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Messy marriages

March 2012

Messy marriages

Christians are happier in their marriages and better at staying married than non-Christians, despite admitting their marital life can be ‘messy’, a study has found.
    How’s the family?, the latest report in the Evangelical Alliance’s 21st Century Evangelicals series, showed that Christians are much better at protecting their marriage, with the credit for this going to lifestyle choices commonly associated with Christians.
    The typical lifestyle choices of Christians who go on to happy and lengthy marriages are that they marry young (at 25 on average, compared to more than 30 in the general population).
    They are less likely to have lived together as a couple, and are willing to participate in activities that support and maintain their relationship. Some 29 per cent had sought help in their marriage, with the top three reasons being communication difficulties, infidelity and sexual problems.
    Steve Clifford, general director of the Evangelical Alliance, said, ‘Families aren’t always easy to live with, but Christians do seem to have a high level of commitment to making them work.
    ‘The message this research gives us is that most Christian couples refuse to simply walk away from relationships when they get tough. Christian marriages are not perfect, but they show fewer signs of following the cultural trend of giving up and separating.
    ‘During Marriage Week, the church should recognise this and be proud to boast a model of marriage that is healthy and sustainable’.
    However, all is not rosy. There are just too few Christian men out there for Christian women to marry. The report revealed there are 1.7 single females in evangelical congregations for every man. This figure rises in the over-55s to three women to every man. The number of women marrying non-Christians is higher compared to the figure for men — 23 per cent compared to 13 per cent of men (www.eauk.org).

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