Mating patterns – an historical perspective.



(in C.G.N.Mascie-Taylor and A.J.Boyce (eds.), Human Mating Patterns (Cambridge University Press, 1988)




       There are a number of interlinked puzzles related to the pattern of

mating. Currently, most modern and a growing number of developing societies

exhibit a homeostatic demographic regime where the balance of population to

resources is maintained through fertility control. Fecundity or natural fertility

is kept well in check through relatively late age at marriage, non-marriage,

contraception and abortion. These preventive checks, to use Malthus'

distinction, allow rational, conscious and artificial control over population.

Marriage is based on personal choice, the chief pressures being the psychological

and economic state of the individual. The relatively low birth rate makes

possible a relatively low death rate. The human body is controlled by individual

mind and individual feelings. This accords with Levi-Strauss's (1949) 'complex'

marriage system, based on psychology and economics. It has not always been so,

and indeed it is arguable that this demographic and marital pattern is very

unusual both in time and space.


        The majority of tribal and peasant societies in the past have had an

‘elementary’ marriage system in Levi-Straussian terms. That is to say, marriage

was not based on individual but on group choice and was determined by birth

status, in other words kinship position. Marriage has characteristically occurred

at a very early age for women and maximum fertility was aimed for. This very

high fertility was balanced by heavy mortality, either perennially or in periodic

crises, often triggered by war. Thus the checks were mainly of a positive kind,

acting through the biology of disease or starvation. In this classic or crisis

demographic world (Macfarlane, 1976), man was at the mercy of the

environment. There were periods of disturbance of the balance with rapid

population growth for short periods before the positive checks operated again.

When the situation now in Europe is compared with that in the great historic

civilisations of India, China, Egypt or much of Europe up to the end of the

eighteenth century, it is clear that a revolution has occurred. The demographic





pattern is entirely different and so is the mating pattern. How and why this

transformation occurred has important implications for the origins of industriali-

sation and the current demographic patterns in the Third World.

The study of mating patterns in the past has been transformed over the

last twenty or so years by the applications of new methods and the discovery of

new materials. Historical materials concerning marriages, births and deaths are

extremely difficult to use and for a long time it seemed unlikely that much could

be learnt in detail concerning such intimate matters before the nineteenth

century. The work of historical demographers, particularly in France and

England, has changed the situation. Applying the method of 'family reconstitu-

tion', that is the linking of baptisms, -marriages and burials, to the registers, and

combining these with listings of inhabitants and other documents, has provided a

new picture of the emergence of that 'unique west European marriage pattern, to

which Hajnal (1965) drew attention some twenty years ago. This study

concentrates on the English phenomenon, for it was in England that it was shown

in its most extreme and most precocious form.


      The particular puzzle in England was to trace the connection between

population movements and the origins of the industrial revolution. It w as

obvious that England's unique and first industrialisation could not have occurred

without a particular and unusual demographic pattern. The crucial period of

wealth accumulation which formed the substructure for industrialisation during

the period between about 1620 and 1720 was one in which the population grew

hardly at all. The static population needed to be explained. Then, with

increasing force from the 1750's, population grew rapidly just as it was needed to

provide the labour for industrialisation. If England had not had almost the

lowest population growth rate in Europe in the seventeenth and the fastest in the

nineteenth, it is likely that industrialisation would not have occurred and our

world would be a very different place.


     For a long time the major explanation of these patterns was sought in the

wrong direction. It was assumed that the major variable must be changes in

mortality, in essence that the positive checks which had kept a 'traditional'

society in balance up to the eighteenth century suddenly gave way. An example

of this approach, one among many, is the well-known book by McKeown (1976).

During the last five years, however, it has been convincingly shown by Wrigley

and Schofield that the crucial variable is fertility, in other words it was the

mating pattern that kept population in check, and then allowed it to grow. High

age at marriage, little illegitimacy, and a high proportion never- marrying were

characteristic of the seventeenth century. Then in the middle of the eighteenth





century the mean age at first marriage of women dropped from about twenty-six

to twenty-three, illegitimacy rates rose dramatically, and the proportion of

women never marrying dropped from about one quarter to one tenth. Thus these

authors conclude that "about three-quarters of the acceleration in the growth

rate which took place over the period is attributable to the increase in fertility

