The news flash is that the divorce rate in the United States has dropped. In the 1960's, this country's rate of divorce began to climb. As more and more states adopted no-fault divorce laws, it fairly skyrocketed during the 1970's and into the early 1980's. It peaked at 5.3 divorces per 1,000 persons in 1981.
Since 1981, the divorce rate has dropped by fully one-third to 3.6 per 1,000. That is the lowest it has been since 1970.
Divorce hurts. Hearts get broken, and lives are disrupted. Then there are the financial, social, and spiritual consequences that follow. Churches haven't always been very helpful to people going through the trauma of families falling apart. (I have just written a book entitled Divorce & Remarriage: A Redemptive Theology that you can explore at http://www.rubelshelly.com.)
Experts are now trying to figure out why more marriages are holding together. Some rather cynically point to the fact that a number of couples simply live together without bothering to marry. Others more optimistically point to marriage-preparation and marriage-enrichment education.
Some part of the answer has to be our collective horror that so many marriages were failing. Young people — many of whom lived through their parents' divorces — have waited longer to get married. Married people have been less embarrassed to seek counseling or pastoral help with their problems.
People who have been married for a while know relationships aren't easy. Introduce children into the equation and the complexity goes up dramatically. So it takes a strong sense of commitment and determination to see things through. Valuing one another and their vows, two people work at making things better.
"We're like any marriage," one 50-year-old man said. "We've had 'rocky periods' and 'Cloud Nine periods.' We decided a long time ago we were not going to desert each other; we were going to stay together no matter what."
Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage (Hebrews 13:4 NLT).
"For I hate divorce!" says the LORD, the God of Israel. "It is as cruel as putting on a victim's bloodstained coat," says the LORD Almighty. "So guard yourself; always remain loyal to your wife" (Malachi 2:16).