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All this adds fuel to the fire which is consuming the old values which have tended to poke fun at permanent relationships, as boring, old-fashioned or worse.
Married people also tend to adjust to illness or disability better.
At the same time there is a big bulge of 55-70 year old men and women with fewer dependants, yet with time, money and influence.
Five years ago a company wanting to sell vacuum cleaners on television would show a young and glamorous woman - not wearing a wedding ring.
The average risk of dying each year is lower if you are married - the effect is greater for men.
A national US survey of in the late 1980s of 6,484 people suggests one reason could be that many spouses "monitor and attempt to control their spouse's health behaviours" - encouraging them to go for health checks, take medication, loose weight, exercise, go easy on alcohol.