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The Good News About Marriage: Debunking Discouraging Myths about Marriage and Divorce Hardcover – May 6, 2014
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Praise for The Good News About Marriage
“In the thirty-two years I have been deeply immersed in the world of marriage ministry, I have been demoralized at times by the negative statistics quoted. And now I am ecstatic as I read the truth in this incredible book. Thank you, Shaunti, for doing the hard work necessary to expose the myths and lies and for finally revealing the facts about marriage. This book and the undeniable research in it is a game changer!”
—Jimmy Evans, founder and CEO of MarriageToday, senior pastor of Trinity Fellowship
“This is an important book. Shaunti and Tally do an impressive job of showing that there is room for different viewpoints on divorce statistics and room for optimism about marriage. I believe that people make higher-risk choices partly because they have lost hope in marriage, and this book presents a basis for real hope.”
—Dr. Scott Stanley, coauthor of A Lasting Promise, research professor at the University of Denver
“Lamenting the demise of the family has almost become a cottage industry. There’s a lot of legitimate bad news out there, but Shaunti reminds readers that the situation might not be nearly as dire as we think—in fact, there are encouraging signs of hope. That’s a welcome message!”
—Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family
“There are many bad stats out there about marriage, but Shaunti debunks those myths and provides clarity about marriage in general and how to strengthen your own marriage. The Good News About Marriage is well worth your time.”
—Ed Stetzer, PhD, president of LifeWay Research
“Every Christian leader in America needs to read the groundbreaking, hope-filled research in this book. Then they need to recommend that everyone in their sphere of influence read it as well! This is one of the most important marriage books I’ve ever read, and it will change how all of us think and talk about marriage
—Lysa TerKeurst, New York Times best-selling author, president of Proverbs 31 Ministries
“This book is great news about marriage! Every pastor, coach, or counselor will find a new zeal for working with marriages after learning the truth about the state of marriage today. I cannot wait to have Shaunti share these truths with the Catalyst audience.”
—Tyler Reagin, executive director of Catalyst
“The Good News About Marriage offers an important word of encouragement to believers who wonder if faith makes a difference in modern married life. Believers who put their faith into practice—who worship together and pray together—are much more likely to enjoy stable and happy marriages. This is good news indeed.”
—W. Bradford Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project, associate professor of sociology at the University of Virginia
“Academically rigorous, honest, and refreshingly bold, this book will make you question what you’ve always heard about the bad news of marriage. A seminal work, this book could change the social narrative about marriage for generations. This is a mustread for academics, marriage educators, and couples alike.”
—Ron L. Deal, director of FamilyLife Blended, best-selling author of The Smart Stepfamily
“This groundbreaking research gives us a whole different framework to think about marriage, divorce, and relationships. This is fantastic material that provides powerful tools to help us improve our personal relationships and those in our communities.”
—Jud Wilhite, author of The God of Yes, pastor of Central Christian Church
“Shaunti’s thoroughly researched book will inject life and hope, not only into our national consciousness about marriage, but also into every individual marriage in the country.”
—Dr. Tim Clinton, president of American Association of Christian Counselors, executive director of Center for Counseling and Family Studies at Liberty University
“Shaunti takes aim at marriage myths that have spread like cancer through our culture—myths that have become self-fulfilling prophecies. This book is packed with game-changing revelations! Bravo to Shaunti for her outstanding research.”
—Emerson Eggerichs, best-selling author of Love and Respect
“This is some of the most important information on marriage for this generation, and Shaunti brings practical inspiration on every page. This is the new go-to book for facts on marriages in America—and it’s much better news than we often hear.”
—Dr. Jim Burns, president of HomeWord, author of Creating an Intimate Marriage and Closer
“You’ve read the bad news about marriage—the cohabiting couples, extramarital affairs, and soaring divorce rates. But this book shows there’s a lot of good news about marriage today, and it’s about time someone said so!”
—Bob Lepine, co-host of FamilyLife Today
“It’s impossible to overstate the importance of these findings. Our beliefs directly influence our actions, and our beliefs about marriage have been wrong. Shaunti and Tally provide genuine hope that is based on truth. This book changes everything.”
—Christopher McCluskey, best-selling author, president of Professional Christian Coaching Institute
“Shaunti Feldhahn presents profound truth in the most relatable way. We have consistently used her books to help lay foundations for strong marriages in our church and to gain tremendous perspective about our own relationship. Now, in The Good News About Marriage, Shaunti gives us the gifts of a positive perspective and a practical strategy to make the most of our marriages.”
