Welcome to this week’s UK Marriage News
Final Reminder: This week is the last chance to book for the 6th National Relationships Conference on Feb 9th – come and hear Scott Stanley and a wide range of UK speakers on the practical ways we can help couples build safe, healthy and long lasting relationships.
· Government invests £20m in support services for separated parents
· Monogamy 'safer' than polygamy
· Relationship Education – 7 Principles
Government and Political
· Government invests £20m in support services for separated parents
The Department for Work and Pensions has allocated £20m to boost support services for separated parents as part of changes to the child maintenance system reports CYPNow. Announcing the funding, work and pensions minister Maria Miller said a steering group of voluntary and community sector experts and academics will advise the government on how the money should be distributed to existing support organisations. The move is part of measures to reduce the cost of the £500m maintenance system and enable separated parents to make their own arrangements without reliance on the state.
Miller said: "We need to rebalance our spending so more families can access the support they need to work out their own arrangements rather than default into the statutory scheme. Even at the difficult time of family breakdown both parents must take responsibility for supporting their children. Parents know what is best for their family, this is why we will offer further support at the point of separation to help establish a dialogue between parents and workable financial arrangements that always put children first."
The steering group will also help to decide on what families need, such as a web service offering peer-to-peer forums and signposting to local support services or a helpline for separating parents.
Sarah Caulkin, interim chief executive of Relate, which is part of the steering group, said: "We very much welcome the funding package announced for services for separating and separated parents, including relationship support. Separation puts families under immense strain, but we hope this funding will not only allow parents to access support before problems become serious, but also enable as many parents as possible to make their own arrangements to become effective co-parents, which in turn will benefit the whole family."
Research and Public Opinion
· Monogamy 'safer' than polygamy
A study found that in polygamous cultures, levels of rape, kidnap, murder and robbery increase as the dissatisfied men left on the shelf go on the rampage says the Telegraph. Researchers from the University of British Columbia say that monogamous marriage has replaced polygamy because it has lower levels of inherent social problems.
Prof Joseph Henrich said: "Our goal was to understand why monogamous marriage has become standard in most developed nations in recent centuries, when most recorded cultures have practiced polygamy. The emergence of monogamous marriage is also puzzling for some as the very people who most benefit from polygamy - wealthy, powerful men - were best positioned to reject it.
"Our findings suggest that that institutionalised monogamous marriage provides greater net benefits for society at large by reducing social problems that are inherent in polygamous societies."
Published in journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society the study represents the most comprehensive study of polygamy and the institution of marriage. It found significantly higher levels of rape, kidnapping, murder, assault, robbery and fraud in polygamous cultures found in Asia and Africa.
Prof Henrichs said that these crimes are caused primarily by pools of unmarried men, which result when other men take multiple wives. He said: "The scarcity of marriageable women in polygamous cultures increases competition among men for the remaining unmarried women. The greater competition increases the likelihood men in polygamous communities will resort to criminal behaviour to gain resources and women."
A more egalitarian distribution of women results in less male competition and social problems, he says, and by shifting male efforts from seeking wives to paternal investment, institutionalised monogamy increases long-term planning, economic productivity, savings and child investments.
Monogamy's institutionalisation has been assisted by its incorporation by religions, such as Christianity.
Monogamous marriage also results in significant improvements in child welfare, including lower rates of child neglect, abuse, accidental death, homicide and intra-household conflict, the study finds. These benefits stem from greater levels of parental investment, smaller households and increased direct "blood relatedness" in monogamous family households, says Henrich.
Monogamous marriage has largely preceded democracy and voting rights for women in the nations where it has been institutionalised, he adds.
· The secrets to a happy marriage
Two holidays a year, meaningful conversation twice a week and cuddles 11 times in a fortnight are among the secrets to a happy marriage include, a study has revealed reports the Telegraph. Research among 2,000 happily married couples has identified the main ingredients for a successful union.
It shows that couples benefit from taking a short break away together twice a year and eating out in restaurants at least three times a month. And it pays to be affectionate, as wedded folk tend to share a lingering kiss six times a week, have sex twice a week and say "I love you" up to nine times a fortnight. But it doesn't need to be sweetness and light the whole time - as the average happy couple has at least one healthy argument a week.
Catherine Crone, spokeswoman for walking holiday specialist http://www.headwater.com , said: "The research indicates that marriage is all about give and take, and making time for one another. It is clear that while couples expect a great deal of love and affection from each other, they also understand that a real partnership includes having both deep and meaningful conversations as well as healthy arguments, to ensure they resolve anything which is bothering them. Taking time out from the daily routine is also fundamental to long term happiness while regular holidays or short breaks, coupled with nights out for dinner or trips to the pub all contribute to a healthy relationship."
