Ethics & Religion
A Column by Michael J. McManus


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Mike McManus, a Duke graduate, was a reporter for three small papers before joining TIME magazine as its youngest correspondent in 1963. He worked in Latin America initially and then from 1964-1968 in Washington for TIME, covering the "Great Society." From 1968-1976 he created a series of multi-media "Town Meetings" involving both TV and newspapers in unique collaborations. The most unusual media-sparked Town Meetings involved broadcasts on all 18 TV stations in New York and articles in 28 daily newspapers in Spring 1973, framing housing, transportation and environmental choices for debate and citizen balloting. More than 100,000 ballots were mailed. The series won an Emmy Award and sparked public policy reforms.

Mike started writing a syndicated column in 1977 called "The Northern Perspective," suggesting how to revive the economy of America’s old industrial states from Maine to Minnesota. At its high point, the column was in 70 papers. In 1981, he began writing a second syndicated column, "Ethics & Religion." For 11 years he wrote both weekly columns, but discontinued writing The Northern Perspective in 1992 when he got a contract to write a book, Marriage Savers: Helping Your Friends and Family Avoid Divorce, published in 1993 and expanded in 1995. That book led to his publishing two books of columns: Insuring Marriage: 25 Proven Ways to Prevent Divorce and 50 Practical Ways to Take Our Kids Back from the World. Mike's Ethics & Religion column is now in its 32nd year. It appears in papers in small to medium-sized markets. Past columns can be seen at All of his columns suggest answers for the toughest moral problems facing America. Ethics & Religion has won a number of prizes such as four different Amy Awards for $1,000 to $4,000 in 1986, 1987, 2001 and 2009 against more than 1,000 competitors. Mike and his wife, Harriet, wrote Living Together: Myths, Risks & Answers in 2008 and he has since authored How To Cut America’s Divorce Rate in Half. Publishers are now considering his latest book, 50 Practical Ways to Restore Marriage in America.

Mike and his wife, Harriet, are co-founders of Marriage Savers, an organization devoted to helping churches virtually eliminate divorce in their congregations and to pushing down city-wide divorce rates. More than 11,000 clergy in 229 cities in four countries have adopted a Community Marriage Policy in which 30-300 pastors and priests sign a covenant, and invite Mike and Harriet to train Mentor Couples to:

  • Prepare couples for a lifelong marriage by requiring couples to take a premarital inventory and learn communication and conflict resolution skills taught by trained Mentor Couples;
  • Enrich all existing marriages with an annual retreat, DVD series or speakers;
  • Restore marriages in crisis with couples whose marriages had once nearly failed, mentoring those in current crisis, saving four of five marriages;
  • Reconcile separated couples with Marriage 911, a course taken by a committed spouse with a friend of the same gender over 12 weeks, saving most marriages;
  • Save Stepfamilies who usually divorce at a 70% rate, by creating a Stepfamily Support Group that saves 80% of such marriages.

An independent study of Community Marriage Polices by the Institute for Research and Evaluation reported that divorces fell by an average of 17.5% for the city in seven years, with nine cities cutting divorce rates 48% to 70% such as Modesto, CA, Austin, TX, Kansas City, KS, and El Paso, TX. CMPs have saved more than 100,000 marriages from divorce. In addition, cohabitation rates in CMP cities fell by one-third compared to similar cities in each state, and some cities experience rising marriage rates. See for detail.

My new email address is
Michael J. McManus
syndicated columnist
"Ethics & Religion"
President & Co-Chair
Marriage Savers
9311 Harrington Dr.
Potomac, MD 20854

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