Why are couples who go to religious services together happier than those who do not? Two factors seem to be important: sharing friends in a religious congregation and praying together. Couples who have more than half of their friends at the same religious congregation are about 11 percentage points more likely to report they are very happy in their relationships than those who do not. Enjoying shared friendships in a religious congregation may boost relationship quality by giving such couples a sense of belonging and community, as well as other models of successful relationships.
Couples who report praying together frequently (almost once a week or more often) are 17 percentage points more likely to say they are very happy together. Joint prayer is likely to engender a heightened sense of emotional intimacy, communication and reflection about relationship priorities and concerns, and a sense of divine involvement in one’s relationship.
The research reinforces the need for couples to connect to God and connect to the church. The couple that worships together, has friends together and prays together is, on average, happier together. Additionally, it shows that godly men have a strong influence on their families.
Article adapted from research by W. Bradford Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia and a senior fellow of the Institute for Family Studies and Nicholas H. Wolfinger, Professor in the Department of Family and Consumer Studies and Adjunct Professor of Sociology at the University of Utah.