The FINANCIAL -- Preparing for marriage is not an easy job for men. Ethnographers claim
that nowadays women in Georgia are creating new standards for men that
are more driven by their financial interests.
“Today people’s motives to get married are often dictated by their personal interests. Material interests play a huge role in marriage. Women have become more pretentious,” said Giorgi Gotsiridze, ethnographer. “Women find it hard to make concessions in terms of marriage. They insist on men providing a guaranteed quality of life. Men should be prepared for leadership, which is not a role for the wayward or unserious. It is spiritual leadership. To get leadership men should be financially empowered,” he added.
Traditionally Georgian married couples live at their husband’s parents’ house. Though potential brides now prefer to live separate from their parents-in-law, which requires significant financial resources from their men. A two bedroom apartment in Tbilisi costs around 60-100 k USD today. Rent of the same apartment costs 200-400 USD monthly. Men should cover the majority of the spendings at home, these include food and utilities, which can reach upwards of USD 500 per month.
Good-looking, wealthy, educated, hardworking and successful are the minimum requirements that men should meet. “Today’s woman is intelligent, smart and competitive,” said 24 year old Tamuna who is not yet married. “Georgian men insist on their women staying at home and looking after the family. That means that the woman has to leave her job and stay at home. So the financial conditions of the men are very important. Men should get their own house rather than rely on remaining in the family home after getting married. A car and good salary are preferable as well,” she added.
A 16 year old young man was considered the right age for marriage in the past. By this age he should have had sufficient life and work experience to lead his own family independently. “A man should have had different types of work experience,” said Mzia Leonidze, ethnographer. “Heroic qualities, a good horseman, brave. No women thought about cars back then, perhaps a strong horse instead. Nowadays the age of marriage has increased and mostly men between the ages of 25-38 get married. By this age men are most often financially and mentally independent as well. So they are able to lead their own family,” she added.
“A man should be prepared for marriage economically. First of all he should concentrate on securing a house, a place for his future family to live in,” said Gotsiridze. “Economic conditions are very important as a new member, a daughter-in-law, is added to the family. Not only a man, but his family in general should have no financial problems before he gets married. Also wedding costs should be covered by the man. It is not only the wedding ceremony and celebration, but presents for the bride and her family as well. A wedding ring, textiles, material for her dress, crockery and cooking utensils are the list of preferred gifts. In general men have greater expenses than women when it came to starting a family,” he added.
The largest amount of spending comes in the first year of marriage starting from the wedding day. On average, rent of a wedding gown costs 500 USD, and minimum 1,000 USD to buy. Wedding rings cost 500 USD and the most expensive event is the wedding party which usually costs around 3,000-7,000 USD. The fiancé should also think about spending an extra 2,000 USD on the honeymoon.
“Sometimes the money issue scares men away from marriage,” said Lasha Merabishvili. “Today’s women think only about money and material welfare. I agree that a man is responsible for creating a family, but both of them, the husband and the wife, should try to build their family together on as equal terms as possible. Obviously the man needs to earn enough income to support or supplement his wife’s own needs though,” he added.