Jerry Newcombe

Facebook’s first president, Sean Parker, who was also the co-founder of NAPSTER, recently got married in Big Sur, California. The wedding for 300 guests was estimated to cost $9 million.

That’s astounding. I was driving through Big Sur recently on vacation. (We just happened to have a mini-family vacation there.) We stopped for gas, and I was pumping away before I looked at the price. It was more than $6.00 a gallon! That’s high even for California. I stopped immediately---when I noticed the cost. At least it was a nice view.

Writing for the Telegraph in the UK (6/3/13), Nick Allen says of the wedding, “The scene did reportedly resemble a Hollywood set with landscapers spending weeks building fake waterfalls, ruins and backdrops, and a $600,000 stone gate.” They spent about $1 million in plants/flowers.

It’s incredible that someone could engage in such an elaborate and memorable ceremony---not far from the Hearst Castle no less, where dreams have come true. (The reason our family was even driving through Big Sur was because we had gone to visit the incredible mansion William Randolph Hearst built over 27 years in San Simeon, beginning in 1919.)

When I told my wife about this expensive wedding, she said, “The reason people will spend such elaborate sums on a wedding is because the dream of ‘happily ever after’ will not die.” So true.

We wish the newlyweds all success on their new life together. But this gives me an opportunity to comment on how important it is to prepare for marriage, as opposed to just the wedding.

Sadly, in Western culture, and in America particularly, we have racked up a terrible divorce rate. It’s not as bad as the “one out of two marriages end in divorce” that we keep hearing about.

Years ago, pollster Lou Harris proved that the notion that 50 percent of marriages in America end in divorce gives a misleading picture.

He found that the source of that statistic was that in a given year, the number of new marriages was double the number of new divorces happening that particular year. But that doesn’t mean that one out of every two marriages in America thus ends in divorce because the number of existing marriages were not taken into consideration. There are many who are married and stay so.

Consider this: If you get married, are the chances of your marriage lasting only 50/50? I think not. We have to remember that those who get married and divorced repeatedly will skew the statistics.

Meanwhile, there are certain behaviors we can engage in that help increase the odds of the couple staying together. That would include a few pre-marital counseling sessions.

Jerry Newcombe

Dr. Jerry Newcombe is a key archivist of the D. James Kennedy Legacy Library and a Christian TV producer.