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Posted on Mon 5 August 2013

What the Simon Cowell affair tells us about modern marriage - and how to save it

The news that Simon Cowell is about to have a baby with the wife of his best friend has astonished even a world-weary media. While one newspaper has congratulated the father-to-be, in spite of the somewhat tangled circumstances of the child’s conception, others see it as a betrayal of the basic values of loyalty and trust amongst friends.

Whatever the particular details of this sorry tale, we have to see it against the background of a widespread breakdown of marriage and family life. Rather than thinking of others first, we are now encouraged to think first of ourselves. The rather amusing discovery that we increasingly use our mobile phone cameras to take pictures of ourselves just about sums up the situation.

It is not just selfishness, however. In the last 50 years there has been a full-scale ideological attack on marriage by activists and academics determined to undermine the institutions of society, of which the family is the most basic. It is where we first belong: the first school, the first church, the first community. Instead of the commitment and stability of marriage and family, regarded by these chattering classes as bourgeois, they have advocated and practised “pure relationships” which last only as long as either partner wants them to last.

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