Faith Makes a Marriage Stronger

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.

Setting the Odds For Your Marriage

This survey by TIME displays some interesting numbers and statistics on what makes a marriage stand the test of time. As the article says,

Half of all marriages end in divorce. But it’s not a random coin flip. At the time of a couple’s wedding, there are factors already present that can raise the odds of divorce to as high as 70%, or lower it to nearly 20%.

It’s always a sticky proposition to collectand attach statistics to something so fluid and dynamic as marriages, but let’s assume for a moment that these stats are at least close to accurate. Here’s the highlights:

  • 57% of marriages last until their 15th anniversary. Of those who make it to 15 years, the vast majority stay married for the rest of their lives.
  • Age at the wedding matters to the longevity of a marriage. Couples that marry just out of high school increase their odds of divorce significantly. Couples that marry after they are 25 are much more likely to stay together. After age 25, there’s no significant difference in the odds (for example, someone who marries at age 35 or 45 is no more or less likely to stay together than the 25-year-old). I’m glad to say Shelly and I will break the odds on this one!
  • Couples who live together before getting married are less likely to stay married.
  • One of the most important predictors the survey found, believe it or not, is whether or not the husband helped with housework. Marriages where the husbands helped more were more likely to last than the ones where they didn’t.
  • Second and third marriages are less likely to last than first marriages.
  • The more devoted the couple is to practicing their faith, the more likely they are to stay together.
  • Couples that own homes are more likely to stay married than those who rent.
  • Children of divorced parents are 14% more likely to divorce their spouse.
  • Couples who attend a pre-marital counseling class cut their odds of divorce by 1/3, leading TIME to say “premarital counseling may be the best wedding gift any newlyweds can receive.”

Some pretty applicable ideas there. And remember, the grace of God can overcome any statistics out there.

Setting the Odds For Your Marriage

This survey by TIME displays some interesting numbers and statistics on what makes a marriage stand the test of time. As the article says,

Half of all marriages end in divorce. But it’s not a random coin flip. At the time of a couple’s wedding, there are factors already present that can raise the odds of divorce to as high as 70%, or lower it to nearly 20%.

It’s always a sticky proposition to collectand attach statistics to something so fluid and dynamic as marriages, but let’s assume for a moment that these stats are at least close to accurate. Here’s the highlights:

  • 57% of marriages last until their 15th anniversary. Of those who make it to 15 years, the vast majority stay married for the rest of their lives.
  • Age at the wedding matters to the longevity of a marriage. Couples that marry just out of high school increase their odds of divorce significantly. Couples that marry after they are 25 are much more likely to stay together. After age 25, there’s no significant difference in the odds (for example, someone who marries at age 35 or 45 is no more or less likely to stay together than the 25-year-old). I’m glad to say Shelly and I will break the odds on this one!
  • Couples who live together before getting married are less likely to stay married.
  • One of the most important predictors the survey found, believe it or not, is whether or not the husband helped with housework. Marriages where the husbands helped more were more likely to last than the ones where they didn’t.
  • Second and third marriages are less likely to last than first marriages.
  • The more devoted the couple is to practicing their faith, the more likely they are to stay together.
  • Couples that own homes are more likely to stay married than those who rent.
  • Children of divorced parents are 14% more likely to divorce their spouse.
  • Couples who attend a pre-marital counseling class cut their odds of divorce by 1/3, leading TIME to say “premarital counseling may be the best wedding gift any newlyweds can receive.”

Some pretty applicable ideas there. And remember, the grace of God can overcome any statistics out there.