Christian marriage only experiences catastrophic failure 38% of the time!

Actually they had to cherry pick to get the number so good (H/T Kate):

The various findings on religion and divorce hinge on what kind of Christians are being discussed.

Wright combed through the General Social Survey, a vast demographic study conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, and found that Christians, like adherents of other religions, have a divorce rate of about 42%. The rate among religiously unaffiliated Americans is 50%.

When Wright examined the statistics on evangelicals, he found worship attendance has a big influence on the numbers. Six in 10 evangelicals who never attend had been divorced or separated, compared to just 38% of weekly attendees.

Even better, Glenn T. Stanton from the Baptist Press:

THE TAKE-AWAY

The divorce rates of Christian believers are not identical to the general population — not even close. Being a committed, faithful believer makes a measurable difference in marriage.

…Faith does matter and the leading sociologists of family and religion tell us so.

Really?  That is the take away?  I can only imagine the reaction if Glenn T. Stanton found that something important failed 38% of the time.

Marriage as an institution won’t survive with a 38% failure rate, let alone a church which sees a 38% divorce rate as something to brag about.

This entry was posted in Church Apathy About Divorce, Data, Foolishness, Glenn Stanton. Bookmark the permalink.

50 Responses to Christian marriage only experiences catastrophic failure 38% of the time!

  1. Paige says:

    It is a curious phenomenon that couples that have no particular spiritual beliefs and therefore no accountability to a Higher Power would have a divorce rate very similar to those who believe in such things as a Judgment and Eternal Damnation.

  2. Brendan says:

    There’s also a conflation of chickens and eggs going on.

    Many Christians who have troubled marriages stop attending church because they get no support for themselves in church. This is especially true of men, but can also be true of women as well. The article assumes a cause and effect (i.e., lack of attendance results in marital decline) that is often actually operating in the reverse (marital decline results in lack of attendance).

  3. Days of Broken Arrows says:

    I can tell you why this is. It’s because a lot of Christians think that virtually no matter what they do, they’ll be “forgiven” by the lord, just because they’re Christian. That school of thought seems to be coming from an increasingly liberal “interpretation” of the New Testament….and, more importantly, from religious leaders who would rather gladhandle to their congregation$ than lead them.

    I’ve had twice-divorced Christian women tell me on several occasions they “knew” they were in the lord’s good standing, while their never-divorced friends weren’t because they didn’t identify publicly as Christian.

  4. Dan in Philly says:

    “I hate Divorce” – God (Malachi)

    Kind of hard to believe you’re “right with God” and also be ok with bringing about the end of a marriage. The bible allows divorce in a very few cases, generally when a non-believing spouse leaves, you are allowed, though not required, to let the go. I guess by that standard I’m ok with my own divorce on my record, and ok that I remarried.

    Otherwise, a divorce is the same as living in adultury, which is forgivable but first requires repentance and a rejection of continuing the lifestyle of adultury. Where many modern christians get mixed up is assuming they can acheive forgiveness without first repenting of their sin, and repenting isn’t just feeling bad about it, it’s taking action to either reconcile the marriage, or if that’s no longer an option, living single.

  5. Lovekraft says:

    There are likely dozens of possible reasons why a couple divorces, some in combination with another. And religion is simply one of them.

    But in and of itself, a couple that adopts a religion may have a harder time because they put it upon themselves to live up to a higher standard, compared to the SWPL new age moral relativists who appear content, but are living shallow lives.

  6. Hmmm. I wonder who the “religiously unaffiliated” are. Atheists? Others who are significantly less likely than the religiously affiliated to wed in the first place? Ya kinda have to be married in order to be divorced.

    Also, I’d like to see the data fleshed out by income. Atheists and other irreligious people tend to be weathier than the religious…and we know that money has an impact on dissolution rates.

    All that said, it’s pretty bad when being a weekly church-going Evangelical only buys you a 10% lower probability of failure. With numbers like that, it’s almost “why bother?” It also means that those of us who counsel our brothers to seek brides within the Church should think twice before doing so.

    I’m not Catholic because I can’t stand the RCC’s penchance for idolatrous Marianism and praying to saints and all that, but there is certainly something to be said for a certain sort of theological rigidity that says “this far and no further”. Less opportunity for man-the-rationalizing-animal to wander off the religious reservation.