—Steven and Holly Furtick, lead pastor of Elevation Church, author of the New York Times bestseller Greater
About the Author
Communicator, author, and pastor, ANDY STANLEY founded Atlanta-based North Point Ministries in 1995. Today, NPM is comprised of six churches in the Atlanta area and a network 30 churches around the globe collectively serving nearly 70,000 people weekly.
As host of Your Move with Andy Stanley, with over five million messages consumed each month through television and podcasts, and author of more than 20 books, including The New Rules for Love, Sex & Dating, Ask It, How to Be Rich, Deep & Wide, Visioneering, and Next Generation Leader, he is considered one of the most-influential pastors in America.
Andy and his wife, Sandra, have three grown children and live near Atlanta.
Top customer reviews
Consider how often you have heard someone say that the divorce rate is nearly 50%. However the divorce rate in our country is not this high. They write, "The actual divorce rate has never been 50 percent. It's significantly lower and has been declining over the last thirty years." (Feldhan & Whitehead, The Good News About Marriage. 2014) Not only that, but they also share research that most people who are married are in fact happily married. You wouldn’t have guessed that by listening to media reports or consulting the tabloids in your local grocery store. Shaunti and Tally also share the good news in their book that active faith is statistically proven to improve marriages.
The book is a fairly quick paced read even with the statistical information that they refer to often. It is optimistic in tone, but not overly Polly Anna. They recognize that there are still many marriages in trouble, but they also want to push back against those who have bought a lie that marriage is hopeless. This will be an excellent resource for any pastor or counselor that works with married couples, speaks about marriage, or counsels those preparing for marriage. Do yourself a favor and read it before your next sermon on marriage. I did and was very grateful.
I purchased a copy of this text in Kindle format and read it on my iPad 2. The format was well done. The charts are readable and even the pull quotes were easy to identify. So many kindle books struggle with graphical elements and pull quotes, this publisher, Multnomah Books, gets it right!
The continuing controversy over legitimizing same-sex marriages shows that many Americans–on both sides of that issue–still view marriage as an important institution, more important than our shockingly high out-of-wedlock birth statistics might indicate. Rates matter. The higher the divorce rate, the less special the tradition of marriage, as compared with simply “shacking up,” and perhaps the less it makes sense to try to support marriage.
Feldhahn and her research associate, Tally Whitehead, analyzed many studies that attempted to determine the fraction of first marriages that end in divorce and the fraction of subsequent marriages that do likewise. Getting this right is a statistical challenge, akin to the medical specialty of epidemiology.
Simple approaches are often wrong. Imagine trying to determine your probability of dying eventually (=1.00) by comparing the number of births per year versus the number of deaths per year. A young population will have more marriages (and births) per year than divorces (and deaths) and the reverse will be true for an elderly population. Separations and second marriages complicate the marital statistics further.
Correctly estimating the fraction that fail is important, however. A large likelihood of divorce makes marriage less attractive and makes those in shaky marriages more likely to give up than try to save the union. Feldhahn and Whitehead argue persuasively that only about one-fourth of all first marriages end in divorce as do about one-third of second marriages, results more encouraging than the one-half fraction often cited.
These researchers encouragingly note: “In multiple surveys, 91 to 97 percent of respondents say their marriages are happy….In another poll, 93 percent said they would marry their spouse all over again….Most marriage problems are not caused by big-ticket issues, and simple changes can make a big difference.” Even in troubled marriages, almost all the spouses involved claimed to care about their partner’s well-being. “…in 82 percent of struggling couples, one partner is simply unaware of the other spouse’s unhappiness,” a problem much easier to solve than “addressing major systemic issues, such as addiction….”
The book is well written and a treasure trove of valuable information on the topic. Readers interested in the details will want to refer to the book, which includes 134 footnotes, most with references, and several tabulations.
Professionals interest in the health of the institution of marriage will find much to encourage them here. A case is made, as well, for the value of religious belief and observance in strengthening marriage and reducing divorce. More material on achieving successful relationships and marriages written by Ms. Feldhahn is advertised at the end.
On the other hand, even if only one-quarter of first marriages fail, this is a shame. Worse, though not within the book‘s purview, is that the rate of out-of-wedlock births has skyrocketed over the past few decades. Perhaps these researchers will address this next. I would buy that book, too.