Stories you can use to start conversation or to add interest to speeches or presentations

Resources for Speakers - Anecdotes About Marriage Weddings Husbands and Wives

Need more quotes? Book Extracts on Marriage

For most of history, marriage was mainly about getting the right in-laws rather than the right partner. Marriages turned strangers into relatives, creating inter-dependencies among groups. Idea was to establish connections with best families and avoid incurring obligations to lower families. But that became irrelevant when tribes and families fragmented and every marital unit became self-supporting and independent When marriage works, its much better for both parents and kids than it was in the past (everyone gets treated better). But when doesn't work, there is a lot less hanging on the outcome if one decides to go.

The New York taxi driver theory. According to this idea, men - like New York taxi drivers - cruise around all day, picking up fares. They carry some for a long time, some for just a short while, without giving it all that much thought. But at a certain point, when they're tired, maybe bored and have had their fill, the taxi driver decides it's time to turn off his light and go home. Whoever is in the back of his metaphorical relationship taxi at that point is the one he marries. It's an unromantic theory that implies that marriage is more a matter of timing than of magic. But there's something in it. I know of many relationships - including some of my own - that broke down when the women pushed for commitment, but succeeded only in being pushed out of the taxi. The New York taxi driver theory implies that the clever women are the ones who quietly cling on in there, monopolising the back seat, with the doors firmly locked, until the driver is ready to turn off his meter.

The Marriage Supermarket: at birth 104 black boys per 100 girls. By 30, 6 of the boys are dead, 9 are in jail, 21 underemployed and 8 just missing - leaving 60 'promising' men as suitable partners for a black woman who wants children. It gets worse, because 3 of those black men are living with white women. That means 43 black women face choice of either staying childless or having kids to a partner who is unlikely to stick around

If you want to see a couple at their best, ask them how they met. (Mind you, if ask same Q in 10 years time, the universal answer will be "...and then I swiped right")

Marriage Prenups

Detailed prenups are now common - things like 'no mother-in-law sleep-overs' 'only one football game per weekend'. Roseanne Barr was so in love with Tom Arnold before their 1999 wedding that she fired her lawyer for suggesting that she get him to sign a prenup. Then when they split up 4 years later she had to give him $50 mill

The Stones

Bill Wyman always maintained that he was the sexiest Stone, or at any rate the busiest - his notebooks record that in the band's first two years of fame, he slept with 278 women, Jagger 30 and Richards only six. When on stage, Wyman would scan the audience playing "spot the tits" and send assistants to collect suitable groupies by the handful. The other Stones didn't mind until he started going out with a 13-year-old, Mandy Smith, and eventually married her in 1989. Things got really complicated when, in 1993, his son Stephen, 31, announced his engagement to Mandy's mother, Patsy, 47, which would have made Wyman his son's son-in-law if both relationships had lasted. Luckily, they didn't.


Abba 'I do, I do, I do' promotes polygamy

Male reproductive behaviour has 2 conflicting aims. A man can theoretically have unlimited partners, but demands of providing for too many kids a powerful incentive to limit your pairings to a female who will give you a few strong offspring

A study apparently showed that polygamist men live longer - but probably it's just the fittest and wealthiest that can cope with multiple wives. Probably more accurate to think of polygamy as a tax on happiness - spreading the load of human misery.

Women actually benefit from polygamy - they have the option of a share in a better-resourced male. But in monogamy, they're stuck with marrying a poorer man. Only exceptions are extremely desirable women - under monogamy they can monopolise the best men. For men, monogamy gives far more chances of finding a mate

Polygamy or anything which skews the M/F ratio creates a shortage of available females and so increases the likelihood of male violence

Polygamy Club in Malaysia - Like Fight Club but with more nagging

When Larry King getting divorced for 8th time, Time mag spoof suggesting that multi-married people shd be required to get therapy. Just as obsessive clean freaks are trained to touch something dirty then wait increasingly longer intervals before they wash. In same way someone like Larry King could be introduced to a tall blonde and then be made to wait 10 minutes before proposing. From there he could work up to a full hour.

