When someone walks down the aisle, the last thing that is on their mind is, “I am going to divorce this person someday.” But it happens at what seems an alarming rate. I have heard for years that the divorce rate is 50% inside and outside the church. I have read other researchers present a lower number for divorce, 26%. And just the other day I read that divorce in the church is possibly as low as 10-15%. Statistics, statistics, statistics. Can you really believe them?
I have performed 81 weddings. Out of these 81 weddings, one couple has gotten a divorce. That is a 1.23% divorce rate. Now, let me state that many of these marriages have almost ended. Several of these couples separated for a time. A few of them told me that they were thinking about getting a divorce. But 80 of the couples have remained together to this day.
These 81 weddings span almost 14 years. I have officiated weddings for couples…
…just out of high school.
…in their seventies.
…who have both been divorced.
…who have blended as many as seven children into their new marriage.
…who met online.
And somehow only 1.23% of the marriages have ended in divorce. I am surprised by this low percentage. I am humbled by this statistic. I ask myself, “Is it just an anomaly? Do I need to give it another decade and then see if these people have still made it?” Probably. But over half of these marriages have already lasted beyond the 7 year mark, which is when most people call it quits if they are going to divorce their spouse.
Before you jump to the conclusion that if you have Pastor Jeremy officiate your marriage you will be divorce proof, just realize that this statistic is not about me. As I officiate these weddings, I am also an observer. I see what will make a marriage last. As I get to know the couple through pre-marital counseling, I try help the future husband and wife answer this important question.
Do we have the same VALUES? This is by far the most important question because it will make or break a marriage. The one couple that did get a divorce didn’t have the same value system. They wanted different things in life. And they were both Christian! Many people think that being a Christian gives people the same values, but it doesn’t. You find out what a person’s values are when you figure out the answers to the following questions. Remember, values determine actions.
The Value of Family. How many children do you want? Do you want any children? Are you going to be a stay-at-home mom or will you have a full-time babysitter? Is the dad going to stay at home with the kids while the mom goes to work? How are we going to spend our holidays? Which “In-Laws” will get more attention over the holidays? Am I going to work long hours and put extra effort into my job, or will I sacrifice that latter of success so that I can come home before supper starts every night?
The Value of Church. How involved do you want to be in the church? How important is it for my children to go to church? Do you want to hang out with friends from church? Do I believe what the church teaches? Am I going to be a once a week church goer or be there every single day? Or am I going to just attend on Christmas and Easter?
The Value of Hobbies. How do you like to spend your time? Do you like to do the same things that your future spouse does? Or do you lead separate lives because you don’t have much in common? Never underestimate how important it is to spend quality time together doing something both of you enjoy. I once officiated a wedding for a couple who loved playing computer games together. It wouldn’t be my choice in how I spend time with my wife, but they could spend countless hours well into the night staring at a computer screen. By the way, they met online when they were playing a game!
The Value of Finances. Do I like to spend or save? Do I need to make lots of money or just enough money to get by? Am I tempted to buy things just so that other people will notice me? Am I generous to my church, to various missionaries, or am I skeptical of giving away my money?
The Value of Marriage. Do I truly believe that my marriage will last for my entire life? Do I only have eyes for my spouse? Do I hate divorce just like God says that He hates divorce? Do I look at my spouse as a companion? Do I look forward to being romantic even when we have kids? Do I strive to have a healthy sex life?
For a Christian, all of your values should be driven by what God’s Word teaches. God teaches us about the family, the church, finances, marriage, and even how we should spend our time.
How do you figure all this stuff out before you get married? Is it possible? Every couple who is married by a pastor at Central Church is required to take a 150 question assessment about their value system and they will then be involved in pre-marital counseling. So much time and energy is invested in the actual wedding day. Often thousands of dollars are spent for this wonderful day where two people become one. But just remember how important it is to discover a person’s values before you decide to tie the knot.
For those of you who are not yet married, please understand how important values are in your future marriage. Be determined to keep your own God-given values. You will never regret it!