It can be said very simply and forcibly that many marriages and maybe even marriage as a societal institution is in trouble. In fact, if things continue along the path of more and more couples deciding that getting married is unnecessary the moral and legal authority that marriage has in society might just disappear. The statistics are alarming and for divorce rates they have been alarming for some time. The fifty percent divorce rate has remained fairly constant for some time and it really doesn’t seem to matter how much money you have, what god you worship, or your social standing. I suspect that if you asked how many couples were happy or content together, that number would be alarmingly low. They either have not yet decided to separate or have decided to stay together for some other reason. We just are not doing a good job as a society and culture with making marriage work.
This is not news. And many people and organizations have tried to turn the tide. There are organizations with names like “Saving Marriage”, or the “Marriage Initiative”, even welfare laws have been structured to try and encourage marriage. And most every religious faith, and certainly the Judeo-Christian heritages celebrate marriage as central to their life of faith and make every effort to keep couples together. And yet most initiatives, including marriage counseling have a dismal record of preventing divorce and improving struggling couple’s chances of staying together.
There is one notable exception, at least in the field of marriage counseling. With over 15 years of research Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) has a 70-75% (and a few have 80-85%) success rate of helping unhappy marriages. It also reports that 90% of couples treated report significant improvement. This is great news and I have seen the results in my own experience of counseling couples with EFT. It is truly amazing how effective it can be. Couples have stated they had very little hope of making their marriage work and have been overwhelmed with gratitude when it did after counseling sessions based on the EFT method.
I have learned how to practice EFT from Dr. Sharon May Morris. She is a follower of Jesus Christ and a master EFT therapist. She has written two books on EFT, the most recent is How to Argue so Your Spouse Will Listen. She has worked with several churches in California, including David Jeremiah’s church Shadow Mountain Community Church helping to implement mentoring and counseling programs based on EFT with great results. I am hoping that a coalition of churches and organizations in the Lexington area will help bring Sharon to Lexington for three days to help our local efforts. Centenary United Methodist and Crossroads Christian Church have committed to help. Please consider joining the effort to make marriage work.
In one of his newsletters Francis Frangipane made this statement: “We believe that the key to healing society is found in restoring marriage to its greatest goal as proclaimed by God in the book of Genesis. What is that goal? The Lord said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness . . . And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Gen 1:26-27).
Man and woman, married, united, in the image of God. If we restore this, we will restore our society one family at a time.”
We can restore our society one family at a time if we make marriage work.