Having read Shaunti Feldhahn’s “For Men Only” book years ago, I was familiar with her work before requesting her latest book “The Good News About Marriage: Debunking Discouraging Myths about Marriage and Divorce.” In this book, Feldhahn seeks to push back against the classic ideal that one out of every two marriages will end in divorce. This statistic, she discovered, was actually based on projections of divorce rather than actual statistics. The closest statistic is actually closer to 28-30 percent depending on which statistical analysis is used.
Yet Feldhahn’s book goes far beyond debunking the fifty-percent divorce rate of marriages. She goes on to uncover other surprising information about marriage in modern America. She discovered that contrary to all of the naysayers and doom-and-gloom prophets, most marriages are in fact happy marriages and generally do last a lifetime. Furthermore, she discovered that religion often played an important role in lowering the divorce rate while simultaneously debunking the myth that Christian divorce rates mirror those of the public write large. Furthermore, the divorce rate among second and third marriages are lower than commonly used statistic tend to indicate.
For those who are not interested in statistics, they will find some of Feldhahn’s writing arduous. She systematically explains the methodologies behind the studies that she uses and lays out a very convincing case for her conclusions. However, this means that the first half of the book will probably be difficult for the average reader to wade through. Nonetheless, what she offers is extremely important as it exposes the fact that many statistics used by journalists are either non-existent or misinterpreted. This is an inherent strength of the book.
The second half of the book is a much easier read as Shaunti takes the reader through surprising facts that can help sustain marriages. For example, in her own studies she discovered that over eighty percent of people are not even aware that their spouse is struggling in their marriage. Furthermore, she argues strongly for the importance of her statistical findings as they give hope to those couples who are struggling in marriage as well as pastors who no, in light of her findings, may find far less need to constantly preach on the need to heal marriages in light of false fifty percent divorce rates.. Her work will take a lot of pressure off of pastors who can devote more attention to more pressing matters.
All in all, this book is a fine read for anyone interested in relationships. For those struggling in their marriage I would look at Shaunti Feldhahn’s books “For Men/Women Only” as well as Gary Thomas’ “Sacred Marriage.” For pastors, “The Good News About Marriage” is an essential book.