As today’s bride and groom celebrate their wedding, they have every excuse for being nervous. They exchange promises of lifelong fidelity and mutual support. However, all around them, they can see that many people do not and cannot keep these promises. Their own marriage has a one in three chance of divorce, if present tendencies continue.
Traditional marriage is facing a crisis, at least in Britain. Not only are there more and more divorces, but the number of marriages is falling. Living together is more popular than before. The family is now no longer one man, one woman and their children. Instead, there are more and more families which include parents, half sisters and brothers, or even only one parent on her / his own.
Although Britain is still conservative in its attitudes to marriage compared with other countries such as the USA, Sweden and Denmark, the future will probably see many more people living together before marriage – and more divorce. Interestingly, it is women rather than men who apply for divorce. Seven out of ten divorces are given to the wife. Also, one of the main reasons for divorce, chosen by ten times more women than men, is unreasonable or cruel behaviour. Perhaps this means that women will tolerate less than they used to.
1. Write a summary of the text in English, including the most important points, using your own words whenever possible (maximum 50 words).
In Britain, there are more divorces than before and less / fewer marriages. These days people live together instead of getting married, and modern families are different from / than / to traditional ones. Usually the woman asks for a divorce, not the man, because her husband is cruel or not reasonable.
2. Explain in English the meaning of the following expressions as used in the text.
a) The number of marriages is falling. There are fewer / less marriages (now) (than before). / There are fewer and fewer / less and less marriages these days. / People don’t get married as much as they did / used to.
b) It is women rather than men who apply for divorce. More women than men apply for / ask for / demand a divorce. / Fewer men than women apply for / ask for / demand a divorce.
3. Complete the second sentence of each pair so that it has the same meaning as the first one:
a) There are a lot of divorces in Britain. Therefore many young people prefer simply to live together.
c) Women will tolerate less than they used to.
- He advised her to get a divorce if she was unhappy with her husband.
d) One of the main reasons for divorce is unreasonable or cruel behaviour.
- Women will not tolerate so much as / as much as they used to.
4. Answer the following questions in your own words.
a) In what ways is the traditional family in crisis in Britain? The traditional family is in crisis in Britain because not so many people get married as before, and also people do not keep their promises when they get married. They prefer to live together. Besides, women do not tolerate cruel and unreasonable behavior from their husbands, and more of them apply for divorce these days.
b) Why do more women than men want to get a divorce? Women want to get a divorce more than men because they will not tolerate their husbands’ cruel and unreasonable behaviour as much as they used to.
5. A friend of yours wants to get married. Write to her / him giving your opinion. (Approximately 120 words)
Thank you for your letter. I think you are too young to get married, just 18 years old, and besides you have been with Jorge for only six months. I know you love him and he loves you, but these days too many people get a divorce very soon after they are married. And what would happen if you had a baby and then you separated? You should wait for at least a year because you need to be very sure. If you marry next year you will both have more money in the bank, and he will be in a computer company, as I know he wants to start working as soon as possible.