brought about by changing marriage behaviour...." Or, to put it another way,

"the changes which occurred in marriage and marriage-related behaviour in the

course of the eighteenth century were sufficient to have raised the annual rate

of growth of the population from zero to 1.26%, even though there was no

change in either mortality or age-specific marital fertility" (Wrigley, 1981). This

meant that "marriage now emerges holding the centre of the stage" (Wrigley,



    Marriage strategies and regimes are the key to much of the social and

economic history of the first industrial nation. They are also an important key

to understanding what is happening in the crucial battle between population and

resources in the developing world today. Put very simply, until ten years ago or

even more recently, it looked as if the world was doomed to continued very rapid

population growth which would lead to mass starvation and depletion of

resources. That there is now some limited cause for optimism, as fertility drops

in many small and large third-world countries, is due very considerably to

changes in mating patterns. In particular, the central change from maximal to

limited fertility caused by a rise in the age at marriage is spreading. There has

been a significant rise in the age at marriage in many third world countries.

Coale (1978) concludes that changes in marriage patterns, and particularly the

rise in the age at marriage, "has been as effective in contributing to the recent

reduction in the birth rate in the third world as the much more publicised spread

of 'family planning"'.


                                  REASONS FOR THE MATING PATTERN


      Having identified mating patterns, the demographers admit that they have

merely set an unresolved puzzle for someone else. How did marriage act in this

way, how old is this marital pattern in the west, what are the pressures that

caused it" This paper draws attention to only a few of the features of marriage

pattern which we now take for granted, and the matter is pursued further in an extended treatment of the same themes (Macfarlane, 1986).


     The best model of the mating pattern was presented by Thomas Malthus in

his "Essay on Population" at the start of the nineteenth century. He analysed

the social groups in England in turn and showed how the preventive check worked






in each. The wealthy were reluctant to marry because they could not afford to

do so, for they would lose leisure and status if they married too soon. Farmers

and tradesmen could not do so until well settled in a flourishing business. Wage

labourers were faced with economic cost and social humiliation if they married

too soon. Servants were comfortable if single, dismal if married. Malthus

described a situation where marriage was not natural, automatic, arranged, but a

choice, the conscious weighing of costs and benefits. He agreed with his chief

opponent Godwin that "every one, possessed in the most ordinary degree of the

gift of foresight, deliberates long before he engages in so momentous a

transaction. He asks himself, again and again, how he shall be able to subsist

the offspring of his union" (quoted in Place, 1967).


     From Malthus' writings (Malthus, n.d.) can be abstracted the five features

which he considered to be the essential pre-conditions for such a cost-benefit

approach to, mating and marriage. The most important was a strong acquisitive

ethic: "the desire of bettering our condition, and the fear of making it worse the vis medicatrix reipublicae in polities    it operates as a preventive

check to increase  ". This "spirit of capitalism" was only possible if people

could individually gain from their actions, in other words if there was private

property. "The operation of this natural check depends exclusively upon the

existence of the laws of property and succession". Such private property

would only have any meaning if the individual was safeguarded in its possession

by a strong and just government which would allow people to hold on to their

gains. Thus, for instance, it would only work if those who struggled successfully

against the biological and sexual urges and put off mating were rewarded by a

better life-style. Virtue was its own reward, but material comfort would be a

bonus. This would inevitably lead to an unequal world, a ladder of wealth up

which people would be encouraged to climb, down which they might very easily

fall. The prizes must be powerful and widespread; there must be widespread

affluence. f  "Throughout a very large class of people, a decided taste for the

conveniences and comforts of life......are observed to prevail".


    Malthus was, of course, writing a reply to the Utopian thinker William

Godwin who believed that if equality could be established, private property

abolished and vice eliminated, man would live happily ever after. Malthus

pointed out that this was a delusion. The natural urges of man, and particularly

those powerful biological and psychological urges to mate, the "passion between

the sexes", would soon destroy such a proposed paradise. Here he elaborated his

famous theory concerning the ability of human beings to multiply much faster

than resources. Unchecked mating, leading to unchecked fertility, would bring





down the catastrophes of the "positive checks" of war, famine and disease. The

only rational way was to invoke and harness the lesser evils of greed and

inequality inherent in society. In the battle against the urge to mate and

procreate, the only force strong enough to win was the human desire for leisure

and material affluence. Marriage patterns were the outcome, to paraphrase

Levi-Strauss again, of the struggle between economic and psychological (or

biological) factors. Mankind must learn to be responsible, to control his body by

his mind, to think in the long-term, to treasure status and wealth rather than

mating and children.


