Are divorce rates higher in conservative areas of the U.S.?
It would seem counter-intuitive, but University of Texas sociologist Jennifer Glass and Philip Levchak of the University of Iowa measured this demographic and found that divorce rates are higher among Conservative Protestants, particularly because many of the young adults are marrying younger than their peers who opt to delay marriage.*
Christian Century sites the study: “According to researchers who took into account race, income and other factors, the marriage and fertility trends that are common among conservative Protestants—younger marriage, more kids, less higher education—affect all people in areas most populated by conservative Protestants, no matter their personal religious affiliation.”
• Those who marry younger do not tend to pursue higher education
• Embarrassment for getting marital help
• Marriage is idealized by the young
• Marriage failure is equal to shame
• Fear that best choice in partners will be taken
• Lack of relationship skills in younger adults
• Lack of stable job opportunities
In her article in The Nation, Michelle Goldberg quotes Glass, “Clearly you can’t put people with few relationship skills and few resources together at a really young age and saddle them with children and expect them to survive.”
Let’s be honest. There are all flavors of Protestant Christianity, and not all families have bought in to what it really means to be a Christian. Jesus talked about this throughout His ministry (Matthew 23:27 and Matthew 7:21). True Christianity is expressed in the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).
If it’s all about maintaining a facade, kids can see through this hypocrisy.
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Take a deep look into the teaching where you worship.
Are they teaching perfection?
This is impossible.
Just look at the example of King David’s. His family was a mess, yet he was called “a man after God’s own heart.” (1 Samuel 13:14 and Acts 13:22)
My family is very blessed to worship at a place that urges transparency.
I’m not saying that sin is condoned.
Not at all. (Romans 6:1)
But our ministers are available to counsel and encourage our families, in a kind, non-judgmental way. For families in need, we have a counselor who can assist.
We have a strong youth group that encourages purity and helps our teens to achieve this wonderful goal.
Our church family is very family-centric, and our members root for each other to succeed.
I highly recommend you finding a similar church program.
If, on the other hand, your place of worship shames its members into obedience…run! (John 8:1-11)
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The American Journal of Sociology study re-enforces what many parents—even conservative parents—are trying to teach our children about waiting to make critical life decisions until they are older.
Marriage can be wonderful, but marriage can be awful. The odds are in our kids’ favor, the longer they wait.
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Divorce rate high in conservative areas. (2014). Christian Century, 131(4), 14.
Goldberg, M. (2014). Christian Marriage, Christian Divorce. Nation, 298(6), 6-8.
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Stephanie L. Robertson was a family studies and elementary education major and enjoys writing about topics related to marriage and family life.