• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Examine the reasons for the changes in the patterns of marriage, cohabitation and divorce in the last 30 years.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

´╗┐Examine the reasons for the changes in the patterns of marriage, cohabitation and divorce in the last 30 years. In the last 30 years, the British society has experienced many changes affecting the family. There have been changes in attitudes to and expectations of family life, as well as official changes such as government legislation. Society has been affected by feminism, which has led to increased awareness of women?s rights and freedoms, as well as postmodernism and secularisation. The changes resulting have affected marriage rates, which are decreasing, and more people are now marrying later in life and more than once. More people are choosing to cohabit, either before or instead of marrying, and this is becoming increasingly common in young couples. Divorce rates have also increased in the last 30 years, following changes in legislation and attitudes. As society?s view of a ?conventional family? has changed over the last 30 years, the acceptable norms have widened. In the past, an unmarried woman would be looked down on, as it was expected that women would marry and invest their time in raising a family. If they didn?t, it could be presumed that could they couldn?t find a willing partner, or that there was something wrong with them. ...read more.

Middle

When laws relating to marriage and divorce have changed in the last 30 years, they have both helped to shape and influence social attitudes, and also reflected the changes in attitudes that have taken place. The Civil Partnerships Act in 2004 enabled people of the same sex to enter in to a civil partnership, or gay marriage. This has meant that the concept of marriage has been widened beyond previous definition, and provides another option for people who may otherwise have felt forced in to a heterosexual marriage in order to conform to societies expectations. This could have an impact on patterns of heterosexual marriage because people no longer feel they need to fit a certain mould, because the law has changed to be more inclusive. Legislation has also made divorce a lot easier than before and more of an option for many people. In 1984, the law said that rather than being married for 3 years before a couple were allowed to divorce, the time was reduced to one year. The Family Law Act in 1996 said that there did not have to be any fault involved with divorce for it to be done quickly and promoting mediation to make the process easier. This turned the idea of divorce from being that of a failed marriage, and the result of someone?s mistakes or failures, to be being just another part of normal life, an acceptable next step after being married for a while. ...read more.

Conclusion

Social Action theorists for example say that identity is still formed by the family, which first teaches us how to interact with others. Critics say that while society is clearly changing, and this is evident in the patterns of marriage, cohabitation and divorce amongst other things, other sociological theories used in the past to explain these trends such as Marxism and Feminism cannot simply be disregarded. British society?s understanding of the form and function of a family has been changing over the last 30 years, and this has been shown in the rates of marriage falling, divorce and remarriage increasing, and cohabitation becoming a more popular lifestyle choice. Society?s values have been affected by a greater emphasis on individualism and personal fulfilment, as opposed to the traditional values of the Church, which have had more of a role in defining the family in the past. There has been an increase in awareness of equality issues too, particularly with the rise of feminism and gay rights, which have lead to changes in the law such as the Civil Partnerships Act, and legislation to increase ease of divorce. Various sociological theories have attempted to explain these changes, particularly postmodernism, but the fact that 95.1% of British women still choose to marry before the age of 49 shows that while our views on marriage and family life becoming more flexible, they still remain an important part of our society. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Family & Marriage section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Family & Marriage essays

  1. (a)Outline and explain reasons why patterns of childbearing have changed in contemporary British society.

    This liability has caused financial pressure for parents resulting in the decline in birth rates as parents feel less willing or able to maintain a larger family than perhaps families did in the past. This factor is supported by the rise in child centredness.

  2. Who Needs Marriage? is a scientific article written in 1988 by Gerald C. Lubenow. ...

    They think that marriage can destroy a good relationship. They are perfectly happy without being married so why then take the risk of resorting to marriage? Beside these real life examples from regular people, the article uses statistics and other facts to emphasize the examples and the informative and serious style that is used around this topic.

  1. Examine Changes in the Patterns in Childbearing and Childrearing in the UK since the ...

    There was a major change of attitude to the role of the women in the house after the war because more families were single parent due to the death of a husband in the war. It was easier to get a divorce out of a relationship that wasn't working and

  2. Assess the view that marriage is no longer a popular institution in todays postmodernist ...

    In 1989, only 44% of people agreed that premarital sex was okay. This figure changed to 62% in 2000. Young people are more likely to accept cohabitation due to relatively recent changes in society such as; increased job opportunities for women which may mean that they have less need for

  1. Examine the changes in the rate of divorce since 1969

    Another act that lead to the respected improvements from 1969, was that women could seek welfare benefits from the state in order to look after their single parent family. This idea meant that women were no longer having to depend on their husbands and if they would not have to stay with him for his money and financial support.

  2. Indo-Canadians Dominate with One of the Lowest Divorce Rates Worldwide

    We don?t want to shame our parents, or be looked down upon by people in our social circle.? Dr. Sareena Malhotra has been living in Canada for over 3 decades now. She was born in India and married in Canada.

  1. Analyse how the family structure has changed over the last 100 years

    Evidently more women are going out to work and more relationships are consisting of duel-earners which is when both male and female work. This is a form of equality but in many cases women are still expected to run the home and cook and clean even though they have been

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

    of the predominant reasons being that there is less pressure towards individuals to get married, wherefore they can have the freedom to choose the ideal type of partner and relationship that meets their desires. Further reasons are that, due to more levels of people being educated people may decide on putting off the idea of a first time marriage.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work