Couples that pray together, stay together. It’s a common saying among Christians. And it turns out there is some truth to it. However, we’ve all heard the statistic that divorce rates are not different between Christian and non-Christian couples. However, these statistics are based on a study that may be flawed. The flaw perhaps is in the definition of a “Christian”. Had the study differentiated between “Jesus follower” and “Not a follower of Jesus”, the results would have been entirely different.
Many people claim “Christian” as their religion, but they make no apparent effort to follow Jesus (actually be a disciple; live out their faith on a daily basis). A study published in 2004 by University of Virginia sociologist W. Bradford Wilcox titled Soft Patriarchs, New Men: How Christianity Shapes Fathers and Husbands (Chicago, 2004), reports that there are several variables that greatly reduce the probability of divorce. He found that couples who practiced their Christian faith (not just people who claimed to be Christian) had a divorce rate of 50% lower than the rest of the population.
Here are the 3 variables that reduced the probability of divorce by 50%:
- Regular, joint church involvement: Couples who were members of the same church, regularly attended the same church, and were involved in serving in the same church.
- Shared theology: Couples who shared the same biblical beliefs about God, marriage, family, etc.
- Living out their faith at home: Couples who didn’t just “go to” church on Sundays, but who lived it out in their homes with their families 7 days a week. Living it out means praying together, living with integrity, loving one another, reading the bible together, etc.
So, if you are interested in reducing the probability of getting a divorce by 50%, you should first not marry someone who doesn’t want to do the 3 things above. And if you are already married, you need to make sure you’re doing those things.
Bottom line: There is hope for marriages!