Can a marriage survive a spouse being in prison? Statistics say no. God says yes.

Thousands of the men and women now incarcerated in California prisons, jails and youth facilities were married to someone on the outside at the time of their incarceration. But as you might imagine, the toll of imprisonment on spouses and families is almost incalculable.

In 2005, The New York Times estimated that “between a married man’s arrest and the end of his first year in prison, 80 percent of marriages break up… For female inmates, the divorce rate is closer to 100 percent.” [1]

One more recent study found that each year of incarceration increases the odds that the inmate’s marriage will end in divorce (before or after the inmate gets out of prison) by an average of 32 percent. [2]

Statistically speaking there isn’t much hope for couples in this situation to make their marriages work.

But as Chaplain Jeanine explains in this short video story, prayer, a desire to change, and God’s greater love produced an entirely unforeseen outcome for one married couple.

It’s a sweet and moving story. And one you might even want to share with your friends.

Feel free to leave a comment. We’d love to hear from you.


David Fowler


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8 thoughts on “Can a marriage survive a spouse being in prison? Statistics say no. God says yes.

  1. Evelyn B. Reply

    Thank you for sharing this valuable healing. It helped me see that I could at last forgive my ex-spouse, who recently passed on and awaken my gratitude for his inherent goodness.

  2. Kristen Reply

    ‘Praying, learning, expressing’ the Truth- the Love of God- prayer in action- changes this man’s “entire demeanor”, and then blesses ten other lives with the joy of hopefulness for them too! Now that’s a testimony! Keep it up, Jeanine, their innocence is rejoicing.

  3. Jan in Grass Valley Reply

    What a beautiful example of the power of prayer in the healing of human relationships. Bless you, Jeanine, in the work you’re doing.

  4. Susan Anderson Reply

    Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful example of the power of prayer. I will share it with the men we meet with at Clallam Bay, WA. One man recently said he went to a chaplain of another faith to ask for prayer to make contact with his daughter. Within a few weeks he received a letter from the foster family taking care of his daughter. Now he has contact. God does listen!

  5. Gwen Reply

    Dear Jeanine…”a sweet and moving story,” indeed! You must love expressing the Motherhood of God day-in and day-out. Thank you for doing what some of us are
    not in the position to do!

  6. Pamela Reply

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful experience. I am aware that a lot of marriages between an inmate and a spouse usually ends in divorce but this inspiring testimony of how prayer can change the outcome of such things was so great to read and hear about. As Clementine said in her comments, “Loving for the sake of Love is what it’s all about” is so true. We need to follow Christ Jesus’ example and Love one another unconditionally.

  7. Clementine Suiffet Reply

    Thank you, Jeanine, for sharing this example of effective prayer. The words from I Corinthians on the power of love speak to me about impersonal, unconditional love. To live the essence of this pure love is to not demand or expect love in return. Loving for the sake of Love is what it’s all about. I believe that the inmate let go of any preconceptions of how things should turn out. Ultimately he put his prayer in God’s hands. What a wonderful turn-around of events for him and his wife.

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