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Marriage and Family

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Marriage and Family Working Group

Mission statement

To assess the situation of family relationships in the UK compared to the ideal of a stable relationship, ideally a marriage, between a man and a woman as a couple, which is the foundation for them to become good parents of a healthy, loving, nurturing family if and when children are born.
Examining the current work of established organisations in the field and the tools and methods which can be used to make a positive contribution to society through promoting happy stable loving family life.
Examining opportunities and options for Universal Peace Federation Ambassadors for Peace and staff to work on specific projects in ten regions throughout the country to promote this lifestyle as the one proven through research to produce the most positive outcomes for both adults and children, which in turn contributes to producing peaceful citizens, peaceful communities and a peaceful nation. This also includes campaigning to seek to create a positive environment in the UK in which this has a chance of being achieved.

To realise Tenet 3 of the basic principles of the Universal Peace Federation:
The family is the “school of love and peace”
and one other further basic principle:
“Prevention is better than cure”

Approach

Based on the motto of working at the positive end of the spectrum, creating strong families, to involve UPF centrally and nationally in classic work using evidenced-based tools such as recognised marriage preparation and marriage enrichment programmes, mentoring, character education programmes, abstinence programmes for youth, well-established aids for marriage enrichment such as “21st Century Marriage” from Care for the Family UK, “Love and Respect” from the USA and other such programmes.Addition of UPF’s own developed materials as and where appropriate.

Co-operation with faith organisations of all faiths and existing organisations such as charities working in the field plus alliance partners such as Morality Forum (campaigning for a moral society), MCSAS Hearts of Love (combating guns, knives, gang crime), WAIT (abstinence training and character education), Womens Federation for World Peace (empowering women to play a positive role for peace, love and harmony in their family, neighbourhood, society and nation).
Development of very specific projects to achieve the greatest possible impact on society by positively promoting the value for everyone concerned of happy loving stable family life (in terms of personal finances, health, personal fulfilment and happiness, longevity, best outcomes for children and more) to individuals, couples, organisations, industry and commerce (concerning fund raising) and the Government, regarding establishment of fair, balanced social policies regarding marriage and the family.
All of this while, at the same time, respecting the right for every person to live the lifestyle of their choice – within the law.

Past and current projects (since early March 2007)

Researching the whole field and consulting with experienced experts in the field
Holding a conference with 100 delegates in Central London on September 9th 2007 entitled “Marriage and Family in the UK: changing the trend” with discussion groups
Holding a conference with 40 delegates in Central London on November 24th 2007 run jointly by Morality Form and UPF entitled “Combating immorality”
Interviewing faith leaders about how they take care of their group/ congregation in all matters to do with Marriage and Family and discussing potential positive enhancements UPF could help put in place

Informing and encouraging engagement in this field by UPF regional centres throughout Britain  including, as a start, training of 15 new PREPARE/ENRICH practitioners from very varied ethnic backgrounds and faiths in the Birmingham area and about 6 new PREPARE/ENRICH practitioners in the Bromley area. 

Future projects

Developing further coalitions with existing organisations
Holding a conference in Central London on July 2007 run jointly by Morality Form and UPF on the subjecting of “Reducing gun and knife crime”
Holding a conference in Central London in September 2008 with title like “How to increase take-up of existing programmes marriage preparation and marriage enrichment programmes from the current mere 7% of new marriages, to support people in realising their dreams” (the USA has an average participation of 40% of new couples in such programmes)
Continuing to support UK (and European) UPF local regions to roll out appropriate M&F programmes, also in partnership with local organisations.
These could also conclude sharing the positive messages of programmes such as “21st Century Marriage” from Care for the Family UK, “Love and Respect” from the USA, “Laughing your way to a happy marriage” from the USA and others
All possible use of media tools, multi-media, the internet, publications etc. to expose the general public to excellent examples of positive healthy family life to support key activities/promote an appropriate consciousness in the general public.
Involvement of UPF Ambassadors for Peace in schools concerning character education programmes, abstinence programmes, promotion of marriage as the lifestyle proven through research to produce the most positive outcomes for both adults and children
Mentoring of young couples by successful older couples
Holding of further meetings/conferences where expedient
Participation in conferences and meetings of relevant organisations
Campaigning on very specific issues which will influence the success of UPF’s (and other organisations’) work in this area as well as on general issues such as a moral media and related subjects
Raising funds, particularly through grants and corporate fundraising

Some main goals to concentrate on:

Increasing the percentage of children who are raised by two parents in a
healthy marriage.
Increasing the percentage of married couples who are in healthy marriages.
Increasing the percentage of premarital couples who are equipped with the skills and knowledge necessary to form and sustain a healthy marriage.
Increasing the percentage of youth and young adults who have the skills and
knowledge to make informed decisions about healthy relationships including
skills that can help them eventually form and sustain a healthy marriage.
Increasing public awareness about the value of healthy marriages and the skills and knowledge that can help couples form and sustain healthy marriages.
Encouraging and supporting research on healthy marriages and healthy marriage education.
Increasing the percentage of women, men and children in homes that are free of domestic violence.

An overall vision for the UK over the next 5 - 10 years

Helping to bring about an increase in the number of new couples who get pre-marriage
guidance/education and support in early years of marriage during the next 10 years from
the current 7% to 15%-20%.
In this way reducing marriage breakdown during the next 10 years for involved couples
by 20%-30% thereby protecting a lot of directly associated children from exposure to the consequences of family breakdown and helping adults “realise the original dream they had when entering into the relationship”
During the next 5-10 years, fully informing the British public about the facts of family
breakdown in the UK, what can be practically done about it and generating a groundswell
of popular support to achieve political and perceptual change.
During the next 10-20 years, reducing the incidence of cohabitation thereby reducing the incidence of couple relationship breakdown. Also to remember:
In the family, the most basic personal and public virtues are learned. Understanding the
family as the school of love helps us to recognize that family is the most essential
institution. The foundation for a healthy family is a faithful, committed marriage.
During the next 5-10 years, achieving a major change in the British taxation system in
favour of marriage and some other government policies.

