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Ils vécurent heureux et eurent beaucoup d’enfants…

“They fell in love and lived happily ever after.”
Translated from French as “They lived happily ever after and had a lot of children.”

Love is a universal matter even though different types of unions might differ from a place to another. It was a long time ago that marriage was the only option for two people in love with each other and wanted to celebrate their union. According to the French National Institute of Statistics (INSEE), the number of traditional marriages is decreasing year by year with only around 240,000 weddings celebrated in France in 2011. Has loved disappeared then? It has certainly not, but with our everyday more modern and faster societies, unions have to adapt themselves to new trends in order to survive.
In 1999 the Solidarity Civil Union Pact (PACS) was created, allowing two people of the same or different sex to create a new partnership with almost the same rights as married couples. If only 22,000 PACS were celebrated in 2000, there were 205,000 in 2010, which means 10 times more and almost the same rate as traditional marriages. Initially created to allow same sex unions, PACS has become incredibly successful among different sex partners as it simplifies the union process, is far cheaper than a traditional wedding and is also easier to dissolve without the hassle of a costly divorce. Finally, around 450,000 couples are declared as living together without sharing any union rights in 2011.
One can wonder why marriage is becoming an endangered species. Even though there is a strong civil marriage tradition in France, its connotation is still tainted with religion, which strength has certainly faded if not totally disappeared within the youngest generations. Moreover “I don’t believe in marriage” or “We don’t need to be married to know that we love each other” are quite trendy and most couples reject the notion of marriage as sounding archaic and outdated.  Marriages and weddings, besides being often considered as old-fashioned, are often celebrated by people who still believe strongly in love, romance and ever after relationships. However it is hard to be romantic in our society which praises programmed obsolescence when you are asked to sign a prenup’ agreement before even getting married.  Nevertheless, the gay community has been fighting for years in order to get same sex marriage legalized, and French legislators are actually considering a new bill which was accepted by the French Ministers’ Council in November, and must be presented to Parliament in January 2013 to be eventually ratified.

I guess most of us have misplaced this innate and original capacity to love and be loved, and relationships are considered as valuable goods with an expiration date.

« I totally believe that love conquers all.
Sometimes you just have to give it a little space…
and that’s exactly what’s missing in Manhattan…
the space for romance. »
Skipper Johnston, Sex and the City, Season 1 Episode 1

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