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Life Story Interview Transcript Evaluation


Human life tends to unfold in complex ways that could present challenges that exacerbate negative feelings including defeat and discouragement. Although the feelings could be inspired by genuine individual feelings, they could be inspired by family, friends, peers, and colleagues. Typically, although life is assumed isolated and decisions may appear personal, different aspects that include culture, generation norms, and societal beliefs tend to impact life decisions. Sociology experts such as C. Wright Mills argued that “Neither the life of an individual nor the history of a society can be understood without understanding both.” (1959, p3). Therefore, these pages will focus on the concept to evaluate a personal interview on marriage and divorce to evaluate how sociological imagination can support social work practice.


Sociology and Policy to A Life-Story

For many, life is a cycle that runs through major stages that include birth, education, marriage, and death. While birth and death are undebatable, education and marriage tend to be crucial factors in individual life. Although education is not necessarily crucial depending on one’s culture, marriage appears significant especially for those perceive marriage as a factor of life satisfaction. Normally, although the social clock theory varies depending on the culture and location, it simply relates to a predetermined timetable specifying the efficient time for specific life events including marriage (Pekel-Uludağlı, & Akbaş, 2019). For example, while most western nations assume the right marriage age to be between 25-35, some cultures expect marriage to begin as early as age 12 and most individuals in the early 30s are assumed late. Normally, the effects of social timelines on individual life appear trivial but tend to push different impacts unknowingly. .

Notable impacts of social timelines are evident in life institutions that include marriage. Although the practices and customs of marriage differ among communities on cultural and racial backgrounds, all appear to have a common essence (Eyo, 2018). Specifically, most unions start with the intent of cultivating life-long relations but in some present contradictory endings. In case the long-lasting relation concept fails, separation and divorce are the remaining options. The outcome of marriage in the past appeared to be the success of life-long relationships. Nevertheless, the notable changes in family concepts that are initiated through marriage appear to be significantly affected by globalization outcomes. Factors such as divorce and separation appear common with scholars arguing the contribution of policy changes and cultural integration. While most developing nations especially the non-Western nations were keener on ensuring that marriage was a life-lasting union, divorce rates appear to be increasing in the countries as well. scholars argue that while globalization is largely associated with changes in economic and technological development, the concept creates a modern era that was non-existent before the civilization of humans. The era relates to changes in other different factors that include culture, governance, ways of living, and social systems (Rahman, and Zhang, 2017). Concerns on how a single concept could influence different aspects present occasionally. Nevertheless, is imperative to understand that the concept of globalization has influenced policy changes. For example, after the Second World War, almost all policies in social systems such as health, crime, justice, education, and family have been either established or changed. Although the changes are common in developed nations, the developing countries have equally adopted the idea more so in the 21st century. The 20th century was marked by notable changes in marriage and divorce concepts. In the early years of the 19th century, divorce was significantly uncommon in the United Kingdom and

families seeking divorce were seen to have an interest in scandals. The reasons warranting divorce were equally minimal and some families would fail to prove the need for divorce. Back then, the primary focus of divorce disputes was to ensure the preservation of marriage and home purity. As such, divorce was only granted if the couple provided evidence of either violence or adultery. This reduced the numbers of divorce significantly during the early 1900s, United Kingdom recorded statistics of a single divorce out of 450 marriages (UK Parliament, n.d.). After World War I, reforms in social policies saw the changes of divorce law with women and men gaining balance such that the 1923 Matrimonial Causes Act allowed either party to request a divorce on grounds of spouse adultery which was previously granted to men alone. Later in 1937, further reforms to the act added reasons for a divorce petition to include desertion, incurable insanity, and cruelty (UK Parliament, n.d.). Although cases of divorce continued to be uncommon since most cultures perceived them as shameful. After the 1969 Divorce Reform Act contributed more changes to divorce perspectives by adding more divorce grounds and importantly eliminating the idea of matrimonial offences (UK Parliament, n.d.). Typically, most of the matrimonial offences warranting divorce shamed spouses and made some feel as failures. For example, a woman seeking divorce since the husband has committed adultery would be seen as a failure who had failed to keep her marriage standing. The Divorce Reform Act eliminated the need for outlining the offense leading to marriage giving the innocent a chance to seek justice against the guilty without having to endure any kind of a shame. More so, the act added other divorce grounds that included the need for a 2-years separation duration with the consent of the involved party or 5-year separation in case of lack of consent (UK Parliament, n.d.). The changes in laws of divorce together with changes in

