Alliant International University

Couples and Spirituality

Results of the Couples and Spirituality Study

Thank you so much for taking part in the Couples and Spirituality study. This research found several very interesting results, which are summarized below. So your participation contributed to a greater understanding of the association between religiousness, religious behavior and relationship functioning.

Past research has found a correlation between various aspects of religiousness and marital satisfaction. For example, prior results suggest that, in general, if both members of the couple are of the same religious denomination (i.e. religiously homogamous), there is higher marital satisfaction than if the members are of different denominations. In a recent study, researchers found that religious behaviors and attitudes that a couple shares (for example, participating in religious activities together or believing that one's marriage is sacred) also are correlated with marital satisfaction. But prior studies have tended to study narrow samples (e.g., members of only one church) and only married couples. The Couples and Spirituality research in which you took part examined these religious variables and relationship satisfaction not only in married heterosexual couples, but also in cohabitating heterosexual couples and in same-sex couples. Additionally, because the research used an internet sample, I was able to analyze data provided by participants of a wide range of religious orientations and from varied backgrounds.

Of the 415 participants included in the study, 186 were married heterosexuals, 140 were unmarried heterosexuals, 45 were gay males and 43 were lesbians. The online research questionnaire asked about a number of aspects of religious behaviors and attitudes in respondents' relationship. The questionnaire also included a measure of relationship satisfaction.

Here are highlights of the results: One very interesting finding of the research was that in both married and unmarried heterosexuals, regardless of religious affiliation, there was a positive correlation between relationship satisfaction and perceived sacredness of one's relationship. That is, in general, the higher the respondent's view that the relationship is sacred, the higher her or his reported relationship satisfaction. Additionally, for Judeo-Christian heterosexuals (married and unmarried), relationship satisfaction was positively associated with participation in joint religious activities with one's spouse/partner (for example, praying together) and with one's perception of God's presence in their marriage/relationship. In contrast to some earlier results, no differences in relationship satisfaction were found between religiously homogamous couples (same denomination) vs. religiously non-homogamous couples. Additionally, in the subsets of participants who were members of same-sex couples, no associations were found between relationship satisfaction and any of the religious variables that were studied. However, the samples of participants in same-sex couples were smaller than we had hoped. Future studies involving a greater number of gay male and lesbian participants are needed in order to yield more accurate results for these populations.

If you have questions about this research, do not hesitate to e-mail me at: spiritualcouplersx@gmail.com.

Once again, thank you for your participation.


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