The "marketisation" of marriage has become the greatest threat to long term wedded bliss, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Williams, has said.
Speaking at a debate on the institution of marriage, Lord Williams, formerly Dr Rowan Williams, described how the challenges to the matrimonial bond had developed, citing excess and lavish expenditure as the greatest problem.
Lord Williams told the audience at the Marriage: Love or Law? event in London, which was attended by several divorce lawyers: " Marriage has faced many changes and pressures, such as evolving working patterns and a reluctance for many people to think about their long-term well-being.
"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 added: "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."
According to the Daily Telegraph, Lord Williams criticised the notion as "the perfect relationship crystallised in the perfect wedding day; the immense economic, advertising investment in this massively fantastical experience which you go through on your wedding day, after which, of course, nothing is ever quite so good again".
He said: "That is an aspect, I think, of the short-term, unimaginative, emotionally unintelligent climate that sometimes we seem forced to inhabit."
Lord Williams cited "rapid gratification" threatening "long-term growth" as underpinning the marketisation.