America's divorce rate has been dropping steadily for decades; this year breakups reached their lowest level since 1970. But that doesn't mean todays' relationships are more stable: More couples are living together without tying the knot. Divorces are down by a third since their peak in 1981, but marriages themselves are also down 30%.
Experts are split in interpreting the results. A conservative think-tanker guesses young couples "are coming out of the family upheaval of the '70s, and cohabiting out of fear." But a New Hampshire counselor is more optimistic: "People don't see marriage problems as some sort of stigma anymore.They're really interested in learning how to stay married."