Heads up! There is another pandemic about to hit the world: the divorce pandemic.
Many couples are questioning the future of their marriages after spending so much time together and feeling dissatisfied with the quality of their interactions. They simply ‘stayed and quit’ since there were not a lot of options available to them. Now, with the lockdown being lifted, we are going to see a surge in divorces. The church can do something to help stop this.
Waiting out the storm
Many couples have been counting down the end of the pandemic, seeking freedom to take off their masks and gather with friends again. Unfortunately, they are also seeking freedom from their marriage. Pre-pandemic, there were distractions in life that allowed couples to tolerate one another, but with so much forced time together, they are re-evaluating their relationship and finding they’ve reached the end of their tolerance.
This season of life forced couples to deal with fear and anxiety, depression, economic instability, substance abuse, death, and loneliness. The best of couples leaned on each other to find strength and a safe place to process what was going on. But for other couples, trying to find that comfort in their current relationship made them realize their partner was unable to be there for them.
Many couples ‘stayed and quit’ until the lockdown was lifted. They stayed in the relationship, but quit working on their marriage.
From the front lines
At Marriage365 we get close to 300 messages a day, and a majority of those reaching out are asking how long someone should accept bad behavior or what to do when a spouse stops trying. Meygan Caston, co-founder of Marriage365, notes that there has been a sharp increase in questions about healthy separation.
Harriet N. Cohen, a divorce lawyer who founded Cohen Stine Kapoor in Manhattan, said, “Ironically, the same vaccines that will hopefully return life to normal will also prove to be the catalyst for a new rise in divorces. We do not doubt that divorces will surge again, but for now, uncertainty is the order of the day.”
From the front row of the pews
In 2019 divorce rates within the Church were similar to those outside of faith communities, so there’s little evidence that the Church will be immune to this wave of divorces.
“Many churches have been in a reactive mode in helping marriages. Their solution has been to help hurting marriages, but rarely offering solutions to those heading towards the hurt” says Casey Caston, co-founder of Marriage365. “Most couples are confronted with a homily on what God thinks about marriage, uncovering a growing gap between where we know our marriage should be and where our marriage actually is. The larger the gap, the greater the shame. The greater the shame, the more couples go into hiding. As a result, marriages suffer in silence, and pastors only find out about it when it is too late.”
What can churches do?
Healthy church communities consist of healthy marriages. Period. The enemy knows this and will distract any leadership team away from allocating resources, budgets, and time towards this. We are encouraging churches to take a proactive approach in helping couples who are silently struggling, too embarrassed to raise their hands, and needing practical tools to restore their connection. The following list is what we believe to be the proper mindset toward building healthy marriages in the Church.
- Churches need to know that they are THE front line of defense against marriages unraveling in their communities.
- Churches need to recognize that the easiest way for the enemy to dismantle the church is through marriages, specifically in leadership and church staff.
- Churches need to normalize the struggle typical marriages go through, and it’s best when pastors and leaders can ‘go first’ with vulnerable and authentic storytelling.
- Churches need to set aside funding for marriage resources that will change couples from surviving to thriving. Examples: married couples small groups WITH childcare, weekend getaways, online tools, premarital classes.
We believe that the pandemic can result in an opportunity for churches to be a safe place for couples to heal and grow.
Providing hope for struggling marriages
Here’s where we can help you build a healthy church. Couples need to hear what scripture has to say about marriage AND the practical steps of how to put these principles into practice. We want pastors to focus on building the spiritual maturity of their community. We can help deliver the expertise of how to practically apply those scriptural principles inside their marriage. For example, how to talk about toxic family members, how to have a healthy mindset about their sexual intimacy, how to deliver a 4-step proper apology, how to have conversations about pride, anxiety, depression, infertility, money, and boundaries – without getting into a fight.
We offer proven tools and resources to help struggling couples find help and hope. Marriage365 Membership is an online resource pastors can use to provide support for couples struggling in their relationships.
With our membership, couples have access to streaming videos, courses, and helpful worksheets. We make it possible for pastors to strengthen marriages without any expertise or time commitment on their part.
Marital healing has never been this accessible in your church
During the lockdown, we experienced an 814% increase in our membership, mainly because online learning has become an acceptable form of help. While typically offered directly to couples, we want to equip churches with the tools they need to strengthen marriages in their congregation so the church body can be one.
Up until this point, Marriage365 Membership has only been available to individual couples needing support. However, because of our heart for the church, we are offering churches a group rate – that we can guarantee is ridiculously cheaper than therapy. More importantly, we have learned through the thousands of current members, that more husbands participate AND get more out of this!
Ready to get the conversation started? We’re working with a handful of select church communities as we develop a beta release version of membership for churches. To sign your church up and get started, click the button below.
Written by: Matt Davis
Matt loves to spend time with his wife, Marilee, and three children as they live life in Lexington, KY. After serving as a Marriage + Family Pastor for more than two decades at the local church, Matt is expanding the reach of Marriage365 by bringing the platform to churches and businesses across the country.