MYTH BUSTED! Christians Actually Far Less Likely to Divorce

This is a game-changer. Talk about “an old wives’ tale.” You’ve heard it said that 1) 50 percent of all marriages end in divorce, 2) most marriages that do happen to make it are, nonetheless, unhappy, and 3) Christians are just as likely to divorce as non-believers.

These claims, long understood to be research-based facts, never quite sat right with me. Still, admittedly, while these assertions do swim upstream against the flow of both our common sense and our common experience, we have, nevertheless, accepted them (present company included) as valid because – well, you know, because “social science …”

As it turns out, your gut was right. It’s all nonsense – urban legend of a sort, propagated, most likely, by the same post-moderns who, today, seek to similarly undermine the God-designed institution of legitimate man-woman marriage by redefining it into oblivion.

Shaunti Feldhahn is a Harvard-trained researcher and author. In her recently released book, The Good News About Marriage: Debunking Discouraging Myths about Marriage and Divorce, Feldhahn details groundbreaking findings from an extensive eight-year study on marriage and divorce. Among other things, her research found:
— 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.

In an interview with CBN News, Feldhahn shared that, like most of us, she had swallowed the anti-marriage propaganda hook, line and sinker. She believed, “that most marriages are unhappy and 50 percent of them end in divorce, even in the church.”

The CBN story continues:

“I didn’t know. … I’ve stood up on stage and said every one of these wrong statistics.”

Then eight years ago, she asked assistant Tally Whitehead for specific research on divorce for an article she was writing. After much digging, neither of them could find any real numbers.

“That kicked off a personal, years-long crusade to dig through the tremendously complicated, sometimes contradictory research to find the truth.

“First-time marriages: probably 20 to 25 percent have ended in divorce on average,” the study revealed. “Now, OK, that’s still too high, but it’s a whole lot better than what people think it is,” Feldhahn added.

CBN noted, “[T]he 50 percent figure came from projections of what researchers thought the divorce rate would become as they watched the divorce numbers rising in the 1970s and early 1980s when states around the nation were passing no-fault divorce laws.”

So, in other words, and I wish I could say I long suspected this, the 50-percent divorce figure is simply a myth based upon decades-old (and woefully inaccurate) speculation. As it turns out, the shelf-life for marriages in the U.S. has taken a sharp turn for the better since the 1970s and ’80s.

“‘But the divorce rate has been dropping,’ Feldhahn said. ‘We’ve never hit those numbers [the 50 percent figure]. We’ve never gotten close.’”

“And it’s even lower among churchgoers, where a couple’s chance of divorcing is more likely in the single digits or teens,” added CBN.

Additionally, the study determined that four-out-of-five marriages are happy. “That number flies in the face of the popular belief that only about 30 percent of marriages are happy.”

“ ‘Most people think most marriages are just kind of “eeh” … just kind of rolling along,’ observed Feldhahn. “And they’re shocked when I tell them that the actual average is 80 percent: 80 percent of marriages are happy.”

“‘The studies show that if they stay married for five years, that almost 80 percent of those will be happy five years later,’ she concluded.”

Still, of the study’s many myth-busting revelations, the fact I found most interesting (and instructive) was this: Of all marriages, Christian marriages prove the most durable.

‘The Good News About Marriage also reveals the divorce rate among those active in their church is 27 to 50 percent lower than among non-churchgoers,’ ” noted the report.
“Feldhahn’s hope is that once people learn the truth that they will spread it far and wide.”

“‘This is a great chance,’ she said, ‘to stand up and say. We were all fooled. Not anymore.’”

Indeed, “Fool me once …” and all that.

I’ve covered it before. Here’s what marriage is: the God-ordained, lifelong, covenantal union between man and wife, designed to provide men, women and children optimal stability and overall well-being. Marriage is that biologically, spiritually and morally centered institution calculated to ensure responsible procreation and perpetuate the human race. Marriage, real marriage, represents the fundamental cornerstone of any healthy society (any society that hopes to survive, at least).

Here’s what marriage is not: Anything else.

In short… Keep Reading the Rest @: Flash: Christians Actually Far Less Likely to Divorce

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Matt Barber

About the author, Matt Barber: Matt Barber is founder and editor-in-chief of BarbWire.com and an attorney concentrating in constitutional law. In addition to his law degree, Matt holds a Master of Arts in Public Policy from Regent University. Matt is both an author and a popular columnist. He’s known for a unique writing style (an entertaining blend of thoughtful analysis and Swiftian satire, delivered with a rapier wit). Many newspapers and online publications run Matt’s columns, to include WND, TheBlaze, the Washington Times, TownHall and many more. Author of the book, “The Right Hook: From the Ring to the Culture War,” Matt is currently penning his first novel. In addition to frequent public speaking engagements, Matt has appeared as a cultural analyst on the Fox News Channel, MSNBC and CNN and is a regular guest on dozens of talk radio programs and networks including Michael Savage, the G. Gordon Liddy Show, Dennis Prager, the Michael Medved Show, the Janet Mefferd Show and others. Matt also co-hosts “Faith and Freedom” a daily legal and cultural issues talk radio program heard on about 90 stations across the country. Matt served twelve years in the Army National Guard, was a law enforcement officer for three years and a corporate fraud investigator for five years. Setting him apart from others in his various fields, Matt was an undefeated heavyweight professional boxer retiring in 2004. Prior to turning pro, he was a several time state and regional Golden Gloves champion, competing in the 1992 Western Olympic Trials and winning a Gold Medal in the 1993 Police and Fire World Games. View all articles by Matt Barber

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