expectations and marriage attitudes which to some extent was coupled by the female’s economic independence increased the divorce statistics. In the early 1980s, the divorce rates had tripled from the 1971 rates to 150,000 annually (UK Parliament, n.d.). Although steady declines in divorce numbers have been documented, which could be exacerbating the perspectives of defeat and discouragement among individuals. Nevertheless, the reduction in numbers of divorce is attributed to other factors that include the decline in numbers of individuals getting married (UK Parliament, n.d.). Annually, there are approximately 2 marriages for each divorce. The increasing numbers of the unmarried population together with the rare but common divorce cases appear to push people to believe they are out of poor decisions. However, relating to the concept of C. Wright Mills that “Neither the life of an individual nor the history of a society can be understood without understanding both.” (1959, p3); these family changes could not be individual factors. I have largely attributed my divorce to poor personal decisions on the complexity and possible influence of the negative factors I saw n my partner before marriage. Often, I assume ignoring the factors was a fear that we would separate and I would start over again. The complications linked to getting to know someone and creating a relationship appeared tedious. To some extent, I assumed that in the end, I would end up knowing some hidden traits in my new partner thus need another divorce. Coping with the divorce was tough, depression and eating disorders presented exacerbating my health. To date, I have continued to assume the whole complication and the negative outcome of my marriage would have been resolved if I was concerned with the minor factors. Regardless of the specific factor inhibiting the need for reviewing these problems that I assumed personal, there were more complex realities. .

For example, Wills highlights the need for understanding the social history for an understanding of individual life. Historically, divorce was rare in the United Kingdom, assuming that the marriage was in the early 1900s, would the outcomes have remained the same. As per the time of divorce, there was no specific reason warranting for divorce before the first half of the 20th century. The primary matrimonial offences of violence and adultery were missing given that our primary issues were incompatibility. During the divorce process, we lived together and nothing notably changed other than the bitterness associated with the discouragement and defeat. Sorting to understand the severity of the issues, I realized my partner had felt the same prior to our marriage. Given that I was driving the purported life-long relationship, I questioned my behaviours as well. Could I have my worries about the pressure from people who assumed I was running late contributed to high ignorance? And still, would we have to talk about the issues enhanced our ability to solve problems and avoid the divorcing reality? The answers to the questions remain to contradict more so due to the individualistic concept. However, evaluating the existing evidence on issues of changes in family policies after globalization more so those relating to marriage and divorce, social factors play a crucial role in influencing decisions. For example, while the divorce was perceived as a shameful concept and people avoided it before the 1950s, the 1969 reforms appear to have created a surge in the numbers. Other than social policy reforms, globalization factors such as female economic empowerment could have influenced the changes in marriage attitudes. These similar factors continue to affect cultural beliefs even for individuals like us who were born and raised in England. Although the culture appreciates Christian marriage that people focused on upholding in the early 1900s to mid-1950s, our marriage attitudes have to some extent been influenced by policy changes. For example, although the assumption that reduced figures in divorce cases

could have been attributed to the idea of matrimonial bliss, the population of unmarried individuals is increasing significantly meaning the number of people with divorce options is equally low. However, the issues present another policy which is the 2013 Marriage Act that primarily focuses on Same-Sex Marriage. The policy that was passed in 2013 by parliament granted religious institutions a chance to marry same-sex couples (UK Parliament, n.d.). Previously, same-sex marriages especially for cohabiting individuals remained accounted for due to policy unrecognition. This could have been among the issues causing minimal documentation of marriages. After the policy took effect in England in march 2014 (UK Parliament, n.d.), the definitions for the term marriage evolved. Previously, marriage was perceived as a union between a female and a male who join with the intents of starting a family. Nevertheless, the enactment of the 2013 policy contributed definition shifts and marriage should now be perceived as a union between two individuals with a personal relationship. Possibly, the changes in marriage perspectives to include cohabitation and eliminate the need for legal documentation could increase the number of marriages. Another question on this marriage and divorce aspects relates to the grounds of marriage. Historically, marriage choices varied among different cultures, while some promoted the independence of their youths in choosing marriage partners, some had to undergo planned marriages. Surprisingly, before policy changes on matters of marriage and divorce, the marriages worked perfectly. Although developing nations were more affected by arranged marriage ideas, the cases have equally presented in developing nations. Such cases regardless of the location compromise the ideas of love and compatibility being primary factors in marriage. According to Samanta, and Varghese, (2019), non-normative marriage cases of individuals who are above 50

have been documented. Given that most of the marriages involve individuals who are above 50 years, questions of viability in situations where the “contradictory dimensions of celebration and unease over such unions where a focus on self, overrides marital responsibility or where the quest for “pure” love trumps sexual intimacy, commonly associated with younger marriages” present (Samanta, and Varghese, 2019, Pg. 58). Cases of non-normative marriages that appear to have exceeded the historical marriageable age prove that marriage is bot primarily a factor of love but compatibility. Although the idea of love is assumed crucial to promote a healthy intimacy life in marriage among couples, the non-normative relationships appear to have ignored the idea. For couples, sexual intimacy appears to be more significant than the idea of pure love. Again, marital responsibility which is a common factor in traditional marriages is absent in marriages as the parties are focused on individual satisfactions (Samanta, and Varghese, 2019). Although the increasing popularity of these marriages could be contributed by high divorce rates and cases of unmarried individuals who end-up lacking satisfaction in their old age and resulting to marry young spouses for kinship, the marriages are rarely arranged. Most of the relationships appear to have a unifying factor that connects the two individuals. Despite the changes in family policies contributing to significant changes in factors relating to marriage and divorce, historical-cultural concepts of marriage appear to be intact. For non-UK nationals engaging in the marriages that most term as sham marriages (Wemyss, Yuval-Davis, and Cassidy, 2018), there are notable contributing factors including those that relate to immigration. Although the 2014 UK Immigration Act continues to target the minimization of the marriages even when the 2004 EU Free Movement Directive allows marriage between European Economic Area (EEA) with non-EEA members within the UK (Wemyss, Yuval-Davis, and

