It is still true to say that the English law encourages couples to marry rather than to live together without the sanction of the marriage ceremony. The parties to a stable relationship outside marriage, however, have recently been granted, both by judicial developments and statutory innovation, legal rights previously associated only with the status of marriage. In particular, reforming legislation has included the cohabiting, but unmarried, couple in certain significantly important improvements to the previously existing legal position of husband and wife. This article provides an overall review of recent developments. Questions relating to the status of children and the rights and duties of the parents, whether married or unmarried, are excluded. The legal position for the unmarried couple is, to a large extent, dictated by the prevailing policy that marriage should be encouraged. The opposing trends—both practical as well as changing moral norms—have not been sufficiently powerful for any substantial policy shift.