From: Dave Percival <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, Aug 25, 2014 at 10:45 AM
Subject: Weekly Update of UK Marriage News - No 14.34
Welcome to this week’s UK Marriage News
· David Cameron on Family
· The Way We Are Now: New study reveals our couple, family, friendships, sex and work secrets sex and work secrets
· The next speech?
Government and Political
· David Cameron on Family
We were very pleased to have been present last Monday at the Relationships Alliance Summit where David Cameron made his keynote speech on the family. You can read it in full here, and there is much press coverage (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7), and comment from Marriage Care and Relate .
Much was a restatement of existing measures but new measures announced included:
· Tens of thousands of couples will benefit from relationship counselling, with the annual budget doubled to £19.5 million. New parents will get extra help in ante-natal classes and more advice from health visitors once the baby has arrived.
· More than 500,000 families will now receive help via a programme to support families facing multiple problems, such as unemployment, anti-social behaviour, debt and truancy. The programme expands from its current focus on 120,000 families, with work starting immediately in over 50 council areas before spreading across the country.
· New figures out today show that the number of adoptions is up by 25% in the last year, thanks to an increase in financial support to councils and voluntary groups and a faster adoption process. The time it takes to adopt has reduced for the first time ever. The government will go further and from next month councils will be able will apply for £19 million national Adoption Support Fund. Any school child adopted from care will benefit from an extra £1900 of additional pupil premium money.
· A family test on all government policies will be formally introduced into impact assessments from this autumn. It will see every single domestic policy examined for its impact on the family. Policies that fail to support family life will not be allowed to proceed.
The Marriage Foundation welcomed the Prime Minister's support for the family but warned that without explicit support for marriage, the new initiatives will have little or no impact on family breakdown.
"Actions speak louder than words," said Research Director Harry Benson. "Coalition policies during their first four years in government would struggle to pass a 'family test'. We have a tax credit system that pays couples up to £7,100 more to live apart than together, a tax system that penalises single earners who choose to leave one parent at home, and a raft of government forms that pretend living together is the equal of marriage. In terms of stability, it is anything but."
"Our vast £46 billion annual bill for family breakdown - more than the entire defence budget - cries out for a genuine family policy that explicitly supports, encourages and incentivises marriage. Almost all couples - 93% - who remain intact until their children finish school are married.
· If we want to see more children brought up by both parents rather than one, we need more marriages.
· If we want less family fragmentation - that contributes to the housing crisis, for example - we need more marriages.
· If we want more couples with the capacity to care for the elderly, we need more marriages.
"Family breakdown is not inevitable. But so much is driven by the trend away from marriage. Few couples who don't marry, who don't make that explicit commitment to their future together, remain together while they bring up their children. Mr Cameron has long stated his enthusiasm for commitment and marriage. He is right. So 'family test' needs to mean 'marriage test'."
· Gay marriages more popular among women than men
More weddings are being held between women than men following the introduction of gay marriage, according to official figures reports the Telegraph. Of 1,409 gay weddings which took place in the first three months after same-sex marriages were introduced this year, 56 per cent were between women and 44 per cent were between men. Experts suggested that the higher number of women taking advantage of the new law, which came into effect in March, was down to women seeking a “stable relationship” in which they can have children. [There will have been 60 - 70,000 opposite sex weddings in the same period. Ed]
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said 95 couples were married in England and Wales during the first three days after same-sex weddings were introduced on March 29. The number steadily increased each month, with 351 marriages taking place in April, followed by 465 in May and 498 in June. The average age of those tying the knot in same-sex weddings was 37 for women and 39 for men.
James Brown, a partner in family law at JMW Solicitors, said: "As with civil partnerships, it appears to be women who are attracted more to the idea of formalising same-sex relationships and they tend to do so at a younger age than men as well. That might be because it provides them with stability in a relationship as they're reaching the average age at which women tend to have children.”
The Government had predicted that the total number of civil partnership and same-sex marriages would reach 6,000 each year following the legalisation of gay weddings. The number of people entering gay marriages is lower than the number of couples who became civil partners after the option was first introduced in 2005. In total 4,579 civil partnerships took place in England and Wales in the first three full months of its existence. Of these around two thirds were male couples and a third female.
The ONS said the initial uptake of civil partnerships could have been higher because at the time “there was no other option for same sex couples to formalise their relationship”.
Andrew Newbury, head of family law at Slater & Gordon, said the overall number of gay marriages between March and June was "surprisingly" low, adding that he expected it to increase later this year when changes to the law will allow couples already in civil partnerships to convert to marriage. "We have received many inquiries from same-sex couples wanting information for how they can change their civil partnership to a marriage,” he said.
