Sociologists Steven L. Nock and W. Bradford Wilcox of the University of Virginia have presented a new study ("What's Love Got to Do with It? Equality, Equity, Commitment, and Women's Marital Quality," available in digital form from Amazon.com) based on the findings of the National Survey of Families and Households.
Based on my earlier research, evangelical women tend to be happier in their marriages than other women, particularly when both the wife and the husband attend church on a regular basis. This idea that Christians are just as likely to divorce as secular folks is not correct if we factor church attendance into our thinking. Churchgoing evangelical Protestants, churchgoing Catholics, and churchgoing mainline Protestants are all significantly less likely to divorce.
How much less likely?
I estimate between 35 and 50 percent less likely than Americans who attend church just nominally, just once or twice a year, or who don't attend church at all. It is true that people who say they've had a born-again experience are about as likely to divorce as people who are completely secular. But if you look at this through the lens of church attendance, you see a very different story.
What makes married women happy?
The biggest predictor of women's happiness is their husband's emotional engagement. The extent to which he is affectionate, to which he is empathetic, to which he is basically tuned into his wife, this is the most important factor in predicting the wife's happiness. This basically drowns out every other factor in our models.
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