Marriage is a very serious business

30 September 2013

I’m not sure where I stand on the tax-breaks for married couples, announced with great hoo-ha by the government and derided by the opposition. On the one hand, as a god-fearing authoritarian bigot, I approve of people who choose to live as Jesus Christ himself wished us to. On the other hand, I do not think that marriage per se is the answer to the social problems occasioned by broken families (which are almost infinite). The problem is people having children too quickly, when they are either married or otherwise, and without thinking through the consequences. Or perhaps being too stupid to think through the consequences. The hassle of getting married only slightly lessens the precipitous rush towards churning out brats, and only marginally — because of the relaxation of the divorce laws — lessens the likelihood that the relationship will founder with a year or two. It is the seriousness of marriage which needs to be enforced, and not by a couple of hundred quid.

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  • Eddie

    These days, marriage doesn’t matter, unless you are religious. Fathers now have the same rights over their kids if they are not married (they used to have none at all, and now they have barely any).
    Being an all or nothing bloke, I believe that if you have marriage then you should have hardly any divorce – and that only for abusive relationships.
    However, these days, no sooner has a women snagged a man into marriage than she’s squeezed 2 kids out of him and is serving him divorce papers to get the house, 70% of assets and a share of future earnings as he still lies limply recovering…
    My advice to all boys: NEVER get married. If you do, you really do need your head read. Better to keep your own hard-earned money and possessions eh?

  • bwims

    The answer is to reversibly sterilize all children at puberty until they prove themselves worthy of parenthood.

  • StephanieJCW

    “The problem is people having children too quickly, when they are either married or otherwise, and without thinking through the consequences.”

    ^^ This.

    It’s not that cohabitation is the poor cousin of marriage. It’s that typically, by the time you tie the not, you pretty much know the kind of relationship you want with your partner and know that you wish to demonstrate commitment.

    You do get those types of cohabitees but you also get a lot of people who cohabit to test the waters. If it works, they marry. If not they split. Sometimes they will have children during that test period.

    The marriage bribe won’t do anything. Those that wish to marry still will, those that won’t, won’t. And even if the bribe was higher, it may just persuade unstable people to marry for money. Thus increasing the divorce rate.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Great picture. I like a flakey chick.

    • Toby Esterházy

      You are obviously never a heterosexual, then! The whole idea is just a little too repulsive for most. You might just as well say that you still fancy Mary Whitehouse!

      Haven’t you littered the boards with enough brain-dead one-liners for the day? Time to switch off your computer and go back to your portion of the bunk bed (in your Japanese Internet Café), I think!

      • Jackthesmilingblack

        Another topic on which you`re an authority. NOT. Women the world over have this uncanny ability to spot the nutter at 30 paces. So a dry hole as far as you`re concerned, Jock.

        • Toby Esterházy

          You have experience or authority on Samantha Cameron? One of her old boyfriends? Thought not! Ah, gross!

  • Dan Grover

    I don’t believe that marriage makes a whole lot of difference as to whether or not a couple stay together. I think the statistics would probably show a correlation between those married and the length of time together or the chances of an eventual breakdown, but that’s like saying that if you’re over the drink-drive limit, you’re more likely to crash. And that’s true; But the problem isn’t being over the drink drive limit per se, it’s being drunk. That the limit exists is neither here nor there re: your ability to control a vehicle.

    And it’s the same with marriage. Those contemplating (and then going ahead with) a marriage are those that are likely to already have been together some time, and have decided to make a legally binding pledge to get married. So the people that choose to marry are those who are already predisposed towards loyalty and commitment – and it is *these* things that cause them to be more likely to stick together, not the fact they had a wedding ceremony.

  • James

    The problem is that the state now asserts the right to impose divorce on unwilling participants. A huge industry with a plethora of flunkeys whose livelihoods depend on snatching people’s children, and propagating divorce by rewarding personal treachery. All this of course occurs in secret courts.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    “Marriage is the triumph of imagination over intelligence. Second marriage is the triumph of hope over experience.”
    Oscar Wilde

    • Toby Esterházy

      Ah, Oscar Wilde, the hypocritical Irish Republican who would rather live and die in sin in France than back in Ireland as a good Catholic.

      • Jackthesmilingblack

        “If this is how Queen Victoria treats her prisoners, she doesn`t deserve to have any.”

        • Toby Esterházy

          Bringing civilisation to all the natives?

  • mrsjosephinehydehartley

    Yes marriage certainly is a serious business. But to me, the problem isn’t about people having children too quickly, when they are either married or otherwise, without thinking through the consequences;

    it’s about people filling overly intrusive bureaucratic forms in too quickly , when they are either married or otherwise, without thinking through the consequences.

  • Colonel Mustard

    It seems that in the Cameron family foreheads are like tax allowances and Sam has allocated hers to Dave.

  • Cornelius Bonkers

    “Reinforcing the seriousness of marriage”…Mmmm! And how might that happen? Armies of chavs can’t be trusted to eat less than 4000 calories a day or smoke £100 worth of skunk a day; so how are we to expect them to reflect seriously on the benefits and harms of marriage vows and the existential marital state? Oh no, I remember, we can’t expect this because they are all hard-done-by victims of the closure of the coal mines during the 1980’s, who, if Owen Jones (The Salisbury Review sh.t of the year) is to be believed, need our pity and not more denigration for their enforced lifestyles – laying in bed until the weekend, recklessly inseminating and being inseminated, and wasting our tax-pounds on tats and deep-fried mars bars…may God have mercy on all our souls. And a message to George Osborne; I’d have them SLEEPING in the Jobcentres, never mind attending every day…

  • Baron

    There’s only one job, we, the humans should do well. It is to raise future generations of ourselves. And the best vehicle for it, one tested over millennia, happens to be the loving, caring heterosexual family.

