There is a temptation to lump religious people into the same category as non-religious people when it comes to predicting the success rate of marriage. Many have promoted the idea that the divorce rate among the two groups is nearly the same.
Speculation that non-religious couples are more likely to cohabitate rather than get married has caused some to skew the numbers toward a higher rate of divorce among people of faith, even though that can’t be verified.
Ed Stetzer points out a fact that is likely overlooked in the research. Among active people of faith, the divorce rate goes way down. Only if you look at non-practicing believers is there greater similarity in the figures.
Turns out, it’s not just about casually aligning yourself with a group of faith. You’ve actually got to practice what you preach for there to be any impact to your relationship. Novel idea, huh?
Active Faith Impacts Marriage
Imagine if you coupled an active faith with an intentional focus on keeping marriages in your church strong. If the numbers go up when people take their faith seriously, imagine how they would skyrocket if they actually turned specific attention to improving their marriage.
That’s why a marriage ministry at your church is important. You may feel overwhelmed at the prospect of adding one more thing to the list of activities sponsored by your congregation. However, it doesn’t have to be highly involved or expensive. It just has to be intentional.
If you’re still on the fence, consider these four points.
Not different problems, a different solution.
The people in your congregation don’t have any less exposure to marital troubles than people outside the walls of your church. They are still susceptible to miscommunication, conflict, sexual temptation, physical challenges, and other stumbling blocks.
The difference is how we respond to those obstacles, and the grace upon which we rely to get through them. Understanding how those two gifts should work within marriage is vitally important. A good marriage ministry teaches couples how to respond to problems and to accept the grace that God offers.
You’ve got a great cloud of witnesses.
There is nothing worse than going through one of life’s storms and feeling like you’re alone. When there is a group in your church working to preserve, protect, and help marriages, struggling couples have a safe place to turn. And, they feel less isolated in their struggles as they walk alongside other couples.
Go beyond information to transformation.
A good marriage ministry doesn’t just serve as a conduit for transferring facts, figures, and inspirational sayings. Only one that promotes and facilitates behavior change will have a true impact on your church family. That’s really the whole point of why we came to know the Lord in the first place, isn’t it? It wasn’t just about knowing who He was, it was about letting Him make a difference in our lives. The result of any effort in your church, including marriage ministry, should be positive change that moves people toward Christ.
Repetition anchors change.
After serving thousands of couples with an 85 percent success rate, we’re sold on one of the ingredients of our “special sauce.” Our offerings are designed to facilitate a community of people dedicated to working on their marriage for the long haul.
Week after week, couples develop the habit of paying regular attention to their marriage. They share their highs and lows and discover steps they can take to produce transformation in their relationship.
In our opinion, the question isn’t whether you have the time, money, or energy to implement a marriage ministry in your church. The real issue is whether you can afford not to. Couples who are active in their faith and consistently attentive to their marriage relationship are on the road to success.
Reposted with permission. Read the original post here.
Marriage Dynamics Institute is a non-profit Christian ministry committed to providing marriage workshops and courses that build safe environments, promote self education, and produce extraordinary results.