The Good News About Marriage Review

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I'm sure you've heard the statistics that the divorce rate is 50%, and that this number is the same between Christians and non-Christians.  But what if that wasn't really true?

When I read The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Couples, this book, The Good News About Marriage by Shaunti Feldham was referenced, and I was intrigued.  I put it on my to-read list next.
In this book, Felham evaluates existing studies to try to determine what the actual divorce rate is - and her findings are surprising and encouraging.

For one thing, she finds that the actual divorce rate is not 50%, and it never has been.  The actual numbers are probably closer to 30%.  And what about the argument that divorce rates are the same inside the church?  It turns out that much-quoted fact is actually based on a misunderstanding of some data - and that among those who attend church weekly, the divorce rate is 27% lower.

I found the numbers and statistics in this book really interesting.  I have never thought to myself "I have a 50% chance of not getting divorced", because I know Derek and I are both committed to being married until we die, so divorce has never been an option for us.  However, I'm sure there are a lot of couples out there that have been discouraged by the 50% statistic that is thrown about so carelessly, so I think this book would be really encouraging to many couples when they realize that number is not accurate!

I would say that I never internalized those faulty statistics in the past, so learning the new statistics wasn't necessarily life-changing to me personally - but, I was encouraged to hear those numbers in respect to defending and encouraging the institution of marriage!  It turns out that the divorce rate is much lower overall than people have said, and the majority of couples are happy in their marriages - and I found that really encouraging to me when I think of society as a whole.

I will say I was a little annoyed at the repeated mention of people who married at younger than 25 and baby boomers as being higher-risk groups for divorce.  I got married before age 25, as did most of my friends, and my parents happen to be baby boomers, so I guess I took those stats more personally.  I felt like focusing on and comparing the stats of the "higher risk" groups to "low risk" groups could actually be discouraging to people who are in the higher risk groups, and as a result I felt a little excluded from some of the "good news" that Feldham was trying to present.  Considering her main goal seemed to be to encourage people about their marriages, I was a little frustrated that her references to those who married young seemed to be more negative than positive.  Personally, I would like to see stats on how many of those young marriages ended before year five of marriage, and how the divorce rates of "high risk" groups are affected by things like church attendance, but my guess is that this kind of data isn't currently available.

Regardless, I'd say this book is worth a read, whether you are married or not.  It will make you think about divorce statistics in a  different way and look more critically at some of these statistics that are so often quoted.

Note: I received this book for free from Blogging For Books in exchange for this review.  This is my honest opinion.
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Jonathan and Telcia said...

We both posted about good news! Thanks for the review!

Rachel said...

Interesting. I've definitely heard the statistics about young marriages having higher rates of divorce (people like to tell them to you when you get married at 19) but it's good to remember that statistics are just collections of data, they are not at all predictions of the future.

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