    As a pro-marriage, church-going Evangelical MRA, I’m quite saddened by this news.

  7. CSPB says:

    Could someone explain to me how 4 out of 10 is “not even close” to 5 out of 10?

    I need to understand this the next time I get pulled over for speeding. I’m not sure how convicing I can be to the officer when I tell him that going 12 mph over the speed limit is “not even close” to going 15 mph over the speed limit. Move along… nothing to see here!

    Or if caught stealing, a Christian should explain that it was only $4,000 which is “not even close” to the $5,000 that a non-Christian would steal. Move along… nothing to see here!

    Wow, I am beginning to see the usefulness in such “not even close” logic!

  8. dragnet says:

    Would you get on a plane that had a 38 percent chance of crashing?

    Neither would I.

  9. Best Lady says:

    Failure is can be avoided or at least mitigated by way of counseling and education. Couples should create time to regularly attend marriage conferences and workshops to enhance their knowledge while learning from others. If you are too busy, get a radio program or a book to keep you informed. I subscribed to this magazine and its been helpful.

  10. Dan in Philly says:

    Though some have a good cause to be jaded about marriage, I think dragnet’s comment goes too far. Marriage is a journey which has a 38% chance of crashing, but consider the alternative. Sex becoming harder and harder to attain, especially for women but yes, for men as well. No adult children visiting, caring for you in you old age, bringing grandchildren to find delight in. Sleeping alone, more and more. Lonliness crippling you, depressing you. Not having that best friend to talk to every night and share vacations with, to life your life out with.

    Some people are cut out for the single life, but I am not. I was single for a couple of years between spouses and it was beyond a doubt the most miserable experience I have ever been through, worse than my divorce (or rather, it was the worst part of my divorce). So to me, it’s not a 38% chance of crashing, but rather a 62% chance of getting to Hawaaii rather than staying in dreary Wyoming for the rest of my life. Is there a risk of getting hurt? Sure, which is why a smart man will improve the odds as much as possible (going to church, gaming the wife, etc). But even if it ends badly, the journey is worth the pain (IMHO), and given the good odds that you will, indeed, live happily ever after (I’m aware of the irony, please don’t pile on), it’s to me a risk well worth taking.

  11. JG says:

    Wow, being committed to marrying a fellow believer and regular church attendance lessens my chances of divorce to ‘only’ 38% Praise the Lord!

    /sarcasm off

    That 38% divorce rate is troublesome to God, I’m quite sure.

    Dan, not to hijack the thread but my singleness was caused in no small part because of ‘church’, much of which was comprised of feminist feelings-oriented tripe with far less relevance to the real world than they believed. All they wanted was their emotional high and self-justification for their unGodly lifestyles lived during the week.

    I sincerely hope you find what you’re looking for. With the rare exception of a handful of Christian couples, I’ve almost never seen what you describe as your desirable relationship in my lifetime. And thanks to f’d-up Christian feminist teachings and a feminist mother who did what she could to destroy me as a person, I won’t have those things.

  12. Ecclesiastes says:

    Whoa. How long ago was it that I wrote Dr. Laura about this? 1994? I remember taking a long think on the issue of marriage.

    I am in favor of homosexual marriage. I’m in favor of polygamy and polyandry. In fact I am in favor of marriage without *any* limits on race, religion, gender, number, consanguinity, or age ( specifically minority ). The only reason I don’t include species is that it clouds my point. I wanted marriage to replace the sub chapter S corporation, but now I think replacing Limited Liability Companies ( LLCs ) would be better.

    Centuries ago, religion allowed temporal authorities to assume administration of marriage. Since, at the time, royalty needed the sanction of the church, I’m sure it seemed like a good deal.

    Now, the civil concept of marriage as ‘contract’ has supplanted the Christian one of ‘union’. It was inevitable.

    Really. Haven’t you noted what kind of marriage homosexuals and Feminists want? They don’t want Hindu marriage where the bride is incinerated on the husband’s pyre. They don’t want Roman Catholic marriage without *any* divorce, ever ( as practiced in Ireland, say ). Homosexuals certainly don’t want Islamic nikkah when they’d be stoned to death before the agreement was sealed, nor do the Feminists want its assignment of the power of divorce and child custody to be solely that of the husband.

