Have just seen this piece about the Tories' warning that marriage is in danger of becoming a middle-class institution... Not sure I agree. If anything it's the middle class, well educated people I know who are not married (though many are in long-term relationships) and the working-class people who marry young, or who aspire to marry. That's a generalisation, but then so is what David Willets says. He says that "instead of being something you just do in your twenties" marriage has "become like scaling Mount Everest, a sort of great moral endeavour". I simply don't recognise that at all. I think people are possibly more reluctant to settle down these days, or find it harder to meet someone to settle down with, but there are also people who treat marriage far more lightly than they did in the past. The phenomenon of 'starter marriages' for example, is now well-established, when people meet at uni, get married and are divorced and single again by the time they're thirty.
I also met someone the other day who is definitely from the posher end of the class spectrum, whose mother is in her mid-40s and has just embarked on her fourth marriage. I'm not sure what David Willets would have to say about that!