JOB DESCRIPTIONS

A PREPARE/ENRICH practitioner

Taking a one day course in being a PREPARE/ENRICH practitioner and then using this tool to advise couples planning to marry and existing couples (married or cohabiting) in this way reducing the risk of their relationship breaking. This is a major contribution to society!
“Clients” can come from faith organisations who UPF could serve, other contacts.

An older mentor couple supporting young couples in their marriage relationships

Becoming a couple who uses standardised available material to work through with a young couple who wishes this to support their relationship and cement it even further.
“Clients” can come from faith organisations who UPF could serve, other contacts.
Training available.

A home-based sharer of positive marriage-strengthening programmes in a domestic environment.

Using established and successful materials on DVD like “21st Century Marriage” from Care for the Family UK, “Love and Respect” from the USA and “Laughing your way to a happy marriage from the USA”, to name just some examples, to hold meetings with friends and neighbours Must be marketed as a fun thing to do rather that “I think you need this…”.
DVD material available.

A researcher

Of positive material supporting / highlighting / strengthening marriages and the institution of marriage from all over the world

Spending time on the internet, researching all conceivable pro-marriage materials, not just reports and articles, but also films, plays, poetry, songs, visual arts, which celebrate the virtues and plus points of marriage as the lifestyle proven through research to produce the most positive outcomes for all concerned.
Later use of the material gathered to publicise marriage on many occasions, in many different ways.

Lecturer in character education programmes

A lecturer in character education programmes currently being developed and updated for use in schools and other settings.

Interviewer of faith leaders

About how they take care of their group/ congregation in all matters to do with Marriage and Family and discussing potential positive enhancements UPF could help put in place

To visit faith leaders to interview them about how they take care of their group/ congregation in all matters to do with Marriage and Family based on a standardised questionnaire (provided) and to collate the information obtained in a standardised report format.
After consultation, discussion with them about potential positive enhancements UPF could help them put in place.
A very practical and important work with those who are “the conscience of the nation”

Establishing a marriage strengthening club, using the same materials as used in peoples’ homes

As a homechurch type project and an extension to the role of home-based sharer of positive marriage-strengthening programmes, to create an actual club where new information and ideas can be developed and shared between club members and even the wider community.

A public speaker on marriage-related subjects

A self-explanatory role. There will be occasions when people are required around the country to speak in an informed and dynamic manner about the problems facing society in this field and the solutions available, which require manpower, money, support from the appropriate authorities and good management.

A marketing individual

Who can be creative about developing methods for informing the general public in an efficient and effective way about the value of marriage, using modern technologies and tools

Creative person

Good at using the internet and other technologies, who could generate innovative approaches for more effective marketing of pre-marriage relationship education and early marriage relationship guidance (e.g. using PREPARE/ENRICH) to save 20%-30% of such relationships from breaking down. The current take up of pre-marriage relationship education is just 7% of persons marrying in the UK (30%-40% in the USA!).

Fundraiser

To raise money for many M&F projects, particularly to cover the cost of events

Raising funds by many means to support the work of the Ambassadors for Peace and others who are offering their time to support marriage and family work throughout the country.

Person who write letters to MPs and lobbies them on relevant subjects

A person who is not shy to fill out petition or send a letter to his/her MP or visit them at their surgery to promote certain courses of positive action or oppose negative developments.

Conference organisation / running staff

Helping to organise and run a conference locally or nationally which involves many kinds of activities, many to do with communication and planning.

A volunteer to work with an appropriate external organisation to gain valuable experience

Every area around Britain has some organisations, large and small, doing positive work in the M&F field. For example the Bristol Community Family Trust works with more than 100 volunteers just in Bristol. Being accepted as a volunteer by such an organisation is a powerful way of learning practical aspects of this vital work.

Regional Coordinator for Marriage and Family matters in a geographical region

The central person in a geographical region developing all of the programmes UPF decides to get involved in in this field; taking suggestions from the central committee and also feeding back suggestions to it.

Assistant to the HQ Marriage and Family Committee chair

Also sometimes accompanying them to important external meetings

A London-based person who would like to work with the chairpersons of the UPF National Peace Council Marriage and Family Committee as an assistant.

Note

The current emphasis of the UPF Marriage and Family initiative is strengthening adult relationships. Some subjects like parenting can be picked up later.

The breadth and depth of the subject Just to give an indication of the breadth and depth of the subject, according to Family and Youth Concern healthy family life promoting topics addressed in the press and media over the past year (2007) included:

Abstinence education
Advertising standards
Age of consent
Channel 4 series on sex education
Children’s commissioners
Children’s rights
Cohabitation
Confidentiality policies
Contraceptive clinics in schools
Daycare
Discipline of children
Divorce
Drugs education
Family breakdown
Fatherhood
Full-time motherhood
Girlguiding UK ‘Get Wise’ programme
Health and social consequences of abortion
Home education
Importance of family structure
Influence of television
Information sharing database
Marriage and its benefits
The nationalisation of childhood
Parenting classes
Peer education initiatives
The government’s ‘Respect’ agenda
Respect for parents
Same-sex parenting
Sex education
Sexual health
Teaching about abortion in schools
Teenage pregnancy strategy

There is notable absence of discussion in the press about “couple relationship support”, which one of the most important subjects