This morning as I was sitting at my desk waiting for my first counseling appointment, I researched marriage statistics online. It is interesting that one of the top Google hits is the United States Center for Disease Control page. While I have no idea why the CDC pops up in a search for marriage statistics, I do know that divorce can have similarities to a disease, maybe even to an epidemic.
The statistics show that 2,118,000 people will marry this year. This means that this year 6.8 out of 1,000 people will stand together before some official person and commit to spend their lives together as husband and wife. Statistics also show that 3.6 out of every 1,000 people this year will stand in front of a judge and end their marriage. Based on those numbers, about 53 percent of all marriages will end in divorce. As a result, we often hear these words: “The divorce rate among Christians is no better than that of non-Christians.” As someone who values marriage and believes in it with everything I have, those words are tough to swallow.
Next I searched online for divorce statistics for Christian couples, and I expected the worst. My first click exceeded my expectations as I read an article claiming that divorces are more common among conservative religious people than any other group of people. As I clicked to look at other articles, I finally found some things that lifted the dark clouds.
My search led me to the work of Shaunti Feldhahn, a social researcher trained at Harvard. According to her statistics, 53 percent of very happy couples agree that God is at the center of their marriage. Feldhahn writes, “Highly happy couples tend to put God at the center of their marriage and focus on Him, rather than on their marriage or spouse, for fulfillment and happiness” (The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages. Colorado Springs: Multnomah Books, 2013, 178). Feldhahn’s words provided the bright spot I was looking for. Her research corroborates my experience as a Christian marriage counselor. If God is at the center of a marriage, the chance of having a marriage that not only survives but actually thrives is immensely increased. God-centered marriages can knock the wind out of divorce statistics!
The key to a lasting marriage is not rocket science. The formula is pretty simple: one husband + one wife + God = Awesome Marriage. Sure, it takes work. Sure, it is not always easy. Yet the results can last a lifetime.
In my new book 7 Secrets to an Awesome Marriage we look at seven things that can reroute your marriage from a potential train wreck to a lasting relationship you cherish. Isn’t that what you really want? If it is, what’s keeping you from taking that first step?