The Puritan ethic of marriage was first to look not for a partner whom you do love passionately at this moment but rather for one whom you can love steadily as your best friend for life, then to proceed with God's help to do just that. J.I. Packer
Here are some startling facts:
- A divorce takes place every 45 seconds in America.
- The divorce rate for a first marriage is 41%.
- The divorce rate for a second marriage is 60%.
- The divorce rate for a third marriage is 73%.
- Strong religious beliefs reduce the risk of divorce by 14%.
- Those who marry for the first time after they reach the age of 25 lower the risk of divorce by 24 percent.
Please don’t misunderstand. Many relationships begin sinfully, but the potential long term damage of the sin of cohabitation can be limited through repentance. I’ve dealt with many couples wishing to marry who began by cohabitating, and my advice is always the same – STOP. Confess your sin and repent; then we can begin in earnest with the premarital work that needs to be done, and help limit the possibility of a future divorce.
As the Body of Christ we have a responsibility to strengthen and equip families for the rigors of daily life. Christian homes and relationships are just as susceptible to caustic cultural trends and philosophies as are non-Christian.
So how do we strengthen and equip Christian couples and families?
First and foremost through the sound teaching of God’s Word. In Coaching and Pastoral Care I often share with others that once we've been made aware of why we do the things that we do, we no longer have an excuse to continue with the same behaviors. In reality there’s never a good excuse for our sinful actions.
Second, we’re to hold husbands and wives, moms and dads, and as members of one another in the Church accountable to the commitments we've made. Scripture reveals God is serious about commitments, and we should be too as followers of Christ.
Lastly, the Church needs more long time Christian couples to mentor newly married couples. The truth be told, I believe the mentoring process should begin during courtship. Older established couples have a perspective that only comes with experience, and this knowledge can aid young couples in heading off potential problems.
The statistics above are support by a number of resources: