For years we have been told that half of marriages among Christians and non-Christians alike end in divorce, but according to recent research, the reality is that Christians who attend church regularly get divorced at a much lower rate.
Professor Bradley Wright, a sociologist at the University of Connecticut, found that among people who identify themselves as Christians but rarely attend church, 60 percent have been divorced. Of those who attend church regularly, only 38 percent have been divorced.
Professor Scott Stanley from the University of Denver, who is working on the Oklahoma Marriage Initiative, said couples with a vibrant religious faith have more and higher levels of the qualities that marriages need to avoid divorce. "Whether young or old, male or female, low-income or not, those who said that they were more religious reported higher average levels of commitment to their partners, higher levels of marital satisfaction, less thinking and talking about divorce and lower levels of negative interaction," said Stanley.
W. Bradford Wilcox, a leading sociologist at the University of Virginia and director of the National Marriage Project, finds from his own analysis that "active conservative Protestants" who regularly attend church are 35 percent less likely to divorce compared to those who have no affiliation. Nominally attending Protestants are 20 percent more likely to divorce, compared to secular Americans.
According to Glenn T. Stanton, Director of Global Family Formation Studies at Focus on the Family, "The divorce rates of Christian believers are not identical to the general population — not even close. Being a committed, faithful believer makes a measurable difference in marriage. Saying you believe something or merely belonging to a church, unsurprisingly, does little for marriage. But the more you are involved in the actual practice of your faith in real ways...the greater difference this makes in strengthening both the quality and longevity of our marriages."
For further details about the research, click on Divorce Rate in the Church.
(from FotF's Pastor's Weekly Briefing)