An Underdog Marriage - Divorce Statistics - But, God - Minding the Kings
Married Life

An Underdog Marriage

Three weeks ago today, my husband and I celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary. If you follow my Instagram, you know I shared a little bit about it, including the beautiful roses and the card my husband gave me. I had started to share about divorce statistics and things in that post, but deleted my writing decided to make it into a blog post instead.

The Writing on the Card

The inside of the card my husband gave me was really meaningful for us. It says, “We’ve stayed together, stayed in love, grew up, changed, defied the odds…” and some more sweet things that I won’t keep you with. It’s a rare situation when we find something written like that, that really is true for us personally, but this card hit the nail on the head. Eight years means almost 1/4 of our lives has been spent together so far. A lot of things can happen and change in just one year, and we’ve done that 8 times now!

Anniversary Gift - Underdog Marriage - Divorce Statistics - Minding the Kings

Growing up and Changing

We started out as young 20 somethings, just getting started in life. My husband was entry level in his job. I was in my final year of college and working in daycare. Now 8 years later he has moved up through several job titles within his company, and I stay at home with our children. We’ve vacationed through 5 different states, adopted a dog (after saying at first that we didn’t want pets), and moved 4 times. Together we have said goodbye to loved ones who have passed away, and welcomed new loved ones into the world and our families. As you can imagine, all those life experiences have grown us and changed who we are as individuals and as a couple.

Defying the Odds – Divorce Statistics

All of these things are pretty typical for a marriage, but not necessarily for an underdog marriage like ours. I say underdog, because for us the odds are stacked against us.

I knew even before I got started researching that we were an unlikely couple. My husband and I met online, and lived 80 miles apart when we first started dating. We both come from divorced families as well. However, looking up the following divorce statistics really drove the point home:

The average first marriage in the united states lasts about 8 years.

Couples who meet online and then get married are 4x more likely to get divorced than couples who met traditionally.

Sixty percent of couples who get married between the ages of 20 and 25 end up divorced.

The odds of a couple divorcing is 200% higher when both spouses come from a divorced home.

If their parent(s) re-married someone else after their divorce, their married adult child is 91% more likely to get a divorce themselves. (My husband and I both have a parent who re-married).

Daughters of divorced parents (me) have a 60% higher divorce rate.

People with siblings who are divorced are 22% more likely to get divorced themselves. (My husband and I both have a divorced sibling).

If a close friend gets divorced, a couple is 147% more likely to get divorced themselves.

**most statistics from wf-lawyers.com **

I know these slim odds are not unique to my marriage. You may see some of these and relate, or there may be other divorce statistics that pertain to you based on your age when you got married, statistics dealing with your children, co-workers or others you know who are divorcing, and so on.

But, God

As a Christian marriage post, I know this really seems like a downer, but hear me out.

I know, the statistics for divorce in the United States are dismal. Especially when you count up your own “likelihood score” using the facts that I’ve found. In our case, it’s apparently nearly impossible for my husband and I to stay married. But, God works in the impossible.

Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” Luke 18:27

An Underdog Marriage - Luke 18:27 - Divorce Statistics - Possible with God - Minding the Kings

Because of these stats, the world today believes that getting married is foolish, as is working through problems and fighting against the odds. However:

But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty” 1 Corinthians 1:27

With God, our marriages can survive and thrive. With God, the things the world calls foolish can be proven to be what He calls wise. If our God is for us, who can be against us?!

Let not Man Seperate

Mark 10:9 in the Bible says,
Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.

Divorce Statistics vs. the Bible - An Underdog Marriage - Mark 10:9 - Minding the Kings

You may be thinking, with all the things that tear at a marriage and threaten to pull us apart, how can we stay joined together? How can a couple in an underdog marriage beat the odds and maintain a loving marriage?

I wrote a post last year near our anniversary with a bunch of steps a couple can take to get their struggling marriage back on track. This year I want to add a few more tips to that list.

For starters, you have to be intentional. A thriving marriage doesn’t just fall into your lap. You have to decide that you want the type of marriage God intends for His people to have, and put in the work to create it.

Next, you have to STAY intentional. When things are going well we tend to get lax and allow our relationship to coast. But like a vehicle when it’s allowed to coast, eventually it will come to a stop. We don’t just choose a godly marriage one time. We have to choose it every day.

There are many ways to stay intentional about choosing your marriage and your spouse. You can plan regular date nights. You can make it a point to speak your spouse’s primary love language to them. Studying the Bible is always a good idea. You can read blogs like this one and others (I will list some great resources at the end) to gain a new perspective and new ideas on improving your marriage. Whatever you decide to do, if you are doing it with the intention to honor God and build up your marriage, you are doing the right thing!

The final advice I have here is to keep the big picture in mind. In the every day, there are things our spouses do that threaten to drive us mad. There are distractions that take our time and our thoughts away from our marriage. But if we look at our marriage as not only a lifestyle choice that helps to fulfill our needs, but as a ministry and a testimony, it helps keep us focused on staying joined together and honoring God. After all, God created marriage, and uses it as a model of His relationship with us, His people (See Ephesians 5:22-32).

An Underdog Marriage - Divorce Statistics - Encouragement for Christian Marriage - Minding the Kings

Further Reading

For some more reading on improving and/or maintaining a godly marriage, check out these posts by my fellow bloggers!

