The number of people getting married in Texoma has dropped significantly in the last 10 years. We spoke with marriage therapists and local pastors in the area to find out what's causing this downward trend.
The courthouse gave us 35 years of statistics on the number of people applying for marriage licenses in Texoma. The number of marriage licenses has steadily decreased by 2000 licenses since 1980.
Jim Botts, Senior Pastor at Colonial Church, said one reason is due to our ever-changing society.
"Cohabitation is the new norm," said Botts. "Why wouldn't it be? We're a consumerist society. Why wouldn't marriage be just like everything else? "We're not only consumers but we chase upgrades. So we'll consume those relationships and as soon as they stop meeting our needs, we'll ditch them and upgrade. So, disposable relationships are on the rise."
He said marriage is just like exercising.
"It's very much like fitness," said Botts. "People say, 'I don't want to change what I eat, I like what I eat. I don't want to work out. That's hard and takes hard work, but I want to look great so I'll take diet pills and throw up after I eat,' and we do weird stuff. When you look at the marriage trends it's just indicative of a lack of willingness to work at anything anymore."
Something Karen Kent, a Licensed Professional Marriage Therapist would agree with.
"People feel like they're happiness is often greater value to them," said Kent. "Especially in my parents' generation. In world war two, it wasn't about happiness. It was about having a family so you could survive."
"We use things to meet our needs and when they don't meet our needs we ditch them," said Botts. "We're doing it in relationships, we see it in careers and it's everywhere."
Botts said in order to reverse this downward trend it's going to take hard work and dedication.