Titled “Better Together: Religious Attendance, Gender, and Relationship Quality,” revealed that couples who attend worship services together or when only the man attends services are happier than couples in which neither partner or only the woman attends.
The study was authored by W. Bradford Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia and Nicholas H. Wolfinger, professor in the Department of Family and Consumer Studies and Adjunct Professor of Sociology at the University of Utah.
“78 percent of men and women in couples who regularly go to services together, or where only the man attends regularly, report that they are ‘very happy’ or ‘extremely happy,’ after adjusting for differences in race, age, education, marital status, region, and other factors,” read the study.
“By contrast, 67 percent of men and women in relationships where neither partner attends are happy, and just 59 percent of people in couples where only she attends regularly report they are very happy. Clearly, shared attendance and his attendance are linked to higher self-reported relationship quality.”
Explaining why in the cases where only the men attended the services were also still higher than when women attended the services alone, Wolfinger and Wilcox wrote in the study, “Our findings suggest that men’s religious attendance is particularly beneficial to their relationships, perhaps in part because churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples are some of the few institutions in American life that devote sustained attention to encouraging men to invest in their families.”
The research drew from the 2006 National Survey of Religion and Family Life, which had a sample space of approximately 1,600 adults, aged 18-59.
A previous study conducted by Wilcox in 2008, revealed that church-going Americans were more likely to describe themselves as “very happy” than Americans who did not attend church regularly.
For this study, he was criticised by Tom Flynn, editor of Free Inquiry, who said back in 2008 that there may have been an issue with correlation and causation.
“That may reflect the fact that males who are settled in their lives and highly socialized are both more likely to succeed in their marriages and more likely to attend church,” asserted Flynn.
“Once again, it may mean that folks who have their lives together tend to avoid substance abuse, practice good health habits, and go to church,” he said