JACK DOMINIAN OBITUARY
The Guardian, Sunday 26 October 2014
Jack Dominian founded One Plus One, an independent marriage research
centre, in 1971, and it is now a thriving government-funded charity
My father, Jack Dominian, who has died aged 84, was a psychiatrist
and lay Roman Catholic theologian who put loving relationships at the
centre of his work and founded One Plus One, an independent marriage
research centre. Through his 25 years of clinical work with the NHS
until his retirement in 1988, he became increasingly aware of the
emotional, psychological and economic costs of relationship breakdown.
He founded One Plus One in 1971, and raised funds ruthlessly during its
difficult early days, embarrassing my mother, Edith, on many a social
occasion with, in his own words, a “blind irrational stubbornness” and
refusal to acknowledge any obstacles. One Plus One is now a thriving,
government-funded charity with an emphasis on research, preventive
work, and the creation of resources to strengthen relationships.
Jack believed that his deep understanding of psychology and psychiatry
were crucial in the development of his philosophy of love, sex and
relationships. His book Proposals for a New Sexual Ethic (1977)
challenged the very foundations of Catholic teaching on marriage,
arguing that sex in the context of a loving relationship was “one of
the gifts of God to man” and needed to be celebrated as such. His
fundamental belief that the church needed to change to reflect the
reality of the modern world never ceased, yet he remained within it,
believing it to be “the mystical body of Christ”.
He was born in Athens to a Greek mother, Mary, and Armenian father,
Charles (hence Jack’s Roman Catholic faith), who was chief cashier
at American Express in the capital. When Adolf Hitler invaded Greece
in 1941, Jack was evacuated to Britain.
Educated at Stamford school, in Lincolnshire, at Cambridge, where he
qualified in medicine, and Oxford, where he undertook postgraduate
work, he worked as a doctor at Stoke Mandeville, the Churchill and
the Maudsley hospitals, and as a consultant at the Central Middlesex
He was the author of 32 books on marriage, sexuality and religion,
including One Like Us, a psychological study of Christ.
He met Edith in 1951 through the Union of Catholic Students. He
credited her with teaching him everything he knew about love. He was
appointed MBE in 1994 for his work with marriage and the family.
Edith died in 2005. He is survived by his four daughters, Louise,
Elise, Cate and me, and by five grandchildren.