By Ashley Conroy
JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - To say "I do" might be an exciting time for any couple starting out together, but national reports show that fewer and fewer people are saying their vows.
According to the PEW Research Center, 39 percent of 2,691 adults surveyed say that marriage is becoming a thing of the past compared to 28 percent in 1978.
In Mississippi these statistics hold true. The State Department of Health reports that in 1995, there were 22,150 marriages compared to 14,110 in 2009.
Pastor Charles Boudreaux at First Baptist Church in Jackson has been counseling couples pre-marriage and post-marriage for about 40 years.
He says the trends often fluctuate by decade, but in the 21st century more couples seem to be living together first before tying the knot.
"The number of people living together before they get married, that is huge right now," Boudreaux said.
He also says couples are waiting longer to have children, or skipping out all together. "Another trend we see is some are waiting a little longer to have a child, and we see some couples deciding not to have children."
The state health department also reports less divorces in the past 15 years with 13,182 in 1995, and 12,223 in 2009.
And whether this is a trend or simply that fewer people are getting married, Boudreaux says he sees many on the brink of divorce.
"The number one problem we see in families today is financial debt that causes tremendous stress on their marriages."
But he says there is hope, it just takes getting know that special person for their intangibles. "Find out who they are, what they intend to have in life. Their values, explore all this before they actually jump off."
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