Select passages from Libby Purves's recent, excellent, article in the Daily Mail
"There is something
different, awesome, about making a public declaration that you intend to try to
keep this going for life; a buzz in making the tie legal and binding,
contractually as well as emotionally.
"You stand in front of the
world saying: 'This is us. Not a temporary shack-up till we change our minds
but a team, for better or worse, for richer for poorer, and let no interfering
outsider dare try to break it asunder.'
"A wedding is more than a
show-off ceremony: it is public (even our sneaky, publicity-shy one had
passers-by wandering in to the church). That declaration and status affirms marriage
as a sort of cement, holding the flaky walls of society more firmly.
"Marriage is grown-up,
marriage is brave and serious: a properly provisioned, planned, hopeful, risky
round-the-world voyage rather than a quick sunny trip around the bay.
"In that responsibility
you grow up. In that security you can relax and blossom. In that fidelity you
are both free to develop other friendships and affections, because the basic,
unbreakable tie is there. Long live marriage.
"The strongest defence [of marriage] comes from the retired High Court Judge Sir Paul Coleridge, who saw too much
misery in the family courts to ignore it. His Marriage Foundation bombards us
with all those telling statistics about the disastrous effects of the decline."