The Devastation of Divorce
What is the fruit of this non-Biblical teaching on divorce? Our Lord Jesus declared, “By their fruit you will know them.” Matthew 7:20
If you would like to know the nature of the spring from which this teaching comes, just look at the fruit. The following research may serve to show the negative unchristlike effect of this Erasmian doctrine. These examples are not taken from religious of the sources, but from secular society’s alarming statistics, and represent only a very small percentage available data. These statistics overwhelmingly validate the destruction caused by divorce and remarriage. The greatest tragedy however, is the present day Church has now surpassed the unchurched world in the percentage of divorces and remarriages. Consider the following:
Divorce is pervading our society. Twenty-five percent of adults aged 18-35 have lived through their parents getting divorced. Elizabeth Marquardt Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce (New York: Crown Publishers, 2005)
“Half of all children will witness the breakup of a parent’s marriage. Of these, close to half will also see the breakup of a parent’s second marriage.” Furstenberg, Peterson, Nord, and Zill, “Life Course,” 656ff. Cited on page 76 of The Abolition of Marriage, by Maggie Gallagher
“Ten percent of children of divorce will go on to witness three or more family breakups.” Peterson, “Marital Disruption,” 5. Cited on page76 of The Abolition of Marriage, by Maggie Gallagher
The consequences of divorce often last for many years. One of the most disturbing outcomes arises when young children of divorce reach their young adult years and have difficulty creating trusting and secure intimate relationships. Judith Wallerstein, Julia Lewis, and Sandra Blakeslee, The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce: A 25 Year Landmark Study (New York: Hyperion, 2000), p.304-305.
Only 12% of divorced couples are able to create low-conflict, friendly, relationships after divorce. One-half engage in bitter, open conflict. Five years afterwards, most of these angry divorced couples remain bogged down in hostility. Almost 33% of friendly divorces deteriorate into open conflict. Constance Ahrons, The Good Divorce: Keeping Your Family Together When Your Marriage Comes Apart (Harper Collins Publications, 1994)
Children of Divorce Getting Divorced
White female children of divorce are 60% more likely to personally experience divorce or separation than a similar population from intact families. The rate for white male children is 35% higher than for similar males from intact families. Brian Willats, Breaking Up is Easy To Do, available from Michigan Family Forum, citing N.D. Glenn and K.B. Kramer, “The marriages and divorces of the children of divorce,” Journal of Marriage and the Family, 49, pp. 811-825. Cited in Judith Wallerstein, Ph.D., “The Long-Term Effects of Divorce on Children: A Review,” Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, May 1991, p. 357.
“Divorce can be quite expensive. If you’re lucky and if both the spouses and their lawyers are reasonable and fair you can get a custody divorce for under $10,000 per spouse in lawyer fees. It is considered unethical for a divorce lawyer to give a client an estimate. A custody fight can be more like $20,000 per spouse or more. After the resolution, either side can return to court the next year to try the case all over again. You could be struggling over the visitation provisions until the children are grown.” http://patriot.net/~crouch/artj/tvshow.html#anchorl530811 John Crouch, Executive Director Americans for Divorce Reform divorcereform@usa net, Arlington, Virginia
“A single divorce costs state and federal governments about $30,000, based on such things as the higher use of food stamps and public housing as well as increased bankruptcies and juvenile delinquency. The nation’s 10.4 million divorces in 2002 are estimated to have cost the taxpayers over $30 billion.” Whitehead, B. and Popenoe, D. The State of Our Unions. Feburary 25, 2006 http://marriage.rutgers.edu/Publications/SOOU/SOOU2004. Pdf
“Daughters who divorce require far more financial aid from their aging parents than do their married sisters.” Glenna Spitze, “Adult Children’s Divorce and Intergenerational Relationships,” Journal of Marriage and the Family (May 1994): 279ff. Cited on page 44 of The Abolition of Marriage, by Maggie Gallagher
