California Healthy Marriages Coalition (CHMC) has released an unprecedented in-depth study, The State of California's Unions -- In the Pews and the Public Square. This is the first-ever report that looks at Californians' views on marriage and divorce matters and compares them based on their self-described levels of religious activity.
Commissioned by CHMC, the report revealed findings that faith leaders may find alarming:
- 32% of "Regular" church-goers agree that "marriage is too risky" due to the high chances of divorce;
- 20% of married "Frequent" church-goes have "discussed the idea of divorce" with their spouse.
The report also found good news for clergy members. The large majority of church goers -- whether "Frequent," "Regular," "Occasional," or "Rare" -- believe that religious organizations should offer pre-marital education, marriage enrichment programs, and help to couples experiencing difficulties in their marriage.
"This report makes it real clear. People need help in their marriages and families, want help with their relationships, and they are looking to churches and houses of worship to provide that help. As a former pastor, I know how hard it is to try to help couples without having the tools and skills to address their needs. At CHMC we have a plethora of resources to help church leaders meet this growing demand," says K. Jason Krafsky, CHMC Director of Communications and Marketing. Krafsky reports that his organization has developed a how-to kit for pastors interested in launching a marriage building ministry. CHMC also trains leaders in a variety of skills based marriage and relationship education programs.
The Pews and Public Squares report provides findings on topics such as "Faith Habits of Couples," "Does Attending Religious Services Affect How People Rate Their Own Marriage?" and "Do the Church and Unchurched Find Common Ground on Marriage?" The study provides information that CHMC believes will help faith leaders speak more accurately to the topic of marriage and divorce, develop strategic plans for relationship related programming, and expand their expertise in serving their community's families.
For the past five years, CHMC has taught proven relationship-building skills to more than 62,000 Californians through Marriage and Relationship Education classes for all ages and stages. A statewide clearinghouse of Marriage and Relationship Education classes and The State of California's Unions -- In the Pews and the Public Square report are available at www.CaMarriage.com.
Julie Sallee Partin, Media Relations, California Healthy Marriage Coalition