Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Can Your Marriage Be As Contagious As Your Divorce

Stephanie Chen, a CNN news correspondent wrote an article entitled “Could you be effected by a friend’s divorce?” In a study conducted by James H. Fowler, a professor of political science at the University of California, San Diego he concludes that “Divorce is contagious in social networks. The idea is based on the theory of social contagion, or the spread of behavior or emotion through a group. In this case, the heated feelings and actions of one person's divorce can be transferred like a virus, causing others to divorce, according to the study.”

Fowler's research on divorce contagion revealed some shocking data. People with a divorced sibling are 22 percent more likely to get divorced than people who don't have divorced siblings. Friends have even more influence than siblings when it comes to divorce, according to Fowler's study. People who had a divorced friend were 147 percent more likely to be divorced than people whose friends' marriages were intact, the study said. The study also revealed a divorced co-worker can increase the likelihood of another employee divorcing by 55 percent compared to an employee who works with non-divorced employees.

My reaction to this article was “couldn’t God glorifying marriages be just as contagious as divorce?” As Christians it is appalling that our divorce rate mirrors the secular population. IF God is at the center of our marriages shouldn’t there be a huge difference in how we treat one another and how we handle conflict.

For the moment let’s assume that Fowler’s research is correct then wouldn’t it be great if as Christian couples we had a virus that we could spread. Wouldn’t it be great if we rededicated ourselves to love one another as expressed in Ephesians 5:21-33. Wouldn’t it be great if true transformation took place and that our love for one another radiated in such a way that those who know us would want the type of marriage that we have.

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