"[T]he myth persists that churchgoers divorce at the same rate as everyone else."

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Dave Gilbert's picture

Matthew 19 has a very good lesson on why divorce happens:

" The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? 4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? 6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. 7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? 8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery. 10 His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry. 11 But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given. 12 For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it. "

 

Yes Jim, I agree...shamefully high.

 

 

dmyers's picture

Same reaction.  We're patting ourselves on the back because our rate of divorce is "only" 34%?  That's horrible.  One in three of our church marriages will end in alimony, child support, and (worst) divided custody?  One in three of our church marriages will provide our children with no role model for their own marriages (and even reasons to avoid marriage)?

Question:  society-wide, the statistics are that 70-80% of divorces are initiated by wives.  Does anyone know the statistic for evangelical divorces?  From what I've seen, the ratio of church divorces initiated by wives seems to be at least that high.

Dave Gilbert's picture

I'm not sure of the statistics for "evangelical" Christians, but could this passage apply, even remotely, if such a statistic were true? :O

Ecclesiastes 7:28, " Which yet my soul seeketh, but I find not: one man among a thousand have I found; but a woman among all those have I not found."

 

Could it be that there are less true Christians among women out there than men, which is why more divorces are initiated by wives? Dunno...but I can tell you stories of wives abandoning their husbands for following the Lord...I mean, REALLY following Him.   Sad There are also stories on the flip side, but it seems far less to me.

rogercarlson's picture

Dave,

In my experience, most divorces still are men messing up.  Even when, the wife initiates, most of the time it is due to unfaithfulness or physical abuse on the part of the husband.  I have yet to have a wife leave her husband from following the Lord.  But that being said, I think often there are those who are professing believers, but not real believers.

Roger Carlson, Pastor
Berean Baptist Church

Todd Bowditch's picture

I think the article's point is still valid. We are often quick to use misleading statistics and made-up stories. An informed or intelligent listener will indubitably lose respect for a pastor that consistently uses false or misleading information....whether it is biblical/theological or otherwise.

I personally believe that the high divorce rate in evangelicalism can be attributed to the process by which many evangelical Christians find their spouses at college. I would contend that the average 22-year old is ill-prepared to make major life decisions such as marriage and a career. This is not an excuse for divorce, but I believe it is a mitigating factor that could be avoided by allowing individuals more time to develop as adults.

May Christ Be Magnified - Philippians 1:20 Todd Bowditch

christian cerna's picture

I don't think age has anything to do with divorce. In other countries and in previous generations, people married in their teens. Yet the rate of divorce was much lower. I think people in our generation just don't know what true love is, or more importantly, that marriage is a commitment. Because of fornication prior to marriage, and the fact that a woman can now live easily without a husband thanks to job availability, child support, welfare, etc.. Women especially use any excuse to divorce their husbands. 

It's hard to find women who are like those of previous generations, who were submissive, faithful, and longsuffering. 

rogercarlson's picture

Christian,

And it is equally as hard to find men that are faithful, diligent, and longsuffering. 

Roger Carlson, Pastor
Berean Baptist Church

christian cerna's picture

It's also difficult for young men to find meaningful, well paid, full time work, which is necessary in order for a man to become self sufficient and be able to marry and provide for a family. 

Todd Bowditch's picture

christian cerna wrote:

I don't think age has anything to do with divorce. In other countries and in previous generations, people married in their teens. Yet the rate of divorce was much lower. I think people in our generation just don't know what true love is, or more importantly, that marriage is a commitment. Because of fornication prior to marriage, and the fact that a woman can now live easily without a husband thanks to job availability, child support, welfare, etc.. Women especially use any excuse to divorce their husbands.

It's hard to find women who are like those of previous generations, who were submissive, faithful, and longsuffering.

Age at marriage for those who divorce in America (2011)

   Age                        Women             Men
Under 20 years old       27.6%              11.7%
20 to 24 years old        36.6%              38.8%
25 to 29 years old        16.4%              22.3%
30 to 34 years old         8.5%               11.6%
35 to 39 years old         5.1%                6.5%

Approximately 75% of divorces are from marriages before the age of 30. Something like 55% of divorces are from marriages prior to age 25.
<insert rebuttal comment about correlation and causation>

http://www.divorcerate.org/

May Christ Be Magnified - Philippians 1:20 Todd Bowditch

rogercarlson's picture

Christian,

 

I understand. Up until two years ago, I was under the poverty level ( that is all that the church was able to pay me).  But I have always worked more than one job if necessary.  I am blessed to still pastor that church.  I am also a part time firefighter and chaplain of the department.  I also have a third job as a hospice chaplain.   I am in 15-20 nursing homes a week.  I meet a lot of people from many backgrounds.  What I have seen often are hard working CNA's married or living with guys who do very little.  I can understand not being able to find a job, but these men do nothing.  These ladies will work hard in a nursing home and still do most of the things at home.  I know I am only hearing their side, but then I have also met some of these men and observed that first hand. 

