Sociology Marriage

Topics: Marriage, Family, Alimony Pages: 3 (927 words) Published: February 4, 2014
Examine the reasons for changes in the patterns of marriage and cohabitation in the last 40 years or so. Marriage is the formal union of a man and a woman, typically as recognized by law, by which they become husband and wife. But this has been criticized because the definition doesn’t say about people in same sex relationships. Cohabitation is when two people live together and have a sexual relationship without being married. The term marriage refers to a legal contract between man and women binding them as husband and wife by legal or religious commitments. Cohabitation is quite similar to marriage. Cohabitation refers to a man and women living together in an intimate relationship. There is no legal or religious element binding the couple together. All three have changed drastically over the last forty years. Religious significance has dropped dramatically in many western countries including the U.K. Many people no longer feel that marriage is essential. As less people are religious, they are more likely to cohabit or divorce without fear of ‘living a sin’. The decline of religious significance is known as secularization. Alternatively, changes in social attitudes mean that people art marrying at a later age rather than rejecting marriage altogether. Item B states that in 1971, only four per cent of women remained unmarried by the age of 50. By 1987, this figure had grown to seventeen per cent. Rise in female independence could be a contributing factor to this rise. Women may prefer to become economically independent before marrying. Rather than rejecting marriage, many couples may seek alternatives, such as cohabitation. Cohabitation has many benefits. Some people may not see the need to get married in order to express their love. Others may be put off by the financial aspect of weddings. Cohabitation is altogether a cheaper alternative to an expensive wedding and messy divorce. However, cohabitation is not seen as a permanent alternative to marriage. It is...
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