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Today's Hot Topic: First comes love, then comes marriage?

Posted by on Feb. 20, 2009 at 6:36 AM
  • 17 Replies



Question: Are you?



Single, living with partner




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Total Votes: 71

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Single parent homes are on the rise, in fact in 2004, for the first time in history, single women outnumbered the married women in England and Wales. 

Are you concerned about the rate of marriages on the decline?  What do you think is the cause of it?  Do you believe marriage should come before having children?  Why or why not?

Single women outnumber their married counterparts

Last updated at 22:00 17 December 2006

    Married women have become a minority in England and Wales for the first time, official figures have revealed.

    They showed that there are more single, divorced and widowed women than there are wives.

    The number of women over the age of 16 who are married has plunged to fewer than 11 million, largely thanks to the collapse in the popularity of marriage among under-30s.

    New figures released by the Office for National Statistics show that the landmark point where unmarried women became the majority was reached in 2004.

    The decline of marriage and the increase in live-in cohabitation and single living has accelerated, they indicate, since Labour came to power determined to ensure that gays and single parents received equal treatment and that the privileges once given to married couples were eliminated.

    In the eight short years between 1996 - the year before Tony Blair's election - and 2004 the number of women who have never married or who are divorced has shot up by more than one and a half million.

    The watershed for marriage was disclosed in week when the controversy over family stability was pitched into party politics by the Tory report on 'Breakdown Britain'.

    The inquiry run by former party leader Iain Duncan Smith said that cohabitee parents are twice as likely to break up as married ones and that threequarters of family splits that affect children involve unmarried parents.

    It endorsed years of research which have exposed deep connections between children brought up by single parents and poor health, poor education, drugs, crime and teenage pregnancy.

    Tory leader David Cameron responded with promises of policies to support marriage.

    Yesterday's breakdown of the decline of marriage showed that fewer than one in three women in their late 20s is married, and among those aged between 20 and 24 the proportion who are married is under one in ten.

    In the early 1970s 85 per cent of women were married before their 30th birthday. Six out of ten had married before the age of 25.

    In 2003 there were 11,000,000 wives and 10,892,000 single, divorced or widowed women. In 1971, nearly two out of three adult women were married.

    But in the following year the number of married women was 10,935,000, the ONS analysis said. There were 11,090,000 who were single, divorced or widowed.

    The minority status of wives is likely to be unprecedented in peacetime in history.

    Decline in marriage began in the late 1970s - at a time when welfare benefits for single parents were beginning to increase - and accelerated through the 1980s and 90s.

    During this period married couples began to be taxed separately and the value of a key tax break, Married Couples Allowance, began to be eroded.

    Numbers of divorced women have soared nearly tenfold since 1971 to 2.15 million in 2004, a process quickened by reforms which made divorce easier.

    Mr Blair's Government has taken its attitude to marriage from its feminist wing. One key figure, Patricia Hewitt, now Health Secretary, declared in 1996 that the rise in cohabitation meant that legal marriage 'doesn't fit any longer, particularly not in Britain.'

    Since then Labour has built its policies on the idea that all kinds of families are equally good. Married Couples Allowance has been abolished, welfare benefits for single parents have been pushed much higher than those for couples, and Miss Hewitt has run a drive to remove the word 'marriage' from state documents.

    Privileges once extended only to married couples have been made available to homosexuals through the civil partnerships system and the Government is now planning to extend mutual property rights to cohabiting couples.

    Critics of Labour's family policies called for new efforts to encourage young people to marry.

    Jill Kirby of the centre right think tank Centre for Policy Studies said: 'This is a landmark. We see a major decline which is also quite clearly correlated with the fall in birthrates among women under 30.

    'If we are to look after the health of families, we need to devise policies that will reverse the drop in marriage among young women. We have seen fresh evidence this week of how that decline is bad news for the rising generation of children.'

    Patricia Morgan, author of a series of studies on the collapse of the traditional family, said: 'Marriage is now something older couples do, often after they have had children.

    A wedding has become a status symbol - something celebrities do - and it has become entirely separated from having children or money.'

    She added: 'The supporters of the 60s counter-culture, the minority rights groups, people who think like Patricia Hewitt, they should all be celebrating. They have got what they wanted. But the side effects are not very nice for anybody.'

    The ONS figures show that married men are still in the majority, numbering 10,863,000 from 20,694,000 over the age of 16 in 2004.

    The difference between men and women is caused by the fact that men typically die younger than women. As a result there are nearly four times as many widows as widowers.

    by on Feb. 20, 2009 at 6:36 AM
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    Replies (1-10):
    by Member on Feb. 20, 2009 at 7:06 AM

    Wow!!  I think that you are running into alot of people who don't want to give up their single life and the best way to do that is to just live together.  That way they get everything a married woman is getting without getting married.  I think that its crazy that the single women outnumber the married women.   

    by on Feb. 20, 2009 at 7:32 AM

    I nearly got married and thankfully never did seeing my SO was abusive.  There has to be reasons why the women in the UK choose to stay single.  I DO NOT believe that the fall of birthrates has anything to do with marriage.  But with women who choose to take on a career or education beforehand.  This is very prevalent within the European and Oceania Culture.

    I would like to see the links to this article which suggest that children to unmarried couples are more prone to poor health and teenage pregnancy.  On which basis are they taking it from?  It helps me to understand why and give a more correct response.

    by on Feb. 20, 2009 at 9:13 AM

    I think that women have wisened up and learned that one does not need a man to get by in life.  Also, women now have careers and tend to wait longer to get married, than they used to.

