Beliefnet
Stronger Marriages

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To those seeking a lasting, loving marriage – consider getting more involved in your religion.

A new report, which was created in a joint project between the Institute for Family Studies and the Wheatly Institution, found that the recipe for a happier marriage could be found in faith. The study’s authors looked at over 5,000 couples surveyed in the Global Family and Gender Survey (GFGS). They looked at 11 different nations: Argentina, Australia, Chile, Canada, Colombia, France, Ireland, Mexico, Peru, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The couples were classified as being secular, religious, or mixed. What the survey data show is that high religious couples report higher rates of marital and sexual satisfaction than their mixed or secular peers. These couples are also more likely to have children and to get married.

“For instance, women in highly religious relationships are about 50% more likely to report that they are strongly satisfied with their sexual relationship than their secular and less religious counterparts,” the study writes.

“Today, people ages 18-49 who attend religious services regularly have 0.27 more children than those who never, or practically never, attend,” continued the Executive Summary.

Furthermore, the researchers found that those on the complete opposite end of the traditional religious couple – those who were more progressive and secular, also had a high marriage satisfaction rate. However, it was found to be less than religious couples. Those that were in the middle of the two extremes had the worst satisfaction.

One thing the study found was that faith did not protect women from domestic violence in married or cohabiting relationships. Those who were in sexual or mixed relationships were just as likely to experience abuse.

W. Bradford Wilcox, Jason S. Carroll, and Laurie DeRose were the studies authors. They wrote about their survey in the New York Times. They said that faith sets high expectations for roles as husbands and fathers, which helps further a happier marriage.

In many ways, the study was able to indicate that faith is a force for good when it comes to modern family life in America and Europe.