Growing up, I heard lots of disturbing news about marriage, most of it from inside the church walls. I was told that marriage was hard, and the divorce rate in America was around 50%. What was even more startling to me was when I heard the divorce rate in the church was similar to the divorce rate for those outside the church. Divorce almost felt inevitable, even for Christ-followers.
These statistics seemed odd to me as a Christian. If God can move mountains, and following Jesus could change our broken hearts, then how were so many Christians getting divorced and living lives similar to a world of unbelievers? Where was the distinction? Why weren’t Christians acting differently? I mean, if God hates divorce, then why are so many of His followers getting divorced? That doesn’t seem right — because it wasn’t.
Years ago, I came across a book that set the record straight and provided some encouraging news about marriage. Author Shaunti Feldhahn’s book is aptly titled The Good News About Marriage.
In the book, Shaunti dispels several myths about marriage and divorce. In her research, she shows that the divorce rate in America has never been close to 50%, and even more important, she reported that the divorce rate is significantly less for those who are active in the church. In fact, her research shows that a couple who attends church together is 27% less likely to end up divorced than a couple who doesn’t. This is a message that needs to be shared with others.
Every so often, I have the privilege of performing weddings for couples. In the premarital sessions, I share advice for having a great marriage, but I save the best advice for the wedding day for everyone to hear. During the ceremony, I explain to the bride and the groom that the most important relationship in their marriage is not with each other but with God. I go on to explain that their marriage is best represented by a triangle. The bride and groom are at the base, and God is at the top. As they individually grow closer to God, they inevitably grow closer to each other. The truth is that having faith in God works wonders for your marriage.
Does your marriage need some work? Do the best days seem like they are in the past? All hope is not lost. We serve a God who can redeem all things, including marriages. If you’re wondering where to begin, I would encourage you to get back into church and focus on your relationship with God. As you grow closer to Christ, you may find yourself growing closer to your spouse.