    Would a society anchored in such strong families solve all its social ills? Of course not, but it will unquestionably solve more of them than one where adults keep yapping about children, but do everything to make their life a misery by divorcing easily, frequent disloyalty, swapping partners more often than socks. The suicide rate amongst the young (16-25) has never been as high as in recent years.

  • Grrr8

    I see, Rod laddie, that you have carefully avoided sharing any details of your own marital history whilst advising us plebs.

    • rodliddle

      I haven’t “advised” you. Far from it. My own marital history is every bit as much a signifier of the times, and to my discredit. Happy?

      • Geoff

        He’s a jock. Take no notice mate.

      • Grrr8

        Very – you should try this honesty and humility gig more. People may start liking you.

  • DougS

    Well, it looks like the run up to the general election has started a bit earlier than usual.

    A tax break here a price freeze there and a free school meal everywhere.

    Quite frankly the country’s finances are in such a parlous state that nobody should be giving anything away. Instead, we should be told the cold hard truth. We’re in deep doo doo and the only way out is for everybody to be worse off for a decade.

    It would also help if the government stopped pouring stupid amounts of taxpayers’ wonga down the green/renewables/low carbon drain!

  • Andrew Kennedy

    It’s not the cash as such, it’s two things: firstly, that the current orthodoxy is that marriage does not matter, whereas all the evidence is that as a framework for promoting the wellbeing of children it most certainly does; and secondly, the current benefits system actively pays couples to separate or to lie about being together. So it’s not about £200, as people keep saying, it’s about rejoining pretty well every other society on earth past and present and openly acknowledging the social benefits which this institution brings, rather than pretending a spurious neutrality.

    • The Red Bladder

      I would fully endorse all that you say if the ending of this sacred union could not be carried out on the merest whim.

    • StephanieJCW

      So for people with multiple divorces and marriages, they get to claim irrespective?

  • Tim

    Just lower taxes, in general and for all.

    Now is £200 an inducement to get married or stay married? No, it is not. We’re talking stunts and positioning.

    As to the seriousness of a relationship… What do ya want Rod, a test? An exam? Some state flunky bottom inspector to determine seriousness.

    Me, not so much serious.

  • Mynydd

    It’s quite simple, the government should not use the tax system for social engineering. We are not China nor the USSR.

    • notme3

      The Government always does. The tax system is littered with attempts to encourage some behaviours and discourage others.

    • Colonel Mustard

      I’m not so sure about that. The Right Reverend Dave is very keen on importing internet censorship from China and the equipment to facilitate it.

  • Agrippina

    Marriage is fine but I’m not sure anyone marries for the couple of quid tax break. Religion does not appear to push them into the institution either. Having read the Serious Case Review in the Pelka matter, the Polish mother had three children with 3 different fathers. She moved several times leaving behind rent arrears & taking property away with her. Police called 27 times she was drunk and violent and so were all 3 of the charmers she shacked up with.

    Her mother stayed with her summer of 2011 and her sister lived nearby, yet neither saw fit to intervene and blamed her boyfriend for the death of Daniel & sought to excuse the mother. Good catholics apparently.

    Tax breaks don’t help the dysfunctional. Bringing in the flotsam & jetsam of the world doesn’t help either. Monies spent on education, decent housing and a job would probably be the best formula for good, decent citizens.

  • rtj1211

    I don’t stand for tax breaks for any institution at all, be it traditional marriage, gay marriage, cohabitation or bigamy.

    I do, however, recognise that the dissonance between cash requirements after the birth of children and the likely evolution of income of most couples. There is also inevitably a financial disadvantage to having children as opposed to not, hence I can see a basis for allowing a couple to ‘draw up a profit and loss account’ each year, with children being ‘deductible expenses’ for tax purposes. in general, you need a bigger home for four than for two, you spend more on food, clothes, energy; you need a bigger car; you need more time with children which may mean less income.

    For those who grow old without children, there is likely to be a higher bill for ageing, however at that stage, most childless people will have accrued the money to pay for it.

    I don’t know the exact answer but to me what should be looked at is the points in life where different members of society see abnormal increases in expenses allied to a decrease in income.

    • StephanieJCW

      “hence I can see a basis for allowing a couple to ‘draw up a profit and loss account’ each year, with children being ‘deductible expenses’ for tax purposes. in general, you need a bigger home for four than for two, you spend more on food, clothes, energy; you need a bigger car; you need more time with children which may mean less income.”

      Why can’t those of us without get a tax deduction for money spent on food, clothes etc?

      • Toby Esterházy

        Because for every childless woman, supposing that the woman get to live to the ripe old age of 85, the State would have to import at least 2 to 3 immigrants (if not also their families) from poorer Countries throughout her life-time to make up for the numerical difference to provide all the services needed when she becomes too old to even go to the Post Office on her own and needs to go into a home.

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