Senior High Court judge Sir Paul Coleridge of the family division has again gone on record, this time while being interviewed on BBC Radio 4′s Today programme by John Humphreys, to talk about what he perceives to be the destructive effect on British society of divorce and family breakdown.
Sir Paul deems marriage to be the “gold standard” in relationships and has said that, as an expert in the field of relationship breakdown, as experienced by the family judiciary, he would consider it irresponsible to remain quiet when he sees the damage wrought by our society’s attitude to relationships and the ease with which we, as a nation, seek divorce.
He labelled his speaking out on the issue as a “health campaign”, attempting to lay out the facts about family breakdown in a “non-preachy, non didactic way” so that people can make up their own minds about the impact that divorce and family breakdown has on the greater society.
John Humphrys put it to Sir Paul that, as a nation, our circumstances have changed – we live longer, we are generally wealthier, and the stigma of divorce has gone – so that whereas our forebears suffered in painful and difficult marriages, without a way out, we now say “why should I suffer” and we seek out a divorce solicitor.
Yet, Sir Paul continued that he felt it was his duty to “articulate… not preach” about the benefits of “long-term, stable marriage” as being better for everyone in the end and decried the so-called “Hollywood approach” to relationships which promotes the finding of the one ideal person who will make you divinely happy.
He added that anyone who has been in a long-term relationship will know they are difficult and there is no other way to achieve a “qualitatively good” relationship than to keep “grinding away at it”, and it is only by these means that we will “end up with a product that it’s really worthwhile having”.