    Malthus was aware that the battle was not merely between the economic

and the biological. The latter was reinforced in many societies by cultural

pressures. For instance, he discussed the ways that various religious systems

either encouraged or discouraged maximal fertility. The aims of life in Hindu or

Chinese ancestor religions included the desire for many children and particularly

sons. It was one of the marks of Christianity, or at least the Protestant form,

that it placed a higher value on celibacy than on marriage and that it placed

little emphasis on the need for children. Its bachelor founder had set an

example of a life where mating had no part.


     The battle between the desire to mate and the desire for material

affluence only occurs in certain kinds of societies. In many, it appears that

there is no conflict. wealth, however defined, is a consequence of having many

children, not an alternative. This is a reminder that behind the argument that

Malthus advanced were a number of ethnocentric assumptions about the natural

state of human society in relation to marriage. The rules and aims of marriage

implicit in the Malthusian vision are very similar to those which we considered to

be natural and modern. Yet cross-cultural comparison shows that they are

unusual, and it is important to analyse them before understanding the force of

the Malthusian marriage pattern.


      Malthus assumed monogamy, though most societies at his time practised

polygamy. He assumed a fairly equal relationship between husband and wife,

while most societies assumed male dominance and patriarchal power. He took

for granted that marriages were for life, unbreakable, though most societies

permitted easy divorce. He expected couples to re-marry, if one partner died,

to a person of their choice, though the majority of societies either forbade

remarriage at all, or made remarriage to a specific kinsman mandatory. He

assumed that the young couple would live in their own house after marriage,

though the majority of societies encouraged the young to live for some years





with either the wife's or husband's family. He expected there to be a fairly

equal contribution to the conjugal fund, though the usual situation is for wealth

to flow preponderantly from either bride or groom's family to the other side.

These institutional rules, so self-evident yet comparatively so curious, were

matched with equally strange beliefs about the nature of the marriage choice.


    The Malthusian 'preventive check' was based on the assumption that it was

the individual man and woman who would decide whom they would or would not

marry. By contrast, the vast majority of human societies at that time believed

that marriage was too important a matter to be left to the couple themselves; it

should be arranged by the parents or wider set of kin. Malthus assumed that the

individual could marry whomever he or she could attract. The very elaborate

rules which in the greater part of the world outside Europe dictated absolutely

that an individual should marry within a certain group or category defined by

kinship, geography, caste, class, religion or occupation, are nowhere evident in

his analysis. All this betrays an even deeper assumption, that marriage is a

matter of choice. Malthus believed that to marry or not to marry at all was a

matter for decision by the individual concerned. The almost universal

assumption that marriage is part of the natural order, that to mate is, like

eating, a necessary and automatic activity of human beings, an event like birth

or death that happens to all, was a view not compatible with his scheme. To

marry or not to marry, to marry one person or another, to marry now or later, all

these were the result of conscious deliberation, the outcome of the weighing up

of costs and benefits which could even be reduced to a sheet of paper.


     One of the best examples of such conscious accounting illuminatingly

occurred in the life of Charles Darwin. At the end of 1838, Darwin read

Malthus, discovered the theory of natural selection, and drew up a balance sheet

headed "This is the question" with "Marry" on one side and "Not Marry" on the

other. Having listed the costs and benefits, he proved that it was necessary to

marry. So on the reverse he wrote, "It being proved necessary to Marry. When?

Soon or Late?" The answer was soon (Macfarlane, 1986). Darwin illustrates the

Malthusian marriage pattern in practice in his own decision to mate; in relation

to animal species he showed how the operation of the Malthusian 'positive

checks', combined with maximum fertility, led to the survival of the fittest. His

life and his work therefore illustrate those two mating regimes which we are

attempting to analyse.


