Opinion & Debate

Published on December 7th, 2013 | by Kelly Rose Bradford


Married couples must have ‘personal restraint and self imposed boundaries’

High Court Judge Sir Paul Coleridge has said that married couples should be ‘taught’ monogamy for the sake of their children.

Addressing a conference of his think tank, the Marriage Foundation, Sir Paul said that couples in ‘apparently happy and stable marriages’ should be encouraged to seek professional help to ‘build stable strong long-term relationships’.

The Telegraph, reporting on the eve of the conference, said that Sir Paul wants couples to undergo ‘relationship education’ in professional classes to teach them how to avoid problems, rather than using marriage guidance and counselling after issues arise.

Sir Paul cited the current public acrimony between Charles Saatchi and Nigella Lawson, saying it would ‘chime with many who had been exposed to the rigours of the break-up mill’.

He believes that unless couples can respect ‘self imposed boundaries’, the country could end up facing ‘social anarchy’, with children being the biggest victims:

“I encounter it, day in and day out, in arena of the family courts – let it not be forgotten that 50 per cent of all children are not living with both parents by the time they are 15,” he said. “There are millions of them and it is they who are the real victims and casualties.

“Their parents are too, of course, but the children are given no choice, are never consulted and only rarely considered before it and its effects are dumped into their young lives, slowly to release their legacy over the whole course of their upbringing and way beyond into their adult lives.”

Sir Paul added we live in a ‘time of mass family breakdown’ and that we know of its ‘destructive effects’.

“In the old days society was held together by rigid taboos and stigmas which prevented parties from divorcing and stigmatised illegitimate children,” he said. “These taboos were indiscriminate in their application and led to much inhuman behaviour and unhappiness.

“I am genuinely thankful they have evaporated and been consigned to the scrap-heap of history in favour of individual choice.

“However if we are to enjoy freedom to chose we must be helped to understand and make the right choices for ourselves and our children.

“Social anarchy and a society without boundaries is not the only the alternative to nasty taboos.

“If we are not to have restraint by taboo we must have personal restraint and self imposed boundaries.”

He said marriage classes will equip people with ‘the tools to cope with and manage the eternally difficult subject of living with your partner in a monogamous long term relationship’.



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About the Author

Kelly Rose Bradford

is a London-based journalist and broadcaster, writing for the Daily Mail, the Daily Express, the Sunday Telegraph, and a host of women's magazines. Her robust opinions and feisty debating skills make her in demand as a social commentator, regularly guesting on ITV's This Morning programme, and across many radio stations, including 5 Live and BBC Radio London.

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