MARRIAGE may help prevent cancer, is the best chance of fulfillment in life and divorcing parents should get better assistance to reconcile, says the MP who could become Australia’s next Families Minister.
Senior Liberal MP Kevin Andrews has rated the breakdown of marriage and the family a greater threat to the Western world than climate change, the financial crisis and radical Islam.
The Opposition families spokesman is today launching his book, Maybe ‘I do’ – Modern Marriage and the Pursuit of Happiness, which says more needs to be done to protect and support marriage and family because “stable families are also the bedrock of successful societies“.
The book is based on thousands of social science studies that detail the importance of marriage for adults, children and society, and proposes policy responses.
Mr Andrews argues it is the Government’s business to promote marriage, which is the “best source of physical and mental health, emotional stability, and prosperity for adults and children. It is also the best bet for attaining happiness and fulfilment”.
Married men and women lead more healthy lives than unmarried and are more likely to be richer, own a home and be successful in employment, the provocative book says.
“Marriage seems to protect from contracting cancer and offers a better chance of survival after diagnosis.”
It argues growing up with married parents gives kids the best chance of learning “virtues, based on respect for human life and dignity”.
“The recent retreat from marriage that was meant to free individuals from economic and emotional constraints has failed many people.”
The ideal of “marital permanence” needs to be entrenched in a national family and marriage policy, affirming marriage as the best environment for raising children, the Catholic MP and married father-of-five writes.
While not advocating people to stay in destructive marriages, research shows up to 37 per cent of couples regret divorcing, the book says. It says studies have found couples who cohabit before marriage appear to have higher risks of divorce. And it encourages young people to think about what they want in a relationship and the consequences of multiple partners.
“By moving from one relationship to another, many young people may be undermining their understanding of how to live a committed, faithful relationship,” Mr Andrews writes.
WEDDING WISH LIST
* A national family and marriage policy promoting “marital permanence”
* Relationship education in all schools
* An expansion of pre-marital education programs
* A return to helping divorcing couples reconcile in family law proceedings
* Effective policies to strike a better balance between the pressure for women both to work and to have babies