by James Merritt

Marriage 101
James Merritt
Ephesians 5:22-23


1. Let me begin by making a statement that all of you either do know or should know. That is, the institution of marriage is in big trouble in America. The number of Americans getting married has dropped to a 40 year low, and ''I do'' has been replaced with ''I won't'' or ''I no longer will.''

2. A study by Rutgers University National Marriage Project found that Americans have not given up on marriage as an ideal, but there has been a catastrophic drop since 1960 in the number of couples who actually walk down the aisle and get married. (1)

3. Just consider the following:

Over the last four decades Americans have become less likely to marry, and fewer of those who do marry have marriages they consider to be ''very happy.''

- The Annual number of marriages per 1,000 unmarried women declined more than 1/3 from 1970 to 1966.
- It is estimated that after 10 years only about 25% of first marriages are successful; that is, both still intact and happy.

The American divorce rate today is more than twice that of 1960.
- The percentage of all adults who currently divorced more than quadrupled from 1960 to 1998.

The number of unmarried couples has increased dramatically over the past four decades.

- Between 1960 and 1998 the number of unmarried couples in America increased by 1,000%. (2)

4. Americans are living longer, marrying later, exiting marriage more quickly, and choosing to live together before marriage, after marriage, in-between marriages, and as an alternative to marriage.

5. Marriage is even beginning to lose its place in our everyday language. People now tend to speak more about ''relationships'' and ''intimate partners'' than they do about marriage.

6. I am reminded of a pastor who went to speak to a group of 4th graders on the topic of marriage, and he asked the question: ''Does anyone of you know what God has to say about marriage?'' Well, immediately one lit ...

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