All of us want reliable love, a relationship that works, and children who turn out healthy and well.
The research that we have produced over the last seven years – in cooperation with some of the world’s leading researchers in the field – shows that marriage, for all its faults, provides the surest foundation upon which these things are most likely to happen.
Our most recent research has shown that the odds of staying together are as good for today’s newlyweds as they were for those who married way back in the 1960s. For those who don’t marry, the odds are stacked against.
Yet as a society we are losing confidence in marriage. For years our relatively well-off politicians and media, most of whom married, have defied the evidence and insisted that marriage isn’t a policy issue.
The tragedy is that, whilst marriage remains the norm among the better-off, those least well-off – who need the stability of marriage most because they have fewest resources – have listened. Among them marriage is now the exception. The old norm of marriage, and the shared and clear plan for the future that it began with, used to help most families remain intact and stable. The new norm of cohabitation, with its ambiguity and often asymmetric commitment, frequently brings instability and break-up.
The result is a double-whammy of low income and family instability. We now spend substantially more on family breakdown than we do on, say, defence.
So the trend away from marriage has become a serious social justice issue. We didn’t expect this when we started Marriage Foundation in 2012. But our research shows a nation increasingly divided into the better-off who mostly marry and mostly stay together and the less well-off who mostly do neither.
Over seven years, we’ve produced more than forty research notes. We’ve been quoted or interviewed or cited in the mainstream media at least 1,000 times, including most major current affairs TV and radio programmes and several front page stories.
We have clearly established ourselves as ‘champions of marriage’.
Now our work enters a new phase, where we seek to ‘rebuild confidence in marriage for the good of society, especially children’.
As a registered charity, we are exceptionally lean for the work we do. We echew an office, instead using video conferencing, borrowing premises from friends for events and meetings, and planning rail trips well ahead to keep costs down.At present about 20% of our income comes from regular supporters, which is a lot lower than we would like. Regular support allows us to plan our work even more efficiently. A monthly donation of just £10 per month adds up to £150 per year with Gift Aid. Multiples of that add up to, well, you can work it out for yourself.
If you feel able to support us with a regular monthly donation, all you have to do is click on this link and fill in the details. If this doesn’t appeal, thank you for reading this far. But I really hope you can help.
We plan to organise a get together for all regular donors later in the year with our founder and former high court judge Sir Paul Coleridge.
We have much to look forward to in the coming year: fascinating new family research in the pipeline; the launch of my new book; and an exciting joint US/UK project looking at the influence of family on teen mental health.
We are determined to continue our work and campaign and we really need your help, Please join us.
With huge thanks
Paul, Michaela and Harry