Former archbishop of Canterbury speaks at debate arranged by Winckworth Sherwood

Former archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams spoke about the culture of the ‘marketisation of marriage’ at a debate arranged and hosted by the family law department at Winckworth Sherwood.

The debate — ‘Marriage: Love or Law’ — held at Winckworth Sherwood’s London Bridge offices brought together a panel that comprised campaigner and journalist Melissa Benn, psychotherapist Philippa Perry, Prof Rebecca Probert and Williams.  

The debate was chaired by Sir Mark Hedley, a recently retired High Court Judge in the family division.

Dr Williams told the audience: ‘Marriage has faced many changes and pressures, such as evolving working patterns and a reluctance for many people to think about their long-term wellbeing. Yet much remains unchanged; the majority of children are, for example, still born to married couples and there remains a strong desire for the public affirmation of commitment.’

But, he said, there is unfinished business. ’As a society, there is much yet to resolve around male roles, and we need to take a long hard look at the marketisation of marriage. This, I believe, poses the greatest threat to long-term successful marriages.’

More than 80 guests attended the discussion and debate, the first of its type held by Winckworth Sherwood.