In her book, The Good News About Marriage, author Shaunti Feldhahn reveals some interesting stats she uncovered about marriage and divorce that counter the perception most marriages are doomed to fail.
Feldhahn says this type of information is important because she believes most marriages fail because people are convinced divorce is not only inevitable, but almost expected.
She says there is a culture of “futility” about marriage and this causes people to not fight through hard times that invariably come in a marriage.
In an interview with Christian Post, Feldhahn said:
“A subconscious sense of futility about marriage is everywhere, as everything we hear says marriage is in trouble.
“In all my own research with individual and couples for my book like For Women Only I kept seeing that whether a couple ‘made it through’ a tough time was directly tied to whether they had a sense of hope or a sense of futility.
If someone thought ‘we’re going to make it,’ it was a completely different situation than once they started to think ‘this is never going to get better.’ So the sense of futility was killing marriages — and yet, I noticed we have a culture-wide feeling of futility about marriage. Everyone thinks of marriage as being ‘in trouble.”
Basically, people give up on marriage because of the overriding perception that marriages are destined to fail. The popular media throws out such facts as:
- 50% of marriages will end in divorce
- 60% of re-marriages will end in divorce
- That the divorce rate in the church is the same as the world — 50%
However, the truth is much different.
Feldhahn reported on stats from the 2009 US census that showed 72% of the people surveyed were still married to their first spouse. And the remaining 28% included people who had lived with their spouse until he or she died.
She also took a second look at the numbers that showed Christians have similar divorce rates as non-Christians. She specifically looked at the numbers provided by the Barna survey group that showed 50% of Christians divorce.
Feldhahn was a bit suspicious of the numbers, because Christian in this survey was self-determined — people stated they were Christian.
Wanting put some teeth into people’s statement of faith, she asked Barna to recalculate the divorce rates for people who said they attended church the previous week.
In these reworked numbers, people were not just saying they were Christian, they were actually participating in their Christianity.
By simply adding this qualifier, the divorce rate dramatically dropped from 50% to 27%. People who are active participants in their Christian faith have nearly half the divorce rates.
Personally, these statistics shocked me. Like most I had no idea nearly three-quarters of people were still married to their first spouse. Like everyone else, I was convinced marriage was on the rocks.
So why was I believing these lies?
In 2 Corinthians 4:4, the Apostle Paul writes:
In whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (NASV)
In this verse Paul states that Satan has blinded the minds of men to the message of the Gospel. The Greek word for blind used in this verse “tuphloo” is derived from the word “tuph” which provides insight into the process. The word “tuph” means “to burn” or “smoke.”
I am sure most of us have had our eyes filled with smoke from an open fire and we have experienced the burning and blindness that comes with that. The smoke also prevents us from clearly seeing what is going on. Our vision is hindered.
The word refers to external processes that cause the blinding. Satan is the one throwing up the smoke.
But whatever the case, it distorts our perception of reality and we believe a lie.