An earthquake hit Los Angeles yesterday. It came just minutes after news broke that Angelina Jolie was filing for divorce from Brad Pitt. CNN made this tongue-in-cheek announcement: “The two incidents are unrelated.” But not for the couple and their children—they will never be the same.
Why is the couple divorcing? Consider three surprising factors.
One: They are famous. Research shows that celebrity marriages are twice as likely to break up as others. The Marriage Foundation studied couples who married between 2000 and 2010 and were divorced by 2014. The results: 50 percent of star couples were divorced, compared to 26 percent of “normal” marriages.
Two: They are wealthy and attractive. According to The Atlantic, men are 50 percent more likely to divorce if their partner’s looks are important in their decision to get married. Women are 60 percent more likely to divorce if they care about their partner’s wealth. Of course, I don’t know if these factors applied specifically to Jolie and Pitt, but it’s a safe guess that they were not irrelevant to their relationship.
Three: They are not churchgoers. Jolie says her experiences while making Unbroken drew her closer to God, though I could find no evidence online that she regularly attends worship services. Pitt says he grew up in a Baptist home, but now “I oscillate between agnosticism and atheism.” By contrast, regular church attenders are 46 percent less likely to divorce than those who are not.
None of this means that the Jolie–Pitt divorce was inevitable, of course. But it does show that famous, wealthy, attractive people are not immune from divorce. And it shows that all marriages need God at their center.
Our Lord invented marriage. If cohabitation or sex outside of marriage was his best plan for us, he would not have created and endorsed the marriage covenant. When Jesus began his public ministry, he could have chosen as his first miracle the raising of Lazarus or the feeding of the five thousand. Instead, he chose to bless a village wedding (John 2). Now he stands ready to bless any couple who makes him the Lord of their marriage.
If you’ve been divorced, know that God stands ready to redeem your pain. If you’re considering divorce, know that God is ready to help you if you seek his guidance and that of Christian counselors and friends. If you’re married, know that you need to make Jesus the rock on which your home is built. Only then will you withstand the storms of life (Matthew 7:24–27).
Tim Keller: “Men, you’ll never be a good groom to your wife unless you’re first a good bride to Jesus.” C. S. Lewis agreed: “When I have learnt to love God better than my earthly dearest, I shall love my earthly dearest better than I do now.”
Scripture calls us to “let marriage be held in honor among all” (Hebrews 13:4). The best way to honor your marriage is to honor your Lord.
Note: My latest book is now available for purchase on our website. The State of Our Nation: 7 Critical Issues offers biblical responses to radical Islam, immigration, religious liberty, homosexuality, same-sex marriage, transgender bathrooms, and abortion. I hope you’ll find it helpful as you seek to engage your culture with God’s love.