Valentine’s Day is symbolized by roses, chocolate and paying way too much for dinner. But if we consider the love and commitment all those gifts and goodies are supposed to celebrate, there’s no better state for marriage than Iowa, the place where unions stick.

Other states have higher marriage rates. Nevada, home of the Little White Chapel, registered 36.9 marriages per 1,000 people in 2011, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hawaii had the second-highest rate, with 17.6 marriages per 1,000 residents.

But marriages in Iowa last. The CDC says the state’s divorce rate, 2.4 per 1,000 residents as of 2011, is the lowest in the nation. And in Iowa, everyone can get married. After Iowa’s Supreme Court made the state the third to allow same-sex marriage, in 2009, the divorce rate stayed steady.

Divorce rates in 2011 were also below 3 per 1,000 residents in Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia, the CDC reported. Nevada’s 5.6 rate was the highest in the country.

The state of the American marriage is actually improving, by a considerable degree. The old myth that half of all marriages end in divorce isn’t true — and it hasn’t been for a quarter of a century. Couples who tied the knot in the 1990s are more likely to reach their 15th anniversaries than those who got married in the 1970s or 1980s. Justin Wolfers, a University of Michigan economist, estimates that two-thirds of marriages will not involve a divorce.

In 37 of the 43 states that reported divorce statistics to the CDC, the divorce rate in 2011 was lower than it was in 2001.

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