Christians, of course, are not exempt from the plague of divorce and separation. Just last week, the “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” author, Joshua Harris, announced that he and his wife would be permanently separating.
In the 2000’s, Harris was looked to as something of relationship guru among Christian millennials. Through his published works and preaching, he advocated for “courtship” and a form of “intentional dating” that would encourage young people to get married.
However, now, after publicly debunking his own book, Harris is splitting up from his wife on a permanent basis. On July 18, he assured his Instagram followers that the pair will “continue life together as friends.”
But Harris and his wife are just one example of a sprawling crowd of mature, married couples who are choosing to part ways from their other half.
Indeed, new research has shown that sky-high divorce rates among those over the age of 50 continue to cripple the financial wellbeing of millions.
So-called “gray divorce” is becoming increasingly common. Indeed, since 1990, the rate of American marriages involving people over the age of 50 has doubled.
But it is the financial fall-out of such marriage breakdowns is being widely highlighted. “Even the very wealthy can find it financially draining, emotionally harrowing and just plain messy,” writes Ben Steverman at Bloomberg. “Academic studies document serious health effects. A 2009 paper noted that recently separated or divorced adults have higher resting blood pressure. Last year, a German study found “divorce led to considerable weight gain over time, especially in men.””
More shocking, however, is that these “gray divorces” are not occurring exclusively among those who married late, who have remarried and who have been together for a short period of time.
Indeed, a “significant share of gray divorces do occur among couples who have been married for 30 years or more,” Pew Research noted in its 2017 report on the matter — something which experts are describing as exceptionally worrying.
“It’s a grim picture,” said Susan Brown, a Bowling Green State University sociology professor and co-director of the National Center for Family & Marriage Research. “Getting a gray divorce is a major financial shock.”
Indeed, through the surveying of 20,000 Americans born before 1960, the center discovered that “gray divorcee” women experience a spiraling decline in their standard of living — a plunge of up to 45%, which is around double the decline noted in previous research on younger divorced women.
In addition, these older divorcees are, increasingly, not being able to bounce back from the financial shock of their marriage ending.
“There is no appreciable recovery on the wealth front,” Brown said. “There’s no appreciable recovery in standard of living.”