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Do Atheists Really Have a Better Shot at Marriage Than Believers?

Posted by on Nov. 5, 2013 at 11:03 AM
  • 8 Replies

Atheists Have a Better Shot at Marriage Than Bible-Believers

by Maressa Brown 

wedding rings over bibleIs a family that prays together really one that stays together? According to Tom Ellis, former chairman of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Council on the Family, famously claimed that "born-again Christian couples who marry ... in the church after having received premarital counseling ... and attend church regularly and pray daily together ... experience only 1 divorce out of nearly 39,000 marriages." Judging from new findings, that bold assertion couldn't be further from the truth.

Instead, research by the Barna Research Group shows that American divorce rates are highest among Baptists and nondenominational “Bible-believingChristians and lower among more theologically liberal Christians like Methodists. Guess who has the lowest divorce rates? Atheists! Yes, those same heathens who don't even believe there IS a higher power approving of our unions or encouraging us to get hitched.

Backing up the findings: Research in 2008 showed that the Bible belt has the highest divorce rate, whereas marriage is looking a lot healthier in blue states. Interesting!

To be fair, churches can often provide healthy support for marriage: a strong sense of community, marital counseling, and parenting classes, etc. But apparently, that's not enough to keep divorce rates down. One possible reason: Alternet.com points to the fact that many of these congregations are opposed to birth control or encourage couples to be hands-off when it comes to family planning. As a result, these religious young newlyweds have more kids younger, which doesn't exactly sync up with marital bliss. Much research shows couples under 30 years old are less satisfied in their marriage with the birth of each child. (Parenting tends to make couples happier only after age 40.)

I'd also speculate that perhaps atheists are getting married because they genuinely want to -- and are making the conscious decision to of their own, 100 percent personal volition. In other words, there's no push related to what they believe a religion wants them to do. And that could translate to greater happiness and satisfaction in marriage. Other factors: They're more likely to be older when they get married, they have fewer kids and the kids they have are planned, and parenting is more likely to be egalitarian rather than the man being the "head of the house."

I wouldn't say this should be viewed as a reason for anyone to change how they practice or don't practice religion in order to have a healthy, happy, long marriage! But considering how the high rate of divorce is these days, it's certainly food for thought.

What effect (negative or positive) do you think your religion -- or lack of -- has on your relationship/marriage?

 

by on Nov. 5, 2013 at 11:03 AM
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Replies (1-8):
goddess99
by Michelle on Nov. 5, 2013 at 11:24 AM

My dh and I are both atheist and we have an extremely happy marriage. I have a friend who is very religious, even teaches Sunday school. She has cheated on her husband, he doesn't know, but they clearly aren't as happy as we are.

Jinxed8
by Silver Member on Nov. 5, 2013 at 11:47 AM

My DH and I are both Atheists / Agnostic and nobody dictates how we live, what we do.  We have our own rules ; obviously cheating is out of the question, honesty at all times, and we promised forever and we intend to do so for better or for worse.

Religion (depending how devout you are) can actually weigh a lot on a couple ; I know a couple who's deeply religious and she cheated on him, then will turn around a praise god on her FB page, she's also a drunk but will cast you to hell if you even mention it as a joke, how fking hypocritical of her ... her husband is super religious but also one of the most materialistic people I know and he cusses like a sailor... to me it doesn't make any sense. 

 

pamelakeller
by on Nov. 5, 2013 at 11:48 AM

I think it depends on the couple, not their beliefs.    You can have a couple who is religious whose marriage lasts a long time, while other religious couples divorce.  Same with athiests, as they can have  great marriages or marriages that don't work.  We are all human!

Rajeshsmom
by on Nov. 5, 2013 at 11:54 AM

We are Hindu/budhists... But we aren't hard core. We just believe in being good people and doing good to others. We have a good marriage! I love my husband and we have an awesome kid. Did religion influence us getting married.. Nope.. We lived together first and genuinely wanted to get married. We didn't have a kid until 6 years into marriage. And we love how we are, who we are. Religion doesn't define us as a family. 

Beautiful31mom
by on Nov. 5, 2013 at 11:55 AM


Quoting pamelakeller:

I think it depends on the couple, not their beliefs.    You can have a couple who is religious whose marriage lasts a long time, while other religious couples divorce.  Same with athiests, as they can have  great marriages or marriages that don't work.  We are all human!

This.

GLYASDI

Velvetfog
by Member on Nov. 5, 2013 at 12:34 PM

I'm not sure my husband and I being atheists has had much of an impact, either negative or positive, on our marriage. We've been together fifteen years. It's hard to say, though, because I can't really imagine us any other way. It's worth mentioning, if I'd believed it was wrong to live together without being married I probably would have married my first serious boyfriend when I was quite young and that would have been an enormous mistake. In that way I think my lack of religion has had a positive effect on my marriage.

mcginnisc
by Member on Nov. 5, 2013 at 12:53 PM

Interesting.. I only know 1 couple that is atheist that is married and they just celebrated 1 year of marriage....most of my atheist friends are single still... conversely, all of my friends that are religious( mainly Non- Denominational Christian) have been married for eons....Dh and I have been married for almost 18 years next month, my IL's have been married for 43 years, their friends have all celebrated between 35-50 years of marriage, my brother and his wife-25 years, my BIL and his wife-17 years....most of us in my circle of friends were HS sweethearts, so we've been with our spouses for 20+ years. I know that our faith has been integral in our marriage...

I think it just depends on the people in the marriage honestly. 

Claire


" I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13 

BlueSparrow
by Member on Nov. 5, 2013 at 1:06 PM

I'd also speculate that perhaps atheists are getting married because they genuinely want to -- and are making the conscious decision to of their own, 100 percent personal volition.<----This is true for my husband and I. In other words, there's no push related to what they believe a religion wants them to do. And that could translate to greater happiness and satisfaction in marriage. Other factors: They're more likely to be older when they get married,<---This for me was not true i was 20 and he was 32 they have fewer kids<--- We had 3 living and 1 that passed away at 15 weeks gestation.and the kids they have are planned<---Two where planned, One was not , and parenting is more likely to be egalitarian rather than the man being the "head of the house." Not true for us.....

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