     Among the reasons Darwin gave for not marrying were "the expense and

anxiety of children", with consequent "less money for books etc. - if many

children, forced to gain one's bread". Here he revealed an attitude which





Malthus again took for granted, namely that marriage, and particularly the

rearing of children, would be economically and socially 'costly'. The whole

Malthusian analysis was based on the weighing up of the advantages and

disadvantages of marriage regarded from the individual viewpoint. It was

assumed that mating, leading to children, brought real costs. The majority of

human societies which existed in Malthus' day would not have seen an opposition

between individual desire (biological and psychological forces) and individual

wealth (economic and social pressures). Normally the two have run alongside

each other, rather than in conflict. In most societies, it is precisely marriage,

mating, and the children's labour and respect which are the consequence of such

mating which are wealth. To talk of the cost of marriage, to see children as an

expense and mating as likely to threaten individual prosperity was, until

recently, an almost incomprehensible view. Wives and children are wealth and



    The benefits of such a world where there is little conflict between

biological urges and social or economic ends is obvious. Sexual and social

satisfaction can be much more widespread. The cost, however, is the threat of

a situation where the checks to rapid population growth are taken out of man's

hands; absence of internal conflict is replaced by a world of periodic war,

famine and widespread disease. Before modern contraception, Malthus posed a

choice between the two. More recently, it has been possible, to some extent, to

have both the gratification and the control.


                       HISTORICAL EVIDENCE


      The marriage or mating pattern which Malthus examined and Darwin lived

was widely established in England in the early nineteenth century and is now

spreading over much of the world. It was unusual even within Europe at that

time and practically unknown to all other and preceding civilisations. Trying to

understand its causes leads to the question how old it was and from where it was

descended. If it emerged in England in the middle of the eighteenth century as

some have argued, then it could be seen as partly a by-product of what, in a

circular way, it caused, namely the industrial and urban revolution. If its main

features are present in the seventeenth century, then such an explanation has to

be dropped, substituting perhaps some variant of the thesis that a

bourgeois/puritan/protestant /capitalist revolution occurred in the sixteenth and

early seventeenth centuries to cause it. If it is discovered that the main

features go back to the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, then it will be

necessary to re-think many other matters as well as the mating pattern. The

Reformation, the supposed political and constitutional revolutions of the seven-





teenth century, the growth of international trade from the start of the sixteenth

century, none can be sufficient explanation. For then the mating patterns would

have far deeper and more ancient roots, which have gradually become refined

and now form the basis for marital patterns in much of the world.

In a survey of numerous kinds of historical records from 1300 to 1840

there was no evidence of a dramatic shift in the mating pattern at any point in

the period (Macfarlane, 1986). For the period from 1600 to the present, the

findings have been independently confirmed in a survey of another, though

overlapping, set of sources (Gillis, 1985). Leaving on one side the detailed

evidence, what are the major characteristics of this mating pattern and how far

back can they be traced?


     One factor is the fluctuating age at marriage, somehow linked to the

market for labour, often rising very high and hence allowing a drop as in the

eighteenth century when it caused the population to spurt. There is little

evidence that this central feature of Hajnal's European marriage pattern was

absent in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, and some evidence that it was

present. It is certainly the case that women did not marry in their early or mid-

teens as in many tribal and peasant societies. Likewise, it is clear that from at

least the fourteenth century there was a selective marriage pattern, with large

numbers of women, particularly servants, never marrying. Nor is there any

evidence of a dramatic change in the rules, positive or negative, about whom one

should or should not marry. No substantial evidence has yet been produced to

show that there was ever a set of strong positive rules, based on kinship, as to

whom one must or should marry. The negative rules were reduced at the

Reformation, and have stayed unaltered since then except for the late nine-

teenth century allowing of marriage to deceased wife's sister. The only strong

rule throughout the period was that the young couple should be independent from

both sets of parents after marriage, setting up a separate, neolocal, residence.

This led to those simple, nuclear, households which have been a feature of north-

western Europe and particularly England from at least the fifteenth century.

This independence was based on a particular form of funding. The customs of

jointure and dowry, the balanced and important contribution from the individ-

uals, nuclear families and friends, seem to have remained in essence unchanged

from the fourteenth to nineteenth centuries. They ensured that people had to

consider very carefully before marrying as to whether they would risk losing

parental and other support if they married too soon.


