Do Christians Divorce at the Same Rate as Others?

You may have heard that about half of all American marriages today end in divorce.  You may have also heard that Christians divorce at the same rate as secular couples.  Are these statistics accurate?  Are Christians really just as susceptible to divorce as the rest of the population?

Some deduce from these statistics that there is no marital advantage in adhering to biblical principles and leading a Christian lifestyle.  This is an erroneous conclusion, however.  The determining factor to this question lies in how one defines what it means to be a Christian.  Not all self-described Christians adhere to biblical values.

The well known study that popularized the view that Christians divorce at the same rate as secular couples suffers from research design errors.  Most significantly, this research advances a spurious population definition.  The study identified "born-again Christians" as everyone who claimed that they had "made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important in their life today" or "confessed their sins and had accepted Jesus Christ as their savior".  This description would include literally millions of adults who self-identify as "Christians" but have little knowledge of biblical principles, make no effort to embrace a lifestyle prescribed by the Bible, never attend church or pray, and so forth.  This definition of "born again" certainly does not meet the biblical criteria. 

Other studies have clearly demonstrated that practicing committed Christians who uphold conservative biblical values actually divorce at rates about 35% lower than secular couples.  When controlling for variables such as regular church attendance and other measures of spiritual commitment there is a definite correlation between these factors and marital satisfaction and devotion.  The bottom line is that conservative Christians who practice their faith commitment seriously are significantly much more likely to be happily married and keep their marriages intact.

Also, the projected 50% divorce rate for all Americans may not be entirely accurate.  Many social science researchers have challenged the methods and calculations used to arrive at the conclusion that half of all marriages end in divorce.  A potentially more accurate projection is that approximately 42% of marriages that take place today will end in divorce.

Some will continue to debate the actual divorce rates.  This notwithstanding, the evidence is extremely solid that biblical Christianity provides a definite advantage when it comes to keeping marriages happy and healthy.  Living for God in the way that His Word instructs brings blessings in all areas of life - and marriage is no exception.
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