Comments

They are marrying! — 8 Comments

  1. Marriage doesn’t equal stability, it equals money. How anyone could miss the link between marriage and a recession is beyond me. Two people move into the same house, split all the utilities and food bills, share health insurance, share a car, make their families and friends buy them expensive gifts, and get an enormous tax break. I want to just say “der” to this guy. What really gets my goat is that married people still believe that there is a marriage “penalty” on taxes in the U.S. I don’t see a penalty anywhere. If I were married to a man who doesn’t work, my same income would be taxed at a lower rate. It’s a reward for mooching!

  2. Wiebes the quote is not from the author of the article. It’s from someone they used to support their conclusion that the increase in marriage is due to people seeking more stability.

    I don’t think that most people would notice the nuances you are suggesting. Generally, a relationship is considered more stable if the people are married. Why is that? Because people assume that marriage = stability. I agree with you that it’s interesting that the article doesn’t talk about whether this is actually true.

    Also, as I noted in my post, they never actually talked with the people who are getting married. These folks might be getting married for completely different reasons.

  3. Got it – I agre. I think I have found the crux of the issue. If I understand you correctly, the argument is that marriage=security and by implication single=insecurity.

    For what it’s worth, I agree that a successful single person would be much more “secure” (financialy, socially, etc) than an arguing couple who has four children and one spouse works while the other sits at home and tries to raise kids while drinking. I’m using financial security here and exaggerating the situation for illustrative purposes.

    I agree with your contention in gneral, but I disagree with your using absolutes to define the author’s message. For example, you write “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”. But the author states that “But when times get tough, and you are out there on your own, you are going to look more for security in relationships.” So the author never mentions marriage directly—only “relationships”.

    Onely said at the top of the comments “Astounding how the author has the implicit assumptiom that marriage=stability.” But the author doesn’t make that assumption. The author is saying that people are trying to bring more stability into their lives by getting married. The author is reporting that people have told him that they are getting married in order to try to bring some more stability into their lives. They are trying. The author never says that they are succeeding, or that getting married (or even having a relationship in any form) will ever necessarily bring this about.

    If the author was purporting the idea of getting married automatically equalling stability, I would have agreed 100% with everything you said. But in my opinion, the author is saying that people are TRYING to achieve stability by getting married. Whether or not the people are completely wrong, or they will never actually find that stability, they are trying. That is what the author is reporting.

    I honestly don’t feel that this is just semantics and I don’t expect everyone to suddenly agree with me- I just feel that you (and Onely) are putting words in the author’s mouth that he didn’t actually say. (He might have totally meant them, though- we have no way of knowing).

    Example: It’s like if I tell you that I’m getting married because I want to “become more stable”, it’s not a fair argument to say that I am, by implication, calling you unstable. Because I’m not. And me getting married “to become more stable” only indicates a desire on my part to become more stable- it does not state that marriage itself is a guaranteed vehicle by which I will achieve that stability. It only shows that I am TRYING to become more stable.

    Anyway, my 2 cents. Love the blog!

    . I do find it interesting, however, that the author of the article never says that people are actually FINDING that security, only that they are LOOKING for it.

  4. “The author states that MANY people are getting married in order to find more security. I agree with this, as statistically it must be true. Whether it’s more or less, or better or worse, I don’t think anyone can say.”

    Where are the statistics that say anything about people getting married to find more security? Based on the article, we can say that some people do that (the ones interviewed) but doesn’t mean that it’s true for many people.

    I am not arguing that the article states that “more people are getting married in order to find more security.” What I am arguing is that the article equates marriage with security and by implication being single with insecurity.

  5. I had a chance to read the whole article. I absolutely love the idea of causality because it’s so hard to figure out. We see stuff all the time but it’s really difficult to definitively connect the cause to the effect. I would agree with you that

    – People want more stability in their lives

    And I would modify the following
    – and MANY (not most) have the personal preference to establish that through marriage.

