Britons say bye to nupital knots
Marriage, the most lasting of all social institutions has, seemingly, lost its charms in the UK. If current trend of live-ins and cohabitation continue, marriage may fall completely out of fashion, mourn pro-family groups. Vijay Dutt reports.Updated: Mar 02, 2009, 00:15 IST
Marriage, the most lasting of all social institutions has, seemingly, lost its charms in the UK. If current trend of live-ins and cohabitation continue, marriage may fall completely out of fashion, mourn pro-family groups.
The statistics is disturbing. The marriage rate fell to an all-time low in 2007— from 440,000 in 70s to 330,000 — and is expected to have fallen further in 2008, if only because of the recession.
The cost of living for married couples and the hefty price tag for weddings (over £21000) are just two possible reasons why the number of people who live as husband and wife in England and Wales could fall to less than half of the population, the Iona Institute of Dublin reported.
Only one in 50 single women married last year, and one in 43 single men.
The recent figures published by the UK Office for National Statistics showed that a mere 51 per cent of all adults are now married, and 10 per cent cohabitat. Just 10 years ago, some 59 per cent of all adults were married. A further 23 per cent are now single.
Among women aged 18-49, fewer than half are married. And in the same age range, the number of women cohabitating has tripled from 11 per cent in 1979 to 33 per cent in 2007.
“If we include those who are living-in and in cohabitation than the number of couples has not fallen. They are now entitled to over 75 per cent of the rights of married couples and the children from such relationships are considered legitimate,” said Lord Bikhu Parekh.
Lord William Rees-Mogg however laments the fact that “we’ve got rid of marriage” but at a terrible cost he adds. He quoted Geoffrey Chaucer words put in a pilgrim in the Canterbury Tales: ‘None other state, quoth he, is worth a bean, for wedlock is so easy and so clean.’
With marriages on the decline, British family structure is now undermined by the neoliberal culture of the post-war generation. But for the Asian families, who are now over four per cent here, their cultural influences still have a strong impact on the family disciplines. But this may not last very long.
Most of the younger women in the immigrant communities have set themselves free from the patriarchal tradition. This is the reason for forced marriages and honour killings.
Lord Mogg, however, warned that a price would have to be paid for the liberal values. “Western women will not go back to being slaves in their own homes… But we may suffer if marriage becomes an optional extra.”