Letter: Media folk give marriage a bad press

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Sir: Virginia Ironside's sad piece on marriage (12 February) instances her own and others' disasters. She writes of her sense "I" being taken over by the "we" and concludes that for many people the institution of marriage is now simply too difficult to sustain.

I wonder if this is true for a higher percentage of journalists and media people than for others. People in these professions need to be individualistic: only if they have their own different voice are they likely to succeed in such a high-pressured competitive environment. Perhaps the very talents needed for this success make it hard to achieve the balance of "I" and "we" needed for marriage.

This would be a matter for themselves alone, except that they form a crucial part of the social climate - the ideas and outlook around all of us. Lack of belief in the sustainability of marriage may be an important factor in making marriage more difficult for all of us.

Normal bumpy patches come to be seen as a sign of incompatibility, so the partnership should be ended. Sometimes this is necessary; often it is not. Given a climate in which difficulties can be thought about (perhaps with some outside help) rather than acted upon, many of us can find constructive ways of balancing the "I" and "we".

Amazingly, over 60 per cent of us still do sustain marriage or long-term partnerships. Let's celebrate that.

PAT HURFORD

St Alban's,

Hertfordshire

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