“In Utah, divorce and its financial stresses account for 75 to 80 percent of the people on welfare rolls.” “Utah’s Unique Take on How to Strengthen Marriages” by Katharine Biele in The Christian Science Monitor 9/19/98
“Children whose parents divorce are almost twice as likely to drop into poverty than they were before the marital split.” Brian Willats, Breaking Up is Easy To Do, available from Michigan Family Forum, citing Suzanne Bianchi and Edith McArthur, Family Disruption and Economic Hardship, U.S. Census Bureau, 1991. Cited in Kenneth Jost and Marilyn Robinson, “Children and Divorce: What can be done to help children of divorce,” CQ Researcher, June 7,1991, p. 358
“Divorce increases the father’s odds of winding up in a low occupational stratum, and has decreased a family’s ability to pass advantages on to their children.” Timothy J. Biblarz and Adrian E. Raftery, “The Effects of Family Disruption on Social Mobility,” American Sociological Review 58 (1993): 97-109. Cited on page 44 of The Abolition of Marriage, by Maggie Gallagher
“The average child from a middle class family will suffer a 50% drop in income after divorce.” Sara McLanahan and Gary Sandefur, Growing Up with a Single Parent: What Hurts, What Helps (Cambridge, Mass. Harvard University Press, 1994), 24. Cited on page 32 of The Abolition of Marriage, by Maggie Gallagher
The National Institute of Mental Health found that annual depression rates for divorced women were over 2.7 times greater than married and never divorced women. Suffering from any psychiatric disorder over a lifetime is significantly lower for those in a legal marriage. Lee Robins and Darrel Regier, Psychiatric Disorders in America: The Epidemiologic Catchment Area Study (New York: Free Press, 1991), p. 64
Children living with divorced mothers receive professional help for emotional or behavioral problems 3.25 times more than children living with both natural parents. Children living with mothers and stepfathers receive professional help for emotional or behavioral problems 2.44 times more than children living with both natural parents. Deborah A. Dawson, “Family Structure and Children’s Health and Well-Being: Data from the 1988 National Heath Interview Survey on Child Health,” Journal of Marriage and the Family, 1991, 53:578
“Married people suffered from schizophrenia, depression or any mental illness less often than the unmarried and when they did, their recovery was more successful. The lowest rates for mental hospital admissions were consistently found among the married.” Robert H. Coombs, “Marital Status and Personal Well-Being: A Literature Review,” Family Relations, 1991, 40:99
Children living with mom and dad received professional help for behavior and psychological problems at half the rate of children not living with both biological parents. Deborah A. Dawson, “Family Structure and Children’s Health and Well-being: Data from the National Health Interview Survey on Child Health,” Journal of Marriage and the Family, 1991,53:573-584
Ten years after their parent’s divorce, almost half the children were “worried, underachieving, self-deprecating and sometimes angry.” Serious emotional and relational problems follow children of divorce into adulthood. Judith S. Wallerstein and Sandra Blakeslee, Second Chances: Men, Women, and Children a Decade After Divorce (New York: Ticknor & Fields, 1990) pp. 352-353
The divorced are nearly twice as likely to suffer from any mental illness as those who are married. Lee Robins and Darrel Regier, Psychiatric Disorders in America: The Epidemiologic Catchment Area Study (New York: Free Press, 1991), p.44.
“Compared to the married, divorced persons are six to ten times more likely to use inpatient psychiatric facilities and four to five times more likely to be clients in outpatient clinics.” David Williams, et al., “Marital Status and Psychiatric Disorders Among Black and Whites,” Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 1992, 33:140-157.
“Children of divorce were four times more likely than children in intact families to say they had problems with peers and friends.” The Abolition of Marriage, by Maggie Gallagher p. 65, citing Dorothy Tysse and Margaret Crosbie-Burnett, “Moral Dilemmas of Early Adolescents of Divorced and Intact Families: A Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis,” Journal of Early Adolescence 13, no. 2 (May 1993): 168-182.
