“If a struggling couple believes, ‘yeah, this is tough, but weren’t going to make it,’ they usually do. But once people start to think otherwise, they all too soon employ the logic of futility: if the ship is going to sink anyway, why bother working so hard to bail it out? That poisonous doubt – which is really about the possibility of marriage working in general – gets into our minds years before we approach the altar.”
- ½ OF ALL MARRIAGES DO NOT END IN DIVORCE! Yup, that’s a myth. According to the Census Bureau, 71% of people are still married to their first spouse! Yes, divorce rates are higher for second marriages, and demographers still go with a 40-50% rate. But these are projections that we’ve never actually hit. So while nobody knows exactly what the national divorce rate is, based on many factors for all marriages, it is likely in the 31-35% range.
- REAL CHRISTIANITY MAKES A HUGE DIFFERENCE. We’ve all heard that the national divorce rate is the exact same inside and outside the church. Depressing! And untrue. Yes, in an old Barna research poll, the divorce rate was the same for people who mark “Christian” on the survey as those who did not. But as you might guess, marking Christian on a survey says nothing about your spiritual and marital practices. When you re-run the numbers factoring in just one critical marriage support – regular church attendance – the number drops precipitously. 27%! Run the numbers for other practices of serious Christians, like family prayer, regular family time (even meals) together, attendance at a small group and the divorce rate becomes so small as to be almost negligible. Think about that! If Christians are divorcing as frequently as pagans it’s only those who choose to LIVE like pagans.
- MOST MARRIAGES ARE HAPPY. Married people are happier than singles, research has repeatedly shown. This fact shouldn’t be used to disparage the single life, but it should be used to confront a growing problem in the church. Singles are increasing opting for serial monogamy or cohabitation, accepting the cultures dictums about marriage: marriage kills the magic, marriage is the end of sex, marriage is unnatural, marriage is slavery, etc. Shaunti cites the research that debunks all this in her book, The Good News About Marriage.
- SMALL THINGS MAKE A HUGE DIFFERENCE. If you thought that a great marriage was built on rare things like Herculean self-control, or Yoda-like powers of discernment, think again. Feldhahn’s research shows in 20 or so areas, she shows the massive difference little things make. For example, saying thank you and using honoring language to husbands was present in 78% of happy marriages and 23% of unhappy ones. Also, using verbal and physical signs of assurance for wives, like taking her hand or regularly, sincerely calling out her beauty was present in 77% of happy marriages, 18% of unhappy ones.