Guy in hospital in Britain for triple heart bypass got into spot of trouble when all 3 of his wives turned up to visit him at once, despite his efforts to stagger their visits. Got a 4 month suspended sentence and has since moved back in with his first wife, the mother of his children, who he deserted in 1970's

My parents are still married; they've been married 50 years. They're best friends. They once divided the alphabet: My dad got the second half, so he does the 'Y' [chores], like yardwork, and my mom was the first half, [so] like 'D' for dishes, she'll do it.

Bridesmaid told she cd wear what she liked (to her sister's wedding). So she wore an inflatable dinosaur suit.

Siberia today is suffering such an acute man shortage (due in part to massive rates of alcoholism) that both men and women have lobbied the Russian parliament to legalize polygamy. In 2009, The Guardian cited Russian politicians' claims that polygamy would provide husbands for 10 million lonely women. In endorsing polygamy, these women, particularly those in remote rural areas without running water, may be less concerned with loneliness than with something more pragmatic: help with the chores. Caroline Humphrey, a Cambridge University anthropologist who has studied the region, said women supporters believed the legalization of polygamy would be a godsend, giving them rights to a man's financial and physical support, legitimacy for their children, and rights to state benefits.

Round the World

In Cuba owning a house does not give you the right to sell it. Technically only legal way is to swap - a long bureaucratic govt approval that obviously open to corruption. To avoid the hassle, the quick way is to marry the owner of the property, transfer the deed, and then divorce.

China has problem with farmers getting pushed off land by developers, so one village passed a law giving people a house in town in exchange for their house in country. But if you were divorced, you got a house each, so 90% of couples divorced within weeks of the law passing. When they realized situation they'd created they changed the rules, but meantime many of the divorced had decided they quite liked getting free of old partner, and took up with someone new

In Spanish, "esposas" means both "handcuffs" and "wives" and it is not a coincidence.

A court in Italy ordered husband to not only move out of marital home but also to move to another town so couldn't control wife's movements - he had video cameras set up to monitor any attempt to leave house

A judge in Nice, France, ruled in September [2011] that Article 215 of the French civil code (defining marriage as a "shared communal life") in fact requires that husband and wife have sex. A husband identified only as Jean-Louis B. had evidently lost interest years earlier, and his wife was granted a divorce. Apparently emboldened by her victory, she then filed a monetary claim against the husband for the value of his 21-year-long lack of service, and the judge awarded her 10,000 euros (then worth about $13,710--$653 a year).

Since 1959 it has been legal in France to marry a dead person, provided you can prove the marriage had already been planned.

The March arranged-marriage ceremony in Kanpur, India, was about to start when cousins of the bride (whose name is Lovely, daughter of Mohar Singh) commandeered center-stage and demanded that groom Ram Baran answer the question, "What is 15 plus 6?" Baran answered, "17," and in short order, Lovely and her family began to drift out of the room, and the marriage was off. Eventually, according to a Times of India report, the families settled the fiasco amicably, with all gifts returned.

Old system in India breaking down. Traditionally parents chose son's bride who wd eventually become their nurse in their dotage. But modern kids arrange own and no longer feel obligation to care for parents in the tiny city apartments they have. Ironically, Americans moving closer to India in sense that realising it's best to choose your mate from similar social/financial background.

Village police in Bangladesh arrested Yasin Byapari, 45, in January on the complaint of his wife--after she had learned that she was not, as he had told her, his second spouse but rather the 25th of his 28. (Police found him at the home of Number 27.) The accuser said she had, through sleuthing, tracked down 17 of her "competitors."

And, from the very first "News of the Weird" column came good ol' Hal Warden, the Tennessee 16-year-old who was married at 15 and granted a divorce from his wife, 13. Hal had previously been married at age 12 to a 14-year-old (and fathered children with both), but the first wife divorced Hal because, as she told the judge, "He was acting like a 10-year-old." [The precise citation is long gone, but various marital reports on the Wardens are available, e.g., Associated Press, 2-21-1987]

US president Stephen Grover Cleveland developed a close relationship with his friend's baby daughter (Frances Folsom Cleveland Preston). When his friend died, a court-appointed him to administer the estate, making him closer to the then 11 year-old-girl. When she graduated university at 21, Cleveland (49-year-old) married her while President.

Audrey Niffenegger said all her friends reckoned ideal marriage had side by side houses where they could visit each other

The Japanese term for a Shotgun Wedding is "Dekichatta kekkon", which literally translates to "oops-we-did-it-marriage."