    Let’s be honest, it’s just business anymore.

    We should let it go.

    Christians need to step up and take their responsibilities seriously. How many of us heard the words from the front of the ceremony that the congregation – by attendance and assembly – had accepted the charge to support the couple in their vows? Please tell me I’m not the only one.

    We need a new word for the concept of ‘Christian union’, one that we will commit to.

    Now, the ‘wedding’ is a show, like vaudeville but with romance, a sham and a shame. It shouldn’t be permitted to occur in a Christian church in its present form. Better that the minister have each and every invitee stand and demand his or her objections than to let a weak union be made. Better still would be to make each invitee account for every ‘wedding’ s/he had attended which ended in divorce, every failure of the invitee’s support.

    It’s something to think about.

  13. POWinCA says:

    I disagree. Marriage is HARD. In the past, many failed marriages were held together by the duct tape of social and familial pressure. This only cemented a lifelong purgatory of mutual unhappiness.

    Many people who divorce never should have married in the first place – and worse, they knew it at the time they got married! So why did they get married anyway? Fear of backing out. Fear of canceling the celebration. Fear of being seen as fearful and flaky.

    When a couple in an unhappy marriage decides to get a divorce, it can either be as a result of some last straw that erupts into angry words, or it can be a responsible, adult conversation. In either case, the first emotion is RELIEF. After that, there will be other emotions, but eventually those dissipate.

    A 38% failure rate is not abysmal. Many of those people make rational choices and move on to successful relationships. At least some of the remaining 62% are unhappy, but won’t divorce anyway, usually out of a sense of shame. I consider those marriages a bigger failure than the 38%.

    Of course marriage as an institution can survive an approximately 40% failure rate. It may just be the case that our concept of that institution is inherently flawed. Perhaps we enter into marriage too easily, for the wrong reasons, and with inflated expectations. IMO, marriage counseling is a sham. Pre-marriage counseling is worthwhile. It will bring expectations in line with reality, and explore the real intentions of the couple.

    Perhaps we get divorced too late, when the daily misery has become so unbearable that permanent negative emotions are attached to the other person and to marriage in general.

    First, I think ALL marriages should have a pre-nuptial agreement. The parties should be FORCED to confront, up front, the most common issues which lead to divorce. Talk about it, put it in writing, and find agreement. You can’t foresee and discuss every problem, but you can get the most important ones out of the way.

    Second, perhaps the marriage contract shouldn’t be permanent – but temporary and renewable. Therefore, it will take mutual assent at each renewal to continue. You won’t have to give any reasons or excuses or beg for a divorce – all you have to do is NOT SIGN.

    Let’s stop pretending that ancient “institutions” with an archaic basis of property rights, uniting of clans, and the inability of women to support themselves should guide modern marriages. Church and state promoted and locked-in marriage as a function of preserving the power of the elites and to populate the land with workers, taxpayers, tithers, worshippers, and soldiers. We no longer live in a land where church and state are one. Government’s only place in the marriage business should be the enforcement of the marital contract. Religion may maintain it as a blessed sacrament running parallel to the civil contract.

    Make it harder to get married. Make it easier to divorce. Take away all monetary and social incentives. Make the intention to marry as pure as the driven snow. Most importantly, talk about the major issues before they become issues, and have a plan to work them out.

    I don’t care who can quote what from some obscure book of unknown origin and questionable as the Word of God: God did NOT intend for his children to live in a state of perpetual unhappiness. He knows and accepts that we make mistakes, he forgives us for our mistakes, and he expects us to do what will make us free and happy.

    If a couple recognizes they made a mistake and make the loving, Christian decision that divorce is the healthiest decision, with peaceful separation and amicable cooperation for the division of property and the care of children, then that is God’s delight. The alternative is carrying hatred in your heart for the person you are confined to, regardless of whether you publicly air that feeling or not.

    “Hypocrisy” is pretending to be pious or virtuous without actually being so. There are many married Christians who are hypocrites every continuing day of their married lives when they do not possess the virtue of eternal, undying love for their spouse. That is not something you just ignore, and not something you simply will back into existence!

    [D: I’ll quote part of this in an upcoming post.]

