Every year the fallout of failing relationships is estimated to cost the taxpayer £44 billion (Relationship Foundation). The average divorce costs couples about £30,000 (Aviva), a little more than the cost of most weddings.
And yet few of us consider acquiring relationship skills before we commit to each other long-term. For those thinking of getting married, a huge amount of time, money and attention are paid to the wedding day, and very little consideration is given to discussing seriously what kind of life a couple envisages together after the day.
For those who move in together, perhaps for good economic reasons initially, the moment to make a thoughtful, well-considered commitment to one another may not come at all.
It’s a good thing, then, that the Government has recognised the need to get the cost down by investing £30 million over four years (2011-2015) in relationship support. The challenge is to get couples and individuals to invest in building their relationship skills so that they don’t pay a heavy price in misery and break-up further down the line, and add to the taxpayers woes.
In the vanguard of organisations working to improve the chances for those about to commit to a relationship or marriage is one of the country’s best kept secrets – Marriage Care. Marriage Care has just launched a refreshed brand identity as part of a programme to raise their profile and attract more people to benefit from their specialist couple relationship services.
Marriage Care, a national organisation with over 50 centres across England and Wales, has quietly been sharing their high quality relationship knowledge and skills with appreciative clients for over 65 years. Over 10,000 people each year benefit from their pre-marriage and relationship counselling services.
Marriage Care characterises the work they do as bringing relationship oxygen to couples and individuals across the relationship spectrum.
Terry Prendergast, chief executive of Marriage Care, says: ‘We like to see ourselves as relationship oxygen because, where relationships are concerned, our work really is life enhancing for the couple or individual. We’re here to encourage healthy relationship development for those starting out on a committed relationship, and at the other end of the scale, we provide a kind of life support for those in relationship crisis. In essence, we are working towards a society in which all adults have the knowledge and skills to build healthy relationships, and our mission is to inspire and enable them to achieve that.’
What’s a real breath of fresh air is that Marriage Care provides high quality couple relationship training to volunteers, at no or very low cost, and in return those volunteers commit to giving their time and skills freely. It’s a truly virtuous circle of sharing relationship knowledge and skill.
If more people tried a little of this relationship oxygen, that £44billion bill might just vanish into thin air.
For more information visit - www.marriagecare.org.uk
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