Most of us who are neck deep in the evangelical subculture have heard the alarming statistics that the divorce rate among "born again Christians" is as high or higher than the divorce rate among the more secular.
In an interview on women and marriage in Christianity Today, sociologist Brad Wilcox says this:
This idea that Christians are just as likely to divorce as secular folks is not correct if we factor church attendance into our thinking. Churchgoing evangelical Protestants, churchgoing Catholics, and churchgoing mainline Protestants are all significantly less likely to divorce.
When asked how much less likely these people are to divorce, Wilcox says:
I estimate between 35 and 50 percent less likely than Americans who attend church just nominally, just once or twice a year, or who don't attend church at all. It is true that people who say they've had a born-again experience are about as likely to divorce as people who are completely secular. But if you look at this through the lens of church attendance, you see a very different story.
The bottom line for Wilcox is that, statistically speaking, church-going evangelicals tend to have far more stable marriages than the more alarmist figures indicate. Of course, this doesn't negate the troubles of divorce when it does happen, but it does show that the marriage picture among church-goers is a little more rosy than we might think.
My only comment to add is that a vital faith seems to be the sine qua non of stable Christian marriages. The most stable marriages aren't necessarily those where the couple has read all of the Christian books on marriage, gone to all of the marriage seminars and retreats and learned all the techniques. It's where Jesus Christ is the dominating factor of their lives and where His grace permeates the relationship. Because of that, I think technique-based marital counseling (i.e. the typical stuff that comes across in most books and seminars on communication, understanding, sex, etc.) is only of limited usefulness. Jesus has to be the dominating factor of all of life for the parties to be able to practice the self-denial and show the grace that makes a marriage work.
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