  14. Badger says:

    Haley ripped Glenn Stanton on a different issue earlier this week. Guy can’t catch a break.

  15. Dan in Philly says:

    JG, I’m sorry to hear you had such a bad experience in “church” as you put it, however remember God isn’t a particular church any more than good is a particular resturaunt. You go somewhere to be nourished, and maybe you get food poisioning. Does this mean food is not good for you? Does it mean you will never eat out again? Though God tempers things, churches are still run by men (hopefully not women) and therefore are imperfect.

    In a similar way, God made marriage between a man and a woman as she helps him meet God (helpmeet is a good translation of Eve’s first description). People being people, we keep screwing things up, but the model isn’t what’s wrong, just the specific people who sometimes participate in it.

    My wife and I try, and often succeed, in following where God leads. When we fail, we usually realize it’s not because He gave us bad instructions, but rather because we followed them imperfectly. Such is the human condition, but listening to Him on love and marriage is better than the alternative.

  16. Brendan says:

    consider the alternative. Sex becoming harder and harder to attain, especially for women but yes, for men as well. No adult children visiting, caring for you in you old age, bringing grandchildren to find delight in. Sleeping alone, more and more. Lonliness crippling you, depressing you. Not having that best friend to talk to every night and share vacations with, to life your life out with.

    That is a ridiculously negative way of portraying this, Dan. It’s quite possible for men to lead happy, fulfilling lives without being married. It has to do with one’s disposition, however. If you are the type of man who is absolutely miserable without the company of a woman, then, yes, as Paul says, you (if you are a Christian) ought to marry, otherwise you will burn with lust and it will probably destroy you. However, there are others who are not quite so consumed with this overarching need, to be honest.

    When I was younger, before I married, I felt not so much lonely as under social pressure to be married by a certain time (let’s call it the late 20s around 30 timeframe). After my divorce, I felt no burning desire to have the company of a woman, either, to be honest. I do have a very close girlfriend now, but she was someone I happened upon, rather than someone I was searching for to avoid a doomed life of lonely gloom or anything of the sort.

  17. Dan in Philly says:

    Brendan, well said. I totally agree that there are many who would be fine without such a life partner and the life that accompanies a marriage. In many ways, such are able to be extremely productive in ways a married man cannot. However I tend to think those who disparage marriage are not generally on that mind, but rather (from my experience) have not thought through the implications of their decisions.

    Much like a young lady interested in only fun might not think through the consequenses of putting off family and children until it’s too late, a man might make the same mistake. The good part is men have a little bit longer to change their minds than women, but a total rejection of a married life in favor of a hedonistic one is, in my experience and to my way of thinking, a poor decision which will be regretted by honest men in the long run.

  18. Default User says:

    One thing to consider is that all couples live in the same secular world with the same pressures and temptations (and lack of support against them).

    Just because Christian practice fails to inoculate against marriage failure does not mean a more Christian society would.

    As Brendan pointed out, many churches have adopted views and habits that may not support marriage (e.g., unreciprocated chivalry, empowerment, etc.)

    [D: Just to be clear, I’m not arguing against Christianity. I’m taking the church to task for not caring about the institution of marriage. Some Christians clearly get it, but they seem to get it despite the church, not because of it.]

  19. Anonymous Protestant says:

    Elusive Wapiti, “unaffiliated” could include people within such churches as the Unitarians, various Bible churches, people who are perpetually “shopping”, as well as Deists of all sorts, pagans and so forth. You know, the people who have some vague belief in “a god”, but who don’t want the God of Abraham telling them anything they don’t want to hear.

    (While I agree with your objections to Roman Catholicism, let’s try to keep them to ourselves out of politeness to the host of the blog. We don’t need to discuss theology here; it’s like arguing over politics while the neighborhood houses are on fire.)

    It would be interesting if the study were broken down better, both in terms of denominations and in terms of practice. For example, I’d expect that people in the Episcopalian church, which has broken down terribly, are not going to fret much about whether God cares about divorce or not. For another example, I wonder how many of the people who go to various storefront churches such as the Vineyard and other outreach really make a practice of reading Scripture and learning from it.