[In New Zealand, which has a much smaller population, there were 309 same sex marriages in the first year compared with about 19000 opposite sex wedding; ie, about 1 in 60 which is comparable to the UK figure. Ed]
· Home Office launches consultation on strengthening domestic violence law
A new crime of domestic abuse could be created under government proposals aimed at better protecting victims and their families reports CYPNow. The Home Office has launched a consultation on strengthening the law on domestic abuse by explicitly stating that it covers coercive and controlling behaviour as well as physical harm. Offences the new law could cover include threatening a partner with violence, cutting them off from friends and family or refusing them access to money in order to limit their freedom. Controlling behaviour is currently covered by legislation that covers stalking and harassment but it does not explicitly apply to intimate relationships.
In launching the consultation Home Secretary Theresa May is calling for the views of both victims as well as those who work with them. She said police are currently not acting swiftly enough when domestic abuse complaints are made and said any change in the law must be backed up with cultural change among officers. She said: “I am clear that there must be an immediate and lasting change in the police response to domestic abuse. This means a change in culture right from the officers in charge to those on the frontline.”
Annie Hudson, chief executive of The College of Social Work (TCSW), said bullying, and manipulative and controlling behaviour in family relationships can have devastating and enduring effects for children. "Recent serious case reviews poignantly remind us of the role of domestic violence in rendering children as very vulnerable and at risk," she said. "TCSW would generally support legal changes that enhance protection afforded to children and adults, but we need to consider the Home Office proposals carefully and then respond to the consultation.”
A report by police inspectorate HMIC in March suggested there is a "postcode lottery" among constabularies when it comes to tackling domestic abuse. Arrest rates varied from 45 per cent to 90 per cent across England and Wales’s 43 police forces. Among questions asked in the consultation is whether the current law is sufficient to tackle domestic abuse, is a new law needed and if brought in how could a new law of domestic abuse be effectively implemented.
Research published by the Co-ordinated Action Against Domestic Abuse (Caada) in February this year revealed the scale of the problem among children in abusive families. Caada’s data found that 46 per cent of children exposed to domestic abuse were unknown to children’s services prior to working with a specialist domestic violence worker. In addition, 37 per cent of children exposed to serious physical, sexual and emotional abuse were not known to children’s social workers.
This latest move follows the introduction of domestic violence protection orders in November 2013, which prevent the suspected perpetrator returning to the family home within 28 days. The order can be made without the consent of the victim.
· Troubled Families expansion to focus on younger children and health problems
An expansion of the Troubled Families initiative is to focus on tackling poor health and supporting children under the age of five, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has revealed reports CYPNow. The government has pledged to increase the number of families receiving intensive government support to turn their lives around from 120,000 to 500,000.
In a separate announcement communities secretary Eric Pickles said helping younger children living in chaotic families as well as reducing ill health will be greater priorities as the initiative expands. This will include a heightened focus on tackling domestic violence, reducing debt and supporting children at risk of being taken into care as well as retaining a focus on reducing truancy, crime and antisocial behaviour.
The focus on health follows latest DCLG research that found widespread and severe problems such as obesity and mental health conditions among those being offered support through the initiative. The research found that 71 per cent of families include someone with at least one health problem and 46 per cent of families included an adult with a mental health problem. A third have an adult family member with a long-standing illness or disability. In a fifth of families a child has a serious illness or disability.
The DCLG says treating such problems just as a medical issue “is unlikely to be successful” unless it is complemented with the multi-level, intensive support the Troubled Families initiative offers. Obesity was another problem highlighted. In research carried out among Salford families being offered support, 93 per cent of 35- to 54-year-olds were obese. In addition, half of all families had a record of obesity, compared to a quarter of the general England-wide population.
The Salford research also found 14 per cent of families had at least one adult with an alcohol dependency and 13 per cent had an adult with a drug dependency. England-wide, four per cent of families have a family member being treated for alcohol dependency.
Children’s health was another concern highlighted. A third of children involved in the initiative have a mental health problem and one in five had a clinical diagnosis. As a comparison it is estimated that one in ten children in England have a mental health problem.
One in 20 families included somebody under the age of 18 who was pregnant, the research also found.
The focus on younger children has been welcomed by Helen Berresford, head of public affairs at the charity 4Children. She said: “Today’s announced expansion to families with younger children is very welcome, particularly as we know that the experiences in a child’s first years are crucial to their life chances. Across the country half a million families are reported to be living on the edge of crisis and dealing with a range of serious problems. Every one of them will need intensive and dedicated support to make a positive difference to their lives.”
The expansion of the Troubled Families initiative was announced by Prime Minister David Cameron. It was launched in April 2012 with the aim of turning around 120,000 families’ lives by April 2015. But figures revealed in July show just 52,833 families had achieved long-term change.
