Church Attendance Key to Marriage Success, Researcher Says
Married couples who attend church services frequently are happier and more likely to succeed in their marriages than those who don't attend church often or not at all, according to a recent study.
"[R]esearch suggests that not only do churchgoing husbands enjoy happier marriages but also that their wives are more likely to experience marital happiness, compared to married couples where husbands do not attend religious services on a regular basis," said W. Bradford Wilcox, a sociologist at the University of Virginia, explaining his research results.
According to the study, 70 percent of husbands who attend church regularly say they are "very happy" in their marriages, compared to only 59 percent of husbands who do not attend religious services. For women, the figures were similar, with a majority of those who attend church services reporting to be happier than those who do not.
"Churches supply moral norms like sexual fidelity and forgiveness, family-friendly social networks that lend support to couples facing the ordinary joys and challenges of married life, and a faith that helps couples make sense of the difficulties in their lives-from unemployment to illness-that can harm their marriages," Wilcox told Cybercast News Service.
While critics say that the survey is inaccurate and only proves that couples who already enjoy stable marriages attend church, Wilcox said that the power of faith and its role in marital relationships cannot be diminished.
"Men and women who hold a religious faith and put that faith into practice by attending church on a regular basis do look different in the marital realm," Wilcox said.
"So, in a word, the couple that prays together stays together," he added.