Godwits have the ultimate marriage - mate for life, raise their chicks in Iceland, male hangs around longer to look after juveniles, then the spend summer apart - females all fly off to Spain and North Africa; males go to England and France, then return to breeding grounds within days of each other

One common denominator of super-affluent alpha men is the conviction, unchallenged every day, that the world revolves around them. It’s not enough anymore to have a good-looking geisha in your life who nurtures your off-duty creature comforts. No, today what they want is a fabulous-looking, high-powered, boldface Washington-networked alpha woman in her mid-30s or well-groomed 40s who at the same time will be able to drop everything and sail off on a boat to the Virgin Islands or perform like a porn star the same week as a board meeting (hers).

Health Benefits of Marriage

If you're unhappily married, you might as well be single: At least if your goal in life is to have it all end via a fatal stroke. Single men have an elevated risk of dying from stroke compared to married men. But, if you separate out the men who report their marriage as "not so successful," then they have the same risk elevation as their single counterparts. Looking on the bright side, only 3.6 percent of the men viewed their marriage as that much of a downer.

American sociologists studying more than 8,000 middle-aged people have concluded that losing a spouse is so stressful that it often causes permanent physical damage, even for those who go on to have happy second marriages. The divorced or widowed not only suffer a higher level of depression, but 20% more of them develop chronic health conditions such as cancer, heart disease or diabetes. They also have 23% more problems with mobility - such as climbing stairs. Those who remarry see a slight improvement in their health, but they are still far more likely to become ill than those who stay with their original companions.

The researchers believe that the shock and disruption caused by the ending of a marriage can cause such anxiety that it damages the immune system, making it easier for chronic diseases to develop. Linda Waite, one of the report's authors, said: "Think of health as money in the bank. Think of a marriage as a mechanism for 'saving' or adding to health. Think of divorce as a period of very high expenditures."

If you're unhappily married, you might as well be single: At least if your goal in life is to have it all end via a fatal stroke. Single men have an elevated risk of dying from stroke compared to married men. But, if you separate out the men who report their marriage as "not so successful," then they have the same risk elevation as their single counterparts. Looking on the bright side, only 3.6 percent of the men viewed their marriage as that much of a downer.

Married men are more likely to be in better health smoke less and better happier psychologically, but are also more likely to be fat

Australian magazine commissioned ad agencies to come up with posters to promote marriage. Worst one was an old bag with floppy tits and garish makeup saying "Marriage - Don't leave It Too Late" and beach photo of a whale man "Let Yourself Go - You're Married"

Woman bought brand new kitchen knife and stabbed her husband with it, but in her defence she took him to hospital and only stabbed him once more on the way in.


Sydney weddings have option of releasing cloud of butterflies instead of throwing rice (regarded as being harmful to birds; most places have long since banned confetti. Butterflies bred commercially for release - $400 for 25, up to $250 for 150

A gang of beggars gate-crashed a wedding and refused to move until guests held a collection for them. The beggars arrived as the bride and groom emerged from their wedding car in Jiaxing, China. "They kept saying it would be very lucky to give them money, so all the guests contributed something to make them go away," said the groom, Li Chao. "It didn't seem very lucky at the time but we had no choice unless we wanted them in all the photographs."

Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones, had a small gift for his daughter Leah at her wedding to Jack Macdonald, a television producer: five dwarfs to entertain guests at the reception. Wood hired the dwarfs to play pranks on guests at the reception. Wedding organisers had worked on a theme based on the character of Puck, the sprite from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Rent-a-wedding cake - foam rubber model covered in real fondant. Small compartment in side for 2 slices of cake for bride and groom to feed each other, then 'cake' is taken into kitchen and a normal slab cake is cut for guests

What Are Their Chances?

At you can rate the future chances of bride and groom from their wedding photo and a brief bio. Choose from 'barely past the altar' 1, 3 or 5 years or 'happily ever after'

A woman's friends are the best predictors of the success of her relationship - far better than the couple themselves

US President (1841-5) John Tyler the only one to marry in office. He actually eloped at age 54 with a 24yo. Tried to keep it secret but got found out pretty quick - ironically she became more popular than him. They had 7 kids, the last one when he was 70.