All of this to say, I am observing both men and women being equally as responsible for the family demise.  Obviously, there are times it is tha man and at times it is the women.  But the economy is no excuse for being lazy.  There are MANY who are trying hard to find work, but there are also MANY who no longer have the philosophy that "a check is better than no check."

But we are getting off track.  It is my observation that the divorce rate is fueled by sin by both men and women.

Roger Carlson, Pastor
Berean Baptist Church

Teri Ploski's picture

I can tell you part of the reason why some women initiate divorce.  My now ex left, and refused to give me any support until I filed and forced the issue. I had three children still at home and was relying on his "good" graces to continue to pay the bills and give me enough money so I could feed the kids.  Why are women initiating divorces? Because they have to in order to protect themselves financially. The church certainly doesn't step in and take care of us.  I remember when I filed, I was criticized by a woman in our church.  When I asked her if she was going to financially support us, since my husband wasn't, she immediately shut up.. 

Oh, my ex is a graduate of Cedarville, when it was a college and very involved in several ministries in our church.  He doesn't go anywhere now, to my knowledge. And yes, we married fairly young - 19. We were married 23 years when he left.  He just didn't want to be married to me anymore, and to quote one of the last things he said to me when he walked out - "God will forgive me when I ask him to, I don't care that it's wrong."

christian cerna's picture

It could also be said, that the reason why many divorces are from people 30 years of age or younger, is because that is when a majority of people get married. Since very few people marry for the first time when they are 45, then obviously there will be less divorces from those age groups. Also, the trend now is that many divorcees with kids choose to just move in with someone else who is in a similar situation, avoiding marriage altogether.

Todd Bowditch's picture

christian cerna wrote:

It could also be said, that the reason why many divorces are from people 30 years of age or younger, is because that is when a majority of people get married. Since very few people marry for the first time when they are 45, then obviously there will be less divorces from those age groups. Also, the trend now is that many divorcees with kids choose to just move in with someone else who is in a similar situation, avoiding marriage altogether.

You are indubitably correct that more divorces happen for under 30's because more people get married prior to age 30. I am unable to combat your irrefutable logic. Smile

But seriously, my suggestion is that people would benefit from marrying later in life. The fact that something like 50% of marriages that end in divorce are college-aged people at the time of marriage would seem to lend credence to my opinion...just saying....

May Christ Be Magnified - Philippians 1:20 Todd Bowditch

Ron Bean's picture

Marriage was intended by God to be a permanent relationship. The wedding vows emphasize the fact as they essentially state that these two people are taking a public vow before God and man to stay married to each other no matter what happens! Personally, I won't marry a couple unless they understand that fact and the seriousness of the commitment they are making to each other. I recently had the opportunity to preach on Matthew 19. It's here:http://www.graceofalexandria.org/blog/2013/09/29/its-about-marriage/  In the process of study, it dawned on me that Jesus was not talking about divorce but about the permanence of marriage and how man's sin had affected his plan. Jesus' emphasis on the seriousness of marriage was so strong that it elicited this reaction from the disciples that was translated in an interesting way in The Message. Matthew 19:10 Jesus’ disciples objected, “If those are the terms of marriage, we’re stuck. Why get married?”

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Rob Fall's picture

as noted above, the court filing is made to give the filer some legal protections

  • financial support
  • child custody
  • protective court orders e.g. to stay away from certain places and persons.

Protections which might be unavailable without a divorce.

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

christian cerna's picture

Reason #1 why divorce is so high... It is culturally acceptable. We live in a post-Christian society, and most people think and act according to the secular ideas they have been programmed with through schools, TV, media, etc.

Most people see marriage the way they see dating. They try it out, hoping it will work out. But if it doesn't, then no big deal. They just get a divorce and start seeing other people. People are self-centered. They see their careers and personal goals as the most important thing in life. Everything else comes second, even their relationships.