Thursday, May 15, 2014

Half Chance

If you marry, you've got about a 50/50 chance it will end in divorce. True?  No, although that's the popularly offered forecast.  And the numbers are the same for churched folks?  Also not true.

From the U.S. Census Bureau (see table 6, right) we find a different picture.

If you were to check on folks at perhaps age 70, odds are about 96% that they will have gotten married.  Their odds for divorce are 23% or less. (23% for men, 21% for women.)

That's 70%+ of first marriages that did not end in divorce. 

And for church folks? Overall, regular church attendance lowers the divorce rate anywhere from 25-50%, depending on the study you look at. (Barna/Feldhahn)

For the record, there's a continuing battle over the interpretation of such statistics with varying validity in many arguments dealing with age, education, race, cohort, and so on.  The popular media doesn't offer a helpful analysis. The numbers are there for you to peruse yourself, if you like.  You'll have to dig a bit, but those particular facts persists across the studies.

The important part is that marriage can work.  There are a hundred obstacles, a thousand changes, a million landmines along the way, it seems.  We understand, and it hurts deeply when such troubles touch us and our families, our friends.  But marriage wins on points; it's the better path, the greater good.

Mom and dad, decades 
along the pathway.
They're the norm.

Imagine the difference; to be able to tell a struggling couple, “Most people get through this, and you can too.”

Imagine equipping young folks with the ability to counter the cynical statements of college professors or the “why bother getting married” comments of friends, with the actuality that most marriages last a lifetime.

It does raise the question; why would our culture accept the worst possible interpretation of something so great?