Need a breath of fresh air and some hope this morning? How about destroying some myths about hypocrisy and fear when it comes to marriage and the Church?
Contrary to popular belief, several new studies and surveys show that faith does indeed affect how strong a marriage is. Let’s shatter three of the most prevalent myths on marriage in Christian circles (from Rev! via Kruse Kronicle):
1) Christians divorce as often as non-Christians. 41 percent of Christians who have been married have divorced at some point in time, compared to 48 percent of non-Christians. Of course, we’re not going to celebrate the fact that two in five married Christians experience the pain of divorce. At the same time, there is a statistically significant difference between Christians and non-Christians in terms of divorce, and church leaders ought to recognize that.
2) Church attendance makes no difference. Quite the opposite; differences are amplified when we take church attendance into consideration. Among weekly churchgoing Christians, the divorce rate drops to 32 percent. Looking at particular traditions, church attendance decreases the likelihood of divorce even more so.
3) Things are only getting worse. Although the divorce rate has grown a great deal during the last century, the overall divorce rate in this country peaked about 25 years ago. A growing number of experts believe the divorce rate could drop as low as 25 percent among certain groups. One likely subpopulation is churchgoing Christians. Several factors may be at work, but chief among them is premarital counseling and marriage preparation courses. These do wonders for helping couples set realistic expectations for married life and for handling challenges as they arise.
Interestingly enough, the original article notes some other research findings as well: the two times in life when people are most likely to leave a church are after the death of a loved one and after a divorce. Those two times happen to be the times in life when people are most likely to start going to church as well.