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Census: Marriage Duration
and the Divorce Rate
 
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Marriage Today
Marathons Less Common Than Sprints

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l Divorce is up...china sales are down. Put it this way, if you were married between 1945 and 1949 you had a better chance of receiving a new set of china on your 20th anniversary than were your children. Why? Because you were 1.5 times more likely to have still been married to the same person by the 20-year mark. l
  The proportions of both men and women reaching various anniversaries declined from marriages begun in the late 1940s to marriages begun in the early 1980s. These trends are illustrated by comparing the marital histories of women who first married in 1945 to 1949 with later marriage *cohorts: 81 percent reached their twentieth anniversary compared with only 56 percent of those who first married in 1970 to 1974. That's a 25.3% decline.  
  What is the last gift that at least 30 percent of today's married couples is likely to receive? Probably a ten-year anniversary gift of tin, just before one of them says, "I don't". -JK  
     
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Percentage Women Reaching Stated
First Marriage Anniversary by Age Cohort*
Source: US Census Bureau; Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), 1996 Panel
*A cohort signifies a group of people born or married in a spedified time period.

AGE COHORT 5th 10th 15th 20th
1945 to 1949 95.0 90.2 86.1 81.2
1950 to 1954 94.6 89.2 82.9 77.2
1955 to 1959 94.6 87.5 78.7 71.7
1960 to 1964 92.6 82.1 72.0 63.7
1965 to 1969 90.0 76.1 65.4 59.4
1970 to 1974 86.7 70.7 62.0 55.9
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l Ministry Ideas l
     
 
Consider the age/gender profile and marital status
of your congregation as well as your community.
 
 
l Engage in ministry those who have healthy marriages to help "younger" marriages, especially those who are either engaged or are in the "danger zone"—the first five to ten years—of marriage.
Consider the pressures that are on young couples today and the tools they might need to grow a healthy marriage and children. If they are not seeing good marriages modeled in their parents or own peer group, how might the church fill in that gap?
Look into marriage programs that have been proven effective---even if they are out of your particular denominational circle. For example, a Marriage Encounter weekend retreat or a ministry that is dedicated solely to building and/or restoring strong marriages.
Start a marriage and family ministry that would be targeted to the unchurched in your area. (Example: "How to Divorce-Proof Your Marriage in the First Five Years.") This could be a catalyst to help draw them into your faith community.
 
     
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l ©  COPYRIGHT 2008 PERCEPT GROUP, INC. l
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