Examine the Reasons for the Changes in Marriage and Cohabitation in the Last 40 Years

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Examine the reasons for the changes in marriage and cohabitation in the last 40 years Marriage is a legally recognized relationship, between two adults, which has certain rights and obligations. Cohabitation is when couples that are not legally married choose to live together. Over the last 40 years or so there have been changes in the patterns of marriage and cohabitation Over the last 40years marriage has gone into a decline. Statistics show that marriages reached a low in 2005 when only 244,710 couples got married. One reason is the age of marriage is slowly rising. Chester (1985) suggests that in fact people are delaying marriage. It is said that people will normally marry after a period of cohabitation, the average time for a couple to cohabitate before marriage is 5 years, 60% of cohabitees will marry. The reason most couples want to cohabitate before getting married is so they can test and challenge their relationship so they don’t commit to something with the wrong person. Women are generally getting married later as they are pursuing a career before settling down. This has changed as 40years ago women would normally have to stay at home and have children and look after the house, but now women have the same rights as men. This is affecting fertility rates and they have started to decline, which is not good for our population. Since the 1960’s there has been a change in attitude towards marriage and a decline in religion. There has been less social pressure. Marriage has also changed in the way that you no longer have to be married in church in 2004 only 32% marriage were religious ceremonies, as opposed to a civil service. A reason for this might be for financial reasons; the average cost of a traditional marriage is around £11,000, as weddings tend to cost a lot of money, which can put pressure on the couple.
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