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Viewpoint from Rev John Kinchin-Smith 21/06/2019

JOHN KINCHIN-SMITHRev John Kinchin-Smith
Rural Dean of Great Yarmouth Deanery

 

as published in the Great Yarmouth Mercury

 

National Marriage Week this year was from 13 to 19 May, and an article in the Church Times by Michaela Hyde got me thinking. Michaela works for the Marriage Foundation (marriagefoundation.org.uk) which seeks to encourage couples to reflect on and invest in their relationships 
 
dove leftMichaela’s article includes some interesting facts. Marriages are still far more likely to work and last than any other sort of relationship. Cohabiting parents make up only a fifth of all couples with dependent children, but account for half of all family breakdown. Research suggests that cohabiting couples may often not have had the “forever conversation” about their future commitment: living with each other without deciding about the future 
 
The biggest reason given for marriage breakdown is “drifting apart”, according to more than a third of husbands and wives. However, looking after your marriage and regularly investing in the relationship can make a huge difference. The good news is that, because there’s less social pressure to marry, when couples do marry, there is greater commitment from the outset, which means that the divorce rate is dropping 
 
Dove rightI believe that, practically and socially, stable and permanent marriages are the building blocks of society, like the bricks in a wall. When marriages and families are strong and stable, society will also be strong and stable. This is really a no-brainer: we can see the effects of broken marriages and homes in our own society today: single-parent homes, absent fathers, gang culture, crime, loneliness – we could go on and on 
 
I believe, as a Christian, that marriage is given to us by God, part of the “given-ness” of the created order - the way things are meant to be. Marriage is found in every culture and society from the beginning of time. It is within marriage that human beings truly flourish and find a happiness and fulfilment to be found nowhere else. This is not to say that these cannot be found in singleness. Of course they can 
 
But it also seems a no-brainer to me that children will find the best start in life and the security they need to flourish within a stable, loving, and committed marriage. And that the deepest and most joyful intimacy between a man and a woman will be found in the freedom and security given by knowing that one is in a mutual lifelong commitment. I believe God thinks that, too!
 


 

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