Divorce Statistics Debunked

I found this interesting article on the “Christianity Today” website:

Have you ever heard or read “facts” about the 50% divorce rate? Have you ever lamented the fact that the divorce rate was the same in the church?

Researcher Shaunti Feldhahn felt the same way … until she started doing some digging behind these assumptions. She discovered that half of all marriages are not ending in divorce. As a matter of fact, according to the Census Bureau, 72 percent of those who have ever been married are still married to their first spouse!

Feldhan writes, "No-one knows what the average first-marriage divorce rate actually is, but based on the rate of widowhood and other factors, we can estimate it is probably closer to 20-25 percent. For all marriages (including second marriages, and so on), it is in the 31-35 percent range, depending on the study."

Feldhan's research also led her to debunk another myth: "the rate of divorce is the same in the church." Here's what she found: "If the person was in church last week, their divorce rate dropped by 27 percent … overall, regular church attendance lowers the divorce rate anywhere from 25-50 percent, depending on the study you look at."

Feldhan concludes that the divorce rate is still too high, but she also adds this note of good news:

“Imagine the difference for pastors to know that they can stand on stage and tell their congregations with confidence that going to church matters for your marriage. Imagine the difference to be able to tell a struggling couple, ‘Most people get through this, and you can too.’ Imagine equipping the average young person with the ability to counter the cynical statements [about marriage] with the solid truth that, actually, most marriages last a lifetime. (And are happy!)”