Segments in this Video

Investigating the Institution of Marriage (01:02)


See footage of Anne Stirling's wedding day. After divorcing, she decided to make a film about why people get married in modern society, interviewing people in Newfoundland and in New Mexico.

General Thoughts on Marriage (02:30)

Married and single people share their experiences.

Social Pressure to Marry (01:34)

Nidhi and Anant had an arranged marriage in 2000—a common practice in India. Ray and Gerard are nearly 50 and happily single. A group of single women avoided the wedding expectations placed on people in their twenties.

Equality in Marriage (01:53)

Experts agree the institution hasn't yet achieved gender equality. Together since 1989, Brad and Rick discuss the fight for gay marriage rights—and increasing selfishness involved in wedding planning.

Wedding Budgets (02:53)

Industry professionals discuss trends towards complex and elaborate ceremonies. One couple lists expenses for an event that cost them $80,000. A caterer has found some couples prefer to put money towards buying a house instead.

Wedding Industry (03:22)

Planner Janet has had cancellations due to couples changing their minds. Ray finds that couples get caught up in superficial details and forget the fundamental meaning of their ceremony. Newlyweds reflect on their expectations for the event.

Unrealistic Expectations of Marriage (01:07)

Couples counselor Mark Ganas discusses the wedding industry promoting an image of perfectionism—he has yet to see a "perfect" partnership.

Long Term Partnerships (02:00)

Couples respond to filmmaker Anne Stirling's question if people are supposed get married. Some believe having children is important in a successful relationship.

Single Trends (03:54)

Throughout the 20th century, increasing numbers have chosen not to get married. Brad and Rick discuss their commitment as a gay couple. 40% of actor Gerard's social circle is single—he attributes it to egocentricity inherent in artistic careers.

Legal Bounds of Marriage (02:17)

Experts discuss traditional and modern aspects of the institution; women have gained more rights since the feminist movement.

Attraction of Marriage (02:19)

Couple counselor Mark believes successful relationships are necessary for personal fulfillment. A married couple finds working through challenges has strengthened their union.

Short vs. Long Term Relationships (02:20)

Hear from single men and women on their dating expectations. Couple counselor Mark believes that as a social species, humans are meant to have partners. The older we get, the less likely we are to marry or have a lifelong commitment.

Dating Experiences (01:49)

A single woman finds looking for a match stressful and prefers being in a long term relationship. A single man is content in his life but not happy.

Single Home Ownership (01:09)

Unmarried women equate buying a house to the commitment of marriage—and are happy without a partner in the process.

Divorce Trends (02:03)

Filmmaker Anne Stirling waited until 42 to marry, hoping it would last her a lifetime. 50% of Americans divorce; 70% of second marriages result in divorce.

Effect of Divorce on Children (02:44)

The separation process can be detrimental on families—depending on the attitudes of parents. An Indian couple discusses cultural pressure to stay married.

Ending Marriage (01:50)

Divorce attorney Gretchen finds it often takes couples a long time to separate emotionally, even after the legal process. She believes gay marriage should be legalized and calls for a more modern attitude towards long term relationships.

Myth of Marriage (04:05)

Single people discuss the misconception that commitment automatically makes us happy and counter social stereotypes about unmarried adults. Brad and Rick dismiss the argument that legalizing gay marriage will damage society. An expert compares social views on gender roles in Canada and the U.S.

Personal Fulfillment in Relationships (Mature Themes) (02:55)

Hear from single women and a married couple—happy with their respective life choices.

Motivations for Marriage (04:56)

Couples discuss reasons for committing; including sharing their life with a partner, true love and legal benefits. Religion is becoming less important in decisions to marry. Brad and Rick would get married to promote social acceptance of homosexuality.

Future of Marriage (03:06)

Couples' counselor Mark believes increasing divorce rates signal cultural shifts; relationships will change to reflect modern society. Filmmaker Anne Stirling doesn't want to remarry but is open to having a long term partnership.

Credits: Why Get Married? (01:44)

Credits: Why Get Married?

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Why Get Married?

DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



An estimated half of all marriages end in divorce—so how is it that people still have faith in the institution? Why do they gamble with their future happiness by getting married? In this documentary, director Anne Stirling takes a fresh look at the social, historical, and emotional aspects of marriage after her divorce. Stirling figures that if she asks enough questions of friends, family members, and experts, she’ll be able to solve the puzzle of why people wed. Incorporating candid interviews recorded over a three-year period as Stirling traveled across Canada and the U.S., the film features both couples and individuals—some straight, some gay, some ecstatic about matrimony, some jaded and relieved to be free of it. Wedding planners and marriage counselors also offer their insights in this evocative and thought-provoking quest for understanding. (54 minutes)

Length: 54 minutes

Item#: BVL52772

ISBN: 978-1-61753-873-5

Copyright date: ©2005

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video customers.

Only available in USA and Canada.