On May 20, 2019, the Institute for Family Studies and the Wheatley Institution issued the report The Ties That Bind: Is Faith a Global Force for Good or Ill in the Family? The goal of the study was to understand how religion is linked, on average, to four key family outcomes in 11 countries: Argentina, Australia, Chile, Canada, Colombia, France, Ireland, Mexico, Peru, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Drawing on data from the World Values Survey (WVS) and the Global Family and Gender Survey (GFGS), the report found that:
- Both women and men in “highly religious” couples (i.e. regular church attendees) reported significantly greater satisfaction in their relationship compared to less religious and secular couples.
- Women in “highly religious” relationships were about 50% more likely to report that they are “strongly satisfied” with their sexual relationship than their secular and less religious counterparts.
Is this any surprise when the culture we live in is filled with selfishness, hopelessness and despair? An active shared faith life, focused on self-gift and sacrifice, leads to marital satisfaction. Religious couples are other-focused; secular couples are more likely to be self-focused. Religious couples put God at the center of the relationship, secular couples tend to compete with each other to be the center of the relationship. One reports high marital satisfaction, the other not so much. God is the creator of marriage, and when lived according to His plan for husband and wife, marriage is more rewarding and satisfying.
Marriage works when Christ is at the center!