More couples do things like dining, hobbies, friendships and having fun apart
Study: The separateness of couples' lives grows. In one of the most comprehensive studies of marriage, a team compared 2,000 married people each in 1980 and in 2000. The likelihood of couples spending lots of time together visiting friends, pursuing hobbies and dining together decreased 28%. Spouses also are less likely to have smooth relations with their partners' friends. The separateness has become so common that researchers are changing the structure of marriage-education programs. For some couples living separate lives isn't a problem: Dave Hookham says he and his wife, do fine vacationing separately sometimes and having different friends.
Do you take this man? No thanks - marriage is no longer desirable
There is a belief that changes in marriage and family life are peculiar to the secular West and that we could reverse the decline by re-emphasising the value of marriage. Yet the problem is not lack of respect for marriage. In fact, marriage as a relationship between two individuals comes with a greater sense of personal obligation than ever, although as an institution it no longer organises social life the way it used to. And it will never do so again. Two trends have spearheaded this revolution: societies' decreasing ability to dictate personal choices and women's growing ability to support themselves.
Married couples outnumbered for first time
Married couples, whose numbers have been declining for decades as a proportion of American households, have slipped into a minority. 49.7% of the nation's 111.1 million households in 2005 were made up of married couples, just shy of a majority and down from more than 52% five years earlier. The numbers by no means suggest marriage is dead. Marriage has been facing more competition. A growing number of adults are spending more of their lives single or living unmarried with partners, and the potential social and economic implications are profound.
Marriage - Comments by younger generation
As teenagers talk about of marriage, their comments reveal a dreary view of the institution. "I'm not looking forward to marriage," says Nakeeda Burns, "and I don't think we [people in general] should be married, because I see how other marriages ended up in my family. It's always a disaster." Even the married couples these teens know don't seem happy. "All of my friends who are married, they tell me not to get married," says Anderson Felix. Anita Marshall blurts out, "I want a big wedding if I get married," but she doesn't think she'll make it to the altar. Her mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother were married; now they're all divorced.
Births out of wedlock 'pass 40%'
The proportion of children born outside marriage in the UK has leapt from 12% in 1980 to 42% in 2004. In contrast, 15 other EU countries had an estimated average of 33%. The average UK household size fell from 2.9 to 2.4 people from 1971 to 2005. This was due to more single-parent families, smaller families and an increase in households of just one person. Although most children are born to married couples, this substantial rise in births outside marriage is a reflection of the rising trend in cohabiting parents. From 1986 to 2004, the percentage of non-married people under 60 who cohabited rose from 11% to 24% among men, and from 13% to 25% for women.
Cohabiting couples are less likely to marry
Staying together before legally formalising a relationship seems trendy and convenient these days but is a very risky thing to pursue. It does not matter whether the man initiates the idea. Many women are deceived into thinking that when a man asks them to move in, it is a strong indication that he loves them a lot.