A journalism student at Ohio University, Ty Komjati, asked to interview me for a story he was writing on the state of marriage and divorce. I decided to share my answers here:
Question: A recent survey by the US Census Bureau showed approximately 40% of marriages end in divorce. Why do you think this is happening?
I think there are many reasons in our society contributing to this number, but the main problems I see are:
- There is a great lack of knowledge about marriage and how two very different people relate to each other. (This has always been a problem, but is more noticeable today when combined with the other problems.) My boys received more instruction learning to drive than most people receive prior to marriage.
- There are fewer really solid marriages displayed for us to watch these days, whether from Hollywood or even in the church.
- The cultural acceptance of divorce has grown.
- The laws allowing divorce have loosened. It is much easier these days to walk away.
- Generally speaking, people are less loyal to anything these days.
Question: What needs to happen to reverse this growth?
Here are a few of my suggestions, of course I can only speak on behalf of the church:
- Couples getting married need sound premarital counseling. Churches rarely offer much of anything, yet they complain the most about the problem.
- Churches need to teach about healthy marriages, dealing with real issues. Typically the ideal marriage is displayed, and there should be an example to aim for, but we shouldn’t sugarcoat real life. Most marriages will struggle at times, even the pastor’s marriage.
- We need mentoring inside the church. Couples with healthy marriages should reach out and mentor young married couples, especially through the early years.
- We need to de-stigmatize the fact that marriages struggle. Every marriage has struggles and needs help at some point. Sadly in many churches it is sometimes easier to divorce and walk away than for a couple to admit they need help.
A good marriage is worth the effort and it is possible to have a marriage that works. How would you have answered these questions?