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 …”
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.”
“‘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 that “[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 and for Christians it is even lower. Read More: http://www.westernjournalism.com/flash-christians-actually-far-less-likely-divorce/