A story about the high number of happy marriages caught my eye last week. A survey of more than 2,000 married couples found 91 per cent are happy with their relationship – with 17 per cent describing it as perfect!
This is a long way from the picture of broken Britain often painted with more and more families splitting up – or at least at civil war – and children running wild as a result. That may be an extreme take on things but some days, particularly when you read certain newspapers, you could be forgiven for thinking that is exactly what is happening.
It was heartening then to see the survey results and read again that wedding rates are rising for the first time in 40 years, we are told. I am sure this cannot all be down to the fact that couples can now wed around-the-clock after the lifting of a 176-year-old ban on getting hitched outside the hours of 8am to 6pm. I, for one, have never heard unmarried couples complaining that the reasons they didn’t walk down the aisle was that they really, really wanted a midnight wedding.
Some of the other less widely reported figures in the survey were what I picked up on most though. This was to do with the importance of family values and good parenting, things you hear less about these days than you would have done 50 years ago perhaps. It is all about the importance of creating a happy home, I think, where individuals can thrive, giving them the best chances of functioning as a happy family.
While more than 30 per cent of husbands would like to spend all of their free time with their wife, 56 per cent of women agreed that spending time away from their partners was healthy and a further 29 per cent admitted that they would actually find their partner annoying if he were around all of the time.
Research points to the fact that children from stable, more traditional family environments, are more likely to be settled and thrive themselves. Not in all cases, and those not from that background do not necessarily suffer as a result, but that is the general case.
As a divorce solicitor, I see more than my fair share of families in crisis. It is always upsetting for someone, most often for all, involved. And if children are involved, it can be heartbreaking. The important thing that too many people forget is that if things do go wrong, putting any children at the heart of any decisions for the future has to be the right way forward. They may not have both parents living in the same house afterwards, but they still have the right to a relationship with both their parents. Forgetting about them in a bid to score points or sling mud at an ex does no one any good.
Family solicitor, Warwickshire