For those people who go on two holidays a year, 58 per cent say they like to go because on each occasion they are reminded why they love each other so much. And 55 per cent claim they are more likely to make time for each other on holiday than at any other time of the year.
The survey also indicates that while couples like to have drinks at the pub together three times a month, there will also be a couple of girls and boys nights as well, where people can enjoy a night out with friends instead of their other half.
Happily married couples tend to make time for at least five movie nights at home, in contrast to their usual evenings spent fighting over the remote control or disagreeing about what to watch. And most men and women will make little romantic gestures - such as cooking a nice meal, or taking their spouse a cup of tea in bed - three times a month.
The Headwater Holidays spokeswoman added: "Sometimes stepping back from the daily routine can do couples the world of good. Holidays are a great chance for couples to be reminded how to have fun together and spending time together away from the usual distractions of home can reignite the spark that made them fall in love in the first place. Knowing these results, perhaps now more than ever it's important for couples to change their perception and see these shared moments as a fun way to invest in their relationship and weather-proof their marriage."
Interestingly, falling in love with a partner on first sight is NOT indicative that a relationship is meant to be, as only 42 per cent of happy couples say this was the case. Friendship was important as 47 per cent of those people polled say they were friends with a partner before they became an item, and then eventually married. Other contributors to a successful marriage include making quality time for each other (50 per cent), supporting each other (49 per cent) and being kind (39 per cent).
A fifth of couples make a point of never going to bed on an argument, and 21 per cent say the key to a happy marriage is to try to turn a blind eye to irritating habits. Knowing when to say sorry is a big step in the right direction for 33 per cent of people, while 35 per cent claim to be happy because they share the household chores out equally. Compromising on the television schedule, being honest, retaining a degree of secrecy and accepting each other's faults all play a part in a happy marriage
· Family and school influence achievement
Children's academic achievement can be affected by both instability in the home and the type of school they attend. This is the suggestion of a new study published in the journal Sociology and Education, which noted learning establishments can differ significantly regarding their socio-demographic composition reports BPS. According to the investigation, those who go through repeated changes in family structure status are less likely to perform well when attending a school that has a high 'academic press' - an establishment that is defined by result-oriented values, targets and specific standards of achievement.
Shannon Cavanagh, a Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Texas noted that while pupils in a school with high academic press, regardless of their family showing any signs of instability histories, "are higher achieving in terms of course-taking compared to their peers overall, students who have experienced repeated family structure changes lose some part of their advantage".
Professor Sue Hallam, Chartered Psychologist, commented: "There is a great deal of evidence that disruption to normal routines of any kind can impact on attainment in school as students may be distracted from their learning. Instability at home can be one such factor. The extent to which schools have systems in place to support students facing challenging home situations is variable. Where schools identify problems early and put in place appropriate support the impact on attainment can be minimised."
· Think marriage is expensive? Singletons spend more than £3 billion a year looking for love
Singletons spend more than £3 billion every year looking for love, research suggests reports the Daily Mail. A study, which investigated the cost of dating, found Brits collectively go on 37 million dates, spending on average £47 each time.
Most splash the cash on entertainment, with a national spend of £1.3 billion on food and drink. While around £1 billion is spent on clothing and cosmetics, as people strive to impress a potential partner with their groomed appearance and sharp sense of style.
Commenting on the findings Karl Gregory, managing director of Match.com, a dating website which commissioned the survey, said: 'Dating is a major contributor to the UK economy and the growth in popularity of online dating has played a massive role in stimulating this. This is the first time dating spend has been analysed by sector and it's impressive to see the huge knock-on benefit to the wider economy - especially at a time when every penny counts.'
The study of 2,000 adults also revealed that £421 million goes on transport, while hairdressers benefit to the tune of £324 as people get their locks trimmed in a bid to look their best.
A spokesperson from the Centre of Economic Business Research, which produced the report said: 'The research shows that dating provides a multi-billion pound windfall for the UK, directly benefiting a range of industries like retail, food & drink and entertainment. With over 10,000 dates taking place every day, the dating economy provides some comfort to high street businesses at a time of weak consumer spending.'
The figures came from a poll of 2,000 singletons in Britain's major cities. Mr Gregory highlighted that online dating is now the third most popular way to find a partner, just behind bars and clubs and meeting through friends.
