The belief that one in two marriages end in divorce has been debunked regularly, but still today touted from pulpits and academic broadsides as truth. It is not true and NEVER has been true or statistically factual. Next we heard the one in four marriages end in divorce and that stat also being true in the local church. Is that your experience? I haven’t seen 25% of true believers divorcing. It’s just plain scary to think about marriage in these terms. Would you get on a plane if one in four crashed? What is the truth about divorce statistics?
Shaunti Feldham in her book, The Good News About Marriage found during eight years of research of divorce statistics that the divorce rate overall may be around 31%, but for couples who regularly attend church it drops to 15 to 20%. One pastor she cited tracked 143 couples for 25 years and less than 10% had been divorced. We need to know this because the truth instills faith and gives us hope especially as couples go through rigorous premarital counseling and follow-up with postmarital throughout the first few years. Consider these ten ways to divorce proof your marriage:
- Be committed to accountability and oversight for your marriage to a spiritual leader. Answer to someone(s) outside yourselves.
- Be committed to a local church where you not only receive truth, but where you serve together in ministry.
- Create a marriage mission statement that declares why you are married and what you are called to within marriage. Find your co-mission.
- Never, never, never mention the “D” word = divorce. Decide that divorce is not an option and neither of you will ever consider it.
- Receive marriage counsel as needed. When you run into a roadblock maturely enlist the help of others and admit your faults freely.
- Pray together creating the most intimate communication you can create.
- Create a budget and be committed to follow it so that finances do not come between you. Find the strengths of each of your financial personalities and utilize them to generate unity.
- Know that marriage struggles will serve to strengthen you as you maturely deal with them, rather than avoid or run from them. The deeper the struggle the deeper the growth of your marriage as it is worked through.
- Praise in public and construct in private. Never put your spouse down before others. Speak life to one another and use language that builds one another up rather than criticizing one another.
- Seek God first and become intimate with Him so that He can continually change you. The marriage is not the issue, rather the two people in it are. Change and grow yourself and your marriage will also change.
Finally, my personal bonus: Incorporate the nine most important words in marriage regularly: I am sorry; I was wrong; please forgive me.