A new study suggests that married couples who attend religious services together are more likely to live longer, be happier, and stay married longer than their non-churchgoing counterparts. The study found that attending religious services correlates with better health outcomes, a lower incidence of depression, and a lower suicide rate. Although the focus of religion is not to promote physical health or reduce the odds of divorce, efforts to communicate with a higher power are found to have significant implications for many areas of a person’s life.
The study was conducted by Tyler J. VanderWeele, professor of epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. VanderWeele found that married couples who attend religious services together are up to 50 percent less likely to get divorced than their non-religious counterparts. The study followed participants over a 16-year period, and also found that participants who practice their religion had a longer lifespan on average. VanderWeele asserts that many similar studies conducted on different age groups (both men and women) show similar results.
Researchers asked participants to assess their own spirituality and the frequency of prayer. VanderWeele suspected that there may be an unstudied aspect of spirituality that is leading to the health benefits some churchgoers experience. He conceded that all aspects of spirituality cannot be measured in a study like this.
Some have speculated that regularly participating in prayer services reduces the odds of getting a divorce because the communal aspect of religion is so powerful. By attending church, one takes a place within a religious community that provides social support, reinforcement of religious teachings, family programs, and a communal experience.
Critics have pointed out that those contemplating divorce might be more likely to stop attending church. However, the researchers claim to have taken this into account. By looking at the timing in changes of church attendance, VanderWeele claims he was able to control for this possibility. He acknowledged that he has not yet studied self-assessed spirituality and marriage outcomes, and notes that self-assessed spirituality may be the strongest predictor of marriage stability – not church attendance.
Towson Divorce Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Counsel Clients Seeking Divorce in Maryland
If you have questions about getting a divorce in Maryland, the experienced Towson divorce lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles have extensive experience with all family law issues, including child custody, alimony, property distribution, and child support. To schedule a consultation, call us today at 443-589-0150 or contact us online today. With offices located in Hunt Valley, Pikesville, and Towson, Maryland, we represent clients in Baltimore County, Harford County, Carroll County, and Howard County, including Towson, Essex, Columbia, and Bel Air.