Marriage counseling vs. divorce: combating the rising divorce rates in North Dakota

Published: Oct. 25, 2022 at 6:50 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - It seems like lots of things are going up and up these days. Gas prices and groceries are just a few. Another alarming increase taking place in North Dakota is the divorce rate.

All the stress COVID-19 created, combined with skyrocketing inflation seems to be negatively impacting marriages in the state.

“It’s a struggle, it’s not 100% or 110%, its 200%, you both gotta put in all the effort,” said Dallas Nelson, senior pastor at the Refuge Church.

Between 2000 and 2020, divorce rates in North Dakota were stable. But last year, they dramatically spiked. There were 2,189 divorces in the state in 2021, a 21% increase, according to State Court Administrator Sally Holewa.

“In general, very few people get marriage counseling. When I meet with couples and I ask them, ‘Tell me about your pre-marriage counseling,’ most say, ‘We didn’t have any,’” said Ryan Nordlund, pastor at Grace Lutheran Brethren Church.

Many believe marriage counseling to be very important to marriage longevity and going to a pastor for counseling sessions is one way to stabilize relationships.

“You’re going to be married for the rest of your lives – hopefully – and so, we want you to know everything there is to know about each other, not find it out five years down the road and go, ‘Well, this isn’t who I married!’” said Nordlund.

While divorce rates spiked from 2020 to 2021, the pandemic could very well have been the root cause behind the rise in numbers. The 2022 findings will provide more insight into this troubling trend.

North Dakota ranks 49 out of 50 states for the number of marriages. In 2021, there were 4,035 marriages.