You’ve probably heard the statistic quoted that 50% of all marriages end in divorce–and inside the church is no better. Evangelicals quote the 50% statistic like it’s Scripture–but is it true?
Shaunti Feldhan in The Good News About Marriage (which I reviewed) plainly says (and backs up) that the 50% statistic isn’t true. She spent a lot of time analyzing marriage studies and came up with several very encouraging findings about married couples staying married. (This is different than mentioning the overall state of marriage is good news.)
Below are eight of her encouraging findings.
1. Much of the key divorce information in news articles and other common references is inaccurate or interpreted incorrectly, downplays the positive findings, or, in some cases, quotes studies that don’t exist.
2. Those who get married in their mid-twenties or later, go to college, don’t cohabit first, and/or worship together could realistically have a 5 to 10 percent divorce rate.
3. Around 80% of marriages are happy, with around 30 percent of those being very happy.
4. The Barna Group study that first claimed a 50% divorce rate in the church was misunderstood. It was researching, “divorce rates based on faith-based beliefs, not faith based practices like worship attendance, and in fact actually excluded consideration of whether the person went to religious services.”
5. Most of those who are the least happy will be the most happy if they stay committed for five years.
6. Most marriage problems are not caused by big-ticket issues, and simple changes can make a big difference.
7. The rate of divorce in the church is not the same as the rate among those who don’t attend worship services.
8. In 82% of struggling couples, one partner is simply unaware that their spouse is less than happy, which is a lot easier to address than both people being entrenched in hurt.