The rise of marriage for one: The women taking the ‘we’ out of wedding are representative of a much bigger social trend

The rise of marriage for one: The women taking the ‘we’ out of wedding are representative of a much bigger social trend, by Ariane Sherine.

Like a growing number of single women, Sara Starkström had decided to marry herself.

‘I thought about people marrying other people without loving themselves first,’ says Starkström, a writer, explaining what many would call a bizarre overreaction to finding herself single at the age of 29. … I decided to marry myself to celebrate my independence and strength. I did it to promise to be my own best friend.’

Though it wasn’t a legally binding ceremony, the 36-year-old takes her married status seriously and, nearly seven years on from the wedding, still celebrates her anniversary.

Wedding banquet

Don’t need a man if you have the state?

But while this may all sound mad, narcissistic or completely pointless, self–marriage is one way to embrace the reality in which ever increasing numbers of women find themselves — wanting to settle down, have children and make a lifelong commitment, but being short of a man to do it with.

Today there are more single people than at any previous time in history, especially in large cities. In America, where Beyoncé sang about ‘All The Single Ladies’, unmarried women now outnumber the married. In the UK, this happened ten years ago.

Fewer women than ever want to become wives. Those aged between 25 and 44 are not even cohabiting — they are five times more likely to live by themselves today than they were in 1973 — and almost half of children are born out of wedlock. That figure is likely to expand massively in the next generation. …

Sisters are doing it for themselves (and as funnyman Mikey Robins once said, “‘cos no one else wants to”):

Marriage has been on the wane for some time. But what’s new is the decline in the number of women who are looking for a partner, let alone a husband. This is not a Bridget Jones-like tragic story. If we can’t find a knight in shining armour, we make alternative arrangements: the act of self-marrying is merely an extreme way of declaring that there is no hole in our lives.

hat-tip Stephen Neil