    For another example, lots of people who attend church a few times a year (Christmas, Easter, a couple other) consider themselves religious and even members of a church. But let’s face it, that’s not much protection against the ways of the world. Weekly attendance at services ought to be considered the minimum, just for a start. If the data were broken down in terms of just attendance, we might learn something.

    I’m thinking that people who attend church / mass weekly, who make an effort to learn the beliefs of their church and understand the “whys”, are less likely to be in danger of divorce. While those who perpetually church-shop, who attend monthly or less often, who don’t really have a grasp of the Gospel beyond “God loves me” (really? Sure about that?) are pretty much secularized and therefore not likely to have a divorce rate any different than the main culture.

  20. Ecclesiastes says:

    D: Just to be clear, I’m not arguing against Christianity. I’m taking the church to task for not caring about the institution of marriage. Some Christians clearly get it, but they seem to get it despite the church, not because of it.

    Then you and I are in agreement on the problem.

  21. Twenty says:

    @POWinCA

    You won’t have to give any reasons or excuses or beg for a divorce – all you have to do is …

    Uhm … that’s the law now. Unilateral, no-fault divorce. All 50 states. Look it up.

  22. dream puppy says:

    Let’s also not forget that there is a constant assault on conservative peoples via media, academia, politics. This is very powerful. We all have a very strong need to be accepted.

    Conservative people, especially those that look down on divorce are portrayed as stuffy bigots. American society eschews all judgement, even in cases where there is clear right and wrong. American society rewards bad decisions.

    If people are encouraged to follow their basic urges they will very clearly give up on marriage when it ceases to be pleasurable for them. We are a society that does not handle hardship well because we are not encouraged or incentivized to act responsibly.

  23. dream puppy says:

    Also, a lot of churches want to cater to the society writ large, meaning a big happy loving “NO JUDGEMENTS, man” type of atmosphere.

    Whereas The Church used to act as a place that demanded good behavior and set rules and consequences, now it is just another place for us to go to “feel good” and nurture our ever growing narcissistic tendencies.

  24. dream puppy says:

    I am Catholic but was once dragged to one of those Protestant abominations known as “Assemblies of God.” They are becoming increasingly popular with the American populous and also abroad.

    This is a picture of the pastor: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3631/3326088452_9ab88169b7.jpg

    The name of the church is “Potential Church”: http://potentialchurch.com/about

    ‘Potential’ pushes us to hope, it pushes us to our future and helps us live out our mission to partner with people to reach their God Potential!” – Pastor Troy Gramling

    Here is the fickr stream if you want to subject your eyes to more punishment.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/35939044@N05/

    I am not surprised why this namby pamby self esteem no judgement bullshit is catching on with a weak, ignorant, platitudes obsessed public. We are a completely un-serious people, obsessed with the ‘self’ and with our own base needs. This church makes me hate humanity in a way I cannot properly describe. It is an abomination and an insult to God and general decency. This is not what Constantine The Great had in mind.

    When your “pastor” wears Ed Hardy shirts and has highlights can we really be surprised that Christians don’t take marriage seriously?

  25. hateful little turd says:

    If people would read their bible instead of trying to get the cliff notes from church, they would realize that god does not really love them and that hea hates most of the world. There are none righteous, no not one. Every time you or any one fails at any thing god told them to do you incur gods wrath, and rightfully so. We all belong in hell

  26. Those are some good statistic, yet tragic. Perhaps the biggest tragedy is that 42% of Christian couples get a divorce.

  27. Counselor says:

    Wow, there is not that much difference between practicing Christians and non religious people. The article is pointing out the difference, yet it seems that it should be more significant than it is.

  28. Anonymous Reader says:

    This doesn’t surprise me, although it contradicts claims made over at Oz Conservative (subject to the usual No True Scotsman game, of course). Considering how feminized many churches are, how politically attuned many churches are it should be no surprise.

    Mother’s day is coming up in May. Pick a church, any variety, go listen to the sermon or homily or what have you. It will be fulsome with praise for mothers and therefore women. Even the single mothers will all but certainly come away feeling good.

    Father’s day is in June some time. Pick the same church, and go listen to the sermon/homily/message. Odds are, it will be full of duty, with a sprinkling of shaming language. Men, married or not, will walk out a bit hangdog if not ashamed of themselves for not living up to the demands made — demands that are always feminine in nature.

