Why are divorce rates amongst Christians the same as everyone else?

IMG_9718-for-webWell, actually they aren’t!  In fact depending upon how committed you are to your faith, seems to have a significant bearing on divorce risk. Weaker faith factor, leads to greater divorce factor.

I do not believe that if you have no faith, you are doomed to a poor, crabby and gloomy love life, and conversely that all religious people are blissfully happy, having amazing sex lives and all that stuff.  I’m just saying that since their are times when perseverance is crucial, faith filled people, well, have more faith that “God” will bring them through.  Additionally, It is my experience from working with organisations and couples that almost all volunteers working with families, and especially couple work are people of faith.

Show me the numbers?

Brad Wilcox, a marriage expert at the University of Virginia and director of the National Marriage Project with whom I enjoyed a canapé and glass of Sauvignon Blanc at the launch of Marriage Week USA February 2012 (see photo above) has managed to dig a little deeper than your average analyst.

Cleverly, Wilcox has delineated between those who are committed to religious practice, and those who merely identify with a particular faith, such as those who, for example, on entry into a hospital, identify with a particular faith from a multiple choice of 10 or 15 options.  Although peculiarly even identifying with a faith decreases the likelihood of divorce (which I completely cannot understand).  Even after adjusting his findings to allow for socio economic factors, Wilcox uncovered some pretty significant outcomes.

Catholics are 5 percent less likely to divorce than the average, but active Catholics are 31 percent less likely to divorce than those with no religious affiliation.

Nominal Protestants are 20 percent more likely to divorce than nonreligious people, whereas, Conservative Protestants are 10 percent less likely to divorce, and Conservative active Protestants are 35 percent less likely to divorce than people in the general population.

What does this tell us?  In my view it tells us three things;

1, That being part of a faith community makes you more likely to stick together through tough times. 

2, It tells us that active, participatory faith in God gives you a net benefit, and that even nominal identification with a faith strengthens your marriage. 

3, The public identification with an institution known as generally being “good” such as “the church” will help you to stay being “good”.


3 thoughts on “Why are divorce rates amongst Christians the same as everyone else?

  1. Does this also mean that some Christians stay in abusive relationships because of their marriage and faith vows
    Love always trusts

  2. Hi Lindsay, I don’t know. You raise a very perplexing issue, which is at what point does greater commitment to the marriage, become greater foolishness if their is abuse going on.

  3. Hi Lindsay, Yes, I think so. I stayed in an abusive relationship because of my faith and belief that I should and also a hope that things would change. I stayed too long, my children have really suffered and so has my relationship with the oldest ones because they were being alienated against me through what my husband was and still does say to them and me. There is a real naivety in the church about emotional abuse and a lack of desire to face the reality of it. Now, 8 months on, I am in a better place emotionally to understand what we have been through. My husband remains controlling and with a sense of entitlement to behave as he does and I have had to take it to court to help the children as it is too big for my church to deal with.

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