Marriage and the Family

  • Created by: m_ali31
  • Created on: 25-04-15 13:07

Marriage and the Family

  • Marriage rate= Number of people marrying per 1000
  • the marriage rate was at its all time highest in 1972(baby boom) and at its all time low in 2005
  • 2005= 25 people per 1000
  •  The mean age at marriage has increased by almost eight years for both men and women since 1972.    (ONS)
  • Average age for marriage: Male- 29-32 yrs Female- 27-30 yrs
  • Bernades (1997)- most people get married at some point in their life, just the age people get  marriage has increased
  • According to Patrican Morgan (new right) the institution of marriage is under threat


  •  According to functionalists Parsons and Fletcher; people nowadays are too high maintainence and have too high expectations from their partner which leads to the breakdown of marriage
  •  Declining stigma to alternatives to marriage e.g. cohabitation
  • Secularisation: society as a whole has become less religious
  • changes in the position of women mean they prioritise their education and work 
  • Divorce rate is rising so fear of divorce results to people staying unmarried
  • Plastic sexuality- Anthony Giddens. Sex not only for reproduction for pleasure, so marriage is not neccesary
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Marriage and the Family

Evidence FOR marriage: 

  • Marriage is good for the health of couples and they live longer than divorced people (ONS 2007)
  • Marriage involves unique atachments and obligations- Patricia Morgan 
  • Marriage is a religious obligation 'completes half your religion'
  • Children are more likely to be successful in education

Evidence AGAINST marriage: 

  • Smith: Argues that marriage creates unrealistic expectations, people need different partners at different points in their life
  • Campbell: Marriage benefits men more than women
  • Women are no longer tied to men as they have economic independence
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Cohabitation and the Family

  • Cohabitation: Couples living together in an intimate relationship without being married
  • ONS stats show that cohabiting couples are the fastest growing family in the UK 
  • 1986-2007 increased by 12%

Reasons for rise in cohabitation: 

1) People need new partners in different stages of their life

2) Marriage is expensive

3) Increasing acceptance of cohabitation

Evidence FOR: 

  • Chandler: stable long term alternative to marriage
  • Not tied down 

Evidence AGAINST: 

  • Patrician Morgan- cohabitation represents an increase in sexual partners and it is a moral decline.
  • Murphy- children who's parents are not married underperform at school 
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