Does Christian Faith Help or Hurt Marriage? (Fighting For Your Marriage Chapter 13)

Does Christian faith help or hurt a marriage?
I’ve heard many claims Christian faith helps marriage. I’ve heard many claims it makes marriage worse. And I’ve heard many claims that it makes no difference. Many myths have risen around all three positions. So, what is the truth?
“Whether or not you are religious or spiritually inclined, we believe that your beliefs matter in your relationship,” The Denver Researchers Markman, Stanley, and Blumberg say in chapter 13 of Fighting for Your Marriage.
Religious or not, everyone is guided by a series of core beliefs. Everyone believes something about the meaning of life and right and wrong. These core beliefs have a serious impact on how you live.
Many, if not most people, tend to say that core beliefs between a husband and wife do not matter. They wish away differences and claim that love conquers all. But research and reality tell a different story. Shared religious beliefs tend to help marriage. In fact, research reveals that married people with religious beliefs:
Tend to be a bit more satisfied with their marriage
Tend to be less likely to divorce
Tend to have lower levels of conflict
Tend to have higher levels of commitment
Tend to have a stronger identity as a couple

Shared religion is not a guarantee for a good marriage. The Researcher did find, however, that religion gave an edge to couples seeking a stronger marriage.
Why do religious beliefs help married couples? Two basic reasons:
1. Religious couples stay involved in a community.
Studies show that people who isolate themselves from community tend to have more emotional problems. In fact, some research shows that social isolation leads to increased emotional, physical, and financial harm. These added stressors hurt the marriage. In the past 20 years, couples have become increasingly isolated from the rest of the world, withdrawing from the things that used to produce community.
Religious couples, on the other hand, avoid isolation because they remain in the community of the church. The religious community provides a social support system for your marriage.
2. Religious couples share common world view.
Though religion is not the only way couples end up with shared world views, it provides a built-in common view from which to understand life. Shared meanings of life, death, and marriage make it easier to develop a common view of marriage and the future together. Expectations of married life are more likely to be similar when couples share a religious world view.

This is not to say differences won’t arise, because they will. One key is to make sure you respect each other’s positions even when they do not agree. Enjoy an opportunity to see life from a different perspective.
The bottom line is that whether you are in perfect agreement or have different perspectives, seek ways to talk through your beliefs. Don’t fight, but seek to understand.
Far too often, couples don’t spend time discussing core beliefs, world views, and religious concepts. The result is their relationships are missing an important component. Strengthen your marriage with good, healthy conversations about each other’s beliefs.
If this idea scares you because you think it will produce a fight, consider beginning by asking your spouse some questions. Ask your spouse questions like:
Why are we here?
Is there such a thing as right and wrong?
How does a person decide right and wrong?
What are your strongest beliefs and where did those beliefs come from?
What are your core beliefs about marriage?

Core beliefs matter. And the closer those core beliefs are aligned, the better chance a marriage has to survive and thrive.

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