Christians called to honour marriage as 13 people apply online for divorce on Christmas Day

Christians have been urged to "uphold marriage as a lifelong covenant between a man and woman" as official figures show 13 people filed for divorce on Christmas Day in England and Wales.

They were among 455 online divorce applications submitted to HM Courts & Tribunals Service between Christmas Eve and New Year's Day.

Graham Nicholls, director of Affinity - a network of evangelical churches said in a statement: "The idea that some relationships have come to an end this Christmas is a very sad reality for some.

 

"We all find living together as married couples challenging at times and sometimes this can be amplified during holiday periods, especially when we are in each other's company for a longer time than normal."

He said the Bible makes a case for fighting for marriages to work instead of opting for a divorce.

"We marry to be happy and when it stops making us happy we want to stop being married," he said.

"This is the antithesis of the biblical model of sacrificial living for the other which ironically leads to true and deep mutual happiness.

"Another pressure on marriage is the expectation that divorce is always available as an option to resolve unhappiness in a marriage.

"In practice, a culture that supports marriage as a commitment for life does not imprison us but provides the security which gives great freedom to be open with our thoughts and feelings."

On Christmas Eve, 26 people submitted divorce applications, there were 23 on Boxing Day and 77 on New Year's Day.

"As Christians, I believe we need to uphold marriage as a lifelong covenant between a man and woman," Nicholls added.

"As a local church leader, as well as the Director of Affinity, I would be wanting to encourage church to offer marriage preparation and enrichment courses in our churches to equip people to face the challenges ahead.

"We do not want to re-enforce the idea that marriage is a casual commitment that can be broken without consequence."

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