Death of the 50% myth of marriage.

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50% of marriages end in divorce. Raise your hand if you have never heard that statistic. As far as statistics go it is by far one the most touted, most popular and accepted by everyone as gospel truth. I found an article in the WSJ debunking this stat as a myth. The article was refreshing because it was good news and intriguing because it challenged my assumptions that divorce was increasing. I figured we were in the 60% range headed for the 70%’s. Here’s what the article had to say.

About 70 percent of marriages that began in the 1990s reached their 15th
anniversary (excluding those in which a spouse died), up from about 65
percent of those that began in the 1970s and 1980s. Those who married in
the 2000s are so far divorcing at even lower rates. If current trends
continue, nearly two-thirds of marriages will never involve a divorce,
according to data from Justin Wolfers, a University of Michigan
economist (who also contributes to The Upshot). Via the New York Times

That’s good news! There were some logical reasons for drop in the divorce rate as noted in the article.

Some of the decline in divorce clearly stems from the fact that fewer people are getting married — and some of the biggest declines in marriage have come among groups at risk of divorce. But it also seems to be the case that marriages have gotten more stable, as people are marrying later.

Ultimately,a long view is likely to show that the rapid rise in divorce during the 1970s and early 1980s was an anomaly. It occurred at the same time as a new feminist movement, which caused social and economic upheaval. Today, society has adapted, and the divorce rate has declined again.

Here is my take away. Divorce is brutal on everyone involved even those who claim it has freed them to be with their “soul-mate”. There are legitimate reasons for divorce and Christ gives clear parameters for divorce. I have wept with those who have felt the betrayal and the loss of their spouse to various other things. So hear my heart I am not trying to beat up those who have already lost much. One of the more heartbreaking things I ever had to do as a kids pastor was be there with a mom as she told her kids that their dad was never coming home. Brutal. While encouraged by the findings in this article I find the thing that couples need most (my marriage included) is an understanding of my need for daily grace. When I see my need, Gods sufficient supply I extend the kind of grace my spouse doesn’t deserve and she does the same for me.  In most marriages we try to identify the problem so we feel better and can move on. It’s always the problem behind the problem that is root of our problems which is our broken hearts unyeilded to God. I need work here and so do you.

Resources for couples –

Meaning of Marriage – Tim Keller

This Momentary Marriage – John Piper

When Sinners say I do – Dave Harvey