Children from divorced families are more isolated than children from stable marriages. They depend more on teachers, counselors, and babysitters for support while at the same time perceiving these ‘outsiders’ as sources of family conflict. The children from divorced families are also more dissatisfied with the support they receive from friends. Sylvie Drapeau and C. Bouchard, “Support Networks and Adjustment Among 6 to 11 Year Olds from Marital Disrupted and Intact Families,” Journal of Divorce and Remarriage 19 (1993):75-97.
“Children of divorce were more aggressive than children whose parents stayed married.” Robert E. Emery, Marriage, Divorce, and Children’s Adjustment (Newbury Park, Calif.: Sage Publication, 1988), 50-54.
“Children in homes with absent fathers are more likely to suffer from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. No reduction in child antisocial behavior is associated with acquiring a stepfather.” Pfiffner, L., McBurnett, K., Rathouz, P. (2001) Father Absence and Familial Antisocial Charecteristics. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology. v29 i5 p357
“Young children whose parents divorced were likely to be afflicted with emotional problems such as depression or anxiety well into their twenties or early thirties.” Maher, B. (2003) Patching Up the American Family. World and I, v18 it p56.
“Having dealt extensively with both adults who were the product of divorced parents and others who suffered abuse in the early years, I have come to the sad conclusion that the traumatic effects of divorce on the young persons’ mind and emotions are significantly greater than those of childhood abuse.” Dr Neil Stringer, New Hope Family Care, Sanford, Florida
“The highest suicide rates occur among the divorced, and lowest among the married.” Robert H. Coombs, “Marital Status and Personal Well-Being: A Literature Review,” Family Relations, 1991, 40:97-98.
“Of many variables, divorce had the strongest direct relationship to suicide rates.” Jeffery Barr, et al., “Catholic Religion and Suicide: The Mediating Effect of Divorce,” Social Science Quarterly, 1994, 75:300-318.
“Divorced individuals are three times more likely to commit suicide than those who are married.” Dick Smith, et al., “Marital Status and the Risk of Suicide,” American Journal of Public Health, 1988,78:78-80.
“The suicide rate for divorced white men, is four times higher than for their married counterparts.” Quoted in Bryce J. Christensen, “In Sickness and in Health: The Medical Costs of Family Meltdown,” Policy Review, Spring 1992, p. 71
“The general health problems of children from broken homes are increased by 20 to 30%, even when adjusting for demographic variables.” L. Remez, “Children Who Don’t Live with Both Parents Face Behavioral Problems,” Family Planning Perspectives, January/ February 1992.
The National Center for Health Statistics finds that married women suffer half the injuries of divorced women. Robert Coombs, “Marital Status and Personal Well-Being: A Literature Review,” Family Relations, 1991, 40:97-102.
“Divorced men are over 9 times more likely to die of tuberculosis and over 4 times more likely to die from diabetes than their married counterparts. A divorced male is 3.4 times more likely to die from any cause than a married male and a divorced female is 2.0 times more likely to die from any cause then her married counterpart.” Walter Gove, “Sex, Marital Status and Mortality,” American Journal of Sociology, 1973,79:45-67.
“Being divorced and a non-smoker is slightly less dangerous than smoking a pack or more a day and staying married.” Quoted in Bryce J. Christensen, “In Sickness and in Health: The Medical Costs of Family Meltdown,” Policy Review, Spring 1992, p. 71. Cited in Brian Willats, Breaking Up is Easy To Do, available from Michigan Family Forum.
“Divorced men and women suffer to a much greater degree than married persons early death from cancer, cardiovascular disease, strokes, pneumonia, hypertension, and suicide. The single most powerful predictor of stress-related physical illness is marital disruption.” Brian Willats, Breaking Up is Easy To Do, available from Michigan Family Forum. Citing B.M. Rosen, H.F. Goldsmith, and R.W. Rednick, Demographic and Social Indicators from the U.S. Census of Population and Housing: Uses for Mental Health Planning in Small Areas (Rockville, MD: National Institute of Mental Health, 1977). Cited in Susan Larson and David Larson, M.D., M.S.P.H., “Divorce: A Hazard to Your Health?” Physician, May/June 1990, p. 14.
