Divorce is worryingly common in Iran, and many marriages are reportedly unhappy. But when investigating the cause of this trend, there is one major issue that researchers seem to have erroneously overlooked: television addiction.
The Islamic Republic has the fourth highest divorce rate in the world, according to its office for births, marriages and deaths. This year Tehran alone saw a 6% rise in couples splitting up. Moral degeneration was posited as the cause of the problem in a recent Iranian study on young couples. Other voices quite reasonably point to mounting financial pressures as the cause, especially for young couples. Earlier this year Iran expressly blamed steamy Turkish soap operas and their promotion of extra-marital affairs for destabilising marriage in Iran.
However, rather than focusing solely on what Iranians watch, concern should also be given to how much they watch. Anecdotal evidence suggests that there is an epidemic of TV addiction spreading through many sectors of Iranian society, especially amongst women, some of whom watch between four and six hours each day. In contrast, less than twenty minutes per week is spent in verbal communication in some marriages, according to Ahmad Mahmoudi, an official from the city of Kerman.
Given that quality communication is vital for the preservation and healing of any relationship, let us pray that television sets will increasingly be turned off across Iran in favour of quality time and honest conversation between spouses. Let us pray also that the many broken and hurting couples in Iran will turn to Jesus for their full healing and restoration.
• Many couples to find healing for their relationship through coming to Christ
• Less TV addiction and more dedicated time between spouses
• Decrease in divorce rates, and comfort and healing for all children affected