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Friday, May 24, 2019

Both Feet In

            A new report indicates that marriages and families are stronger and can strengthen their communities and nations if spouses have both feet into their chosen lifestyle. The authors of the report – W. Bradford Wilcox, Jason S. Carroll and Laurie DeRose – shared some of the information from their report in an article at The New York Times. 

            The report is titled “The Ties That Bind: Is Faith a Global Force for Good or Ill in the Family?” and is provided by the Institute for Family Studies and the Wheatley Institution. The report looks at the quality of relationships for heterosexual women in the United States and ten other countries. The authors say that a “key conclusion” from their report is that “feminism and faith both have high expectations of husbands and fathers.” These expectations come for “different ideological reasons”, but they “result in higher-quality marriages for women.”

In studying women who report above-average satisfaction, commitment, closeness and stability in their relationships, we find that women at both ends of the ideological spectrum enjoy comparatively high-quality marriages, compared with women in the religious and ideological middle, as well as secular women who lean right culturally. Data from the Global Family and Gender Survey (which Mr. Wilcox helped conduct) indicate that 55 percent of secular progressive wives in the United States — who embrace egalitarian family values and do not attend religious services — report such high-quality marriages.

By contrast, fewer than 46 percent of wives in the religious middle — who attend only infrequently or don’t share regular religious attendance with their husbands — and only 33 percent of secular conservative wives — who think men should take the lead on bread-winning and women on child-rearing but don’t attend church — have such marriages.

            Even though women at both ends of the spectrum have “higher-quality marriages,” the authors say that religious conservative wives are the “happiest of all wives in America” and the next happiest are the religious progressive wives. “Fully 73 percent of wives who hold conservative gender values and attend religious services regularly with their husbands have high-quality marriages.”

            It appears from this study that egalitarian marriages can bring happiness into a marriage, but religion is even more important to the happiness of wives. This study shows that spouses must have both feet into their chosen lifestyle to be happy, but greater happiness comes from having both feet into a conservative, religious life. Highly religious couples can strengthen their families, communities, and nations.

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