Experts say that this is because people are looking for stability. They are citing one expert later in the article.
Professor Cary Cooper, a social scientist at Lancaster University, said: “The increase in marriages makes sense. If you’re feeling insecure, as people are now, then you are going to want to try to bring some stability to their lives.
“During a period of economic growth, when you have a more entrepreneurial climate, people are more me-oriented. But when times get tough, and you are out there on your own, you are going to look more for security in relationships.”
Marriage = stability. Being unmarried = me-oriented. Nice slap in the face of devoted couples who happen to be unmarried, either by choice or circumstance or law. Actually, it seems like Cooper even ignores the possibility that couples could exist outside of marriage, so the second equation is: Being single = me-oriented. I look forward to the day when it is no longer acceptable to espouse this kind of singlism. And of course, “security in relationships” couldn’t possibly be gained through common security clubs, a way of forming relationships with others to make these times a bit less scary. Oh, sorry, I forgot the other implied equation: relationship = marital relationship.
I am not even going to focus on the divorce rate to call to question the marriage = stability equation. Instead, let’s speculate why people might get married now, during a recession (strangely, the Telegraph didn’t seem to think to ask those soon-to-be or newly weds). There’s the distraction factor. A wedding gets your mind off the recession – until you get the bills at least. But mostly, I would argue that this trend – if it is indeed a trend – is more economic calculation than a search for stability. Although I don’t know if the economic benefit of matrimony in the UK is as large as it is here in the US, I would suspect that marriage makes economic sense there, too. Here in the U.S., you’d be able to add your spouse to your health insurance if he/she got laid off and you still have a job with benefits. You’d be able to get a tax bonus when you can file jointly. Should you die, your spouse inherits your estate tax-free. And these are only a few examples – of the 1,138 economic and legal benefits. There are also less tangible benefits. I am sure it’s easier to find a place to live as a married couple than as an unmarried couple (I am assuming that the couples who are getting married were conjugal couples before marriage not strangers off the street, so they’d be living together). And that’s because marriage = stability. Even if that equation is not reality based, it is assumed that a married couple will stay together whereas an unmarried couple is just not as committed. Again, reality doesn’t matter. Presumptions do.
Instead of using this upsurge in marriage to reinforce matrimanical prejudices, I’d suggest that we take a look at the economic cost imposed on unmarried people. Forcing people to marry for all the wrong reasons will not create more stable marriages. It will simply perpetuate a divided society: Unmarried vs married. It is time to ensure that people are secure no matter what – whether they are married, unmarried, single, or any creative combination of these.