Pickles said: “The Troubled Families programme has been a brilliant partnership between the government and councils, changing the way services are run, saving taxpayers money and turning around the lives of some of the hardest to help in the country, with kids back in school, youth crime and antisocial behaviour cut and adults better able to work. Building on this momentum, we are now able to help even more families and deal with even more problems and I am delighted that that work will now begin in the next few months.”
· The Way We Are Now: New study reveals our couple, family, friendships, sex and work secrets sex and work secrets
A new study of more than 5,000 people has lifted the lid on the state of the UK’s relationships and found that one in ten – around 4.7 million people* – has no close friends. Published last week by Relate [Apologies that we missed it – Ed], the UK’s leading relationship support organisation, and Relationships Scotland, The Way We Are Now 2014 is one of the largest studies of its kind. It provides a window into the most important areas of our lives – from couple and family life to sex, friendships and interactions with colleagues and bosses.
The study finds some concerning statistics around how close we feel to others, including one in ten people saying they don’t have a single close friend and one in five rarely or never feeling loved in the two weeks before the survey.
The Way We Are Now 2014 also finds a strong connection between our relationships and our personal wellbeing. It seems that, even in today’s fast-paced and ever-changing world, relationships still act as shock absorbers when times are hard and also help us to achieve our goals. Crucially, the study finds that people who enjoy good quality relationships also have higher levels of wellbeing, whilst relationships of poor quality are detrimental to wellbeing, health and how we feel about ourselves.
Ruth Sutherland, Chief Executive of Relate, said: “This new study examines the quality of our relationships, showing a clear link between our personal relationships and our wellbeing. Whilst there is much to celebrate, the results around how close we feel to others are very concerning. There is a significant minority of people who claim to have no close friends, or who never or rarely feel loved – something which is unimaginable to many of us. Relationships are the asset which can get us through good times and bad, and it is worrying to think that there are people who feel they have no one they can turn to during life’s challenges. We know that strong relationships are vital for both individuals and society as a whole, so investing in them is crucial.”
Below is a summary of the study’s top findings:
The changing face of family life
· Almost one in four have experienced the breakdown of their parents’ relationship (23%)
· 62% think money worries are one of the biggest strains on a relationship
Divorce rates have risen significantly over the last 50 years, leaving generations of children, young people and adults working out how to navigate family life after separation. But families of all shapes and sizes can and do have good quality relationships – it might just take some extra effort.
A significant majority (62%) say that money worries are one of the biggest strains on family relationships. Older people are more worried about money, with 69% of those aged 65 and over saying money worries were a major strain, compared with only 37% of 16-24 year olds.
Partners: enduring love
· Four out of five people have a good relationship with their partner (85%)
· One in ten people in a relationship never or rarely felt loved in the two weeks before the survey.
The vast majority of us in relationships feel close to our partners, but there are also some concerning statistics in this section. The numbers of us who rarely or never feel loved are worryingly high.
But being in a relationship alone isn’t enough to enjoy good wellbeing – we found that the benefits of being in a couple relationship for people’s wellbeing were lost when they were dissatisfied with how things were going.
Sex: a nation divided
· One in four people are dissatisfied with their sex life (24%)
· One in four people report having an affair (24%)
With a quarter of us being dissatisfied with our sex life it’s clear that, for many people, things aren’t as good as they could be.
The Way We Are Now 2014 included an additional survey carried out by Relate of 250 Relate and Relationships Scotland counsellors, who listed three factors for a happy sex life: improving communication, making time to be together and learning how to talk about sex with your partner.
Work: a delicate balancing act
· More than one in three people say their bosses believe the most productive employees put work before family (35%)
· 59% of people have a good relationship with their boss
· 42% of people have no friends at work
The picture painted by the work section of the study is an interesting one. Even though many of us enjoy good relationships with our bosses, it’s clear that for a significant minority, work and family life seem to be incompatible. This is especially worrying in an age where the boundaries between home and work are increasingly blurred, with many of us working from home and being connected to email out of normal working hours. Trust is crucial for successful relationships at work, but this is not always easy to achieve when workplace attitudes and the practicalities of family life clash.
Friends: I’ll be there for you
· Nine in ten people have at least one close friend (91%)
· 81% of women describe their friendships as good/very good compared with 73% of men
The vast majority of us have at least one close friend, but it is significant that one in ten does not. There are also some differences between men and women when it comes to friendships: women are more likely to have high quality friendships than men, and women also report that their friendships improve with age, whereas for men this remains static throughout life.
Relationships and wellbeing
· 81% of people who are married or cohabiting feel good about themselves, compared with 69% who are single
· 83% of those who described their relationship as good or very good reported feeling good about themselves
· 62% of those who described their relationship as average, bad or very bad reported feeling good about themselves
The study finds a clear link between high quality relationships and high levels of wellbeing. But simply being in a relationship doesn’t guarantee that people will feel good about themselves: single people feel better about themselves than those in average, bad or very bad relationships, suggesting it’s the quality of the relationship that has an impact on wellbeing and happiness.
