chapter  5
Government Strategies to Strengthen Marriage
Pages 27

This chapter provides an historical overview of the politicisation of different marriage strengthening policies developed by governments in the three countries: US, UK and Australia. It tracks the controversial development of marriage and relationship education (MRE), particularly in the US, where it has been linked to neoliberal welfare reforms along the lines of gender, race and class inequalities, and the programs account inadequately for power relations and relationship diversity. The chapter considers several different versions of MRE and agrees with Randles that although gender differences between men and women are explored, deeper understandings of gender constructions are usually ignored. In different periods, governments have supported MRE in attempts to strengthen families in the UK, Australia and the US. The chapter evaluates three government funded programs discovered that MRE resulted in positive changes in people's relationship quality, wellbeing and communication. It discusses lack of participation raises problems about the disconnection between relationship strengthening programs from a broader agenda of economic policies.