Trend Analysis Reports
How much importance does the Adventist Church place on marriage? Is our pastoral ministry responding effectively to the ongoing deterioration of this major institution of society, created by God at the same time He instituted the Sabbath?
Marriage is at a low point in the sociological history of North America resulting from a marked decline over recent decades. In 1960, there were 87.5 weddings per 1,000 unmarried women in America. By 1996-the last year of record-this had dropped to 49.7 weddings per 1,000 unmarried women. That is nearly half as many marriages occurring as compared to 25 years earlier.
A study conducted in 1973 through 1976 found that 53.5% of married people reported they were "very happy" in their marriages. A replication of this study in 1996 finds only 37.8% of married people giving the same response.
Again, that is a significant decline in only two decades. There is some evidence that Adventist families are not as hard hit by these trends as is the general public. (See "A New Generation of Adventist Families," published by Center for Creative Ministry.) But, societal trends eventually catch up with the church and, does not the mission of the church really demand that it address these trends in the secular world?