“Married people enjoy greater longevity than the unmarried and generally make less use of health care services. Cures from cancer were 8-17% more likely for the married and they also spend fewer days in bed due to acute illness.” Robert H. Coombs, “Marital Status and Personal Well-Being: A Literature Review,” Family Relations, 1991, 40:98
“Those who lived alone or with someone other than a spouse had significantly shorter survival times compared with those living with a spouse…the critical factor for survival was the presence of a spouse.” Maradee A. Davis, John M. Neuhaus, Deborah J. Moritz and Mark R. Segal, “Living Arrangements and Survival among Middle-Aged and O1der Adults in the NHANES I Epidemiologic Follow-up Study,” American Journal of Public Health, 1992, 82:401-406.
“Married people have the lowest morbidity rates, while the divorced show the highest.” I. M. Joung, et al., “Differences in Self-Reported Morbidity by Marital Status and by Living Arrangement,” International Journal of Epidemiology, 1994, 23:91-97.
“Children who come from divorced families are more likely to be shorter. Stress is linked to the hippocampus and growth hormones, learning and memory.” Quote from Diane Sollee, Director of the Coalition for Marriage, Family and Couples Education, from the Coalition’s listserv (http://Iists.his.com/smartmarriages/)
Separated and divorced individuals account for 70 percent of all chronic problem drinkers, while married drinkers account for only 15 percent. Single men are over 3 times more likely to die of cirrhosis of the liver than married men. Robert H. Coombs, “Marital Status and Personal Well-Being: A Literature Review,” Family Relations, 1991, 40:97
“Alcoholism rates for divorced or separated individuals are 1.8 times higher than those with intact marriages.” Alcoholism rates for those divorced more than once increases to 2.7 times higher than those with intact marriages. Lee Robins and Darrel Regier, Psychiatric Disorders in America: The Epidemiologic Catchment Area Study (New York: Free Press, 1991), p. 103.
“Criminologists have long used race and poverty as key variables for explaining crime rates. However, when differences in family structures are taken into account, crime rates run much the same in rich and poor neighborhoods and among black, white, and Hispanic populations.” Douglas A. Smith and G. Roger Jarjoura, “Social Structure and Criminal Victimization,” Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 25 [Feb., 1988], 27-52; epitomizing in The Family in America: New Research, June 1988 Cited in Amneus, The Garbage Generation, page 220
Seventy-two percent of incarcerated juveniles came from broken homes. A child growing up in a divorced family is seven times as likely to be a delinquent. Statistics from the Los Angeles Times, 19 September, 1988. Cited in Amneus, The Garbage Generation, page 179
More than two-thirds of domestic violence offenders are boyfriends or ex-spouses, while just 9 percent are first spouses. Gallagher in “End No-Fault Divorce?” (Maggie Gallagher debates Barbara Dafoe Whitehead) in First Things 75 (August/ September 1997)
Juvenile delinquency in broken homes is 10-15 percent higher than in intact homes. Edward L. Wells and Joseph H. Rankin, “Families and Delinquency: A Meta-Analysis of the Impact of Broken Homes,” Social Problems, 1991,38:71-89.
“Comparing two groups of young black males, another study found that one group is significantly more likely to be sent to jail. Both groups lived in public housing, were on welfare and had similar life experiences. The only difference was the law abiding males had both parents present in the home.” M. Anne Hill and June O’Neill. Underclass Behaviors in the United States: Measurements and Analysis of Determinants (New York: City University of New York, Baruch College, 1993) p. 90.
“If you look at the one factor that most closely correlates with crime, it’s not poverty, it’s not employment, and it’s not education. It’s the absence of the father in the family.” – U.S. Attorney General William Barr Wade Horn, Father Facts, The National Fatherhood Initiative, 1995, p. 23.
