New study: regular churchgoers and married people most satisfied with their love life

This article from Science Daily was tweeted by Fazale Rana of Reasons to Believe.

Excerpt:

Regular churchgoers, married people or those who enjoy harmonious social ties are most satisfied with their love life. This also goes for people who are currently in love or who experience the commitment and sexual desire of their partners, says Félix Neto and Maria da Conceição Pinto of the Universidade do Porto in Portugal. Their findings, published in an article in Springer’s journal Applied Research in Quality of Life, look at the influences on love life satisfaction throughout one’s adult life.

The researchers associate love with the desire to enter into, maintain, or expand a close, connected, and ongoing relationship with another person. In turn, love life satisfaction is a purely subjective, overall measurement of someone’s actual enjoyment of love. To investigate the factors that influence this across various age groups, 1,284 adult Portuguese women and men ranging between 18 and 90 years old were asked to evaluate and weigh specific facets of their own love lives by using the Satisfaction With Love Life Scale.

[…]While education does not impact a person’s love life satisfaction, religious involvement does. The finding that believers and regular churchgoers are positive about their love lives is in line with previous studies that associate religious involvement with better mental health and greater satisfaction with life and sexual relationships in general.

Previously, I blogged about a study reported in USA Today, which showed that people who attend church have lower divorce rates than those who don’t attend church.

Excerpt:

It’s been proclaimed from pulpits and blogs for years — Christians divorce as much as everyone else in America.

But some scholars and family activists are questioning the oft-cited statistics, saying Christians who attend church regularly are more likely to remain wed.

[…]The various findings on religion and divorce hinge on what kind of Christians are being discussed.

Wright combed through the General Social Survey, a vast demographic study conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, and found that Christians, like adherents of other religions, have a divorce rate of about 42%. The rate among religiously unaffiliated Americans is 50%.

When Wright examined the statistics on evangelicals, he found worship attendance has a big influence on the numbers. Six in 10 evangelicals who never attend had been divorced or separated, compared to just 38% of weekly attendees.

[…]Brad Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, agrees there’s been some confusion.

“You do hear, both in Christian and non-Christian circles, that Christians are no different from anyone else when it comes to divorce and that is not true if you are focusing on Christians who are regular church attendees,” he said.

Wilcox’s analysis of the National Survey of Families and Households has found that Americans who attend religious services several times a month were about 35% less likely to divorce than those with no religious affiliation.

Nominal conservative Protestants, on the other hand, were 20% more likely to divorce than the religiously unaffiliated.

“There’s something about being a nominal ‘Christian’ that is linked to a lot of negative outcomes when it comes to family life,” Wilcox said.

Whenever I talk to atheists about marital satisfaction and marital stability, they always tell me these myths about how atheists divorce less and are happier in their marriages than religious people. But when I ask them for studies, they don’t have any, or they start to talk about the Discovery Channel or Star Trek or something. It’s like they believe things without any evidence at all. Meanwhile, one also has to note that atheists have much lower rates of marriage than church-attending believers.

Now clearly, there are going to be atheists with great marriages that never break up. But individual cases do not overturn peer-reviewed research studies. The fact is that marriage is an institution that is soaked through with moral values and moral obligations. If you think that morality is just arbitrary customs and conventions that vary by time and place, as is logically consistent with atheism, then the odds are that you won’t be able to stay married for long – if you even get married at all.

4 thoughts on “New study: regular churchgoers and married people most satisfied with their love life”

  1. “But when I ask them for studies, they don’t have any, or they start to talk about the Discovery Channel or Star Trek or something.” OK, this quote has bypassed the Esteemed Selection Committee and is going straight into the WK Hall of Quotes – with no discussion! That is a top 5 – at least. It’s a good thing I wasn’t eating when I read it or my last comment would really have been my last. :-)

    And, if there are any atheists who are offended by this, I want to hear from them: I LOVE Star Trek! (original series, of course). In fact, Star Trek actually has some outstanding moral statements to make in many of its episodes – none of which you atheists can ground objectively, unfortunately. :-)

    Lord, that quote is gonna get me through some dark times – thanks, WK! I propose a Star Trek posting. How about “How even Gene Roddenberry knew that Hitler’s policies were objectively immoral (City on the Edge of Forever)” or “Is it moral to re-distribute wealth from the Federation to the Klingons? (The Trouble with Tribbles)”

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      1. Well, those Star Trek communicators do look a little like modern day cell phones. :-) Phasers (on stun)-to-tasers? So, was he saying that a strong agnostic (Roddenberry) had made contributions to science like Newton, Maxwell, Kepler, and Faraday had?

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  2. I cannot find the methodology of the Portuguese study. That makes a great deal of difference, as women tend to give different answers when they are anonymous vs. when they think someone else might find out their answers.

    And if the men were interviewed in front of their wives…that would skew the results as well.

    This is not to offer any opinion on your commentary, merely to comment upon the study in question. If there is a link to the original study that would be useful.

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