Would your view of marriage change if you knew the following were true?
- The actual divorce rate has never gotten close to 50 percent.
- Those who attend church regularly have a significantly lower divorce rate than those who don’t.
- Most marriages are happy.
- Simple changes make a big difference in most marriage problems.
- Most remarriages succeed.
Based on the newest research in the field, it appears each of these statements is true.
Author, speaker, and social researcher Shaunti Feldhahn recently completed a seven-year study that revealed a host of myths we have believed about marriage. “People today are living together or divorcing too quickly based on the lie that they cannot expect a strong and happy marriage for a lifetime, when the truth is far different,” said Shaunti.
In a book out this month, Shaunti points out “The Good News About Marriage”.
Most Marriages Last for a Lifetime
Contrary to what we often hear in the media, the divorce rate is nowhere near 50%. Shaunti points out that according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 72% of people today are still married to their first spouse. Remove those who are widowed and the actual rate is closer to 25% for first marriages and 31% for remarriages. Most marriages last for a lifetime.
Faith Strengthens Marriage
The common belief that the divorce rate in the church is the same (or higher) than the general population is not true. “Every study that has been done has found that those who act on their faith by, for example, attendance at worship services, have a significantly lower divorce rate,” Shaunti reports. New studies show faith drops the divorce rate between 27% and 50% (depending on the study).
Most Marriages are Happy
Multiple surveys show over 90% of marriages are happy with 93% saying they would marry their spouse again. Shaunti’s research showed 71% of couples were “happy” and 34% were “very happy”.
Remarriages Survive Just Fine
Popular belief tends to put the divorce rate for second marriages at 60% and third marriages at 73%. “Pure urban legend,” according to Shaunti. “Census Bureau numbers show that 65% of those in second marriages are still married to their spouse, meaning only 35% of those marriages ended with a significant percentage likely ending in death.”
Little Changes Make Big Differences in Marriage
Shaunti reports that most marriage problems are not caused by big problems, but rather by hurt that wasn’t intended. Shaunti explains this to mean, “often, the actions needed to make a great marriage, or to turn around a struggling one, are simple.” Sticking with a tough marriage and making little changes usually leads to happiness within five years.
The take away is two fold:
- There is great hope for marriage. Marriage works, and working marriage makes it better!
- We are called to share this good news. What do you think would be different if young people, singles, and couples in distress knew this good news?
We think this information is huge. It supports what we see in our Passionate Intimacy workshop and in our counseling practice. Great marriages are possible, and it doesn’t take massive changes. Start small and the results could be greater than you may imagine.
We encourage you to:
1. Educate yourself.
2. Share the hope.
- When you hear someone quoting the myths, enlighten them.
- Start a conversation… “did you hear…?”
If you would like us to help you make changes in your marriage, give us a call.