Church-going Christians Have Happier, Stronger Marriages 

This applies especially to the wives, according to sociologist Brad Wilcox--because the men are better husbands. 

"Based on my earlier research, evangelical women tend to be happier in their marriages than other women, particularly when both the wife and the husband attend church on a regular basis. This idea that Christians are just as likely to divorce as secular folks is not correct if we factor church attendance into our thinking. Churchgoing evangelical Protestants, churchgoing Catholics, and churchgoing mainline Protestants are all significantly less likely to divorce. . . . between 35 and 50 percent less likely than Americans who attend church just nominally, just once or twice a year, or who don't attend church at all. It is true that people who say they've had a born-again experience are about as likely to divorce as people who are completely secular. But if you look at this through the lens of church attendance, you see a very different story."

And this one will really drive some of you nuts. But if you have a commitment to scientific research, you have to deal with the facts:

"Women who have more traditional gender attitudes are significantly happier in their marriages. . . . If the husband earns more than 66 percent of the income, the wife is more likely to report that she's happy with her marriage, and she's also more likely to report that she spends quality time with her husband.
My theory is that women are looking for, in general, husbands who provide them with emotional and financial support, and support to make the choices that they think are important for them and for their children."

Now, just to head off some concerns about the source of this information (an interview in Christianity Today), some information on Brad Wilcox. He's an assistant professor of Sociology at the University of Virginia. The original research report, which covers much more than the CT interview, may be read here (pdf). A related unpublished research stub with equally thought-provoking ideas--this time about marital happiness of women with progressive views of marriage and sex roles--may be found here (Word document).

Part of our occasional series on Spirituality and Life Outcomes  

Posted: Fri - December 8, 2006 at 07:10 PM           |

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