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My dear Billy,There was a time, in the distant past, when the birth of a baby had to pass through the marriage of its parents.

This ritual is being bypassed at a great speed around the world, and today there is no need for a girl to get married in order to have a baby.

Marriage, as an institution, is fast becoming outdated in certain parts of the world, and taking a back seat in the affairs of households.And in these days of dire recession, wedding bells seem to have been turned on mute mode.

If in the days to come you find invitation cards getting scarcer and scarcer, it may not necessarily mean that you are no longer loved, my dear Billy, the marriages may just not be taking place.

Our economy was so far pronounced resilient in the midst of a huge world recession.

People didn't quite understand what it all meant or what was happening, so they made as if all was clear on all the fronts and went out and got married.

But the economy eventually felt awkward and lonely on this path of resilience, and suddenly decided to change course.

It is now giving signs of acute non-resilience as a result of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.All the while, the economic blizzard was bruising the $60 billion-a-year wedding industry in the US, as people volunteered a 24% cut on marriage expenses over 2007.

They downsized every item from the number of guests to the menu to flowers and photographs and honeymoon destination.

A reported 75% of weddings are being scaled down in a bid to clip expenditure."I would be embarrassed to spend thousands and thousands of dollars when people are losing their jobs, houses, cars, etc.

We understand that this is just one night." Yea, but what happens after that night?In the meantime, faraway Mauritius was hosting a multi-million wedding ceremony with the bride, groom and guests coming from further away India.

But that, I believe, was a one-off affair, and who knows, it might as well have been part of an economic ploy, because it is said that there's one way of transferring funds that's faster than electronic transfer â€" it's called marriage.

It is believed that one of the main factors leading to divorce is financial straits.

But matrimonial lawyers worldwide are currently complaining that their business has gone down owing to a slump in couples willing to part ways because people have started realizing that going in for a divorce is the worst thing you can do financially."Attorney fees and court costs compete with setting up a new household as the largest expense in a divorce.

A simple divorce can cost $5,000 to $25,000 in attorney fees and court costs, while the average complex divorce runs $25,000 to $100,000," says Bruce Hughes, a California attorney.Never marry for money, seems to be the new mantra, divorce for money.

Does it mean that the best solution to the marriage and divorce problem is to remain single? This doesn't seem likely.

Matchmakers and online dating websites like and are making brisk business during and because of the recession.Patti Novak, Director of a matchmaking office in Buffalo, New York, reports a 30% rise in clients in the last nine months.

"I think that as people go through more difficult times, being alone becomes more difficult…Even if they can only afford popcorn and a six-pack on a Saturday night, they'd rather do it with somebody than alone."Going through difficult times with someone special is better than doing it alone, isn't it? But still, some will maintain that marriage is just the first step towards divorce.Then there are those who are quite stoical about the whole thing, like the one who confesses, "On quiet nights, when I'm alone, I like to run our wedding video backwards, just to watch myself walk out of the church a free man." Or the lady who softly whispers, "The only thing that keeps me from being happily married is my husband."On the other hand, some people have discovered an original way to beat the grim realities of layoffs and shrinking bank balances â€" sales of romance novels are up.

The same type of phenomenon that fuelled blockbuster sales of Margaret Mitchell's Gone With The Wind in the Depression era of the thirties.
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