Globally, most countries’ marriage rates are declining and median age at first marriage is rising. What marriage means, what it entails and what it does not, public perceptions about it, and optimal timing for it and behavior within it—everything about marriage seems in flux today. Christians in the West are likewise displaying increasing uncertainty about the institution of marriage—what it means, what its boundaries are, the practices that foster it, and the habits that characterize it. Their marriage rate patterns lag only modestly behind the broader general public. Marriage is in the throes of “deinstitutionalization” in the West, Johns Hopkins sociologist Andrew Cherlin asserts. This is a rather big deal, given the historically tight connection between Christianity and marriage. But what about elsewhere in the world? How are Christians elsewhere navigating the challenges to marriage?

The Austin Institute is sponsoring a research study about this global recession in Christian marriage by going in-depth with Christians in eight different countries. Locations and coordinators for each site are as follows:

Mexico City, Mexico (Fernando Pliego, National Autonomous University of Mexico and Daniela Salgado Gutierrez, University of Panamericana)
Lublin, Poland (Wioletta Szymczak and Tomasz Adamczyk, Catholic University of Lublin)
Moscow, Russia (Yana Kozmina, St. Tikhon's University)
Beirut, Lebanon (Chady Rahme, Notre Dame University—Louaize)
Lagos, Nigeria (Franca Attoh, University of Lagos)
Austin, Texas, USA (Mark Regnerus, University of Texas at Austin)
Bangalore, India (Rebecca Samuel Shah, unaffiliated scholar)
Pamplona, Spain (Racquel Martin Lanas, University of Navarra)

Expect to hear more about this project beginning in 2017.