    At the very end of the article, the author writes: “However, the overall proportion of people getting married has declined in recent years. Figures released last week by the Office for National Statistics found that just over half of adults, 51 per cent, were registered as married in 2007, compared with 59 per cent in 1998. Previous periods of upheaval have seen an increase in weddings.”

    Whoops! The author at least has the balls to shoot himself in the foot instead of just ignoring this completely. This reminds me of the “highest grossing movies” of all time, and then people figure out that the price to go to the movies is like $15 a ticket (instead of $3 a ticket when “Jaws” came out in the 1970s.

    Similar argument: More people are getting married! Well, more people are on the planet.

    I would think that you would agree that definitely SOME of the people who are getting married in the article are totally doing it because they want more stability. I guess my argument is that:

    – The author states that more people are getting married. This I think is correct.
    – The author states that more people are looking for security. This I think is correct.
    Therefore, the argument (if I understand you correctly) is:
    – The author states that more people are getting married in order to find more security. I disagree with this, I think it might be implied but I cannot see it explicity stated in the article.

    I would agree with
    – The author states that MANY people are getting married in order to find more security. I agree with this, as statistically it must be true. Whether it’s more or less, or better or worse, I don’t think anyone can say.

    Perhaps what the author should have stated was:
    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 MORE (added by me) stability to their lives.

    Maybe some will think it’s just semantics but in my opinion the changing or adding or removing of “most” and “more” would change the entire scope of the article, in my opinion.

  6. Wiebes: The reason I have a comment section is to have discussions like this! So, no need to apologize…

    The quote from Prof Cooper implies that the increase in marriage is due to increased insecurity in people’s lives (and even if that’s not what he wanted to imply, the gist of the article ensures that this quote supports that hypothesis). To him it’s just logical. Yet, he’s looking at two data series that happen to be moving in the direction that he thinks they should be moving: Marriages are up; insecurity is up. There is nothing here that suggests that the two are related, especially not causally. Correlation does not imply causation. Otherwise, I could increase my income by buying an expensive car since I noticed that people with high incomes often drive expensive cars. So, to use your words, he is suggesting: People want more stability in their lives and most have the personal preference to establish that through marriage. The evidence just does not support that.

    The second part of the quote brings together the idea that people who are more me-oriented are more entrepreneurial and on their own. Being unmarried = me-oriented. Okay, he puts the qualifier “more” in there but that’s to indicate that more people are unmarried during periods of economic growth, thus more me-oriented.

    This post wasn’t meant as a quibble of Prof. Cooper’s quote but rather a critique of the whole article, which used Cooper’s quote to support their contention that people are seeking stability and therefore marry. Granted, taken out of that context, Cooper’s quote seems less singlist.

  7. Not trying to cause a fight or anything, or to argue for the sake of arguing, but I completely disagree. While I agree with the idea of “singlism” and have read “Singled Out” and other books (and very much enjoyed them), I think that you are putting words in the author’s mouth in this particular case.

    >>> 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.

    He says that people, in general, ARE GOING TO WANT to try to bring some stability to their lives. I completely agree that people will WANT to do that. Whether or not you want to marry in order to do that, that is a personal preference. But since the evidence is such (according to the article anyway) that more and more people are getting married, the author is looking at the evidence and saying that generally speaking, many people feel compelled to look for stability. I don’t see any evidence of the author judging marriage vs. common law or any other type of relationship in this case.

    >>> “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.”

    The author says that people will be MORE me-oriented. MORE. No one is completely “me-oriented” – everyone is partly “me-oriented” to some varying degree. He’s saying that people are going to look for more security in relationships. He doesn’t specifically mention marriage there either as a solution or as a judgement.

    Maybe there is another part of the article where he says that single people are selfish or bad or something, but I’m not seeing what you are seeing. Enlighten me!

  8. Astounding how the author has the implicit assumptiom that marriage=stability. Argh! Just who is Lancaster *hiring* as their professors?

    “Forcing people to marry for all the wrong reasons will not create more stable marriages.” You’d think this would be a “well, duh” statement, but obviously not. . . = )
    CC

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