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‘Time for change’, but not the way the Social Mobility Commission sees it

June 28, 2017

‘Time for Change’, announces the Social Mobility Commission in their new report out today. In it, former minister Alan Milburn and his team talk about 20 years of public policy leaving us with a nation divided by region, income and wealth, and generation. Despite the 50 per cent real terms increase in education since 1997, […]

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Smart dads, smart kids?

June 7, 2017

I like paradoxes. So here’s one. How come less than half of all school leavers have both English and Maths GCSE at grade C or higher, yet my daughter, now at university, tells me her experience of the state education system was excellent? These education statistics are astonishingly awful. In fact they remind me of […]

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Marriage-rich Cabinet need to back marriage

June 5, 2017

I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised. It’s the nature of being an incurable optimist. Assuming the best also means having to deal with disappointment. All of the parties have completely ignored family stability as an issue. Yes, there’s lots of good stuff in the manifestos written and spoken about family issues such as children’s […]

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“I see you, mum and dad”

April 27, 2017

It’s what children see that affects them, not how parents feel Happy parents -especially happy mums – tend to have happy kids. If parents get on well together, kids generally do fine. A load of research backs this up. So it’s easy to assume that if the quality of the parental relationship changes for better […]

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Divorce has no effect on children? Not so fast …

April 12, 2017

Parents at war ‘more harmful than divorce‘, ran a headline in the Times yesterday. The accompanying article reports on a new study that claims “interparental conflict may be even more harmful to a child’s development than parental dissolution itself“. The study – which you can read in full here – attracted my attention for a […]

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Men: The best gift for Mothering Sunday? Be kind to your wife!

March 25, 2017

(This article was originally published in this week’s Church of England newspaper) Twenty two years ago, I stood on the brink of divorce. My wife Kate and I were good parents to our two young children. I had a good job and worked hard to make sure I could feed my family. Sure, there was […]

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It’s not marriage that’s ‘patriarchal’. It’s cohabitation.

March 7, 2017
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In an article for Metro last month, writer Rebecca Reid expressed horror that her fiancé might have asked her dad’s permission before he married her. The whole idea has “a massive historical problem” behind it, she declared furiously. There was a time when “women were property to be traded for the advancement of a family […]

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Should you stay together in an unhappy marriage?

February 10, 2017
90 what happens to unhappy people

After eight years of marriage, Harry and Kate Benson stood on the brink of divorce. They had done the classic thing of growing apart. What Mums Want (And Dads Need To Know) is for all the Harrys and Kates who needn’t get in the mess they did.   Almost exactly twenty two years ago, I got home […]

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What Mums Want (And Dads Need To Know)

February 3, 2017
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Marriage Week runs from 7-14 February. Here our Research Director Harry Benson tells the story of how his marriage went badly wrong, and what happened to turn it around. What Mums Want (And Dads Need To Know) by Harry and Kate Benson is out now!  We did the classic thing of growing apart. The first […]

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The myth of the ‘good divorce’

November 28, 2016

It all sounds rather sweet and innocent, doesn’t it? “We love each other very much … we are and always will be a family … in many ways we are closer than we have ever been … we are parents first and foremost” These were the words reportedly said by A-list couple Gwyneth Paltrow and […]

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November 22, 2016


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Does religion help couples stay together?

November 19, 2016

I’m often asked if Christians have lower divorce rates than anyone else. Although I point out that I don’t know of any UK studies on this, evidence from the US is fairly mixed that religion – or ‘religiosity’ as it’s usually called in the academic papers – is linked to higher rates of stability. In […]

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Legal rights for cohabiting couples will create more problems than it solves

November 14, 2016

It seems like a no-brainer, doesn’t it. A woman – and in most cases it is a woman – lives with a man for a number of years, sacrifices part or all of career to bring up their children, whereupon he walks out taking all of his earning with him. The children have rights under […]

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It’s time to ditch useless family interventions and back marriage

October 20, 2016

This article was first published 18 October 2016 on ConservativeHome As if we needed more evidence that government is hopeless at running large scale family interventions, this week’s report from think tank NIESR reveals that the government’s flagship ‘Troubled Families’ programme has had no impact whatsoever across a range of outcomes. The evaluation ‘was unable to find consistent evidence […]

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Proof that monthly date nights work … but only if you’re married!

September 25, 2016

I’m not sure I’d be taking marriage advice from Katie Price. But according to a recent interview, one thing she swears by is the idea of a “date night” to keep her third marriage on track. Relationship commentators and marriage educators agree. Google the words “date night” and any number of articles pop up exhorting […]

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Brangelina: Why celebs don’t have it all

September 20, 2016

(You can listen to my interview with BBC World Service on this subject here)  Its probably the most common rebuttal I hear when I mention how married couples tend to do so much better than unmarried couples. “It’s not marriage, its money.” There’s an element of truth to this. Money makes it easier for couples […]

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Throughout Europe, the rich marry and the poor don’t

August 8, 2016
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Everyone knows that fewer people get married these days. This has become an increasingly serious problem for the simple reason that most couples who don’t marry don’t stay together whereas most couples who do marry do stay together. Among parents, roughly eight out of ten who are married when their child is born will still be […]

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Optimism renewed: The prospect of a family policy that helps families stay on the ladder?

July 26, 2016

Some ten years ago, I remember sitting in the audience at a boys club in the east end of London, just feet away from new Tory leader David Cameron as he gave a brilliant note-free inaugural speech. As the world’s press – and I – looked on, he talked passionately of his social justice mission […]

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Harry Benson: Brexit – It can’t be like a divorce because it was never like a marriage

July 4, 2016

Well, if you can’t beat them join them. Since Brexit and its political consequences seems to be about the only story in town at the moment, I thought I’d add my voice to the tum

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Sir Paul Coleridge: Father, give yourself a Fathers Day present that will last a lifetime!

June 16, 2016

It’s Fathers Day. If you’re an unmarried father reward yourself with the best Fathers Day present you could ever have – Marry the mother of your child(ren)….. (or at least propose to her). That is a gift which will last a lifetime.

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For an archive of older Marriage Foundation blogs, please click here