· Bigger weddings, fewer partners, less 'sliding' linked to better marriages
The more people who attend your wedding to share in the launch of your marriage, the better the chances you will be happily married years down the road reports Science Daily. And, somewhat counter-intuitively, the more relationships you had prior to your marriage, the less likely you are to report a high-quality marriage.
Those are two of the key findings in a new report, "Before 'I Do': What Do Premarital Experiences Have To Do With Marital Quality Among Today's Young Adults?," from the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia. The study challenges the idea that "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" -- the general notion that what happens in one's younger years, before marriage, stays there and doesn't impact the remainder of one's life.
How people conduct their romantic lives before they tie the knot is linked to their odds of having happy marriages, the study's authors argue. Past experiences, especially when it comes to love, sex and children, are associated with future marital quality. Those who have had more romantic experiences - for example, more sexual or cohabiting partners - are less likely to forge a high-quality marriage than those with a less complex romantic history, the researchers found.
Raising children from prior relationships can add stress to a marriage. For women, but not for men, having had a child in a prior relationship was associated, on average, with lower marital quality.
Study co-author Galena K. Rhoades, research associate professor of psychology at the University of Denver, said, "In most areas, more experience is better. You're a better job candidate with more experience, not less. When it comes to relationship experience, though, we found that having more experience before getting married was associated with lower marital quality."
More experience may increase one's awareness of alternative partners, the researchers speculate. People who have had many relationships prior to their current one can compare a present partner to their prior partners in many areas - like conflict management, dating style, physical attractiveness, sexual skills, communication ability and so on. Marriage involves leaving behind other options, which may be harder to do with a lot of experience, the researchers say.
More relationship experiences prior to marriage also means more experience breaking up, which may make for a more jaundiced view of love and relationships, Rhoades said. It's also possible that some people have personality characteristics - such as liking to take risks or being harder to get along with -- that both increase their odds of having many relationship experiences and decrease their odds of marital success, she added.
Rhoades and co-author Scott M. Stanley came to these insights by analyzing new data from the Relationship Development Study, an ongoing national study based at the University of Denver and funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Between 2007 and 2008, more than 1,000 Americans who were unmarried but in a relationship, and between the ages of 18 and 34, were recruited into the study.
Over the course of the next five years and 11 waves of data collection, 418 of those individuals got married. The authors looked closely at those 418 new marriages, examining how the history of the spouses' relationships and their prior romantic experiences were related to the quality of their marriages. The 418 subjects were reasonably representative of unmarried adults in the United States in terms of race and income. All analyses in the report control for race and ethnicity, years of education, personal income, religiosity and frequency of attendance at religious services.
Past studies show that couples often "slide" into living together rather than talking things out and making a decision about it. In this study, participants who lived together before marriage were asked directly if they made a considered decision about premarital cohabitation or slid into it; they indicated their degree of "sliding versus deciding" on a five-point scale. The more strongly respondents categorized the move as a decision rather than a slide, the greater their marital quality later on.
"We believe that one important obstacle to marital happiness is that many people now slide through major relationship transitions -- like having sex, moving in together, getting engaged or having a child - that have potentially life-altering consequences," said Stanley, research professor and co-director of the Center for Marital and Family Studies at the University of Denver, as well as a senior fellow for both the National Marriage Project and for the Institute for Family Studies.
Often these risks co-occur. For example, those who have multiple cohabiting partners are also more likely to have children before marriage and with more than one partner. "Another way to think about 'sliding versus deciding' is in terms of rituals," Stanley said. "We tend to ritualize experiences that are important. At times of important transitions, the process of making a decision sets up couples to make stronger commitments with better follow-through as they live them out."
This finding could also simply reflect that couples who deliberately decided to cohabit are better at talking about important transitions in general, a skill that could help them build a happy marriage, he added.
Having more guests at one's wedding - the biggest ritual in many relationships - is associated with higher marital quality, even after controlling for income and education, which may be proxies for how much the wedding might have cost, the study found. Among couples who had weddings, the sample was divided into those who had weddings with 50 or fewer attendees, 51 to 149 attendees, or 150 or more attendees. Among each grouping, 31 percent, 37 percent, and 47 percent, respectively, reported high marital quality.
"In what might be called the 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding' factor, this study finds that couples who have larger wedding parties are more likely to report high-quality marriages," said W. Bradford Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project and a professor of sociology at U.Va. "One possibility here is that couples with larger networks of friends and family may have more help, and encouragement, in navigating the challenges of married life.
