My grandparents recently celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary. That is an incredible accomplishment and an amazing gift to my family. It is also a declining reality for older couples.

There’s a tendency to believe that divorce is something that happens to young couples, but there is a growing trend called “gray divorce” that occurs in couples over 50 years old where approximately 15%, or nearly 1 in 4, marriages end in divorce. Once children grow up and move away, older couples often see no reason to continue a difficult marriage.

Here is one reason from two sources to fight for your marriage.

One of the strongest deterrence for divorce is found in Malachi 2:15: “Did he not make them one [speaking of marriage], with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth.”

Marriage is the artery that carries the gospel to children and grandchildren; in Malachi’s words, one of its purposes is to produce godly offspring. Severing the artery impacts the delivery of the gospel, meaning that divorce may produce ungodly offspring.

Sometimes when I’m counseling a couple considering divorce, I ask them, “Would you get a divorce if you knew it meant that your child or grandchild was going to reject Jesus and spend eternity without him?” That’s a heavy question. I don’t ask it flippantly. The Bible teaches that the pain of divorce not only touches us in this life, but it may stretch into eternity. That is meant to motivate us to lifelong faithfulness.

Research echoes what the Bible teaches; divorce impacts children spiritually and increases the odds that children will walk away from Christ. One study found that children of divorced homes are 12% more likely to be non-religious. The argument that divorce is good for children and grandchildren is simply not true.

If you want to raise children and grandchildren who love Jesus, then don’t get divorced. If you find yourself in a difficult marriage, the first thing that needs to be done is to take divorce off the table. The second is to get help from a pastor or Christian counselor. The third is to commit to making Christ the center of your life and marriage.