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Christian Living

Family

Marriage Research: Attending Church Together Strengthens Relationship

Jim Liebelt - Contributing Writer

A recently released study suggests that couples who attend church together regularly have a higher level of relationship satisfaction than couples who do not. The study, Better Together: Religious Attendance, Gender and Relationship Quality, released by the Institute for Family Studies, surveyed a sample of about 1,600 adults ages 18-59.

Institute for Family Studies Research Findings

  • 78 percent of couples who attend church together reported being "very happy" or "extremely happy" with their relationship.
  • In couples where only the man attended church regularly, 78 percent said they were "very happy" or "extremely happy" with their relationship.
  • 67 percent of couples where neither partner attends church reported being very or extremely happy in their relationship.
  • In couples where only the woman attended attends church regularly, just 59 percent percent reported being very or extremely happy.

But wait, there's more. When it comes to a couples' participation in religious activities, researchers found that the strongest predictor of relationship satisfaction was shared prayer. Couples who reported praying together frequently (about once a week or more often) were 17 percent more likely to say they were very happy together than couples who pray together less frequently.

What Couples Can Do

  • Stating the obvious, if you want to build a more satisfying marriage, attend church regularly together.
  • If you want to take your marriage to the next level of satisfaction, pray together regularly as a couple.
  • These two action steps may be easier said than done for some couples, so if your spouse isn't particularly interested in attending church or praying together, don't pressure her or him, and don't expect too much too soon. Instead be patient, take baby steps, and pray that God will work in your spouse's life. Here are a few ideas:
    • Invite your spouse to a fun church event.
    • Invite your spouse to a special church service (Easter or Christmas Eve).
    • Ask your spouse to attend church with you once a month.
    • Find a simple way to serve at church and then ask your spouse to help you occasionally.
    • Offer a simple and brief prayer at a mealtime.
    • Offer to pray aloud for your spouse over an issue or struggle she/he is facing.
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