Community Marriage Policy @
The marriage rate has plunged 50% since 1970.  >  Half of all new marriages end in divorce.  >  Cohabitation diverts tens of millions of the marriage eligible from ever marrying.  >  Those who marry after living together are 50% more likely to divorce.  >  More than 5.4 million couples live together outside of marriage.  > 
40% of children are born out-of-wedlock.  They are 5 times more likely to live in poverty than those in intact homes and 4 times more likely to be expelled from school or jailed.  >  Only 45% of teenagers live with their married mother and father.  >  Every divorce destroys a tiny civilization  > 
Preparing a man and a woman for a lifetime of successful marriage.
Why Is a Community Marriage Policy Needed?
Marriage needs community support &
we need to support not hurt our children.

Marriage Disintegration Continues Nationally

The need for the work of Marriage Savers can be seen in national data which reveal the continued disintegration of marriage in America.

Who can start a CMP? Anyone who has a passion for the vision and outcomes of a CMP can play a vital leadership role in starting and sustaining a CMP in their community. Typically, the spiritual leader of a house of worship lifts up the vision for a CMP for his or her community to the clergy of other congregations. Personal leadership is critical. Lay leaders may catch the vision first and become vision casters who draw in their spiritual leader and potential mentor couples.

Why is this important? The central domestic problem of our time is the disintegration of marriage. Since 2001 there have been 6 million divorces involving 6 million children. Yet this tragedy receives no public notice.

There are four elements of the marriage crisis

  • Marriage: The marriage rate has plunged 50% since 1970. If the same percentage of couples were marrying now as in 1970, there would be a million more marriages a year – 3.3 million marriages, not 2.2 million. Those who have never-married aged 30-44 have tripled from 6.8% in 1970 to 20.4% in 2005.
  • Divorce: Half of all new marriages end in divorce. There have been 42 million divorces since 1970 hurting 40 million children. One quarter of all adults age 18-35 have grown up in divorced families.
  • Cohabitation: The number of unmarried couples living together soared 12-fold from 430,000 in 1960 to 5.4 million in 2005. There are only 2.2 million marriages a year. Thus, cohabitation has become the dominant way male-female unions are formed. Couples who marry after living together are 50% more likely to divorce than those who did not.
  • Unwed births: Out-of wedlock births jumped from 5.3% to 37.4% or from 224,000 to 1.5 million children from 1960-2004. Cohabiting couples are as likely to have a child under 18 as married couples (41% vs. 46%).

Community Marriage Policies can reverse all of these trends. They have reduced divorce and cohabitation rates and raised marriage rates in scores of cities.

Additional Reading:
Churches Virtually Eliminate Divorce

Marriage Savers Has Answers

Saving marriages must happen community by community. It's up to you. We have the chance to rebuild the very foundation of our nation.

  • Divorce Rate Falls: Clackamas County’s 15% divorce rate drop is an average result. An independent study by the Institute for Research and Evaluation of the first 114 CMPs signed through 2000 reported that divorces fell 17.5% in seven years. Seven cities/counties slashed divorce rates by 48% or more (Austin, Kansas City, KS, Salem, OR, Modesto, CA and El Paso). There were 650 divorces in 1995 in Kansas City but only 196 in 2005. That is a 70% plunge. The Institute said that 30,000 to 50,000 divorces were averted in CMP cities by 2001. With six more years and nearly twice as many CMPs (220 by 12/07) 100,000 marriages may be saved.
  • Cohabitation Rate Falls: From 1990-2000 the cohabitation rate of CMP cities/counties fell 13.4%, while it rose 19.2% in carefully matched counties in each state. Thus, at decade’s end, CMP cities ended with a cohabitation rate one-third lower than counterparts (13.4 + 19.2= 33%)
  • Marriage Rate Rises, but not immediately. Evansville, IN’s divorce rate fell soon after signing a CMP in 1998 but marriages remained flat until 2004-5 when they rose16%. The pattern was similar in Modesto, but marriages jumped from 1,100 in 1994 to 2,500 in 2005.

No other organization has reduced divorce and cohabitation rates in more than 100 cities/counties and begun increasing marriage rates. This is one reason you should consider contributing to Marriage Savers. But there are other reasons below.