8 May 2024

Supporting marriage without handouts

Written by Graham Nicholls
Photo by Luis Tosta on Unsplash

A report by the Centre for Social Justice recommends that ‘poorer couples in Britain should have their weddings paid for by the state to tackle loneliness’ and observes that ‘marriage tends to be more stable than cohabitation even after considering education, ethnicity, household income and relationship happiness’.

In the same CSJ survey, approximately 58 per cent of single people reported feeling lonely some of the time, rising to 70 per cent among 18 to 24-year-olds.

Loneliness is not good 

As Christians, we agree that loneliness is not good and is a significant problem in our society. Despite being more technologically connected than any preceding generation, many individuals feel increasingly isolated. This isolation stems from various factors, including the nature of the technology we use – its goal is to keep us at home and engaged, increased mobility and busy lifestyles, individualism, and family breakdown.

God designed us to thrive in community so when we’re disconnected from family, neighbourhood, and national communities, it adversely affects our well-being.

Marriage is good

Marriage, ordained by God, serves as a remedy for loneliness, however, sponsoring some of the costs of marriage may not significantly impact loneliness. Moreover, as a matter of principle, it seems unfair to subsidise something that people do for love and the good of each other. Also notably, the main costs involved in a wedding are the party and dresses, which are optional, rather than the administrative costs. Instead, anything we can do as a society to encourage men and women to commit to marriage, such as through legislation, tax incentives and shifting cultural conversation, is commendable.

Christian marriage, as ordained by God, serves multiple purposes, including combating loneliness. As God said about Adam ‘It is not good for the man to be alone’ and he gave him Eve as a ‘suitable helper’. Marriage is one of the foundational relationships in society, and families serve as the secure base from which other relationships can grow and flourish. Through marriage, people can form close friendships and intimate bonds that can help alleviate loneliness and provide a sense of belonging.

The church should not be a lonely place for anyone

Ultimately our best friend is Jesus and with him we never need to be lonely, but he has placed us in churches. Marriages may well be the building block of society but many people are single for a whole host of reasons. We need to encourage strong and healthy marriages while also creating a welcoming environment for all individuals, regardless of their marital status, in our churches. Our churches should be a place where everyone feels included and connected to each other. Married couples, along with their families, should make an effort to welcome newcomers into their homes and lives, fostering a sense of belonging and community.

Written by
Graham Nicholls
Graham is the Director of Affinity and provides strategic leadership of the ministry teams oversees the day-to-day operations and regularly writes and speaks in the media. Graham is also one of the pastors of Christ Church Haywards Heath. He is married to Caroline and has three grown-up children, plenty of grandchildren and a wild dog.

Related articles

Stay connected with our monthly update

Sign up to receive the latest news from Affinity and our members, delivered straight to your inbox once a month.