3 DECEMBER 1948, Page 3

Wise Marriage

Faced with the task of deciding "on what lines marriage guidance as a form of social service can be most advantageously developed in England and Wales if assisted by Exchequer grants," the com- mittee charged with that function, under the chairmanship of Sir Sidney Harris, has very sensibly recommended that the State bear the cost for five years of training "marriage counsellors" and of giving subventions of £5,000 a year to the National Marriage Guidance Council, and of Liza) a year each to the Catholic Marriage Advisory Council and the Family Welfare Association (formerly the (.harity Organisation Society). This arises out of the finding of the Denning Committee on Procedure in Matri- monial Causes that "it should be regarded as a function of the State to give encouragement and, where appropriate, financial assistance to marriage guidance as a form of social service." The manner of the association of the State with such a movement is a question which needs careful thought. A mere financial subvention is not likely to be permanently satisfactory. The whole relationship of the State to voluntary societies, on which Lord Beveridge has recently expressed important opinions, requires detailed study. Meanwhile, it is perfectly right that a body like the National Marriage Guidance Council, which has done such valuable pioneer work in this uncharted field, should be enabled to continue and enlarge its fruitful efforts. How much of what is wrong with society is due to light marriages, disunited families and broken homes no one can estimate. Any organisation which can give proof of capacity to diminish those evils is deserving of all support.