When I lived for ten years with my children's father we had three children, and when the relationship abruptly ended, the phrase: "Well it's the same as being married" - proved to be a lie. You can tell yourself that while you are together, but don't be foolish enough to think it's the same when you are splitting up.
The Marriage Foundation, founded by the High Court Judge Sir Paul Coleridge, has claimed that cohabitation, i.e living together without marrying, is the key driver of family breakdown. The report urged the Government to reverse the trend away from marriage, by "distinguishing, encouraging, promoting and incentivising marriage."
Filing for divorce because of adultery is no longer as common as it once was. Only 20 years ago, it was blamed for one-in-four divorces. Now, it is the primary factor in less than one-sixth of cases. On the other hand, complaints of unreasonable behaviour have steadily increased. It now accounts for almost half of all divorces.
For better or worse - if you pardon the pun - marriage is no longer seen as important by many people who want to set up home together. The law in England and Wales does not provide a remedy for what happens when and if cohabiting relationships come to an end which is any way comparable with what is in place for failed marriages or civil partnerships.
New statistics give the lie to the idea of husbands and wives remaining together "till death do us part". The Office for National Statistics has produced a bundle of data exploring the reasons behind the group known as 'silver splitters', those individuals who choose to divorce when aged 60 or over.
Whilst good physical health and having a steady job top the list of the most important factors in people feeling good about themselves, domestic bliss comes right behind. The ONS research details how those who are either married or living in a civil partnership are happier than cohabitees and those who are single, divorced or widowed.