It’s going to sound weird. You may not want to believe me. I didn’t judge it credible at first either.
numbers don’t lie.
After eight years of investigation Shaunti Feldhahn—best selling author and Harvard graduate in social research—discovered something so influential in the divorce rate numbers that it cannot be ignored.
And if what she found makes you uneasy or causes your eye to twitch nervously, please know, I get it. Just hang with me for a second. I’ll tell you the results. Then talk about why it works.
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For years it has been thought (myself included) that being a part of a faith community makes zero impact in the life of a marriage. The long-standing belief is that those who attend church have the same rates of divorce as the culture at large.
It was all a misinterpretation of the information.
It started with the famous study by the Barna Group in 2001, which revealed that people of professed faith had the same divorce rate as those with none. And from there it was concluded that church attendance made no difference in the success of a marriage.
But, as Mr. Barna himself recently stated, that simply isn’t true.
What we misunderstood “was that this particular Barna study was designed to dig out divorce trends based on faith-based beliefs and was not designed to look at faith-based practices such as going to church.” (The Good News About Marriage)
So when Feldhahn and Barna reran the numbers based on church attendance they unearthed a different tale.
“Weekly church attendance alone lowers the divorce rate significantly—roughly 25 to 50 percent, depending on the study.” (The Good News About Marriage)
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Now there is nothing magical about the eleven o’clock hour on Sundays. Even a person’s belief system makes little impact in the longevity of marriage (as Barna discovered). But spending an hour a week in church? That one thing lowers divorce by up to 50 percent?
What in the world? Why?
Get past the surface and you’ll find something remarkable; a principle that will change your marriage forever.
Think about it. What are these couples doing?
Simply, they are surrounding themselves with and in a community.
We are the most individualized and isolated society in history. Even in our marriages. We don’t engage with other people. We don’t get involved in community. We simply spend our time with our spouses, alone.
“All we need is our love,” we say. But what we really need need is people.
I’m not saying that you have to go to church. Only that you need to find a group of people you can meet with on a weekly basis who are super pro-marriage, are about doing the right things, and will tell you the truth with encouragement.
We were never meant to do life alone. We were designed for community.