From 1973 to 1993, divorced women were victims of violent crimes over 4 times more than married women. U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, Highlights from 20 years of Surveying Crime Victims: The National Crime Victimization Survey, 1973-1992 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, 1993), 18.
Children from divorced families are over 70% more likely than those living with both natural parents to have been expelled or suspended. Deborah A. Dawson, “Family Structure and Children’s Health and Well-being: Data from the National Health Interview Survey on Child Health,” Journal of Marriage and the Family, 53, p. 578.
One-third of affluent divorced fathers chose to help pay for college. Ten years after their parents divorce, 60 percent of young adults were on a downward educational course compared with their fathers. Judith S. Wallerstine and Sandra Blakeskee, Second Chances:Men Women, and Children a Decade After Divorce (New York: Ticknor & Fields, 1989), 156-157.
The number one factor that kept children from doing well in school was a broken family. The family health was a greater influence than school facilities, curriculum or staff. James S. Coleman, et al., Equality of Educational Opportunity, U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Washington D.C.,1966.
“Researchers from Johns Hopkins and Princeton Universities found that growing up in a single-parent family had a negative effect on grade-point average, school attendance, and general indicators of educational attainment.” Nan Marie Astone and Sarah S. McLanahan, “Family Structure, Parental Practices and High School Completion,” American Sociological Review, 1991,56:309-320.
Children from low-income intact families outperform students from high-income single parent homes! “One-Parent Families and Their Children: The School’s Most Significant Minority,” conducted by The Consortium for the Study of School Needs of Children from One-Parent Families, cosponsored by the National Association of Elementary School Principals and the Institute for Development of Educational Activities, a division of the Charles F. Kettering Foundation (Arlington, VA: 1980).
Children from broken homes are nearly twice as likely to drop out of school as those living with both natural parents. Sara McLanahan and Gary Sandefur, Growing Up with a Single Parent: What Hurts, What Helps, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1994), p. 41.
Young white women raised in broken homes are over 2.5 times more likely to bear children out of wedlock themselves. I. Garfinkel, and S. S. McLanahan,. Single Mothers and Their Children: A New American Dilemma (Washington D.C.: The Urban Institute Press, 1986) pp. 30-31.
Children of divorce are far more likely to engage in premarital sex and bear children out of wedlock during adolescence and young adulthood. Maher, B. (2003) Patching Up the American Family. World and I, v 18 i 1 p56. Retrieved June 9, 2004 from Expanded Academic ASAP
Children of divorced Catholic parents are 2.2 times as likely to apostatize. Children of divorced moderate Protestants are 2.2 times as likely to reject all religion. Children of divorced conservative Protestants are 2.7 times as likely to leave Christianity. Lawton, L. E., & Bures, R. (2001). Parental Divorce and the “Switching” of Religious Identity. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 40, 99-111.