Faith and Spirituality
· Archbishop questions Home Secretary about same-sex marriage
Catholic Archbishop Peter Smith of Southwark met the Home Secretary Theresa May to talk about the Government’s plans to introduce same-sex marriage reports the Catholic Herald. The archbishop told The Catholic Herald that he wanted to clarify why the Government believed such legislation was needed. He said he could not see the point of it given that civil partnerships already offer broadly the same legal rights as marriage.
But during their 40-minute meeting, he said, Mrs May seemed unable to answer that question. “I suspect the Government hasn’t really thought out why the definition of marriage should be changed,” he said.
He said that a steering committee of the bishops’ conference was to meet on Wednesday to plan how to campaign against the Government’s plans.
He met the Home Secretary alongside William Fittall, secretary general of the Church of England’s General Synod. The meeting had been suggested by the Church of England. During their meeting Mrs May said that the Government intended to introduce same-sex marriage and that the consultation was merely to help with the “nuts and bolts” of the legislation.
Archbishop Smith also asked Mrs May about reported comments by Mike Weatherley, MP for Hove and Portslade, that churches which refuse to marry gay couples should be stripped of their marriage licences. Mrs May said that was “not Government policy at all”, according to the archbishop.
· Don't legalise gay marriage, Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu warns David Cameron
Marriage must remain a union between a man and a woman, says the Archbishop of York, and David Cameron will be acting like a “dictator” if he allows homosexual couples to wed. In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Dr John Sentamu, the second most senior cleric in the Church of England, tells ministers they should not overrule the Bible and tradition by allowing same-sex marriage.
The Government will open a consultation on the issue in March and the Prime Minister has indicated that he wants it to be a defining part of his premiership. But the Archbishop says it is not the role of the state to redefine marriage, threatening a new row between the Church and state just days after bishops in the House of Lords led a successful rebellion over plans to cap benefits.
“Marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman,” says Dr Sentamu. “I don’t think it is the role of the state to define what marriage is. It is set in tradition and history and you can’t just [change it] overnight, no matter how powerful you are. We’ve seen dictators do it in different contexts and I don’t want to redefine very clear social structures that have been in existence for a long time and then overnight the state believes it could go in a particular way. It’s almost like somebody telling you that the Church, whose job is to worship God [will be] an arm of the Armed Forces. They must take arms and fight. You’re completely changing tradition.”
It was widely assumed that the Church would have to accept same-sex marriage for fear of appearing out of touch. Dr Sentamu says the bishops in the House of Lords did not try to stop Labour introducing civil partnerships in 2004, giving homosexual couples improved legal rights.
The Church tolerates clergy who are in civil relationships but expects them to be celibate. The Archbishop says the Church was also content with last year’s move to allow civil partnership ceremonies in places of worship, as long as it is voluntary and agreed by the governing body of any particular denomination.
But Dr Sentamu is opposed to the homosexual civil marriage proposal, and says the Government would face a rebellion on any changes in legislation. His intervention may serve as a rallying cry for traditionalist Tories who oppose Mr Cameron’s plan.
“The rebellion is going to come not only from the bishops,” he says. “You’re going to get it from across the benches and in the Commons. If you genuinely would like the registration of civil partnerships to happen in a more general way, most people will say they can see the drift. But if you begin to call those 'marriage’, you’re trying to change the English language.”
“That does not mean you diminish, condemn, criticise, patronise any same-sex relationships because that is not what the debate is about. The Church has always stood out – Jesus actually was the odd man out. I’d rather stick with Jesus than be popular because it looks odd.”
Dr Sentamu, in Jamaica to mark its 50 years of independence, also says the Church’s leadership needs to become less middle class.
· Changes to Relate’s Chief Executive Office
Relate has announced that Chief Executive Baroness Claire Tyler is stepping down from her position at Relate to become the Chair of the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass), as well as continuing her work in the House of Lords. Deputy Chief Executive, Sarah Caulkin is stepping up as Relate’s Interim Chief Executive until a permanent appointment is announced.
Baroness Tyler’s appointment to Cafcass was announced today by Michael Gove. Cafcass looks after the interests of children involved in care and family proceedings. They work with children, families and social workers to advise the courts on what is best for the child.
Sarah Caulkin, Relate’s Interim Chief Executive, said: Claire has achieved much during her time at Relate. Not only has she increased the profile of relationship support in policy debates, she chaired the successful Kids in the Middle coalition which pushed for more support for children of separated families. Claire also leaves the Relate federation with the strategy to provide more services to help families before their relationships hit crisis point. I look forward to carrying on her good work.”
