Why two parents are not a panacea

September 5, 1997

Paul Ormerod and Robert Rowthorn have some good ideas about stabilising the family through encouraging marriage and avoiding divorce. Preventing unsuitable marriages in the first place might go a long way towards that end.

One way of achieving might be to make premarital counselling a condition of obtaining a marriage licence, perhaps along the lines of a method developed by a minister in the south-west.

When a couple requests a wedding he asks both individuals separately to complete a questionnaire exploring their attitudes and expectations on a number of key issues, such as child rearing, division of labour in and outside the home and financial arrangements. These are then compared and discussed - often for the first time.

He claims that as a result, approximately one third of the couples decide to wait or not to marry at all, a proportion quite close to present divorce figures.

Ruth Jacob

Hermitage Avenue Borrowash, Derby

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