    So what we see is basically a feminist message: women have choices, men have duties. Women good, men…not so much. I have no idea how many churches out there are like that. Not many, I hope, but it isn’t that hard to find examples from where I sit.

    So again, from my perspective, this information is not a surprise at all.

  29. Sleeping in together on Sunday morning and having sex together is probably better for your marriage than attending church.

  30. Badger says:

    “Sleeping in together on Sunday morning and having sex together is probably better for your marriage than attending church.”

    It’s bizarre for me to think over how un-useful church life is for building real intersexual skills. My years attending youth ministry did absolutely nothing for my game. There was a lot of talk about how to treat your girl “right” (as if the default male instinct was to beat and rape), and in the young adult circles there’s a lot of fluffy chatter about “the God-centered” marriage, but no talk about basic relationship tactics like what to do if she wants to watch The Notebook and he wants to watch Rocky. Or the importance of dropping your relationship if your SO is a jerk/bitch/pyscho.

    Let alone telling men how to be attractive to women. (Or how to have good sex, they seem to assume you’ll just figure it out if you love each other enough).

    Churches in general are skittish about sex, so I can understand why they don’t want to consider the logical impact of the question “how are men supposed to be good to women if they can’t get a woman to begin with?” That doesn’t mean their piety is doing anybody any good. They’re just breeding a new generation of self-apologetic Nice Guys.

  31. Mac says:

    Churches, by their nature, talk about the Bible and all the references from 2K years ago. That really doesn’t help their members understand how to deal with current divorce law, issues specific to raising family when both parents have careers and work long hours or things like that. I’m an atheist, so I’ll just get that out there. I just don’t see how information from a Church, based on old religious texts, can help modern couples deal with what is needed for a marriage to succeed /currently/.

    I’m not surprised Christian’s get divorced like .. everyone else. They have rates of premarital sex that are impressively close to that of non-Christians. They have rates of STDs that are alarmingly high (the kids going for anal/oral so they can be Pure Virgins [tm]).

    I was surprised to hear the Anon poster that churches would be so down on Dads. That’s terrible. Father’s Day should be all about celebrating that many men in two-income families are now running half the household (which also includes more time child rearing) and how awesome that is. Father’s Day should be about how Dads make a difference to their kids by doing the work to raise them — this includes taking them to the doctor, leaving work because they threw up and arranging childcare when the school has another *&$^ in service day. In the New Testament times, fathers were just not like that and their marriage did not require such participation. Current day? I think it does, and that this is part of the divorce rates.

    I may be an atheist, but raising kids is hard and any time I’m forced to single-Mom it due to my husband travelling it is noticeably hard. I pull in my folks, friends, anything I can. That would match with the support people mentioned when they are regular church goers of the social type and have a network from the church they can rely on. It would temper the hardship when he couldn’t be around to do his share.

    I’m staying married primarily because I really really love my husband (yes on the Sunday sex!). Secondary considerations include knowing that marriage means more than one parent to deal with the house-of-children work. If he didn’t pull his load, do his share, and we both work 40+ hrs a week, then that would change my view of the value he would add.

    And most women (married, with kids) work outside the home for pay. Even in traditional/Christian folks marriages. Marriages without kids are, in my opinion, completely separate things from those with kids.

    Mac

  32. Aslo there is the issue where religious differences end a marriage. Seen it plenty of times when one half of the couple believes a certain aspect of faith that the other doesn’t and the believer cannot stomach the other spouse not believing “correctly.”

    It’s all but impossble to solve marital differences based on religious disagreement. The person who holds the belief always refuses to give up the belief, as to do so would be a betrayal of their faith. Sometimes perfectly functional relationships end when one half of the couple becomes more or less religious than before. A lot can happen over a marriage. Who we are and what we believe at 25, isn’t the same as we are at 30, or 35.

    It’s also very hard to live with being demonized and having you character assassinated by others for not attending church when your wife does. If it goes on long enough, she may start believing the churchly chatter about you as being true. After that, it can get pretty nasty for you pretty quickly.

  33. Helvetica says:

    Here is something to think about, or not. In general I completely agree that there is way too much divorce and acceptance of divorce among Christians, and that churches are way too feminized.

