I do not believe that if you have no faith, you are doomed to a poor, crabby and gloomy love life, and conversely that all religious people are blissfully happy, having amazing sex lives and all that stuff. I’m just saying that since their are times when perseverance is crucial, faith filled people, well, have more faith that “God” will bring them through. Additionally, It is my experience from working with organisations and couples that almost all volunteers working with families, and especially couple work are people of faith.
Show me the numbers?
Brad Wilcox, a marriage expert at the University of Virginia and director of the National Marriage Project with whom I enjoyed a canapé and glass of Sauvignon Blanc at the launch of Marriage Week USA February 2012 (see photo above) has managed to dig a little deeper than your average analyst.
Cleverly, Wilcox has delineated between those who are committed to religious practice, and those who merely identify with a particular faith, such as those who, for example, on entry into a hospital, identify with a particular faith from a multiple choice of 10 or 15 options. Although peculiarly even identifying with a faith decreases the likelihood of divorce (which I completely cannot understand). Even after adjusting his findings to allow for socio economic factors, Wilcox uncovered some pretty significant outcomes.
Catholics are 5 percent less likely to divorce than the average, but active Catholics are 31 percent less likely to divorce than those with no religious affiliation.
Nominal Protestants are 20 percent more likely to divorce than nonreligious people, whereas, Conservative Protestants are 10 percent less likely to divorce, and Conservative active Protestants are 35 percent less likely to divorce than people in the general population.
What does this tell us? In my view it tells us three things;
1, That being part of a faith community makes you more likely to stick together through tough times.
2, It tells us that active, participatory faith in God gives you a net benefit, and that even nominal identification with a faith strengthens your marriage.
3, The public identification with an institution known as generally being “good” such as “the church” will help you to stay being “good”.