“21 Reasons WHY MARRIAGE MATTERS” – a trans-tasman effort to highlight the benefits of marriage has been released in New Zealand. The report was commissioned by Family First NZ and FamilyLife NZ in conjunction with a number of family organisations in Australia including the Australian Family Association, Family Voice Australia and Dads4Kids and is an update of the report originally released in the US in 2002.
Family First’s Bob McCoskrie and Family Life’s Andy Bray have contributed to the report and some of the photography includes a recently married Kiwi couple posing in front of the Auckland Harbour Bridge.
“This edition has 146 researched footnotes including NZ-based research and presents strong evidence that marriage is more than a private emotional relationship. It is a social good and we should develop policies, laws, and family and community interventions to help strengthen marriages. The weakening of marriage is one of the most important social issues we are facing in NZ,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
Andy Bray, National Director of FamilyLife NZ says, “Despite the decline in the marriage rate, and an increase in couples choosing not to marry, statistics prove again and again that married life, while not perfect, still provides the very best environment for personal health and wealth, for raising secure responsible children, and for a more enjoyable sex life. That’s why we invest our lives into equipping people with skills to enjoy married life. We also believe it helps build a stronger nation.”
This report follows on from Family First’s report in 2008 entitled “The Value of Family – Fiscal Benefits of Marriage and Reducing Family Breakdown in New Zealand”, prepared by the independent New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER), which estimated that the fiscal cost to the taxpayer of family breakdown and decreasing marriage rates is at least $1 billion per year and has cost approximately $8 billion over the past decade.
The fundamental conclusion of “21 Reasons Why Marriage Matters” is that marriage is an important social good, associated with an impressively broad array of positive outcomes for children and adults alike.
“The issue of family breakdown and decreasing marriage rates is barely registering a mention or a policy. Yet this report makes it quite clear that strengthening marriage and reducing family breakdown is a significant public concern, both in human costs and economically,” says Mr McCoskrie.