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Examine the reasons for changing patterns of marriage, cohabitation and divorce in the last forty years.

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´╗┐Emmanuel Mends Sociology Marie Gettings Examine the reasons for changing patterns of marriage, cohabitation and divorce in the last forty years. 24 marks There are many reasons for the changing patterns in marriage, divorce and cohabitation in our modern era of the 21st century. Here are some reasons to somewhat explain the reasons for the following. Item A states that ?Only half as many people are getting married, lone- parent families have increased threefold, children born outside marriage has quadrupled in number and the number of divorces have trebled. In addition to this, item B goes on to further support the evidence given in item A. It states ?marriage is a normal and expected part of women?s lives in Western society. However, although the vast majority of women will expect to marry at some time and at least once, in recent years there has been some decline in the popularity of marriage?. ...read more.


Most serial monogamy involved divorced persons rather than widows and widowers. The Largest increase occurred between 1972 and 1972 following the introduction of the Divorce Reform Act of 1969. Other aspects that have encouraged the changing patterns towards marriage is the awareness of Cohabitation. Cohabitation involves an unmarried couple in a sexual relationship living together. Statistics show that more people are adjusting to the idea cohabitation (living together). While the number of marriages has been falling, the number of couples cohabiting continues to escalate and is the fastest growing family type in the UK. Figures show that over a quarter of all non-married adults aged 16-59 were cohabiting ? double the number in 1986. Furthermore the number of cohabiting couples is expected to double again by 2021. However this does not mean to say that couples cohabiting will not get married, as social trends suggest that it is only a delay in tying the knot. ...read more.


The commonest reason for a woman to be granted divorce is the unreasonable behaviour of her husband. Some couples are more likely than others to divorce. Couples whose marriages are at greatest risk include those who marry young, have a child before they marry or cohabit before marriage, and those where one or both partners have been married before. Functionalist sociologists such as Ronald Fletcher (1966), argue that the higher expectations people place on marriage today are a major cause of rising divorce rates. Higher expectations make couples nowadays less willing to tolerate an unhappy marriage. Another side of the argument is that, feminists argue that the oppression of women within the family is the main cause of marital conflict and divorce. Additionally feminists also argue that the fact that women are now wage earners as well as homemakers has created a new source of conflict between husbands and wives and this is leading to more divorces. Feminists argue that marriage remains patriarchal (male dominated), with men benefiting from their wives? ?triple-shifts? of paid work, domestic work and emotion work. ...read more.

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