Divorce must be a highly interesting topic. There are 2.77 million Web pages dealing with "divorce rates" in a recent Google Internet search.
Authorities seem to agree divorce rates increased through most of the 20th century until the 1970s when a slight decline began. Despite the belief more married couples are staying married today than, say, in the 1960s, many people are concerned that too many couples are splitting up after a few years of marriage.
Most of those concerned folks are the parents and friends of divorced people.
The Christian community has always been concerned about marriage and divorce, believing that a married couple were expected to remain married, in an ideal situation -- which does not exist.
However, many Christians work to fight the divorce rate and help married people stay married.
One of those people is Greg Duke, regional director, Family Business Services of Gastonia, N.C., who recently visited Brazil.
"Today, many people are committed to being married for today," Duke said Thursday.
He is associated with a 65-year-old company that began by selling family Bibles door to door. Today the company has seven divisions, including a program of giving keepsake books that teach Christian principles to newlyweds and to couples who stay married at least 25 years.
"Our company has three goals," Duke said:
- To give local business sponsors a "great way for local business to tell patrons thank you."
- To get local business names before potential customers.
- To promote high morals in the community.
The newlywed keepsake book is titled, "To Have and To Hold" and is personalized with the couple's name embossed in gold on the cover.
The book is filled with interactive pages, such as a full color family tree of the bride's and groom's families, a page for the parents to write a message to the bride and groom and a page on which the couple can write about the day they met.
There are also Bible scriptures and brief articles giving advice about marriage from a Christian point of view.
"One of the things you'll notice is that we don't try to teach theology," Duke said. "We leave that up to the churches."
The book is sent to the parents of the bride or groom so the interactive pages can be partially completed before the book is given to the couple.
A similar book is sent to couples who have been married at least 25 years.
"Living and Loving -- An Anniversary Keepsake" is sent to couples on their 25th, 30th, 35th and on every anniversary thereafter ending on a 5th year.
The books are revised every five years and sponsors, identified inside the books, are recruited for two-year periods.
The company identifies newlyweds and couples who have been married at least 25 years through local newspapers, churches and its sponsors.
Churches may also give copies of the anniversary edition to appropriate members of the congregations. Ministers may contact the company at 1520 S. York Rd., Gastonia, N.C,. 28053-0269 or by calling (800) 275-6008 and asking for gift certficiates.
The books are intended to present "building blocks to a committed love relationship," Duke said. "Committed is the key word."
Committed also describes Duke's dedication to the program. He quit his job as a financial advisor after praying, asking God to lead him into a ministry.
"I didn't expect to find a new career, but you know how God works," he said.
On the Net:
Family Business Services: http://www.familybusinessservices.com