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A new report on the state of America‘s marriages finds that divorces are on the decline—but cohabitation is growing.


The National Marriage Project’s 2005 “State of Our Unions” report also found that the number of U.S. children born to unwed mothers is at an all time high—almost 35 percent.


Overall, the news is troubling to Mike McManus, president of Marriage Savers.

“Couples who live together often think they are in a trial marriage,” he said, “but they are really more like in a trial divorce, because of 100 couples who begin living together, 45 of them will break up before there is a wedding.”


And it’s not just couples that are hurt by cohabitation. Glenn T. Stanton, senior analyst for marriage and sexuality at Focus on the Family Action, said children are affected, too.


“These kids are going to grow up and develop their own attitudes about marriage, which are largely going to be, ‘Marriage is irrelevant,’ ” he told Family News in Focus. “We need to teach the message that marriage is not irrelevant—it’s one of the most relevant social institutions that humanity knows.”


People who are married, he added, tend to be healthier and more satisfied.


“It benefits all of us,” Stanton said. “It’s the glue that holds all of civilizations together.”


The increase in cohabitation mirrors what has occurred in Sweden, according to David Popenoe of the National Marriage Project. The marriage rate in Sweden, he explained, is one of the lowest in the world—and the country’s divorce rate is rising.


[; CitizenLink, 08/08/05; Abstinence Clearinghouse, 8Aug05]