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!
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.
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
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.“
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).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.