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Slide 1

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Marriage-a legally binding agreement between two people who promise to support one
another emotionally and economically and express love for one another.
Reasons for marriage during Victorian Era
Religious obligation
Avoiding shame and stigma
Secure inheritance
Main goal due to limited education and job opportunities
WW2 Marriage
Attitudes to society
Cohabitation unacceptable
Women dependent on men
Pregnancy outside of marriage unacceptable
Repopulate due to war losses…read more

Slide 2

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1960S TO 70
Getting married to have children since it would be a stable environment to raise
children in.
Present Day
Divorce easier
Love each other
Attitudes towards Marriage
British Social Attitude Survey- Anyone whether single, divorced or cohabiting see
marriage as a wanted life goal.
Smith(2001) Marriage creates unrealistic expectations about married life. Everyone at
difference points in their lives needs different things, which can only be gained by a
new partner.
Berthoud 2000 ¾ of Bangladeshi and Pakistani women are married by 25 compared
to 50% of white British women.
Office of National Stats 2007- Marriage is good for the health of couples, since
married people live longer than single or divorced people.
Berthoud-2000- British African Caribbean's are the least likely ethnic group to get
married with only 39% of Caribbean adults under 60 are formally married compared to
60% of white British adults.
Patricia Morgan 2000- Marriage involves unique attachment and obligations i.e
Married men earn more and more likely to be employed than any other male groups
due to working harder.
Wilkinson 1994-Women's attitudes to marriage have changed. Middle class women
want an established career before a family. This was termed as "gender quake".…read more

Slide 3

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Cohabitation has risen in recent years . 1986-11% of men and 13% of women
divorced compared to 24% and 25% in 2007. The office for national stats suggest
it's the fastest growing family type. 2.2 million families in the uk are cohabiting with
or without children.
Smart and Stevens 2000 interviewed 20 males and females who were parents and
cohabiting couples. To many marriage did not further emphasise a relationship,
nor were they even sure they wanted to marry the person they are living with.
Many female participants believed their partners failed to show them enough
commitment and so had to wait to become "marriage worthy" and to take an equal
role in the upbringing of children. Cohabitation can be seen as a test of both
people's commitment and in fact show the same level of commitment as a married
couple. Cohabitating couples are likely to find divorce easier than married couples.
Allan and Crow perceive cohabitation as a trial period of marriage or an
arrangement that ends due to different pursuits. The idea of cohabitation in the 60'
s was acknowledged as a period of sexual liberation and due to this and a lack of
stigma( secularisation) means that marriage is not the only way to have a family.
Marriage in the past was seen as a commitment lasting the rest of your life with a
particular importance placed upon virginity. Cohabiting couples are also more
financially stable i.e. maintaining more than one property.
Cohabitation has risen by 65% since 1997. The New Right see…read more

Slide 4

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The New Right perceive Cohabitation as less stable than marriage. A report by the
Civil Society institute claimed- Morgan 2000- claimed cohabiting couples are less
fulfilled than married couples and less happy are more likely to be abusive,
unfaithful, stressed and depressed.
Divorce- Marital Breakdown
Martial breakdown can result in:
Divorce- Legal proceedings which end a marriage
Empty Shell Marriages- Partners no longer love each other but stay together for the
sake of the children
Before 1857- Divorce an act of parliament- available only to the powerful and wealthy
1857 Marital causes act- Divorce allowed in a court of Law in England and Wales. Men
had to prove adultery to get a divorce. Women had to prove cruelty, desertion and
Divorce Reform Act- 1969- Irretrievable breakdown of marriage sole reason for divorce.
Evidence can be in the form of adultery, desertion, unreasonable behaviour.
1996 Family law act- divorce allowed despite no evidence of marital breakdown.…read more

Slide 5

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50% approx of divorced couples have dependent children under the age of
Couples divorce between ages 25- 29 but this age is rising due to couples
marrying later.
One in five men and women who divorced in 2008 had a previous marriage
ending in divorce.
Since 1998 onwards the average age of divorce has risen from 40.4 to 43.9
years for men and 37.9 to 41.4 years for women in England and Wales.
5.5% from 143,955to 130026.…read more

Slide 6

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Is divorce a norm?
Morgan 1996- Divorce common- changed occurred in 20 years.
Just a stage in life. The more divorce and re marriage faced the
new type of family structures we find ourselves in will change.
Divorce offers freedom and chance to regain a new indentity
and explore new roles.
Giddens 1991- Divorce good and bad…read more


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