    Having said that, the Christian culture is not uniform across the US. I believe you live in Texas, which is also my native state, believe it or not, but for the last couple decades I have been living in a state that is either the 49th or the 50th in percentage of residents who attend church (depending on which ranking you believe). Being a Christian is doubleplusungood here. You can lose your job if you are too open about it. Ostracism is real.

    I find the South to be full of Christian fakers, if you will (no offense to anyone please). It is socially unacceptable NOT to go to church if you live in the South, and so a lot of people just pretend. As I’m sure you know, Christianity can’t be faked very well, you will fail eventually (heck that is one of the central tenets of the whole religion).

    The church that I go to right now is less feminized and less forgiving of divorce than most (although they still pedestalize women which bothers me some). It is the type of church that is so un-PC around here that the newspapers will print stuff like “Crazy Pastor Says Gambling is Bad” like it is foreign to them (which it is).

    So maybe some of the divorce problem can be blamed on the cultural effect of the South. Just a thought, take it for what it is worth.

  34. Hermit says:

    I’ve been trying to sort through all the statistics on divorce, but it’s incredibly complicated. It seems that many sites contradict themselves without even realizing it. Or they don’t cite sources, or let you know which ones they find more credible. For example

    The divorce rate in America for first marriage, vs second or third marriage
    50% percent of first marriages, 67% of second and 74% of third marriages end in divorce, according to Jennifer Baker of the Forest Institute of Professional Psychology in Springfield, Missouri.

    According to enrichment journal on the divorce rate in America:
    The divorce rate in America for first marriage is 41%
    The divorce rate in America for second marriage is 60%
    The divorce rate in America for third marriage is 73%

    and then

    Almost 49 percent of the marriages end up in divorces

    The divorce rate of first time marriages is almost 10 percent lesser than the divorce rate for second marriages
    Over a 40 year period, 67 percent of first marriages terminate in a divorce…

    A few years back, I had found some reliable statistics, and they were in-line with the 41% of all first-time marriages, 60% of all second(…) stats, but I can’t seem to find them now. I found they really shed light on the situation. I don’t know many people who’ve divorced, but of those that have, most of them were on their second marriage, and had been happily married for many years (20+) and had psycho exes that were on their 4th+ marriage. Interpolate (right word?) that to the Fundie Christian data, and possibly find that only 1/4 or less of all devoted Christians have ever been divorced, and many of those were perhaps a unilateral decision by the less devout spouse.

  35. Dalrock says:

    @Hermit

    I share your frustration with finding good stats on marriage/divorce in general. On divorce rates for first vs second marriage, you might be interested in this NCHS/CDC study from 2002. They break it down by race and duration of the marriage, and have charts for both 1st marriage and 2nd marriage. However, as I mentioned in the post I first shared this data in, the data is significantly older than it appears at first glance.

    I think the fundamental question is why do Christians rely on others to tell them what their own rate of divorce is? They should be measuring this themselves.

  36. Pingback: Everything I Know About Marriage in 200 Words or Less (and related links) | Breathing Grace

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  39. TikkTok says:

    Have a friend, former homeschooling mother (SAHM), the oldest was in high school, the youngest was about to start high school- Christian family, married before children (married 16 years) at the time. She ended up leaving their church, which seemed to have been divided in regards to them. He, as it turns out, was a serial cheater (actually been cheating for something like 7 years) and she found out.

    Seems that most in the church were on his side- after all, “God wanted him to be happy” even though she had not an inkling that he was unhappy or that there was anything wrong with their relationship. They ended up getting divorced; it was long and messy- he hid all the familial money; refused to provide financial information, etc etc etc. Nearly 3 years later, it was over with and he had moved, all the while living with one of his affair partners, who, I believe, he did marry once the divorce was final.

    Family was totally broken- he moved to another state along with the son; she stayed here with the daughter.

    I was amazed at the stance the church took; basically demonizing (yes, this was all from her perspective, and I know there are always two sides to every story) her for making the marriage fail, because clearly, if she had been doing “her duty” as a “wife” her husband would have not strayed. I’m sure there was more to it, but that was her take on it.

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  46. Pingback: Dalrock Repost: Beware Christian marriage doublespeak and hair trigger for wife initiated divorce. « Dating On The Move

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