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The holy union: Religion and marital conflict

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psychology
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Smith College

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  1. Mismanagement of marital conflict.
  2. Religion as an ambiguous variable that affects a marital relationship.
  3. Spousal similarity and marital satisfaction.
  4. Religion prevents conflict.
  5. Religious heterogeneity promotes conflict.
  6. Religion and conflict management.
  7. Discussion.

In a time when conservatives worry that allowing homosexual to marry will destroy the sanctity of marriage and the family, heterosexual Americans are divorcing at a greater rate than ever before. The ratio of divorces to marriages is around 50% , suggesting that half of all marriages are doomed to fail. Moreover, many of these divorces are in families with children. A study in 2005 found that 37% of America children do not grow up with both biological parents. (Popenoe, 2007) Discovering what leads to divorce and the psychological ramifications for it are becoming increasingly relevant as this divorce trend continues to grow.

[...] Discussion Religion impacts marital conflict and marital satisfaction in many complex ways. Conventional wisdom often suggests that religiously homogeneous marriages are a strong predictor of marital harmony and satisfaction, but recent research does not seem to suggest that such a link is very strong or consistent. Although they are influenced by religion, similarities in core values worldviews and activities seem to be much more effective predictors of marital satisfaction than similarities in religious affiliation. In addition, research suggests that religion homogeneity prevents conflict and religious heterogeneity increases it. [...]


[...] (Gaunt, 2006) Religion and Conflict Management Even though religion only indirectly causes and prevents conflict, it is still one of the greatest factors in predicting long term marital stability. Three separate studies found that participants in ?successful long-term marriages? (i.e., satisfying marriages of 25+ years) listed religiosity as one of the top five facilitative factors. (Marks, 2006) Accordingly religion cannot simply be dismissed as only a weak or indirect effect. In a series of interviews by Goodman and Dollahite (2006) of highly religious couples, all participants perceived themselves and their marriages to be better off as a result of their faith and divine intervention. [...]


[...] Religious heterogamy and marital conflict - Findings from the national survey of families and households. Journal of Family Issues, 551-576. Dudley, M. G., & Kosinski, F. A., Jr. (1990). Religiosity and Marital Satisfaction: A Research Note. Review of Religious Research, 78- 86. Gattis, K., Berns, S., Simpson, L., & Christensen, A. (2004). Birds of a Feather or Strange Birds? Ties Among Personality Dimensions, Similarity, and Marital Quality. Journal of Family Psychology, 564-574. Gaunt, R. (2006). Couple Similarity and Marital Satisfaction: Are Similar Spouses Happier? [...]

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