New Report Shows Religious Couples Don’t Necessarily Have Happier Marriages Than Secular Progressive Couples

Certain secular progressive couples and religious conservative couples are the most satisfied with their relationships, according to a new report.

The Institute for Family Studies and the Wheatley Institution of Brigham Young University released a report titled, “The Ties that Bind: Is Faith a Global Force for Good or Ill in the Family?

The researchers analyzed data on family issues from the World Values Survey and the Global Family and Gender Survey, looking at 11 nations: Argentina, Australia, Chile, Canada, Colombia, France, Ireland, Mexico, Peru, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Regarding overall relationship quality, the researchers found a “J-curve” for female respondents when going along the ideological spectrum from most progressive to most conservative. Women at the bookends of the spectrum had the best marriages — progressive couples and traditional religious couples showed the highest relationship quality in their marriages while the nominally religious scored lowest with their marriages.

Respondents were placed into three categories based upon how often they and their spouses attend religious services: shared secular, mixed and less religious, and highly religious.

Progressive gender views were those who mostly or completely disagreed with the statement, “It is usually better for everyone involved if the father takes the lead in working outside the home and the mother takes the lead in caring for the home and family.” Those who mostly or completely agreed with the statement were labeled “traditional.”

With these variables, respondents fell into six categories: 1) shared secular, progressive; 2) shared secular, traditional; 3) less/mixed religious, progressive; 4) less/mixed religious, traditional; 5) highly religious, progressive; 6) highly religious, traditional.

Secular women with progressive gender views married to secular men with progressive gender views scored a 16.52 on an additive index score that includes relationship attachment, commitment, satisfaction, and stability. This was the third highest after the two highly religious categories.

Women in shared secular traditional relationships, less religious or mixed religion progressive relationships, and less religious or mixed religion traditional relationships scored the lowest.

Women in highly religious progressive relationships scored second highest, at 16.91, and women in highly religious conservative relationships scored the highest at 17.64.

The only two categories where the women showed higher marriage quality than men on average were shared secular progressive and highly religious traditional.

“… women in shared secular, progressive relationships enjoy comparatively high levels of relationship quality, whereas women in the ideological and religious middle report lower levels of relationship quality, as do traditionalist women in secular relationships; but women in highly religious relationships, especially traditionalists, report the highest levels of relationship quality,” noted the Executive Summary of the report.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Michael Gryboski