The Sunday Times: Marshmallow or marriage? The greatest test of a human being


It’s tempting to think of marriage as old-fashioned. Why not just live with someone and be done with it? Yet it survives. All kinds of practical benefits seem associated with being married, writes Alain de Botton

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Tie the knot to boost children’s mental health, couples told


New research by Marriage Foundation shows that marriage significantly improves the self-esteem of teenagers and improves their life chances. Children with parents in a stable long-term cohabiting relationship did not see any benefit.

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                                              Other Responses

The Association of Muslim Lawyers:

"The AML is pleased to announce its support for The Marriage Foundation; an organisation launched earlier this month by High Court Judge, Sir Paul Coleridge."


Welcomes Marriage Foundation

The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) warmly welcomes the launch of the Marriage Foundation. As a society, we can no longer afford to ignore family and relationship breakdown when its associated social and financial costs are so high. The Foundation will provide a national champion for marriage and will promote healthier relationships which are less likely to break down. 

Since 2006, the CSJ has emphasised that one of the key drivers of poverty and poor outcomes for children neglected is family breakdown - whether this is due to divorce and separation, dysfunctional parenting or father absence. 

This Government has made an admirable commitment to turn around the lives of 120,000 of our most 'troubled families' before the end of this Parliament, but they have neglected to provide any robust support for marriage which was promised by the Conservatives in Opposition. This is in spite of the evidence that children born into families where parents are married, and hence have put their relationship on the more solid footing, are far less likely to see them split up.

The Millennium Cohort Study shows fewer than 1 in 10 married couples had split by the time their child is 5, compared to more than 1 in 3 who were not married. Census figures show that 97% of all couples are still intact by the time their child is 15 were married. The CSJ has always rejected a moralising stance and the Marriage Foundation's mission to raise public awareness of the benefits of marriage and encourage people to access help at all stages of their relationships is the approach this country needs. 

People across the social spectrum aspire to marriage yet the poorest have to overcome the highest financial and cultural barriers to achieve it. Supporting marriage helps people fulfil their aspirations - that makes it a vital issue of social justice.



Response to the launch of the Marriage Foundation

Responding to the launch of the Marriage Foundation, Sarah Caulkin, Interim Chief Executive of Relate, said:

“We welcome the launch of the Marriage Foundation and in particular the support that prominent Judges from the Family Division are giving this issue.

“At Relate, we witness on a daily basis the often devastating impact that relationship breakdown can have, especially if children are involved and we would urge people to come to us sooner to talk through their problems to help stop the cycle of relationship breakdown.

“Yet a high degree of stigma still exists in this country around accessing help for relationship difficulties. More needs to be done by the sector as a whole to shift people’s perceptions so that they feel willing and able to get support.


“However, Relate also urges caution on looking at marriage as a panacea. Our relationship structures are ever evolving and we need to be extremely careful not to focus on the status of the relationship, and instead concentrate on the quality. What’s important for the wellbeing of society as a whole is that relationships, in all forms, are accepted and supported to enable stability and happiness to flourish.”

Contact Head of Marketing and PR, Kim Atkins, on: 020 7554 2885 / or for out of hours enquiries - 07971 869 735

Notes to editors:

•    Relate’s vision is a future in which healthy relationships form the heart of a thriving society

•    Relate’s services extend beyond couple counselling to family counselling, counselling for young people, online counselling, sex therapy and informal workshops

•    Relate works in schools, primary care settings, prisons, and Children’s Centres

•    Relate supports 150,000 people each year in over 600 locations in England, Wales and Northern Ireland

•    Relate has a work-force of 2,000 people nationwide