by Ray Martin
If someone told me that there was a simple solution out there that relieved anxiety, fear, depression, and was known to strengthen my marriage to the point that it was less likely to break down, I’d be like, “how do I buy a bottle of that?!?” The truth is that it’s not a pill or product, but rather an uncomplicated thing that we all can do: pray. Prayer is a powerful tool.
In this final installment of The Marriage Shield we come to the third F: Faith Devotion. Previously we covered fidelity and fiscal stewardship, but faith is the magic ingredient that has such a profound influence on our behavior that it guides our choices to be faithful to our marriage and responsible stewards of our finances.
Time For Family
In The Choice Wine Steve Bollman’s father-in-law, Riley Leggett, advised him to sit with his family in church every Sunday. This wisdom has a profound impact on a family. Couples attending weekly church services have a divorce rate 60% lower than those who never attend church services. Why? Because going to church changes the behaviors that lead to divorce: infidelity, using money foolishly, and substance abuse which all decrease significantly when you regularly worship with your community.
Prayer changes the functioning of the brain during and afterwards:
- It reduces anger, fear, and anxiety.
- Makes one more empathetic and compassionate.
- Strengthens a person’s sense of self.
- Leads to lower levels of loneliness, depression, anxiety; less substance abuse.
- Prayer changes you, which changes your marriage.
Statistically Protecting Your Marriage
The General Social Survey used in The Choice Wine found a baseline of close to 30% experiencing a marital breakdown, but this included newlyweds. The national average today is closer to 40% or more, but here’s the statistical rundown of how The Marriage Shield protects your relationship:
- Couples who don’t cohabitate prior to marriage and are faithful reduce the likelihood of marital breakdown from around 30% down to only 11%. This is why infidelity is the greatest threat to your relationship.
- Attending weekly worship drops the rate to 9% and praying daily takes it down to 5.9%.
- Many who are fiscally responsible have earned a certification or bachelor’s degree and combining that with fidelity and faith brings the probability down to nearly zero. Considering that the foolish use of money is the second leading cause of marital breakdown it makes sense.
Sex, Money, And Religion
The Marriage Shield covers three topics people don’t like to talk about, but that’s because they are the leading causes of problems in a relationship. Steve Bollman says that nailing these three areas of your life will nearly divorce proof your marriage because they substantially lower the probability of a marital breakdown. In our first discussion on The Marriage Shield, we covered that married people are generally happier, healthier, and wealthier than average. Spending time at the dinner table proved to not only save us money, but is also a huge benefit to our children which is why protecting marriage is so critical to the future of our community making it all the more important to protect following the three F’s:
- Fiscal Stewardship
- Faith Devotion
Faith is that intangible spirit that changes us into better spouses. I hope that you will take the three F’s to heart and think about the wisdom shared by Riley Leggett that we should be eating with our family each night and going to church with them every Sunday and I can’t stress enough how important it is to be engaged in your church community who is here to cheer on your family life. Change and habits are hard to break, but little changes every day will keep you on the path to a lifelong, holy marriage.
Resources: The Choice Wine by Steve Bollman of Paradisus Dei