A happy, loving home is what makes for a stable and nurturing environment. If that involves two parental figures who want to be together, then all the better – and I do believe in working through the inevitable ups and downs of a relationship when children are involved, and fighting for its survival when it can be saved. But children thrive in all sorts of environments: loving single-parent homes; homes with adopted or foster parents; as well as – shock, horror – homes where both parents live side-by-side without a valid marriage certificate. Where children are less likely to feel stable and secure is in homes where parents are railroaded into staying together in misery out of fear of breaking a legal contract.
I have friends who have taken the pragmatic decision not to marry for the very reason that, having witnessed their own parents’ divorces, they don’t wish to inflict a frequently painful and protracted process on their own children should the worst happen. That is not to say that a relationship breakdown is easy without the legal complications of annulling a marriage, but it is to say that getting married is not a ticket to longevity.