Monday 16 January 2017

Late and reluctant… the traditional Irish Marriage

Published 12/04/2015 | 02:30

Marilyn Monroe samples an Irish Coffee in Shannon in 1956 as her husband Arthur Miller affects boredom.
Marilyn Monroe samples an Irish Coffee in Shannon in 1956 as her husband Arthur Miller affects boredom.

A lot of popular ideas about marriage patterns come to us from America. I often hear it asserted that 40 or 50 years ago women were pushed and bamboozled into becoming wives, and that quite often they had "no other choice".

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This is a generalisation which could be made about American culture, which was always strongly pro-marriage, and favoured early marriage, too. It was also much less opposed to divorce than any European society. "Marry early and marry often," could even sum up America's attitude to wedlock.

The playwright Arthur Miller - whose second wife was Marilyn Monroe (and she had first been married at the age of 16, not thought at all unusual) - was surprised to find, on visiting Europe, that not everyone was married. "In Brooklyn," he wrote in a memoir, "everyone was married."

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