News Story

Religious Involvement Linked to Marital Fidelity

A recent Brigham Young University study shows how couples from Christian, Muslim, Jewish and other religious traditions draw on their beliefs to stay faithful to each other.

“We have known for some time that religiosity is associated with greater marital quality, marital stability and marital fidelity,” said David Dollahite, lead researcher on the study and professor of family life at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. The new research, based on interviews with 57 couples of various faiths from California and New England, “provides answers to the questions of how and why this is true.”

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has long taught that focusing on religion-centered principles contributes to positive and enduring relationships between marriage partners and between parents and their children.

In fact, the Church’s family services department has published a new instructional manual, Strengthening Marriage: A Resource Guide for Couples, to help couples with marital concerns. The manual underscores the Church’s ongoing concern with building strong family relationships among its own members and in communities throughout the world.

“Perhaps our greatest concern is with families,” said Church President Gordon B. Hinckley. “The family is falling apart all over the world. The old ties that bound together father and mother and children are breaking everywhere.”

Additional concern for the family is expressed by Dallin H. Oaks, a member of the Church’s Quorum of Twelve Apostles. “The concept that society has a strong interest in preserving marriages for the common good as well as the good of the couple and their children,” Elder Oaks explains, “has been replaced for many by the idea that marriage is only a private relationship between consenting adults, terminable at the will of either. Some even refer to a first marriage as a ‘starter marriage,’ like a small home one uses for a while before moving on.”

In a 1995 statement on the sanctity and purpose of families, “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Church leaders taught that “husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children.” Further, the proclamation declared, “successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.”

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