Divorce among Christians

It’s hard to understand why the divorce rate among evangelical Christians is so high.  One survey in the U.S. found that divorce among evangelicals was higher than among other faith groups and considerably higher than among athiests and agnostics.

Evangelical Christians place a lot of emphasis on the importance of marriage.  So, you would expect more marriages among evangelicals would be solid and lasting than among other groups.

Of course, you see a great variation among Christian families.  One friend said last night that everyone in his family has stayed married – his parents, his wife’s parents, all his brothers and sisters and all his wife’s siblings.  Others tell a sadder story.

I suppose there are a variety of reasons for the divorce problem.  Like society in general, some Christian young people jump into marriage without any preparation.  And they are influenced by society which suggests that if you don’t get what you want, you leave.

What do we need to do to put Christian marriage on a solid footing?

There are some commendable efforts.  Alpha marriage courses and Marriage Encounter are a couple that come to mind.  I know that our church’s youth leadership has talked about marriage and dating issues with our own young people.

But the real need may be helping troubled marriages before they split apart.  To do that, we need to see which couples are struggling.  As a long-time believer, I realize that’s hard to do.  As evangelicals, we tend to hide our problems from other Christians.  I admit I tend to conceal my feelings from others.

A story I read today about divorce in the U.S. said that many evangelicals who are about to break up just drop out of church because they can’t face their former friends.  Clearly, they feel ashamed and they believe they will be condemned.

Our church recently offered a peacemaking course which quite a few people took.  It was all about handling conflict – not running away from it, but facing up to it.  This would be very valuable for couples having problems in their marriages.

But most of all, we need a fundamental change in our hearts.  We are not perfect people.  We should be able to talk about our problems without feeling our friends will condemn us.  I say that to myself as much as to other Christians.

The cost of divorce is huge.  It is costly in money but the human cost is much greater.  I have seen it in Christian couples who have broken up.

The awful thing is that children who grow up in broken homes will have their parents’ divorce as an example.  It may drive them to seek a lasting marriage.  But, I fear that they may do what their parents did.


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