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Does Religion Strengthen a Marriage?

religion marriageAt LuvemOrLeavem we mostly receive stories about marriages that are on the rocks, but we also receive stories about marriages that have survived all type of crisis that readers hope will inspire those couples that are still in the midst of such struggles.  One common thread in many of these stories is that people credit their religious faith for helping their marriage survive.  Now of course religion is not a guarantee that a marriage will survive and even members of the clergy have marriages that fail, but the high number of couples married for more than a decade that included religion as part of their formula for success prompted me to take a closer look at marriage and religion.  Based on stories from couples that classify themselves as happily married for at least ten years, I have compiled a list of the most common ways that these couples feel that religion has been a benefit to their marriage.

Bigger Than Themselves- One of the most common references that I heard from couples who had undergone many hardships in their marriage was that they knew that they would get through these times because their marriage was not just about the two of them.  Now of course we all know that the bonds of marriage stretch beyond the couple to include their children as well as the family members of both the husband and wife, but these couples also felt strongly that their marriages were blessed by and would be guided by a higher power.  To have faith that their marriage would be guided by God was a comfort to many of the people who shared their stories with me.

The bad times didn’t seem to be as troubling to them because they felt that they had the help of the almighty to pull them through in addition to their own efforts.  This was especially important to the individuals who hit points in their marriage where they felt that they were more committed to making their marriage work than their spouse was.  Believing that there was a higher power helping them didn’t make these individuals feel that sense of loneliness that we would expect when someone wants to save a marriage to a spouse that does not seem nearly as committed to working things out.

Fear of Consequences- One big reason that many of these couples sited for upholding their marriage vows when they felt very tempted to do otherwise was plain old fear of sinning and the consequences that would follow.  Now it’s great to believe that we all have a moral compass that is so strong that we will always choose right over wrong, but a fear of consequences is definitely an added deterrent for those times when that moral compass is not functioning at full power.  For many people the notion of consequences is strictly related to whether or not their spouse will find out about their behavior.  For those whose faith is based in an all-knowing God, there is never a chance to have your actions go unobserved or to avoid the consequences of those actions.

Shared Faith, Shared Goals- Many of the couples that shared their stories explained their faith in an almost practical way.  They felt that their religious similarities were the root of many other things that they had in common, most importantly their shared goals.  As one woman so simply put it “It’s easy to find a man who shares your wants, but hard to find one who shares your values.  Our faith steers us in the same direction for our long term goals.”

Despite the stories of the importance of religion in marriage that so many couples have shared with me, there is no hard evidence that I have found showing that having religion as a central part of their lives gives a couple any greater chance of having a successful marriage than couples that are not religious.  Of course statistics cannot tell the whole story and the couples who shared their stories with me felt very strongly that religion played a key role in the success of their marriage.  I also notice in my personal life that around 90% of the happily married couples that I know would describe themselves as religious.  Yes, I know couples that are not religious that have strong marriages, and I know that religion provides no guarantees of marital success, but a strong shared faith does seem to at least increase the odds of a marriage lasting.

What do you think? Does religion strengthen a marriage?  Does it play a role in your marriage or those of couples you know?  Please share you thoughts in the comments section.

18 Responses to “Does Religion Strengthen a Marriage?”

  1. [...] PostsCan Just One Person Save a Marriage?Does Religion Strengthen a Marriage? [...]

  2. preciousgem says:

    I think that, it’s a yes and no to a certain extent. To say that religion holds no place in a marriage or is not the connecting thread and abit much. There are some things that just are, marriage is one of them. The bible talks about a threefold cord that can’t be broken, who performed the first marriage? it was Jesus – showing us 1. that marriage takes work and committment, singleness of mind and heart, 2. selflessness – it’s not about me or you, it’s about us making this thing work, 3. Jesus was in the wedding – He is there in the marriage taking us through every difficult situation, bring us to a point of perfection.

  3. James says:

    Colin,

    I envy your position, but have not found that to be true for me. As a Christian, I had a marriage in which both partners cheated and everyone was miserable. Later in life, as an atheist, I have found the true love of my life. We are committed, close, and happy.

    I think the common thread in your marriage and mine (beyond both of us being married to a beautiful woman with knock-out legs) is that our values and interests are tightly aligned with our wives. I think that’s much more important than religion.

    As for the “look around you” challenge, I have known so many Christians who are devout… and miserable in their marriage. I just don’t find religion to be the common thread in what defines a happy marriage.

