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Christian charity gives relationship advice as nearly three million remain in distress

by Hannah Tooley

Marriage Care was speaking after the relationship charity Relate released figures showing around 2.87 million people across the UK are living in relationships with frequent fighting or doubts about whether it should even be happening.

That's nearly one in five cohabiting relationships and marriages in the UK.

9% of partners report at least occasionally considering divorce or separation

10% of partners report at least occasionally regretting getting married or living together

49% of partners report at least occasionally quarrelling, and 6.8% report severe levels

Parents of under 16s more likely to be in distressed relationships, around 22%

Relate says poor quality relationships are having a detrimental impact on people's physical and mental health.

It has launched its first national appeal, Breaking Point, to raise awareness and encourage people to ask for help when they need it.

Mark Molden, Chief Executive of Marriage Care, told Premier: "People are struggling with the quality of their relationships, and those relationships can be affected by all kinds of pressures, both external and within the family, but it means that people are facing real difficulty, that there's a breakdown between them as partners that they're struggling to resolve.

"There are those little niggles in a relationship that if not dealt with, not talked about, can build up into a crunch, into a crisis.

"The moment you begin to think that 'actually this is really niggling, this is a pinch in our relationship,' finding time to talk with your partner in a supportive way is really important."

Mr Molden also told Premier that the church does have a responsibility to help couples form and work on stable relationships.

He said: "Everybody's human and they're facing some of the normal pressures of life and so I think there's great responsibility there to be realistic about the difficulties our relationships face, not to put on our 'Sunday best' all the time, but actually to be open and honest about our relationships."

Matt Buttery, a Christian who works for Triple P parenting group, told Premier's News Hour parents need to look after themselves, as well as the church.

He said: "I think the church is doing a lot, I think parenting programmes are powerful at supporting families and helping them have both realistic expectations of their kids, but also taking care of themselves as parents.

"Part of taking care of yourself as a parent's working together as a team, working together as a family, and recognising that actually parenting's a pretty stressful job."

Listen to Premier's Hannah Tooley speak to Mark Molden here:

Listen to Premier's Antony Bushfield speak to Matt Buttery here:

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