It is with frustration that I have to say that I lack data on one of the biggest problems facing the church and culture today in terms of marriage. We lack data because nobody understands what marriage is according to the Bible because for 1500 years the church has taught lies about marriage and sex. In fact, even though study after study has been done and boatloads of money has been spent, they ask the wrong questions because the lies the church tells have worked their way into law and we don’t know the answers to critical questions because definitions have changed. Take a look at the following graph:
Notice the divorce rate on married women is less than 10%. Got that? Because that is all the solid data we have. Every other group representing 1, 2, 3-4, 5-9, 10-20 and over 20 partners all represent adulterous unions. Because all women are virgins when they marry and if some guy joined himself to a woman who was not a virgin when he got to her… it means she is actually married to someone else.
This is probably the real reason we see the divorce rate jump from less than 10% to almost 30% with one previous partner (her husband): the current union that’s referred to as a marriage is actually an adulterous union. With the exception of N=1, every subsequent partner was and is an adulterous partner. Yet, due to the change in the definitions we have lots of theories trying to explain why the more sexual partners a woman has before “marriage” the harder it is to make the marriage work. The simplest explanation is because they don’t understand her “marriage” is actually a case of adultery.
The truth is there isn’t any solid data. From what we see and know, we have multiple possibilities and issues regarding everything that’s N>1:
- The so-called “marriage” is actually an adulterous union, God won’t bless it.
- Except for the 1st one, all previous partners have been cases of adultery.
- It is possible all of the problems stem from the fact the union is adulterous.
- It is possible that it’s all because of the number of sexual partners.
- It is possible the real problem is a combination of any or all of them.
The only way to have insight into the real problem is if we had data on women who were unknowingly married and later ended the initial marriage they never intended. If that happened and they later legitimately married, what would be the outcome? We don’t know.
I suspect the outcome would be worse than the less-than 10% divorce rate of intentionally married virgins but not as high as the unintentional adulterous unions, but we have no data. In fact, we won’t have that data until women understand the true ramifications of losing their virginity because there are plenty of women who think they’re single and eligible to marry but they aren’t. Do what we call “divorce rates” really reflect the propensity to divorce? I’d say not, because nothing but adultery explains the jump from less than 10% with intentionally married virgins to the almost 30% with the women who were on their second partner, but it was a case of adultery.
Think of what Jesus said in Luke 12:47-48:
“And that slave who knew his master’s will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, will receive many lashes, but the one who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of a flogging, will receive but few.”
Is it possible that at a certain number of partners they know what they’re doing is flat-out wrong and God punishes them more harshly? I see plenty of room for variation, justice and mercy all rolled into one. What we don’t have is any data on women who repented, got rid of their first marriage, later legitimately married as a non-virgin and tried to make a go of it. While I’m sure there are differences with the adulterous unions highlighted in the graph, what are the differences? Will we then see that the number of previous sex partners doesn’t make that much difference, or will the number of previous sex partners still affect the data, just at lower rates than adulterous unions? Again, we don’t have the data necessary to say anything.
But, it gets worse. Keep in mind these studies are based on self-reported data. I think it’s safe to say that for some women being a virgin at marriage is a big deal and there is incentive to lie about it. It’s also reasonable to say that 2 out of 10 did lie about it because we already know that this is an area very sensitive to women and they will lie about it.
So, if 20% of them lied and were actually in adultery instead of being legitimately married, that puts their real divorce rate up around 30%, which is 6 divorces for those 20 marriages. That leaves 4 divorces for the other 80 marriages, or a real divorce rate for virgins of 5%.
Just to give you an idea of what this really means, I graphed the increase in divorce risk going from the 5% divorce rate for a legitimate marriage compared to the adulterous unions.
On a brighter note, the Chart on Marriage is getting pretty close to being done. Check it out, there’s something there to outrage everyone.