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Changing Family Patterns
Marriage and Cohabitation
You can use this hand out in the following essay exam questions:
When looking at the changing family patterns
(It can also be used when discussing the family diversity)
· Fewer people are marrying (marriage rates are at their lowest since
· There has been however more remarriages.
4 out of every 10 (2004) were remarriages.
· This could be seen as serial monogamy (marriage
· People are marrying later: the age has risen by 7 years since 1972.
· People are less likely to marry in a church. 34% in 2005.
The Reasons for the changes in Marriage
1/: Change in position of women
Women have better career prospects. Less dependent on men
This is the weakening influence the church has over people. People are now free
to choose whether to marry or not.
3/: Declining Stigma
Cohabitation, remaining single and children outside marriage are now more
widely accepted No more `shotgun' weddings.
4/: Fear of divorce
The rising divorce rates puts people off getting married:
The institution of marriage is one that remains popular (FUNCTIONALIST/
Most people, whether single, divorced or cohabiting, still see
marriage as a desirable objective in their lives.
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For example, remarriages (i.e. in which one or both
partners have been divorced) now make up over
onethird of marriages.
· These people are obviously committed to the institution
of marriage despite their previous negative experience
People are delaying marriage rather than rejecting it
Most people will marry at some point in their lives.
· However, people are now marrying later in life, probably
after a period of cohabitation
Cohabitation: Involves an unmarried couple in a sexual relationship living
Here's a taster:
Cohabiting is a trial marriage
Couples could be waiting for a divorce to come through.
· Cohabitation is a alternative to marriage
Young people see cohabitation as a conscious attempt to create a
more personally negotiated and equal relationship
· Rather than the patriarchal marriage.
Women who cohabit do less house work than their married counterparts.…read more