"Note, however, this finding is not about spending lots of money on a wedding party. It's about having a good number of friends and family in your corner."
Stanley added, "Our bottom-line advice to Americans hoping to marry is this: Remember that what you do before you say 'I do' may shape your odds of forging a successful marital future."
· Does love make sex better for most women?
Love and commitment can make sex physically more satisfying for many women, according to a Penn State Abington sociologist reports Science Daily. In a series of interviews, heterosexual women between the ages of 20 and 68 and from a range of backgrounds said that they believed love was necessary for maximum satisfaction in both sexual relationships and marriage. The benefits of being in love with a sexual partner are more than just emotional. Most of the women in the study said that love made sex physically more pleasurable.
"Women said that they connected love with sex and that love actually enhanced the physical experience of sex," said Beth Montemurro, associate professor of sociology.
Women who loved their sexual partners also said they felt less inhibited and more willing to explore their sexuality. "When women feel love, they may feel greater sexual agency because they not only trust their partners but because they feel that it is OK to have sex when love is present," Montemurro said.
While 50 women of the 95 that were interviewed said that love was not necessary for sex, only 18 of the women unequivocally believed that love was unnecessary in a sexual relationship.
Older women who were interviewed indicated that this connection between love, sex and marriage remained important throughout their lifetimes, not just in certain eras of their lives.
The connection between love and sex may show how women are socialized to see sex as an expression of love, Montemurro said. Despite decades of the women's rights movement and an increased awareness of women's sexual desire, the media continue to send a strong cultural message for women to connect sex and love and to look down on girls and women who have sex outside of committed relationships. "On one hand, the media may seem to show that casual sex is OK, but at the same time, movies and television, especially, tend to portray women who are having sex outside of relationships negatively," said Montemurro.
In a similar way, the media often portray marriage as largely sexless, even though the participants in the study said that sex was an important part of their marriage, according to Montemurro, who presented her findings at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association.
"For the women I interviewed, they seemed to say you need love in sex and you need sex in marriage," said Montemurro.
From September 2008 to July 2011, Montemurro conducted in-depth interviews with 95 women who lived in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. The interviews generally lasted 90 minutes. Although some of the women who were interviewed said they had sexual relationships with women, most of the women were heterosexual and all were involved in heterosexual relationships.
· Objectification in romantic relationships related to sexual pressure, coercion
To sexually objectify a woman is to focus on her body in terms of how it can provide sexual pleasure rather than viewing her as a complete human being with thoughts and feelings. While objectification has long been considered a problem in the media, how does it affect individual romantic relationships? New research published in Psychology of Women Quarterly, a SAGE journal, finds that more objectification of a female partner's body is related to higher incidents of sexual pressure and coercion says Science Daily.
Researchers Laura R. Ramsey and Tiffany Hoyt surveyed 119 males and 162 females who had been in heterosexual relationships. They found that men who frequently objectify their partner's bodies by excessively focusing on their appearance are more likely to feel shame about the shape and size of their partner's body which in turn is related to increased sexual pressure (i.e., the belief that men expect sex and that it is a woman's role to provide sex for her partner) and sexual coercion, both in general and through violence and manipulation.
"Being more aware of how and when one thinks of their partner as an object, sexually or otherwise, could help relationship partners avoid sexual pressure and coercion and increase communication and respect within their relationship," the researchers wrote.
The data also supported the idea that women internalize objectification from their partners. This internalization is related to feeling shame about their bodies, a decrease in asserting themselves, and a decrease in expressing what they do and do not want to do sexually.
"Acknowledging objectification in their relationships may help women realize when they lack agency and allow them to resist and avoid sexual pressure," the researchers continued. "Furthermore, thinking about objectification in terms of agency and sexual pressure could also have implications for women's relationship satisfaction, both sexual and otherwise. Women who feel that they have no control and who experience sexual pressure from their partner will not be as satisfied as women who feel like they have control over their body and the decisions in the relationship."
The researchers discussed additional ideas for decreasing objectification in heterosexual relationships.
"Activists should continue their work reducing the objectification of women in our culture, such as through the recognition and removal of objectifying images in the media. However, as male objectification of women is more common than female objectification of men, the onus is on men to reduce objectification and sexual violence. It is of utmost importance that activists and educators work with men to reduce the objectification of women, both in general and in the context of romantic relationships."
Many thanks to all those who contacted me re last week’s Soapbox. Some had words of encouragement (always appreciated!) whilst others sent information and resources. We were particularly interested to learn of a free resource, the Kick Start Recovery Programme at www.sexaddictionhelp.co.uk . It has now been used by over 6,000 people and the feedback is excellent!!
