Jerry Newcombe

One of the big ones involves sex before marriage---or the lack thereof. Christian sex educator Pam Stenzel says that if individuals enter into a marriage as virgins, they only have a 2 percent chance of getting divorce.

I realize nowadays that to some that may seem virtually impossible. But no, it’s not.

A classic study on sex in America, under the auspices of the University of Chicago in the early 1990s, found that supposedly “boring” married couples, who were faithful to each other were the ones having sex most often and with greater satisfaction. The researchers wrote: “Once again contradicting the common view of marriage as dull and routine, the people who reported being the most physically pleased and emotionally satisfied were the married couples....”

Take another issue. I know it’s a cliché, but there is a lot of truth to the old slogan, “The family that prays together stays together.” Prayer together is an incredible bonding force.

I remember when I was single, a campus minister advised me against praying together alone with friends who were girls. He said if you do, one thing could lead to another (which could violate the 2 percent principle referenced above), and he knew of such relationships.

Having a common purpose in marriage, where it’s based on the same basic goal and worldview---in my wife’s and my case, a Christian one---makes a huge difference.

We have found that being united in our church attendance also makes a difference. Statistics show that those who attend religious services regularly tend to divorce less.

Wisdom from Scripture, like “don’t let the sun go down on your anger,” can save a marriage.

My long time pastor, the late Dr. D. James Kennedy, once said this: “Marriage is a school where we learn forgiveness, forbearance, love, and where we learn the development of relationships, which is the most important thing. As our relationship to Christ is like our relationship to our spouse, so we need to learn the meaning of that relationship, that commitment, that love, and that trust, which is so very important.”

A romantic view of marriage---the idea that the whole thing is based on feelings---can be very dangerous for any marriage. Feelings come and feelings go. But commitment remains the same.

Amazingly, arranged marriages, in India for example, have a better track record than do marriages based on just romantic feelings.

The Bible’s description of love in 1 Corinthians 13 deals with actions and attitudes, not feelings. Love is patient, kind, not jealous, keeps no record of wrongs, forgives all things, is not arrogant or rude, and so on.

No one gets married to get divorced. Putting such advice into practice can help couples prepare well for a lifetime of marriage, not just the wedding---and it won’t cost you $9 million to get it.

Jerry Newcombe

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