However, Andrew Newbury, partner at Hall Brown Family Law, said: “These figures underline how women appear to be the driving force behind marriage.”One thing which a number of men and women in their fifties and sixties have mentioned to me while going through a divorce is the degree to which their social lives have been dependent on their partners’ circle of friends or business colleagues.“When that’s taken away, they notice how lonely their lives have become.”Gay marriage was legalised on March 29 2014, and 4,850 same-sex couples married during the year.Religious ceremonies continued to decline in 2014, falling 0.8 per cent from 2013 among opposite-sex couples.There were only 23 religious ceremonies among same-sex couples, accounting for 0.5% of marriages. Debora Price, Professor of social gerontology at Manchester University said: “Over the past 20 years we have seen divorce growing in popularity among younger women, so many more women are ageing as divorced women. “There is therefore more variation in the sort of women who are remarrying later in life.”There are also many more opportunities for divorced people to go out and meet each other.”However, while the gap is closing, marriages rates were still considerably higher for older men. Women aged over 65 are still four times less likely to get married than their male counterparts. More women are getting remarried late in life to avoid spending a long retirement alone, experts say.Increasing life expectancy means women are shunning 30 years of widowhood and searching for a partner to enjoy a later-life romance with. The marriage rate for over-65s increased by 56 per cent among women and 41 per cent among men from 2009 to 2014, according to figures released by the Office of National Statistics. Overall marriage rates rose by 2.7 per cent between 2013 and 2014, a figure which was driven by more older couples tying the knot. This is partly due to increased life expectancy. A woman aged 65 could expect to live for 20.8 years more in 2010 – now she can expect to live for 21.5 years. Women also live two-and-a-half years longer than men on average – meaning many are left without a partner in the last years of their life. The biggest decrease in marriage was among the under-20s. Rates were down by a third for men and 27 per cent for women from 2009 to 2014. In 2014 the number of marriages among women aged over 60 was the highest it has been since 1980. Among divorced women aged over 60, there were 6,759 remarriages in 2014 – more than in any year before. Marriage rates among older women have historically been much lower than among older men, as men tend to marry women who are significantly younger. This is changing as more women are still sociable and independent following divorce or bereavement. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.