Marriage Building Is A Full-Time Job - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

Marriage Building Is A Full-Time Job

Reporter: Shannon Samson

Web Producer: Jason Bailey

A federal grant has enabled the Community Marriage Builders to expand from Vanderburgh County into other areas of the Tri-State.

Friday, the group kicked-off its initiative in Gibson County at the Heritage Days Festival to strengthen marriages and decrease what's become an alarming divorce rate. In 2000, the Gibson County clerk's office issued 245 marriage licenses and filed 245 divorces.

That was the last time the two numbers were even close, with the number of divorces far exceeding marriages ever since.

The Community Marriage Builders group has made its objective clear: To inform people in the Tri-State about the increasing divorce rate.

They've enlisted the help of around twenty pastors and priests to do something about it, but the effort attracted little attention at the Heritage Days Festival.

Ann Gries, Ph.D., of Community Marriage Builders says, "We're just getting started here in Gibson County, so the word isn't really out yet too much about what we're doing."

With these signatures, the clergy have agreed to require four to six months of pre-marital preparation for couples wanting to get married in their churches.

They'll train mentors to work with them, encourage fidelity inside of marriage and sexual abstinence outside of it.

Why are they trying so hard to make sure the magic lasts well beyond the wedding day?

"If you break up as a couple, your children are three times more likely to drop out of school. They're three times more likely to be unwed parents, and they're five times more likely to live in poverty and they're 12 times more likely to be incarcerated," says Gries.

Lots of folks support the initiative.

They recognize that marriage is a commitment, and think married couples should do all they can to keep that union together.

But they all said in some cases, divorce is the best alternative.

Doctor Gries doesn't agree.

"They can separate and they can get help and they can change. People can change. If we don't believe that, then we have no hope for the redemption of this society," says Dr. Gries. Community

Marriage Builders say after seven years of working with couples in Vanderburgh County, they're finally getting through to them.

For the first time in a decade, there were more marriage licenses issued than divorce filings in 2004.

Also residents in Gibson County are invited to the Gibson County Marriage Project. It will be held November 2nd, at 1:30 p.m.

Also all residents in the Tri-State are welcome to attend the "Weekend to Remember" October 21-23rd at the Holiday Inn at Lynch Road and Hwy. 41 in Evansville. If couples sign up prior to October 7th with 4 additional couples the group will receive a $60 discount.

For more information, contact Community Marriage Builders at 1-800-443-8594, or

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