Cassidy, 2018). The discouragement of the marriages in the UK relates significantly to the need for minimizing national threats that could result from individuals hiding in marriage as a way of illegal immigration. Typically, there is more to marriage than love and intimacy, although social factors relating to having been largely impacted by the growth of marriage dimensions most of which have been contributed by factors that include diversity. The two factors of love and intimacy are important to promoting stability in marriage but then compatibility is critical for couples that wish to stay together after separation. Typically, the separation and divorce process are a usually complicated phase that couples use to tear each other for individualized benefits. The negative phrase about a person in the process of divorce could be aimed at hastening their divorce acceptance or revenging over an issue one feels wronged. How well a couple manages to handle the issue depends on their compatibility. As a result, although social factors are important in influencing a person’s decisions relating to crucial life institutions such as marriage, specifically related dimensions such as when, who, and why to marry should remain individual decisions. Although it could be impossible to tell when the social issues influence individual decisions, cultural, religious, and governmental institutions relating to the institution of marriage should focus on creating awareness about the importance of individuality in related decision-making. This could help restore the traditional cultural, legal, and religious marriage ideas while equally integrating the new options.


In conclusion, the life of different people tends to take different routes and depending on the specific direction, lack of satisfaction increases discouragement and defeat. Targeting to minimize cases of both defeat and discouragement, people allow social perspectives to influence decision-making. Among areas where social perspectives including those relating to culture have played part in influencing decisions include in marriage more so the specified timelines. Even though the timelines are important in enabling self-satisfaction where necessary, they contribute cases that would have been avoidable without them. For example, social timelines used in the 20th century continue to be used in dictating marriage age without considering the multifarious changes in marriage policies. As a result, there have been higher populations of unmarried and high divorce cases thus creating the need for enabling individuals to decide on when who, and why to marry.

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Eyo, U.E., 2018. Divorce: Causes and Effects on Children. Pekel-Uludağlı, N. and Akbaş, G., 2019. Young adults’ perceptions of social clock and adulthood roles in the Turkish population. Journal of Adult Development, 26(2), pp.105-115. Rahman, K.M. and Zhang, D., 2017. Globalization and Family Values: Eroding Trends. International Journal of Social and Administrative Sciences, 2(2), pp.63-74. Samanta, T. and Varghese, S.S., 2019. Love in the time of aging: sociological reflections on marriage, gender and intimacy in India. Ageing International, 44(1), pp.57-73. UK Parliament, n.d. Divorce Since 1900. [online] UK Parliament. Available at: [Accessed 24 March 2020]. UK Parliament, n.d. The Law of Marriage. [online] UK Parliament. Available at: [Accessed 24 March 2020]. Wemyss, G., Yuval-Davis, N. and Cassidy, K., 2018. 'Beauty and the Beast': Sham Marriage and Everyday Bordering Discourse. Political Geography, 66, pp.151-160.

Appendices: Life-Story Interview Transcript

Lynn: Marriage is perceived by many as part of a person’s life cycle. Nevertheless, recent statistics show that the current divorce rates threaten most unions thus increasing the numbers of the unmarried. What would you argue is the reason behind increasing divorce and cases of unmarried individuals? Dylla: Marriage is important but must be separated from being a social issue to individual issues. Most pro-marriage people tend to focus on the social-clock concepts and at a certain age, they feel rushed which increases their will for marriage. As a result, marriage becomes more of a want than a need and time get crucial. People who wish to commit to marriage as a need end up unmarried when the partners fail to meet their requirements. On the other hand, for those committing in marriage as a want, they marry hoping their partners would change to meet their requirements in case they fail, the divorce reality knocks. Lynn: Should everyone marry on the basics of love? Dylla: Marriage decisions should be individual. I could wish to marry the person I love most but then we are incompatible, we cannot stay together peacefully. Everyone should evaluate their desires, understand themselves, as well as traits they could want and those that lack but could be withstood. Lynn: What is your definition of marriage. Dylla: Marriage is a union between two individuals who are in a personal relationship. Although there has been a need for arguing that marriage bust is a recognized union either through legal or formal means, marriage includes the simple cohabitation relations as well. Lynn: Have you ever tried marriage and what are the outcomes? What reasons do you link to outcomes? Dylla: Yes, was married in my early 30s and have since divorced. I link my divorce to factors that significantly relate to social pressure. I got married at 32 and although I could see so many red flags, I kept hoping that living together would ease our computability. However, three years later I had to face the divorcing reality. Surprisingly, my partner was equally exhausted they filed the divorce declined the counselling option. Three months later, our divorce was formalized.

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