  4. Statistically speaking it does not. Atheists are less likely to divorce than Christians.
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  5. Femmepower says:

    I think if a couple shares the same values and beliefs, it helps a lot in keeping their relationship healthy. Works well with me and my hubby. =)
    Femmepower´s last blog ..Happy new year, happy new blog! My ComLuv Profile

  6. I think it’s all about shared values and shared beliefs. My wife and I are on the same page when it comes to religion and spirituality and I think that helps us a lot.

    As far as religion impacting relationships. Only if it’s common will it help, otherwise it probably hurts. And divorce impacts as many religious couples as non-religious couples. It’s more about the people involved.

  7. Great post! I do believe that religion or a spiritual philosophy helps strengthen any type of relationship, marriage or dating.

    Religion and spirituality was not a big factor in my marriage…maybe if it had been our relationship would not have ended in divorce. In my next relationship, I will definitely require a partner who values spirituality and practices. Good topic, will discuss it on my show!!

  8. I believe religion does influence marriage, by having the same religion and faith will increase the closeness and relationship of both husband, wife and even their children
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  9. Kassie says:

    My husband and are both Catholic.W eshare pretty much the same ideological values in regards to marriage.I do believe that 2 people who go into a relationship that sahre the same values,religiously,will have a strong,long lasting relationship.My husband and I have been together for over 16 years this year.We have a very,very deep commitment to each other.So,if 2 people that share not only common bonds,as well as emotional,religious,etc…then a life long relationship is in your future.That’s just my opinion!

  10. If it is a shared belief, I absolutely do believe it can strengthen a marriage. It helps strengthen the individual first and together, the relationship grows stronger.

    Any strong belief or common value does it too.

  11. Anne says:

    I think religion can certainly strengthen a marriage, but it isn’t necessary. I think there are many important aspects that can make a marriage strong.

  12. PJ says:

    i think having the same ideas about faith would strengthen the relationship. i don’t know how it couldn’t.

    stopping in to wish you a very happy new year…hugz!
    PJ´s last blog ..I am… My ComLuv Profile

  13. K says:

    I think that if you share the same religious beliefs that would strength your marriage, but having different beliefs can make things more difficult.

    My husband is Catholic and I am not. It isn’t a problem for us, but I’m not sure that our seperate beliefs make things go smoother either.
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  14. ppo says:

    It certainly does. If you religion tells you, like the Christian religion does, that the ONLY legitimate reason for divorce is infidelity; and, if you adhere to your religion in the strictest context, then separation is last resort
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  15. BK
    Twitter:
    says:

    I certainly believe that religion can strengthen marriage and as a coin has two sides, it can also cause a marriage to break up especially when the couple does not share the same view about the religion. Instead of purely religion, I believe on the practical side that it is the shared faith and shared goals that strengthen the marriage.
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  16. bingkee says:

    I believe that a unified faith strengthens a marriage because a couple shares the same convictions , directions, commitment and purposes in their life and in their marriage. Different faiths or religions in a marriage can affect the children. My husband, is an example of an offspring of parents of different religions. His mother is a Protestant and his father is a Catholic, and since both of his parents do not go to church and do not hold the same practices in their household, they both end up not taking their children to church or teaching them spiritual values or even about God. My husband did not know about God until I came to his life. He said he wanted to go to church when he was a kid, but even one of his parents did not want to take him because they were afraid he might get the other’s (parents) religious views.
    Now that my hubby shares the same belief and faith with me, it’s easy for us to hope and pray to one God , sharing the same aspiration and hope resting in our God because we both walk in the same direction that God leads us to. We also both believe that “What God has joined together, let nothing or no man asunder.”

  17. cher says:

    I do think religion strengthens a marriage and the family if there are children. We all need to be grounded, especially in these times of not only turmoil, but of open porn, child predators and anything-goes music. Call me old-fashioned.

  18. Yes, yes, yes! It does play a role, my wife and I are both Christian, we have a quiet time reading our Bible, and praying every day, and we visit church every Sunday. Our marriage has, like most other had its tests, but because we are both religious, we could go through those tests and still love each other like the day we got married. See it like a triangle, with God at the top, and the husband and wife on each leg coming down from the top…
    God
    husband – wife

    husband ———— wife

    The closer they move to God, the closer they move towards each other. If they move away from God, then they inevitably also move away from each other. God is love, and any marriage without love, is doomed, and so is any life without love.

    That is not just my opinion, look around you, it is evident everywhere you look.

    Colin.
    sexy legs and body´s last blog ..SEXY LEGS – MORE READERS AND BLOGGERS. My ComLuv Profile

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