     The major aim of marriage, as shown in letters, diaries, advice books,

poetry and many other sources, was primarily to satisfy the psychological sexual






and social needs of the individuals concerned. In the majority of societies, the

prime aim is the desire to have children; marriage and mating are the means to

that end. In England, it was the marriage and the mating which were the ends,

children were the consequence, a by-product of the sexual union. The central

importance of the actual mating was shown in the view that a marriage was not

valid or binding without sexual consummation. whereas in many societies a

marriage ceases to exist if there are no children, in England sterility was not a

ground for divorce. But proven sexual incapacity from the start was such a

valid ground for declaring that there had never been a marriage. Throughout

the period, for the vast majority of the population (the top few hundred families

are often an exception) marriage was ultimately a private contract between

individuals. The parents had some say, but ultimately a marriage could occur

without their consent or even knowledge. On the other hand, marriage could not

occur without the consent of the partners. These were very old rules, from

before 1300, and lasting through to the present. They emphasised that the

central feature of marriage was the conjugal relationship, the depth of feeling

and shared interests of the couple. Marriage was not a bridge artificially

constructed as a form of alliance with another group, in which the partners and

children became the planks upon which political relations were built. It was a

partnership between two independent adults who formed a new and separate unit,

cemented by friendship, sex and a carefully defined sharing of resources.


     This ancient system, balancing the contradictory pressures of desire for

companionship and sex against the desire for wealth and social status, led to

many compromises over time. These compromises, reflected in the greatest

tradition of poems, plays and novels about love, marriage and mating produced in

any society, are evident from Chaucer to Tennyson. The heart of the system

was the deep attachment of one man to one woman, the feeling that each was

incomplete without the other, most nobly expressed in the words of Shakespeare,

Milton, Donne and others. Since the marriage was not bounded by formal rules

which dictated whom one should marry, nor arranged by kin, it is not surprising

that there existed a large and complex tradition concerning courtship. Court-

ships were characteristically lengthy, lasting for months or years, conducted by

the couples themselves, and often fruitless or disastrous. The courtship was

based on the widespread belief that marriages should, ultimately, be based on

romantic love, a deep and passionate longing. This external force would grip an

individual and resolve all the conflicts and indecisions, settling the equations and

making it possible to come to a decision as momentous as this. The "instituted

irrationality of romantic love" was clearly a central part of the mating pattern

of England from at least the fourteenth century if not much earlier.





                                           ORIGINS OF THE PATTERN


      If it is correct that there was a free-floating, individualistic marriage

choice system as being characteristic of England from at least the fourteenth to

nineteenth centuries, the question arises as to what made such an unusual

pattern possible. Normally mating, for women, occurs at or soon after puberty

and continues steadily. Everyone capable of doing so mates. Fertility is at a

premium. Here, instead, there was a large-scale civilisation, still basically

agricultural and "pre-industrial", whose marital pattern flatly contradict the

norms of most other peasant societies. The pattern appears to be old,  so it

cannot be the result of the urban and industrial revolutions of the eighteenth and

nineteenth centuries, or even of the supposed religious and political transforma-

tions of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. What could have caused or

allowed such a mating pattern to emerge?


      A hint of an answer (Macfarlane, 1986) comes from Malthus himself. He

believed that the pattern he advocated could only exist in what would now be

termed a competitive, capitalist society. He argued in a way that reflected

earlier thinkers like Adam Smith and Mandeville, that the private vices of a

competitive market economy would add up to the general good of the society by

providing a force powerful enough to strain and channel unrestrained mating.

The private passions of accumulation, the instituted inequalities of an hierarch-

ical society, the desire for material comfort, for leisure, for the snobbish

superiorities and esteem of friends, would be strong enough to save mankind

from the positive checks of war, famine and disease which would occur if the

"natural passion between the sexes" was unchecked. Put in other terms, he

argued that the mating pattern, the weighing of costs and benefits, the battle

between biology and economics, the constant striving and manoeuvring which

had, for the first time in human history, brought mankind out of a world of

periodic and dreadful crises up through the winding spiral of wealth was the

familistic dimension of a particular economic and political system, or mode of

production, which today would be called capitalism.