Baroness Claire Tyler said: “It has been a huge privilege and pleasure to be Chief Executive of such an important charity as Relate over the last four and a half years. I will remain a strong supporter and advocate for Relate and the wider children and families sector in the House of Lords. Since my appointment to the Lords is has become evident that I need to be able to devote more time to being a working peer. I am also delighted to be taking up the post of Chair of Cafcass, a role which brings together the two big passions in my working life over the last ten years – improving life chances for children in care and ameliorating the consequences of family breakdown for children caught in the middle”
Forthcoming conferences and events
· Forthcoming conferences
Details of all forthcoming conferences can always be found under our listing at 2-in-2-1
· Marriage Week – next week!
Marriage week starts next week, and all over the country groups will be holding local events ranging from candlelit dinners for two, Film evenings and short courses. Typical is the seminar on Relationship Building being held in Totnes – open to any couple. For more on the events near you see the Marriage Week site
There are several major events happening in London during the week to raise the profile of marriage:
1. Marriage Week Launch in Parliament, Monday 6th January, 6-7pm This year's Marriage Week Launch will be held in Committee Room 6 in the Houses of Parliament on Monday 6th January from 6-7pm. This is an opportunity to join with other key marriage champions and others to celebrate the importance of healthy marriages in our society. This year we are delighted to be joined by Professor Scott Stanley from the Center for Marital and Family Studies at the University of Denver. Professor Stanley is prolific writer and engaging speaker in the area of the importance of marital relationships and we greatly look forward to hearing what he has to share with us.
2. Talk Marriage! On 7 February 2012 6:00pm – 8:30pm Emmanuel Centre, Westminster, Bruderhof are hosting a panel discussion entitled Talk Marriage: “ We need to rediscover the foundation on which families and societies are built – a man and woman married for life. This is urgent. Don’t expect a passive talk on marriage. It will be a call to action!” they say. Speakers include: Les Isaac, Street Pastors; Steve and Ann Clifford, Evangelical Alliance; Harry Benson, Bristol Community Family Trust; and others...
3. 6th National Relationships Education Conference – Feb 9th 09.30 – 16.30 at One Wimpole Street, London W1G 0AE. A chance to hear Prof Scott Stanley and a series of leading UK speakers on the latest research and best practice in helping couples form and develop successful relationships that benefit them, their families and society at large. See website for full details
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.
· Government consults on extending the definition of domestic violence
The Home Office has launched a consultation into the cross-government definition of domestic violence. It wishes to know whether broadening the definition would help provide greater protection and support to victims.
Consultation closes 30th March 2012
· Faithfulness Matters
The Faithfulness Matters Campaign has been launched to ‘challenge companies who run websites which specifically encourage people who are married or in committed relationships to have affairs'.
To find out more and see how you can support the campaign, please visit the website here.
· Relationship Education – 7 Principles
With the Relationship Education Conference just around the corner, this seems like a good week to run an article kindly contributed by Steven Stacey on the subject
“I've taught a course on the couple relationship in university for several years here in Finland. As I see it, there are two basic themes in marriage education when it comes to supporting couples. Firstly, system dynamics – what are the basic rules of success that two or more people need to follow when creating something together. Secondly, there is the theme of 'what does a reasonably mature and loving human look like' - and what positives do they typically bring into a couple relationship. Let’s look at the first of these themes.
There are basic principles to building any system or organization. I realized several years ago that many marriage education experts were just tapping into those timeless principles and looking at how they apply to marriages. Put simply – the same principles that build a healthy company are the same that build a healthy marriage – just the application is different. Below I share the 7 core principles that I perceive to be essential for any system to run well. With each principle I share some of the many excellent books that have appeared to teach us more about this principle in marriage.
7 Principles of Successful Creation - Applied to the Couple Relationship
1) The Principle of Identity:- What's our picture of a wonderful marriage – where are we heading
· Before You Say "I Do" - Wright and Roberts
· Covey’s ‘Family mission statement’ from his ‘7 Principles’ book
· Gottman's love maps
· Relate: Seven crucial questions to answer before you say 'I do' – Martyn
· The Hard Questions: 100 Essential Questions to Ask Before You Say "I Do" - Piver
2) The Principle of valuing diversity in the decision making process – of including masculine and feminine dimensions
Learning to understand, value and use the inherent strengths of the gender differences
· Love and Respect – Eggerichs
· For Men Only: A Straightforward Guide to the Inner Lives of Women – Feldhahn
· Making Sense of Men - Armstrong
· Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus - Gray
· How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking about It - Love and Stosny