Who Gets Divorced?

Bill was a pillar in his small farming community, Melissa the faithful housewife.The personal stories in this booklet are real, though the names have been changed. These stories were gathered in a series of interviews conducted by Focus on the Family Research Assistant Heidi Ihrke. They were a good Christian family, and she was looking forward to their upcoming 25th wedding anniversary. Melissa was in shock the night Bill came home and told her he had found "the love of his life" and was moving out. She literally spent the next year crying, unable to care for their 16-year-old daughter.

Unfortunately, Melissa's story is not uncommon. While the divorce rate in America has leveled off and even decreased slightly in the past few years, the divorce rate is still twice as high as it was in 1960.David Popenoe and Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, "The State of Our Unions 2001," National Marriage Project, Rutgers, June 2001, p. 21, http://www.virginia.edu/marriageproject/. It's estimated that for couples marrying today, the lifetime probability of divorce or separation remains between 40 and 50 percent before one partner dies, although this percentage is significantly lower for those who marry after age 21, graduate college and are religiously committed.David Popenoe and Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, "The State of Our Unions 2007," National Marriage Project, Rutgers, July 2007, pp. 18, 20, http://www.virginia.edu/marriageproject/. More than one million children a year experience their parents' divorce.Glenn T. Stanton, Why Marriage Matters: Reasons to Believe in Marriage in Postmodern Society (Colorado Springs: Pinon Press, 1997), p. 29; Judith Wallerstein, et al., The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce: A 25 Year Landmark Study (New York: Hyperion, 2000), p. xxvi. And a recent survey reported that the divorce rate among Christians is now the same as or higher than in the broader culture."Christians Are More Likely to Experience Divorce Than Are Non-Christians," Barna Research Group, December 21, 2000, barna.org. Almost everyone knows someone who is either divorced or is a child of divorced parents. In fact, it seems rare to find young adults whose parents are still married. Divorce has become widely accepted. The growing acceptance of divorce has made it seem easier and all the more tempting.

Research shows the majority of marriages ending in divorce have average levels of happiness and conflict.Paul Amato and Alan Booth, A Generation at Risk: Growing Up in an Era of Family Upheaval (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1997), p. 220. In other words, these are not deeply troubled, physically or emotionally abusive relationships, although even those are not always irreversibly broken. In short, most of the marriages that end in divorce are just plain average, or "good enough." Instead of throwing in the towel, these average marriages could be improved over time – if the spouses stayed together.

Is your relationship one of these normal but – at least at this time – unhappy marriages? Could it be improved and saved from divorce? Before you say, "No way!" please continue reading.

 

Put the Pieces of Your Marriage Back Together

You  may  feel  that  there is  no  hope  for  your  marriage  and  the  hurt  is  too  deep  to  restore  the  relationship  and  love  that you  once  had.  The  truth  is,  your  life  and  marriage  can  be  better  and  stronger  than  it  was  before.  In  fact,  thousands  of  marriages,  situations  as  complex  and  painful  as  yours,  have  been  transformed  with  the  help  of  professionals  who  understand  where  you  are  right  now  and  care  deeply  about  you  and  your  spouse’s  future.  You  can  restore  and  rebuild  your  marriage  through  a  personalized,  faith-based, intimate  program  called,  Hope  Restored.

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