the importance of individual choice.

The Role of Marriage in Family Life

Marriage plays a significant role in family life in Korea. It is seen as a way to ensure the continuation of the family line and pass on cultural traditions to future generations. Moreover, married couples are expected to take care of their aging parents, which adds to the social importance of marriage.

Marriage and the Economy

Marriage has significant economic implications in Korea. Married couples are often more stable financially and contribute more significantly to the economy than unmarried individuals. The government has implemented policies to encourage marriage, such as tax benefits and housing subsidies.

The Impact of Social Media on Attitudes Towards Marriage

Social media has played a significant role in changing attitudes towards marriage in Korea. Young people often use dating apps and social media platforms to meet potential partners, which has led to more intercultural marriages and a shift away from traditional arranged marriages.

The Future of Marriage in Korea

The future of marriage in Korea is uncertain. While it continues to be an essential institution, changing attitudes towards gender roles, societal expectations, and individual choice may lead to a decline in its importance. However, it is unlikely that marriage will disappear entirely from Korean society.


In conclusion, marriage continues to be an essential institution in Korea, despite changing attitudes towards it. While the pressure to get married remains high, more young people are choosing to remain single and pursue their own paths. Ultimately, the importance of marriage in Korean society will continue to evolve as the country progresses through the 21st century.

Is marriage common in South Korea?

The number of single-person households has reached an all-time high of 40%, while marriage and fertility rates in the country have hit record lows. Official data reveals that in 2021, only 193,000 marriages were registered, down almost 10% from the previous year, marking the fewest number of marriages since records began in 1970.

What age gap is acceptable in Korea?

In Korean culture, a 12-year age difference between a couple is considered significant because it means they are a full zodiac cycle apart.

Do unmarried couples live together in South Korea?

While cohabitation is viewed as a significant milestone for couples in some Western nations, it is not accepted in Korea for an unmarried couple to live together, seen as a social taboo.

Do Korean guys marry foreigners?

In Korea, there is a cultural tradition where the first son is expected to marry a Korean in order to continue the family line. Due to this tradition, many Koreans are opposed to their first son marrying a foreigner. As a result, multicultural relationships are not yet widely accepted in Korea.

What is the biggest divorce in Korea?

On December 6, a South Korean divorce court granted the ex-wife of SK Group’s second-largest conglomerate chairman, Chey Tae-won, 100 million won (S$103,740) in alimony and 66.5 billion won (S$68.9 million) worth of assets. This ruling was made on December 17, 2022.

Who pays for weddings in Korea?

In Korean culture, it is traditional for the groom’s family to bear the expenses of the wedding, including the venue, food, and other related costs. On the other hand, the bride’s family typically pays for her wedding dress and other incidental expenses.

One factor that may impact the future of marriage in Korea is the aging population. As the country’s population ages, there may be a greater emphasis on marriage as a way to ensure financial stability and care for elderly parents. This could lead to a resurgence in traditional attitudes towards marriage and family.

Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has had significant effects on the institution of marriage in Korea. With social distancing measures in place, many couples have had to postpone or cancel their weddings. The pandemic has also led to more virtual dating and online communication, which may have long-term implications for how people approach relationships and marriage.

Another trend that may impact marriage in Korea is the rise of cohabitation. While cohabitation was previously stigmatized in Korean society, it has become more accepted in recent years as young people seek greater independence and flexibility in their relationships. This trend could lead to a shift away from traditional expectations surrounding marriage and family.

Overall, the importance of marriage in Korea is likely to continue evolving as the country undergoes further changes and modernization. While it remains an essential institution, changing attitudes towards gender roles, individual choice, and societal expectations may lead to a more diverse range of relationship models and family structures in the future.

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