The Gospel in your Marriage by, fellow Michigander Bailey Suzio at The Thin Place

What the Bible Tells Us about Building a Godly Marriage by, Carmen Brown at Married By His Grace

31 Prayer Prompts for When Marriage is Hard by, Rebekah at RebekahMHallberg.com

Godly Marriage: How Does the Impossible Become Possible by, Angel Penn at AngelPenn.com

How the Bible Addresses 5 Common Problems in Marriage by, Beth Steffaniak at Messy Marriage

Do you have a favorite article you would add? Would you like to share a story of beating the odds in your marriage? Have a question or prayer request? Feel free to share in the comments below, or email me at jenniferking@mindingthekings.com.

19 thoughts on “An Underdog Marriage

  1. Thanks for sharing. I pray for many more years of marriage for you. We are celebrating 34 years in July

  2. Jennifer, while I knew the statistics were staggering, I didn’t know some of the ones you brought out here for the underdog marriage. I like that label, because then you say “But God.” He specializes in helping underdogs and the supernatural. I came from a childhood of multiple divorces, my mom was married 4 times and my dad 3. My husband had parents that stayed together until “death parted them.” While it’s been a struggle, ups and downs, most marriages are, we’ve kept the Lord at the center and defied the odds too.

    1. That does sound like a difficult childhood, Karen. I’m so glad for you two that your husband had a beautiful example of a life long marriage for you both to look to, and that you are overcoming the odds! God is good!

  3. Congratulations on 8 years of marriage! Such a great post! My husband and I will be married 32 years this year. We don’t have an underdog marriage (both sets of parents have been married 60+ years) but there are no guarantees for anyone. So we worked at maintaining a happy marriage. Two things we tried to do: (1) Remember to laugh together and look at each other in the eyes. You’d be surprised at how many couples seldom make eye contact or enjoy their spouse’s humor any longer. (2) We had a date day every week and we always looked forward to it. It doesn’t have to be expensive. It’s about spending time together. Thanks for your post.

    1. Thank you Anneliese! And congrats to you on 32 years of marriage! I love your point about laughing together and eye contact. Those two things can really help a couple stay connected.

  4. Great post! We do have to be intentional and keep the big picture view, or the little silly things can drive us mad. I didn’t read your post from last year, I think one of the biggest things in my marriage has been a determination to make it work. Yes, we have an underdog marriage, but we both came into it with divorce as not an option. Thanks for sharing 8)

    1. Thank you Debra! Our pre-marriage counselor and our Pastor told us the same thing about not allowing divorce to be an option. When it’s taken completely off the table, we become more determined to make it work!

  5. Congratulations and happy anniversary to you and your husband! Your statistics were sobering. Though we know this is true, it’s another thing to read it in black and white. But God! When we link our lives and marriage to the Lord, we have help that you cannot get elsewhere. Praying many more years of joy for you both!

  6. My husband and I have been married for over 40 years. We married very young. He was 21 and I was 18. We’ve been through a lot and will experience a lot more. God is with us and He guides our love.

  7. I love how you said to “Be intentional” and “Stay intentional.” The stats you shared can be discouraging, but you have provided a post full of encouragement and a valuable reminder that with God anything is possible.
    (We just celebrated our 27th anniversary.❤️)
    Thank you for sharing this!

  8. Those divorce statistics are heartbreaking. I’m glad you made it to 8, though! We did too, a couple of months ago.

    I love your suggestions about being intentional. Especially about the love languages. Its important to know, though that even if by some miracle you both speak the same love language, you will likely express (and expect) it very differently from each other.

  9. I love that you used that 1 Corinthians verse in this context. It is so true that marriage these days looks foolish to the world. But that’s all the more reason to continue staying intentional and reveal how great our God is!

  10. These stats are staggering to say the least. I’m from a broken marriage and for 29 years I was determined I would not fall into these statistics. But the abuse became more than I could bear and I was dying inside and had to escape. So, now I’m part of these stats. However, I am also remarried to a wonderful man and we will be celebrating our 7th anniversary this December.
    I love your comment that we need to be intentional and more importantly, stay intentional each day. How true that is!
    Your neighbour from Salt and Light.

  11. Congratulations! I am also married in an underdog marriage. We recently celebrated our 42nd anniversary! All the points you shared are absolutely correct. You’ve provided the essentials required for making a marriage last a lifetime. It requires the daily commitment to be there for one another, to love, to forgive, to let go of grudges, to intentionally seek to build up the other, and to stay committed and supportive of one another. Jesus is an essential component in a Christian marriage. Sometimes we can’t do these things without his enablement.

  12. Wow! This post is amazing! The statistics are mind blowing but I love how you compared it to yours and what God can do. My parents are also under dogs. On my mom side alone, between her mother, father, and her dad that raised her, they are 13 divorces. Yes, 13 between three of them. My parents have always given God the glory for bring them to more than 30 years of marriage. I am glad to read this too because it gives me a lot to pray for, for older children. I am divorced. Me and my ex-husband have both remarried so the statistic seems to go high for our children now but with God….. anything is possible!! =) Thank you for mentioning Married by His Grace!!

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