IPPR are about to publish a report on the impact of porn on young people – they have released an Infographic of some of their key findings. Our concern however is that this seems to suggest that Porn is a young people’s problem – it isn’t! It’s endemic in adult relationships, often being promoted by those trying to help couples with low libido’s or similar sexual problems in their relationship, and is doing untold harm.
However our concerns that it is the “elephant in the room” with none of the speakers at the Relationships Alliance Summit mentioning the subject – not even IPPR! The PM made a passing reference to it in talking about the measures they are going to bring in on music videos, but nothing else.
New Books, Resources and materials
The Relationships Alliance is assembling a knowledgebank of papers, reports etc related to their work following a number of selection criteria. It is curated by One Plus One. Currently it contains some 97 items – all of them in the last five years as far as we can tell.
Forthcoming conferences and events
· Forthcoming conferences
Details of all forthcoming conferences can always be found under our listing at 2-in-2-1
Consultations and Campaigns
Below is our running list of current and recent consultations and campaigns. New items or those requiring action are highlighted. The Reference numbers are to the newsletter where we covered the subject.
· Marriages by non-religious belief organisations
The consultation asks if there is a substantial case for changing the law to establish non-religious belief ceremonies. This would allow a third type of legal ceremony, alongside religious and civil ceremonies, for getting married in England and Wales.
Section 14 defines a belief organisation as ‘an organisation whose principal or sole purpose is the advancement of a system of non-religious beliefs which relate to morality or ethics’.
The consultation also seeks views on
· which non-religious belief organisations are capable of meeting the definition
· where, if allowed, such marriages would take place
· the provision of safeguards to deal with any resulting risks
· the equality impacts.
Consultation closes: 18 September 2014
· Strengthening the law on domestic abuse
This consultation seeks views on whether the current law on domestic abuse needs to be strengthened to offer better protection to victims. It is specifically focused on whether we should create a specific offence that captures patterns of coercive and controlling behaviour in intimate relationships, inline with the government’s non-statutory definition of domestic abuse.
Consultation closes: 15 October 2014
· The next speech?
I wonder how long it takes to write a speech for the Prime Minister? A couple of hours perhaps by a good researcher to draw together the various policy measures that have been announced over the past couple of years; add a smattering of new announcements which have been carefully stage managed into the press in the preceding days; and then a fine layer of rhetoric blending personal stories with punchy phrases cherry picked to form the headlines on news stands. That should do it! Well, at least that’s the impression I was left with as I listened to David Cameron at the conference last Monday.
The trouble is that the problem runs much deeper than he would like to admit!
Any institution that ceases to serve a purpose will eventually cease to exist – and the family is no exception. Over the past 50+ years we have steadily removed from the family most of its functions in society. The big disconnect has been to de-couple sex from procreation, and children from marriage. Sex has become “adult entertainment (except that we turn a blind eye mostly to those under 16), and procreation is something now that any woman can undertake with the help of an unnamed donor and IVF funded by you and me. Raising of children is increasingly seen as something to outsource to child minders, play groups, schools etc. And then at the other end of the age spectrum, care for the elderly is now regarded as a state function with the family providing useful (cheap) alternative care in some cases.
If the family is to regain it’s proper place in society measures like a “Family Test” on legislation completely miss the point! What is needed is to properly define what the core responsibilities of “family” are, and then to ensure that the full framework of society, including legislation etc, are geared to ensuring that families can, and do, fulfil those responsibilities. A truly “Family Friendly” state would recognise this, and would put families at the forefront of delivering the next generation.
I put this point to the PM in the brief question time after his speech. I used the example of whether it was my responsibility or his (ie the government’s) to look after my old Mum?
His response? “Hmmm (pause) – there’s a whole new speech in responding to that”. That was followed by a reflection on responsibilities of government, community and individuals – and in so doing highlighting the absence of thinking on responsibilities of family. I really hope he takes the time to make that speech – after all it shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours should it!
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Date: Thu, Aug 14, 2014 at 8:01 PM
Subject: Upcoming Mastering the Mysteries of Love Workshops for Couples
Please come, or pass this along to others!
Also, please send this out to any list serves you may be on.
Mastering the Mysteries of Love
Weekend Workshops for Couples
The National Institute of Relationship Enhancement® is offering the Mastering the Mysteries of Love version of the Relationship Enhancement® Program for couples in addition to the classic version of the RE Program.
- October 4-5, 2014 - Mastering the Mysteries of Love, with Carrie Hansen, LCSW-C
- November 15-16, 2014 - Mastering the Mysteries of Love, with Rob Scuka, PhD
All workshops are held in Bethesda, MD.
Cost is $450 per couple.
Further information can be found at www.nire.org.
Research: The RE Program and Mastering the Mysteries of Love is backed by 35 years of empirical research validating its effectiveness. In addition, an award-winning meta-analytic study involving thousands of couples and over a dozen approaches, demonstrated that RE clients showed far more powerful improvement effects than clients in any of the other interventions for couples or families with which it was compared.
