National Marriage Week
Special Report - February 7, 2011
A new survey from the National Marriage Project (NMP) at the University of Virginia finds that despite the additional financial stress it has brought to many marriages, the economic recession contains at least two “silver linings” for marriage. The report, “The Great Recession and Marriage,” is part of the NMP’s “Survey of Marital Generosity,” a national survey of 1,197 married Americans between the ages of 18 and 45. The findings are released today in connection with “National Marriage Week USA,” which runs from February 7-14.
According to the NMP survey, married Americans report experiencing three “stressors” from the recession, including worrying about paying the bills (34 percent), difficulty paying the mortgage or rent (12 percent), and unemployment or reduced work hours (29 percent). Additionally, 29 percent of married Americans in the survey agreed that the “recession has brought financial stress to their marriage.”
In spite of this stress, the survey found at least two positive impacts of the recession on some marriages. For example, 29 percent of married Americans agreed that, “the recession has caused them to deepen their commitment to their marriage,” while only 13 percent of married Americans disagreed with that statement. Fifty-nine percent of married Americans said they did not agree or disagree. Additionally, the NMP survey found that in cases where respondents said they were considering divorce or separation prior to the recession (which is about five percent of all respondents), 38 percent agreed that, “the recession has caused them to work harder at saving their marriages.”
Another important finding from the NMP survey is that shared religious commitment and worship appears to help married couples overcome the stress caused by the recession. For example, married Americans who attend religious services regularly with their spouse (as in several times a month) reported less financial stress from the recession, than those who do not attend religious services regularly (25 percent, compared to 31 percent, respectively). Religious married couples in the survey were also more likely to say that the recession had helped deepen their commitment to their marriages (32 percent versus 26 percent).
The NMP survey’s release coincides with the observance of an international effort to raise awareness about the importance of marriage and to strengthen the marriage culture. Known as “National Marriage Week,” the annual event has been observed internationally for over a decade, and since 2002 in the U.S., where it is sponsored by Let’s Strengthen Marriage, the Institute for American Values, and the National Center on African American Marriages and Parenting.
“National Marriage Week USA” offers a variety of tools on its interactive website aimed at helping individuals, churches and communities strengthen marriages, including tips for Valentine’s Day. Just a few of the many resources and ideas posted at www.nationalmarriageweekUSA.org include:
- An archived, free one-hour webinar about marriage. Watch by logging on to www.marriagewebinar.org
- Pocket-sized pamphlets for businesses and other organizations on topics such as “What is a Healthy Marriage?”
- Information on how clergy can form Community Marriage Policies with other clergy in their communities.
- Free kits, quizzes and tips for strengthening marriages, including a “Couples Check-up,” a “Five Love Languages” quiz, and ideas for a “Valentine’s Great Date.”
- A list of hundreds of marriage classes, seminars and conferences across the country.
Intact Families Disappear For Teens - December 16, 2010
Educated Favor Marriage More - December 9, 2010
Index Shows Marriage Health Decline - October 7, 2009
The Mapping America Project: Tracking the Importance of Family and Faith - FNC - Spring 2010
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