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Summary: This marriage deals with divorce and how to be a Christian

Marriage and Divorce

Matthew 19: 1-12

The last few weeks we’ve been focusing on the book of Genesis and the beginning of relationships. Last week, the message was on love and marriage. But what happens when the love is apparently gone? One of the misunderstandings in marriage is that love is a feeling. Do you remember the feelings you had when you first fell in love: the passion, the excitement and the romance. You were head over heals in love. You hung on every word they said. You listened intently. You cared deeply about her and were all over each other. Many couples get married thinking this is what love is. Hollywood doesn’t help. Every romance movie portrays only this kind of love in relationships. The problem is that feelings change. And many believe that when their feelings change and the passion fires die down, the love is dead, the relationship is over and the only solution is divorce.

The divorce rate for first marriages today is 50%. In fact, right now in America only 48% of people are married, the lowest it’s been in the last few decades. But a first marriage does not make you wiser for the second. You would think you would live and learn and correct your mistakes. Yet the divorce rate in second marriages is 60%. By the third marriage, the divorce rate climbs to almost 74% and it keeps escalating with the fourth and fifth marriages. The lesson is, once you are married, no matter how hard it is, unless there is abuse or some other factor, stay in there and work it out because you have the best odds of success! Here are some shocking facts about divorce in America.

- There is a divorce every 13 seconds. That’s 6,646 divorces per day, and 46,523 per week

- The average length of a marriage that ends in divorce is 8 years

- People wait an average of 3 years to remarry

- The average age for couples going through their first divorce is 30 years old

- In 1990, fewer than 10 % of U.S. divorces involved spouses age 50 or older. Today, more than 1 in 4 divorces involve older adults

- Both spouse have a significantly lower standard of living after divorce

- The divorce rate of couples with children is 40 % lower than couples without children

- The divorce rate is the same for same-sex couples as for both sex couples

- The economic costs of divorce to individuals, communities, and state and federal governments is $33.3 billion annually

Here are some Statistics on the Likelihood of Divorce

- If your parents are happily married, your risk of divorce decreases by 14%

- People who wait to marry after 25 are 24% less likely to get divorced

- Living together prior to getting married increases the chance of getting divorced by as much as 40%

Perhaps those who pay the biggest price in divorce are the children

- 43% of children growing up in America today are being raised without their fathers. This is the engine driving our most urgent social problems, from crime to adolescent pregnancy to child sexual abuse to domestic violence against women

- 28% of children living with a divorced parent are at or below the poverty line

- Children of divorced parents suffer academically and are twice as likely to drop out of high school and less likely to attend college.

- Children of divorce have higher levels of depression as well as lower levels of love, commitment, and trust in their future relationships with the opposite sex

- Kids whose parents divorce are substantially more likely to be incarcerated for committing a crime as a juvenile

- Teens from divorced homes are much more likely to engage in drug and alcohol use, as well as sexual intercourse than are those from intact families

What are the top signs of an impending divorce 1) dreaming of life without the spouse; 2) the bad in the marriage outweighs the good; 3) lack of communication. Dr. John Gottman has identified what he calls “the 4 Apocalyptic Horsemen” that when present in marriage predicts divorce with a 94% accuracy. They are 1) Criticism 2) Contempt: long simmering negative thoughts about your partner that turn into disrespect. 3) Stonewalling: which is withdrawing emotionally or physically from the conversation. 4) Defensiveness which leads to denial and an unwillingness to take ownership and thus, usually turns into a blame game. The fourth sign of an impending divorce is one spouse feels like they are the only one trying to solve problems; and 5) the couple rarely, if ever has sex.

So what does Jesus have to say about divorce? In our Scripture today, the Pharisees asked Jesus, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?" They were referring to Deuteronomy 24:1 which says, “If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he (can) writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house.” There were two schools of thought in Judaism. Rabbi Hillel agreed with this and said you could divorce your wife for any reason. Rabbi Shemaiah disagreed and said the only reason you could get a divorce is for marital infidelity. There are several things today we learn from Jesus about marriage and divorce.

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