Description: Couples spend two days learning 10 practical skills that deepen connection and empower them to resolve current and future problems on their own.
The skills you and your partner learn will help you:
- establish a constructive, cooperative atmosphere for resolving difficult relationship issues
- foster increased openness and trust
- reduce defensiveness, anger and withdrawal
- express your deepest feelings, concerns and desires openly, honestly and safely
- nurture deepened caring and compassion
- increase love and affection
- create solutions to conflicts at their deepest levels
- successfully implement agreed-to solutions and behavioral changes
The weekend program usually numbers between 4-10 couples in order to maintain a more intimate atmosphere. It also features significant time for private couples' exercises and dialogues, which part of the time are facilitated by trained coaches.
The program is non-residential and meets on Saturday from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. and on Sunday from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Information on discounted hotel room rates for those visiting from out of town are available upon registration. Snacks and beverages are provided; participants have lunch on their own.
To Register, you have three options.
1. You may register on-line at www.nire.org
2. You may register by fax. Registrations by fax should be faxed to 502-226-7088 and must be accompanied by a credit card number. Please write your name exactly as it appears on the credit card, the expiration date and your signature. Also provide the address associated with the credit card number, a cell phone number by which you can be reached, and the dates for which you are registering.
3. You may register by mail. If you register by mail, please include your name, address, home and cell phone numbers, and the dates for which you are registering.
Payment may be made either by check or credit card.
If paying by credit card, please provide a credit card number. Please write your name exactly as it appears on the credit card, the expiration date and your signature. Also provide the address associated with the credit card number.
Registrations by mail should be mailed to:
4400 East-West Highway #24
Bethesda, MD 20814
Please note: It is not safe to send credit card information via email.
From: Francesca Adler <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, Aug 13, 2014 at 11:35 AM
Subject: new promo video
To: "Bill Coffin (firstname.lastname@example.org)" <email@example.com>
Hi my friend –
Check this out:
We have another brief one that features our teen programs and we’ll have that posted shortly.
Hope you are well.
Francesca Adler-Baeder, Ph.D., CFLE
Director, Center for Children, Youth, and Families
Professor, Human Development and Family Studies
263 Spidle Hall
Auburn, AL 36849
From: Ignatian Spirituality <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, Jul 31, 2014 at 10:14 AM
Subject: dotMagis - Ignatian Spirituality
Posted: 31 Jul 2014 06:10 AM PDT
Today is the Feast of St. Ignatius Loyola. Thank you for celebrating with us all month through 31 Days with St. Ignatius. Today’s link is What Surprises You About St. Ignatius? All 31 links will remain available for you if you missed any of the days.
Thanks also to those of you who are participating in this week’s Find Your Inner Iggy contest. Enjoy some of our favorite submissions.
Mary Askren shares:
Instagram user laurmik shares this photo and caption:
Today and tomorrow still present opportunities to win, so use the #FindIggy hashtag for your chance to win Ignatian prizes. See findyourinneriggy.com for full details.
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From: Michael McManus <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, Jul 31, 2014 at 6:14 AM
Subject: "$10 Great Dates" - Ethics & Religion Col. #1,718
To: Bill Coffin <BillCoffin68@gmail.com>
Ethics & Religion
9311 Harrington Dr.
Potomac, MD 20854
July 31, 2014
“$10 Great Dates”
By Mike McManus
“$10 Great Dates” is a book opening with a conversation. One asks, “What’s your favorite date?
She replies, “You mean before we were married?”
“No, what’s your favorite date from the last couple of months.”
After a period of silence, she responds, “We don’t actually date. We’re so busy, and it’s super expensive! It’s just not easy to do.”
If that sounds like you, here’s a must-read book co-authored by David & Claudia Arp and Peter & Heather Larson. It offers a date a week you and your spouse can do for less than $10 each.
Think back to your initial dating days and why you dated each other in the first place. “Because I’m crazy about her.” “He makes me so happy.” “I want our relationship to grow.” “I want to know her on a deeper level.”
“Wouldn’t it be great if married couples could tap into this kind of positive energy in an ongoing way? Dating on a regular basis is a fun way for couples to rejuvenate their love for each other,” they assert.
The Arps, long-term friends of ours, have often said, “Fun in marriage is serious business. Have you ever met a couple on the way to divorce who were having fun together?”
Therefore they recommend that couples have regular date nights, but “dates with a purpose.” (Not just dinner and a movie, but dates “that stretch you and take you out of your normal routine.”)
What makes a date great? First, “quality time together, giving each of you a break from normal routine, a shared activity and conversation. Men tend to relax through doing an activity; women often relax by talking.” A combination is what’s needed.