      Malthus was not the only one to notice the connection, obvious once

stated, between a pattern of mating and a socioeconomic formation. Any

anthropologist would expect that the mating pattern of a society would fit with

other features, the religion, the economy, the society. It is hardly surprising

that this was the case over the long 'Bourgeois arch, which stretches from the

twelfth century to our own time" (Thompson, 1965). Others, too, saw the

connection. Engels in his work on the family and private property (1902) noticed

the ways in which the mating and marital system, with its obsession with choice,





free contract, desire to possess and own, fitted so well with the emergence of

capitalism . "Capitalism" created a new world in which "the love match was

proclaimed as a human right." The middle classes, according to Engels, grew

and the new pattern became established as the emotional and family con-

comitant of capitalism. One of the most brilliant characterisations ions of the

connection was made by Max Weber. He noted the central paradox whereby the

most disruptive of "irrational" drives, the biological or sexual urges, were

transformed, domesticated and mobilised at the heart of capitalism. As

societies became more bureaucratic, more "rational", practising an ever greater

division of labour, so there increased at their heart an impulsive, apparently

irrational and non-capitalistic emotion at the individual level: "this boundless

giving of oneself is as radical as possible in its opposition to all functionality,

rationality and generality the lover       knows himself to be freed from the

cold skeleton hands of rational orders" (Gerth & Mills, 1967). Thus rational

capitalism and irrational love complement each other; the body, and particularly

its reproductive mechanisms, have been brought under control children are

produced or not produced in accordance with the needs of the economy.


      The irony is that, as Malthus showed, each individual is under the illusion

that he acts freely, making the decisions. In fact, an invisible hand constrains

him or her in such a way that the sum of the irrational, free, independent

decisions seems to lead to rational acts as far as the general good is concerned.

Another irony is that the nature of his or her impulsive emotions when "giving in"

to love, taking off the controls to allow mating, is not in opposition, but merely

another aspect of capitalist ethics. It helps to provide, through the harnessing

of the biological urges, much of the excitement and activity within a capitalist

society. It is not difficult to see that the "irrational passion" of love has many

similarities to the "spirit of capitalism" itself, namely that desire to accumulate,

to possess, to own, to entirely hold to oneself. There are many parallels

between the market metaphors of purchase, contract, possession, and the

powerful emotion that seizes the lover so that, as Dr. Johnson put it, finding that

he is unhappy when not with the object of his desire, the individual rather rashly

concludes that having such an object permanently with him will make for eternal

happiness (Johnson 1810).




    In the progress from the initial puzzles, as is characteristic of such

research, each solution leads to further conundrums. It appears that the unique

mating pattern which Malthus dissected was a powerful contributory factor in

explaining the development of the first 'modern' and industrial society. Marriage





and associated mating is the key to many things, lying at the intersection

between the individual and society, economics and biology. This marriage

system seems to be centuries old, at least in England. It varied, of course, by

region, class, time, and these variations have necessarily had to be ignored. But

there is a discernible pattern lying behind the confusion of single decisions and

the massive quantitative and qualitative materials available to the historian.

For the anthropologist used to Africa, Asia or South America, the whole thing

seems very strange and he is led to assume that such an unusual set of rules and

aims must be both very recent and very transitory. Instead, it is very old.

Rather than being transitory, an approximation of the system, with some

modifications such as easier divorce and contraception, is sweeping across the

globe. It also appears that part of the solution of the pattern lies in all the

other features of the society which nursed it, in the political, economic, religious

and social institutions labelled capitalist. If this is correct, one implication of

this argument, not explored here, is that the capitalist system started at least a

couple of centuries earlier than the usual orthodoxy allows.


     Two facts may be stressed. First, mating patterns do, indeed, hold the

centre of the stage in explaining recent and current developments. Secondly,

there has been a revolution, from the pre-Malthusian, to the Malthusian pattern.

When this occurred in England is still not clear, but the consequences are

obvious. The world of unrestrained fertility with high death rates as the main

control can be contrasted to that where both fertility and mortality are

controlled. Counting the costs and benefits of these two approaches

summarizes the choice that many societies are now experiencing. The benefits

of the Malthusian pattern are material and economic and the avoidance of the

periodic horrific crises of the ancien regime. The lightening of the load of

women's bodies, the long period of relative freedom before marriage, the liberty

to marry or not marry, the ecstasies and pleasures of romantic love and a

marriage based on choice and companionship are other advantages. The costs

include the sexual and psychological frustration, at least in pre-contraceptive

societies, before sexual consummation; the anxiety of wondering whether or

whom one will marry; the loneliness of many who have never married or who

have lost their companion, through death or divorce; the increased strain on

marriages which become the pivot of the whole emotional system rather than a

minor part of a wider family system; the inducement to a constantly calculative

approach to human and other relationships. Whether or not the cost outweighs

the benefits, the mating pattern is changing fast but, in its deep generative

rules, may have many similarities to that which was practised by our ancestors

many hundreds of years ago.






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