Fewer Marriages

Divorce is at a five year low in the UK, and predictably, the therapists are crediting more people with being cautious before trooping to the altar. That’s a nice reframe. My anecdotal observation is that more and more couples are enjoying the benefits of marriage (companionship, saving money on living costs, sex, and making babies) and simply aren’t bothering to marry. I may be right or wrong.

If I’m right, when we step back and look at how this impacts our culture, it means:

  • divorce lawyers will see a decline in their business (bet you’re all broken up about this one). So will the burgeoning marriage business
  • more children will grow up with only one parent (because unmarried lovers break up more frequently than married partners)
  • more people of both sexes will depend on their own earning power (because domestic relations laws for unmarried lovers don’t normally include concepts of equitable property division or alimony)
  • because most of the parents who subordinate their career to their partners’ are still mothers rather than fathers, it means more women will find themselves cut loose in middle age (and later) with comparatively few financial resources.

So what’s the moral here? I’ll tell you what I’ve been telling my daughter since she was a little girl. I’ve been telling her that she needs a financially secure and comparatively lucrative career of her own. Even if she marries, she will still be grateful for it. And the kind of man I hope she marries (secure, confident, and stable) will be grateful for it too.

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