Here are some stats that reflect the state of marriage and families in the postmodern world:
- In 1960, nearly 70% of American adults were married; now only about half are.
- Eight times as many children are born out of wedlock.
- There are striking differences by generation. In 1960, two-thirds (68%) of all twenty-somethings were married. In 2008, just 26% were.
- Americans are waiting about five years longer to marry than they did in 1970.
- Postmodern generations are much more inclined than their elders to view cohabitation without marriage and same sex marriage in a positive light.
- A new “marriage gap” in the United States is increasingly aligned with a growing income gap. Marriage, while declining among all groups, remains the norm for adults with a college education and good income but is now markedly less prevalent among those on the lower rungs of the socio-economic ladder.
- College graduates are now far more likely to marry (64%) than those with no higher education (48%).
- The survey finds that those in this less-advantaged group are as likely as others to want to marry, but they place a higher premium on economic security as a condition for marriage. This is a bar that many may not meet.
- America’s divorce rate began climbing in the late 1960s and skyrocketed during the ’70s and early ’80s, as virtually every state adopted no-fault divorce laws. The rate peaked at 5.3 divorces per 1,000 people in 1981. But since then, it’s dropped by one-third, to 3.6. That’s the lowest rate since 1970. Some experts say relationships are as unstable as ever, and divorces are down primarily because more couples live together without marrying. The number of couples who live together without marrying has increased tenfold since 1960.
These trends have implications for us. Especially if we are reaching unchurched families instead of just families transferring from other churches or home grown church families.
- You will encounter parents who are living together unmarried. How will you approach this as a ministry? An example is parent/child dedication. Will you allow the couple to participate if they are living together unmarried? What steps will you offer them to get on a pathway to God’s plan?
- The number of children coming from a single parent household will continue to increase. How will you minister to them? Start a mentoring program for boys without a dad? Could you offer free car maintenance for single moms?
- How will you connect with the growing number of young, single adults? What pathways will you offer them so they can grow in their faith? How can you help them establish a solid, Biblical foundation for their future marriage?
- How will you help families establish a Biblical worldview of marriage? In my opinion, one of the biggest challenges facing us is in this area is same-sex marriage. Homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle for a Christ-follower is being propagated. The stand we take on this will affect the belief systems of our children.
- How will you effectively minister to children and families who are going through or have been through the tragedy of divorce? What support can you provide? How can you help them get back on their feet?
- We must continue to fight for families and effectively share God’s truths and plans for establishing and maintaining a godly home.