Attitudes to family, marriage and divorce have changed over the last century. Here we look at how different aspects of family life are seen compared to the past.
In the past people married at a much younger age on average than they do today. Marrying in your late teens or early twenties was the norm. Most people got married as this is what was expected of you, and people rarely considered not doing so.
Many fewer decide to marry these days. Many make the conscious decisions not to as they prefer to remain more independent. This can be the case for both genders. Some would argue that people wait to meet the right person now, whereas before they would marry the first person who came along.
Living Together while not Married
In the past it was not socially acceptable for unmarried couples to live together. It was seen as wrong and was therefore extremely rare. It is possible that this contributed to early marriage.
Unmarried couples living together has almost become the norm now. Many decide to see how they get along living together before they decide to marry. It is also common for couples to live together, and possibly have children, without ever getting married. They live the same way as a married couple without ever making it official.
It used to be rare for people not to have children. Most people would conform to a very specific lifestyle, marrying young and having children soon after. Hardly anyone had children before marriage, and it was even rarer for people to do this by choice.
Nowadays it is not uncommon at all for people to have children without being married and this is not seen as a big issue by most. Sometimes parents live together as a family with their children without being married, while others are single parents. Not everyone decides to have children either. It is no longer seen as something you must do so it has become more of a choice.
The Role of Women
A hundred years ago, the role of women was very specific. They were expected to marry, have children, and not work. Their role was to look after the home and their children while men went out to work.
Womens role in family life, and life in general, now depends on the individual person and her circumstances. Many still crave the traditional lifestyle of marriage and children, but many make other choices. There are many more career women; some are working parents while others dont have children at all. The role of men is also less rigid, and it is much more common than it used to be for Mothers to go to work while Fathers stay at home.
Divorce was once illegal so wasnt an option at all. Even once it did become legal it was rarely considered and was deemed a sin by many.
Now it is much more common for a variety of reasons. Attitudes have completely changed and divorce is seen as perfectly acceptable for those in an unhappy marriage and there is no longer the same stigma attached to it. Although some think of the increase in divorce as a negative, it could be argued that it is better than remaining unhappy. It is also practically easier with family law having changed to make it easier for those seeking a divorce.
Andrew Marshall (c)