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UK leading the way in falling divorces rates across Europe

by Tola Mbakwe

A new study's found divorce rates are falling across Europe and the UK is leading the way.

Research from the Marriage Foundation shows over the last 25 years, divorce rates have fallen in 15 of the 20 European countries surveyed, with it coming down the fastest in the UK.

The organisation said less social pressure to get married is a major reason. 

Harry Benson, a Christian and director of research at the Marriage Foundation told Premier News Hour: "My speculation that always that this was down to men in particular, but who get married as being more committed. 

"So social pressure to marry has reduced then men, us blokes, have been more about being buying into it. We've been deciding rather than sliding into marriage. We're just beginning to see it breakthrough in these first five years of marriage, divorce rates are down pretty much across the board in Europe."

According to the Marriage Foundation report UK couples marrying in 1992 had an actual divorce rate of 30.7 per cent during the first 15 years of their marriage, which is the third highest rate out of the 20 countries surveyed.

Ten years later, for UK couples marrying in 2002, this rate had fallen to 28.1 per cent. For UK couples who married in 2017, the projected divorce rate is 22.5%. 

Benson said these statistics are goof for family structures in the UK and its impact on society. 

Divorce rates are overall higher in Scandinavia and Northern Europe. Whereas Catholic countries generally have the lowest divorce rates, with the exception of Spain. 

Slovakia, Poland, Italy and Romania show the lowest divorce rates, with Romania showing a projected divorce rate of just 14 per cent for couples marrying in 2017.  Sweden has the highest projected divorce rate of 36 per cent. 

Benson said even if a couple decides not to marry, having clear conversations about commitment and their future together is vital for a strong and lasting relationship. 

"It's good and important to have some kind of public affirmation of your of your decision. But also, it's about making the decision in the first place and actually buying into that sense of a future together, making sure you're both on the same page, you both want to spend a lifetime together. You can, of course, do that without getting married. 

"But in the end, it's about having that conversation and making it clear, making a clear signal to one another that this is it for life."

Benson added that the Church should feel confident about speaking about marriage and has a role in helping sustain strong marriages. 

"The church can afford to be an awful lot more confident about sticking to its guns on marriage. It's supposed to represent the relationship between Jesus and us, and if that's the case, then there should be something quite special about marriage and churches need to be need to be talking about that without fear of, of talking down to down to lone parents who need our support and love."

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