The Separation of Church and Mate: How Does Church Attendance Impact Marital Satisfaction and Why

Michael Briscoe, Brigham Young University – Idaho

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Abstract: This study seeks to assess the relationship between church attendance and marital satisfaction. This study uses the 2000 wave of the General Social Survey. It was hypothesized by the author that more frequent church attendance would increase levels of marital satisfaction in respondents. This hypothesis can be explained by the theory of symbolic interactionism, the idea that individuals assign different meanings and symbols to different parts of their life and then act according to those beliefs. It is theorized that people who attend church more frequently view marriage with more symbolism and meaning than those who do not, and therefore those who attend church frequently put forth more effort to maintain that commitment. The data showed that there was a highly statistically significant relationship between church attendance and marital satisfaction, and that the more frequently an individual attends church, the more satisfied they will be with their marriage. However, although this relationship was shown to be highly statistically significant, the amount of influence church attendance has on marital satisfaction is minimal. The results of this study show that further research may need to be conducted, particularly between different religions and religious denominations, and the effect that each of these individually may have on marital satisfaction.

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