Thirty-seven percent of young adults from divorced families say that religion doesn’t speak to the significant questions in their lives, compared to 29% from whole families. Forty-six percent of young adults from divorced families believe that they can find truth without religion, compared to 36% from intact families. Elizabeth Marquardt Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce (New York: Crown Publishers, 2005) 154
Sixty-six percent of those regularly attending religious services at the time of their parent’s divorce report that no one from either the clergy or the congregation attempted to minister to them. Leora E. Lawton and Regina Bures, “Parental Divorce and the ‘Switching’ of Religious Identity,” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, March 2001, 106 cited on page 155 of Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce, by Elizabeth Marquardt
Both teens in single-parent families and teens in step-families are three times more likely to have needed psychological help within the past year. Peter Hill, “Recent Advances in Selected Aspects of Adolescent Development,” Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 34, no. 1 (1993): 69-99. Cited on page 72 of The Abolition of Marriage, by Maggie Gallagher
“Living in a mother/stepfather family has as much negative effect as living in a mother only family.” Furstenberg and Cherlin, Divided Families, 77. Cited on page72 of The Abolition of Marriage, by Maggie Gallagher
Furstenberg and Cherlin found that “disturbed adolescent functioning” is as common among teens of stepfamilies as in teens of single-parent families, and much more common than in intact families. Thus, it is concluded that remarriage does nothing for the psychological well-being of adolescents. Furstenberg and Cherlin, Divided Families, 89. Cited on page 72 of The Abolition of Marriage, by Maggie Gallagher
“It appears that children in stepfamilies have the same frequency of problems as do children in single-parent families.” Jiang Hong Li and Roger A. Wojtkiewicz, “A New Look at the Effects of Family Structure on Status Attainment,” Social Science Quarterly 73 (1992): 581-595. Cited on page72 of The Abolition of Marriage, by Maggie Gallagher
“Remarriage turned up in a study to be more unstable than the first marriage.” See for example,Andrew Cherlin, “Remarriage as an Incomplete Institution,” American Journal of Sociology 84 (1978): 634ff; Frank F. Furstenberg, Jr., and Graham B. Spanier, Recycling the Family: Remarriage After Divorce (Beverly Hills, Calif.: Sage Publications, 1987), 86-90. Cited on page7l of The Abolition of Marriage, by Maggie Gallagher
“Children in stepfamilies do no better on average than children in single-parent homes.” J.A. Jacobs and Frank F. Furstenberg, Jr., “Changing Places: Conjugal Careers and Women’s Marital Mobility,” Social Forces 64: 714ff. Cited on page 7l of The Abolition of Marriage, by Maggie Gallagher
“A study by James Bray, of the Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, reveals that stepchildren have about twice the rate of serious behavioral problems as children in traditional nuclear families.” Marilyn Elias, “A ‘Boomerang’ Among Stepkids,” USA Today, August 17, 1998.
“Children living with both biological parents usually manage better than children in any other family form, including step families. The advantage of marriage seems to exist mainly when the child is the biological offspring of both parents.” Manning, Wendy, & Lamb, Kathleen A. (2003). Adolescent wellbeing in cohabiting, married, and singleparent families. Journal of Marriage & Family, 65: 890
Does any of this, in any way, represent the “Fruit of the Spirit?” Do any of these statistics manifest, in any way, the pure lifestyle of Jesus Christ? Should any of these results be present in the lives of those who profess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior? Yet, this is the horrible fruit of present day teaching concerning divorce and remarriage in most churches. This distorted teaching being espoused, has caused the divorce and remarriage rate in our churches to soar higher than the level in the unchurched world and Pastors and their wives are now one of the highest segments of our society to be experiencing divorce and remarriage. Brothers and sisters, these things ought not to be. There is a Trojan Horse in the Church and it can only be dealt with when God’s people recognize it, and do battle against it.
Jesus said in John 8:32, “And ye shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free.” May we suggest in this situation it might make you miserable at first, but eventually you will know a new freedom of spirit, mind and conscience because it is Biblical truth.
As a church, we should be asking; with all of this statistical evidence available to Christian leaders today, why are none calling for a reevaluation of the marriage doctrine? Why is the divorce problem moving through the congregations and into the pulpits with less and less opposition? Why are our protestant churches still stubbornly embracing this Trojan Horse? This ungodly doctrine destroys our witness to the world and exposes the hypocrisy of those who oppose sodomy, but wholeheartedly embrace the violence being done in the Christian community by divorce and remarriage.
Please do not accuse the Holy Spirit of birthing this corrupt fruit that has caused devastation within the Church. The Church must recognize this Trojan Horse ideology that was introduced by a humanistic, rationalist who violated every hermeneutic principle to arrive at his conclusions. The Trojan Horse’s five word school-“except it be for fornication”-is eroding our Christian society while church leadership defends it. Regardless of the cost, we must go back to the only true source of authority, the eternal Word of God. May God raise up courageous leaders in the Church who are willing to research this for themselves and restore true New Testament teaching on marriage and divorce.
Let’s look again at our Lord’s teaching and embrace it.