Examine the Reasons for Changes in the Patterns of Marriage and Cohabitation in the Last 40 Years.

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Cohabitation is the living together and having a sexual relationship often without the individuals being married. Over the last 40 years there have been many changes to patterns of marriage and cohabitation and new patterns have formed. One main pattern that has began to be seen, is marriage is on a decline. This is due to a number of reasons.

Firstly attitudes, particularly to women, have changed. Society has changed in a way which means women’s opinions are heard more and women have and use their power more. In the 1920s women did not get much say in family affairs. They would get married and have children; that was the norm for society. If a woman wanted a divorce it was very frowned upon, someone would even say it bought shame on a family. Often women would instead stay in a marriage but it would become an empty shell marriage, where a husband and wife formally remain together but there is no substance and barely any communication to the relationship. With the help of female liberation, nowadays women have more choices, whether they continue in further education, go to work, get married and have a family, or a combination of the above. It is more socially accepted that women make these choices themselves. This means more women are choosing not to get married or to get married in later life, which brings the marriage statistics down.

Leading on from a change in attitudes, women have begun to choose to peruse a career instead of marriage. Women are choosing to stay in further education and make successful careers instead of leaving school and starting a family. This again is an example of changes in society as previously women married mainly for financial support. In the late 1980s, early 90’s there was a gender-quake. This is when a gender causes changes to law and society; in this case women caused this gender-quake. Due to the fact that women were and still are perusing their own careers first, meant they no longer needed a husband to...
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