It’s refreshing to see a Family Court Judge state publicly how damaging divorce to children and the stability of society can be. Sir Paul Coleridge made the comments recently in support of a new charity called The Marriage Foundation which sets out to highlight the strengths and positives marriage can give to society as a whole. When you realize that annually 44 billion pounds is spent on divorce in this country, greater than the defence budget, I think sadly, says it all.
Married relationships are more stable and the children that are born to them are more likely to achieve success and improve their life chances. I work within the Youth Justice System and in over 10 years after meeting hundreds of children and their families I can remember just a handful that were from an unbroken home. I remember being surprised if not shocked when I was told that the child’s parent’s were still together. Moments like this often embarrassed me because I had come to expect the father to be absent whenever I asked after him.
The evidence for marriage is overwhelming when you look at the statistics for example, a baby born to cohabiting parents is more than ten times more likely to experience their parents separation. Among natural parents 90 per cent of married couples were still together when their children were seven compared with just 69 per cent of couples who were cohabiting. Children from such backgrounds are less likely to achieve their full potential while the whole of society ultimately suffers.
Unfortunately, according to Sir Paul, it is harder to apply for a driving licence than it is to seek a divorce, this is a blight on the social landscape which has made England one of the highest divorce rates in the world. I continue to pray that we as a church can encourage clean, responsible, purpose driven relationships for those in this country to admire and seek to replicate in their own lives. I pray that we can become good stewards of our emotions and desires to belong to each other and show the world that Jesus does make a difference.