Novelist Judy Blume married 27 years to second husband. Went to dinner with him on a blind date on a Sunday, movie on Monday night, then moved in with him on Tuesday (she had a teenage son at time)

A couple in Britain have just racked up 80 years married - both 100. World's longest marriage a Taiwanese couple married for 86 years until she died aged 103. They had 100 descendants.

Shortest marriage 2003 a Saudi man divorced his wife seconds after wedding because her brother took photo of couple without asking his permission

Marriage and Aged

About 400 people aged 80 and over marry each year in the UK - more men than women, as men tend to marry younger women. The number of over-85s has more than doubled to 1.1 million in the past 25 years and is expected to double again by 2032, says the Office for National Statistics. But increasingly elderly people face later life alone, says Help the Aged, which raises the issue of who will provide the care that they are likely to need.

Charlie Sheen on Marriage

On His Porn Star Family of "Goddesses": "Let me say this about the Goddesses, I don't think the term is good enough, but when you're bound by these terrestrial descriptions, you must use the best term available. So if you think about it dude, I'm 0-for-3 in marriage, but like in baseball, the scoreboard doesn't lie. Never has. So what we all have is a marriage of the hearts. And to sully, contaminate, or radically disrespect this unit with a shameful contract is something I'll leave to the amateurs and bible grippers."

Some Lighter Conversation Starters Chat Talking About Marriage and Husbands

Kinky Freidman ran for governor of Texas. He was once frontman for the Texas Jewboys, famous for songs like They Don't Make Jews Like Jesus Any More and I'm Proud To Be An Asshole From El Paso. Part of his election plank was support for gay marriage, on grounds that gays have right to be miserable too

You have two choices in life: you can stay single and be miserable, or get married and wish you were dead.

Husbands, treat your wife like a treasure... Bury her

Jimmy Carter: "I never won an argument with my wife. The only time I thought I had, I discovered that the argument wasn't over yet."

William Wharton: "What is love? It is passion, admiration and respect. If you have 2, you have enough. If you have all 3 you don't need to die to go to Heaven."

Forgiveness is the key to success - long ago I forgave my husband for not being Paul Newman

Bride and groom at altar but groom is falling down drunk. "Take him away and bring him back when he's sober" said priest. "But Father", said bride, "When he's sober he won't come."

Wife and I took out insurance policies on each other - now it's just a waiting game

The shortest fairy tale of all - Once Upon A Time a man asked a girl to marry him. She said no and they lived happily ever after

"I am" the shortest sentence in English language. "I do" is the longest

A woman marries a man expecting him to change; a man marries a woman expecting her to never change - They are both disappointed.

At a cocktail party, one woman said to another. "Aren't you wearing your wedding ring on the wrong finger?" "Yes, I am. I married the wrong man."

A lady inserted an ad in the classifieds: "Husband Wanted". Next day she received a hundred letters. They all said the same thing: "You can have mine."

When a woman steals your husband, there is no better revenge than to let her keep him.

A man is incomplete until he is married. Then he is finished.

I think therefore I'm single

I'm single by choice. Not my choice

Pouring cake mixture into dinky moulds, my friend - publisher, mother of three, four if you count the spouse (which we do) - paused to lick her fingers.

A little boy asked his father, "Daddy, how much does it cost to get married?" Father replied, "I don't know son, I'm still paying."

A young son asked, "Is it true Dad, that in some parts of Africa a man doesn't know his wife until he marries her?" Dad replied, "That happens in every country, son."

Then there was man who said, "I never knew what real happiness was until I got married, and by then, it was too late."

Marriage is the triumph of imagination over intelligence.

If you want your spouse to listen and pay strict attention to every word you say -- talk in your sleep.

Just think, if it weren't for marriage, men would go through life thinking they had no faults at all.

Everyone makes mistakes but married men find out about theirs sooner.

First guy says, "My wife's an angel!" Second guy remarks, "You're lucky, mine's still alive."

Marriage has many pains but celibacy has few pleasures

Every time I try to make my marriage more exciting my wife finds out about it straight away

We were married in a public toilet - it was a marriage of convenience

Better to have loved and lost than to have spent your whole damn life with her

Andy Warhol "Everyone always winds up kissing the wrong person goodnight"

A rich 70 year old had just married a beautiful 20 yo. "You crafty old bugger," said a mate. "How did you get her to marry you?" "Easy," said the guy "I told her I was 90."