Marriage may have changed over millennia, but it still offers partnership to two individuals. Given that loneliness is the scourge of our times would it not make sense to campaign for a relationship that counters isolation? Even uber-feminists might be reconciled to such a support network.
Then there are the health statistics. Married people are less likely to suffer strokes, stress or heart attacks, and more likely to adopt safer behaviour, like driving within the speed limit, and drinking the right number of units. Studies also continue to show that marriage is good for mental health – boosting confidence and communication skills. Think of the savings to the NHS, if our parliamentarians could fog-horn the benefits of getting hitched.
But it is children, most of all, who benefit from marriage. Children thrive when their biological parents stay together and marriage is almost twice as likely to survive a child’s birth than cohabitation. A recent study found that children of married couples did better on a vocabulary test than those of cohabiting or single parents. Marriage, especially now that it is being freed from expensive trappings like white weddings and Magaluf-bound hen parties, could emerge as the secret weapon in the battle for social mobility.
A social enterprise that promotes well-being normally has politicians rushing to champion it. What are you waiting for, Mrs May? Give us some policies that show marriage tops your agenda. Like the forthcoming Royal Wedding, this is a good news story. That’s a rare thing, these days: let’s celebrate it.