Jump directly to the content
Restoring Our Faith in Marriageandrewmorrell / Flickr

Restoring Our Faith in Marriage


Aug 20 2014
Despite our negativity, most couples aren’t doomed for divorce.

So what are the real overall divorce rates? I believe the best measure comes from a 2009 study from the Census Bureau, which shows that 71 percent of once-married women (and 81 percent of men) are still married to their first spouse! Plus, the 29 percent who aren’t still married includes those who have been widowed! Based on the rates of widowhood and other factors, we can estimate that somewhere around 20 to 25 percent of first marriages have ended in divorce. Even among the highest-risk group – baby boomers – seven in ten are still married to their first spouse. They’ve had 30 years’ worth of chances to get divorced, and are still together.

While any amount of divorce is still too high, knowing that the overwhelming majority of marriages last a lifetime is great news that needs to be a part of our conventional understanding and everyday conversation around marriage.

Second Marriages Aren’t Doomed, Either

Nearly everyone who is on their second marriage has heard that outcomes are even worse after their first marriage, that 60 percent (or more) of second marriages end in divorce. Talk about a discouraging, self-fulfilling prophesy! Yet that statistic appears to be a pure urban legend. Encouragingly, the same 2009 Census shows that 65 percent of women who have remarried are still married to their second spouse – and again, the remaining 35 percent who aren’t includes widows. The second marriage divorce rate is probably closer to 30 percent. These numbers should give great hope to anyone who finds themselves “single again” or marrying for the second time.

I recently joined the advisory board of ChristianMingle, which also reports encouraging news for parents looking to remarry. A fascinating study done by the group revealed that 74 percent of singles would probably or definitely marry someone who has children from a previous relationship.

Marriage and the Church

We also need to debunk the often-repeated adage that “the rate of divorce is the same in the church.” When I looked at a host of studies, and partnered with Barna to re-run their numbers to include church attendance, it is clear that people who actually attend church have a drastically lower divorce rate – about 25-50 percent lower! – compared to those who don’t.

Related Topics:Divorce; Family; Marriage

To add a comment you need to be a registered user or Christianity Today subscriber.

orSubscribeor
More from Her.menutics
Clothing Manufacturing Gets a Makeover

Clothing Manufacturing Gets a Makeover

A Christian-owned company in Nepal works to empower, not exploit.
Shared Savior, Split Traditions

Shared Savior, Split Traditions

Why I try to be generous to Christians who see some important things differently.
A Hidden Opportunity in Your Church

A Hidden Opportunity in Your Church

How Christ-centered hospitality can help families affected by autism.
With Children in Foxholes

With Children in Foxholes

Dodging election season airstrikes with Sudan's most vulnerable.
Include results from Christianity Today
Browse Archives:

So Hot Right Now

Finding My Place in The Gospel Coalition

Where do women belong in complementarian organizations?

What We're Reading

CT eBooks and Bible Studies

Christianity Today
Restoring Our Faith in Marriage