Each suggested date follows a succinct pattern: Before Your Date suggestions on how to research possibilities and tips for the actual date, Talking Points that can be conversation starters. Finally, each ends with Great Dates Takeaway, a thought to ponder and apply to your relationship. Here are two outlines of $10 Great Dates:
The “Out-of-Towners Great Date” suggest that you look at your own town as if you were a tourist. “Pretend this is your first visit. You may be amazed what you discover.”
Before Your Date research your area. Search the web to find discount days, coupons and other deals for the places you plan to visit. Chamber of commerce have free brochures.
On Your Date allow plenty of time. Consider a walking tour of the downtown area. Wear a backpack with water and snacks to stay on budget. Be sure to have a camera.
Talking Points: What did you learn about your hometown? If you were giving a guided tour, what would you include?
Great Date Takeaway: When we take the time to explore together, we gain a new appreciation of where we live, work and play. How does this relate to your relationship?
Take A Hike (Together): Pack your backpack and take an all-day hike. “We love to hike along the Potomac River, and each year try to do a seven-mile hike that takes us all day up and down a rugged path with scenery that is amazing,” write Dave and Claudia.
Before Your Date research hiking trails near you. Most hiking guides will give details, such as distance, difficulty and other unique features.
On Your Date stay on the path, but if it is too difficult, be willing to turn around. On narrow paths, take turns leading. It can be fun to use a walking app. “We highly recommend the Walkmeter app, which costs $5, leaving $5 for snacks.”
Talking Points: “If you made a map of your marriage journey so far, what would it look like? What were some of the romantic highs or valley lows?
Great Date Takeaway: Taking the time to walk together encourages a new appreciation of the wonderful world that God created.
The Arps have authored similar books, such as “10 Great Dates to Energize Your Marriage,” which is both a book and a set of DVDs that we recommend to churches as a way to enrich a congregation’s marriages. Several hundred thousand churches have shown the brief DVD excerpts on a series of Friday nights, after which couples go on a Great Date to discuss “Resolving Honest Conflict,” “Becoming an Encourager,” etc.
Peter Larson is a psychologist who co-authored the customized couple inventory called PREPARE/ENRICH, a diagnostic tool we recommend for both premarital couples and those in crisis. Heather is a Christian relationship coach. They have produced DVD Dates with the Arps.
If you have children, see 8 cheap options for child care.
No excuses not to date!
Copyright © 2014 by Michael J. McManus, President of Marriage Savers and a syndicated columnist.
Mike McManus is President of Marriage Savers
and a syndicated columnist, writing Ethics & Religion weekly
9311 Harrington Dr.
Potomac, MD 20854
From: Days of Deepening Friendship <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, Jul 30, 2014 at 10:21 AM
Subject: Deepening Friendship
Posted: 30 Jul 2014 05:00 AM PDT
There’s no great mystery to Ignatian prayer, but this week is a good time to review. If you want to pray in the Ignatian way, here are three ways to do it—not an exhaustive list but a good start.
1. Do the Examen.
At the end of the day, ask the Holy Spirit to guide your memory over the day’s events and conversations. Give thanks for the blessings of the day. Ask God’s forgiveness if you have wandered from Jesus’ path of truth, compassion, and kindness. Ask God’s help with any negative patterns you see in your life, or for strength and wisdom to deal with upcoming events or issues. You can do this prayer once a day, twice a day, three times a day; the important thing is to develop a pattern that’s best for you. For more about the Examen, click here.
2. Put yourself in a Gospel story.
Just choose which character you’re going to be, and walk right into the scene where Jesus heals someone, delivers a teaching, or feeds thousands. You can be a main character in the story, or you can be a bystander or friend that you simply invent for this prayer. Don’t get distracted by trying to be historically accurate or in line with church teaching about a certain story—this is not about you interpreting Scripture in a scholarly way. The point is to encounter Jesus. You ask the Holy Spirit to guide this very spiritual function, the human imagination, to where you need to go.
3. Pray as though you are having a conversation across the dinner table or in your living room.
In the Spiritual Exercises, this is called a colloquy, but actually it’s just conversational prayer. You speak to Jesus as you would a close friend. You speak to Mary, his mother, or to God the Father/Creator, or to the Holy Spirit who is comforter, or to one of the saints, who can be part of this conversation with the Divine. Sometimes, when we pray the way we talk, it can enable us to be more honest. Probably the only danger is that we become flippant or casual, but this isn’t much of a temptation when we remember who it is we’re talking to.
So, in honor of St. Ignatius, whose feast day is tomorrow, give Ignatian prayer a try. Let us know how that goes.
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From: Susan Vogt <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, Jul 21, 2014 at 7:01 AM
Subject: MONTHLY MM's & PP's - AUGUST, 2014
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