    I was shy of 30 when I got married and can honestly say I do not have one regret.

    by on Feb. 20, 2009 at 9:13 AM

    Sex outside of marriage is always going to cause problems.  Of course this also produces children in situations of ALL kinds.  We need to get back to marriage, then sex, then children.

    by on Feb. 20, 2009 at 9:36 AM

    If or when couples only live together it's not as if they aren't taking vows, they have decided upon each others individual and mutual choice to have shared interests with each other. Marriage is a word used only a few times by God to describe the trueness, the wonderful complexity that is made special as  "taken by two people being one in agreement",  

    being agreed upon , isn't always meaning only one answer is the respected or true answer from one or the other person involved. 

    There is never a perfect marriage if it's only to do with people exclusively.

    Where God gets into the picture is only where the RESPECT is taken seriously,  most people don't know what the word respect or serious means unless it means to never have a disagreement.    Call it arguments, disagreements, but it does help if and when disagreements are taken as a commitment issue, possibly not just a " that day you said this or that" issue.   Both man and woman need to be present to have a disagreement and both need to be present to resolve it.

      I feel most people are giving up due to so many powers of persuasion and political, or moral excuses.   Anytime it is represented to use an excuse of moral standard, or rights of power than a fight is ensuing.   If it's not a fight, than why would one just leave.  Oh, yes, the "flight" half of the aftermath.

      Well to fix this isn't the easiest, but it's still worth having freedom of choice,  for example if a woman chooses to want to work to lower the bills, instead of retalliating and gloating fireballs at the woman for her idea, ( if that's a thought out idea it helps.)  he should be open to discussion ;  NEVER just  "blow her off "!    The technique is thoughtless, rude, and damaging to her dignity as a female.  It's not a wonder women would want to remain single.  
    If any benefit is produced at all from being single for a female;  it's the sanity; the freedom and the power of knowing it does get done the way is appropriate.  Men sound off only to get power and control, instead of THINKING first .   This thinking is a necessity.    And if men thought first and NOT controlled , I am sure crime would be minimized, due to people being more happy.

    Women don't need directional arrows or compasses to be led by a bit and still see the light. We are only reflections of the love we already have.  To treat it as less is insulting.   Leave us be or help right~off~the~ bat.                 It would save generations of much much needless heartache.


    by on Feb. 20, 2009 at 9:48 AM

    Are you concerned about the rate of marriages on the decline? 

    Yes, i am concerned.  Marriage and family are the main social unit of our society, and keeps our society able to function.   

    I think the main problem, not to simplify, but i think it's a lack of respect and consideration for the person's spouse.   And, just my opinion, but i think that, in general,  the men are usually the ones who lack the commitment and respect, and also, now women are more financially able to leave an abusive marriage.  


    by on Feb. 20, 2009 at 9:49 AM

    I'm not really concerned. I think that the lean towards cohabitation in the US anyway is just change with times, and it's going pretty slowly. I don't think the increase of women's rights and education is the cause of it, though many people would disagree with me. I do think that the decline in faith has something to do with it. If I remember right, religion isn't much of a priority to especially younger people these days, and as marriage is a major institution of churches, the rate has gone down due to personal and religious beliefs. I personally don't think marriage should have to come before marriage. If it did, a lot of us would be going on down to hell. Including me. Twice. hehe. That's the joy of having personal freedoms-- WE get to choose how and when we want to do things. Like getting married or not, having kids, and living with our partner (or not).  

    by on Feb. 20, 2009 at 9:52 AM

    Interesting article.  I'm married, and very happy. Even if I am in the minority, I still feel very, very blessed.  :-]

    I do think it's good for children to have a mommy and a daddy who loves them.  It's two different kinds of love, coming from two different kinds of people (mom and dad) and the kids need that complete experience. 

    Now, just because I believe that's the best way for the kids, doesn't mean it's the only way.  I know a lot of single parents with kids who are actually better off without the abusive or cheating ex still around.

    by Member on Feb. 20, 2009 at 11:00 AM

    I think its really sad to be honest! I agree with what another poster that it has more to do with people not having faith anymore and not believing in god thats why marriage isnt as a big of deal to people. I love being married and no matter what I will teach my kids the importance of marriage. Family is the most important unit in society in my opinion and it needs to be protected. I am happy knowing My husband was willing to make a commitment to always love and be with only me. I know he will always be there for me and my children. and I will always be there for him whats wrong with making that promise to be together and stay together no matter how hard life gets?

    by New Member on Feb. 20, 2009 at 11:19 AM

    I think that people in general have gotten a little to selfish to want to marry. It seems like people now just want what they want ,when they want it and think that everything should be disposible , you know? Even people and relationships,I guess. It's truly so sad. Everyone is running around so fast these days trying to make money  to have Everything they think they want, that they aren't taking the time for relationships and  appreciating the value of the people in their lives. I believe we would all be better off if we could slow down long enough to enjoy the people in this world more and have less STUFF getting in the way. Mabey then we could get back to good old days of courtship and marriage and then sex and family. Wouldn't that be something. It's really a shame for the ones who don't take the time ,they are missing out on a great thing. If you truly do love someone there's no better thing in the world than commiting to going through what ever life brings with that person and knowing that they are always there for you.

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