Sunday, April 13, 2008


This year is the 70th anniversary of Relate, formerly known as the Marriage Guidance Council, and the Sunday Times reports today on the opening of it's archives. In 1938 the Marriage Guidance Council formed and the first local branch opened in Slough during 1949. The article focuses on the notes kept by a male voluntary marriage guidance counsellor, Mr Wallis, and the development of the organisation and professionalism within it. The notes record the acceptance of domestic violence, the domineering mother-in-law, and the tolerance of some men towards their wives' affairs. In one case there is further acrimony when the family cat eats a husband’s hamster!

In the early days the emphasis of the MGC was on guidance to preserve marriages although today Relate supports people through separation and divorce. Not only is couple counselling on offer but also services for individuals, children, family counselling, mediation and sex therapy. I have added Relate Scotland to my resources links. Peter Bell, Relates current head of practice points out “Sometimes, through counselling, they come to the realisation that the emotional cost of breaking up is greater than the price of staying together.” Interestingly he also comments that in the last 10 years there have been a lot of men finding sex unrewarding. He adds "Male confidence, as the gender who knew how to have sex – always an illusion – has been blown."

Some food for thought, the article ends with the Rules for Marriage by the Rev Louis A Ewart, founding member Marriage Guidance Council;-

1) Always tell the truth
2) Love, goodwill, wisdom and understanding are absolutely required
3) A sense of humour is quite necessary
4) Respect each other and each other’s desire for privacy
5) Be tolerant — outward appearances are often deceptive
6) Be patient; it is foolish to fuss about small things
7) Never let the sun set on your anger, no matter what may happen during the day; never forget the goodnight kiss
8) Avoid self-consciousness and false pride. Both are stumbling blocks on the road to married happiness
9) Remember that marriage is a game that must be played on a 50-50 basis; in other words, give and take, bear and forbear
10) Always be companionable and do not forget to smile — this is of vital importance


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