Something Important in Addition to Praying Together

As I reread the Ellison study on “Couples Who Pray Together” in the Journal of Marriage and Family, and which we referred to in the August 6th post, I was struck by something I had missed in my first reading.  I was so intrigued by the findings related to praying together and reading the Bible together that I missed an important piece of information.

What I saw was that when a couple shared core religious beliefs and values, they reported an even higher level of marital satisfaction, even, than sharing religious practices together at home.  Sharing beliefs and values were also seen as predicting increased marital satisfaction.

The opposite is also true.  In couples who did not share religious beliefs and values, this dissimilarity predicted the frequency and types of conflict the couple would experience, and also predicted an increased risk of marital failure. These results were reported as being consistent across race and ethnic factors.

An example of shared beliefs and values can be seen in couples who share an evangelical faith.  Core beliefs, such as the inherency of scripture, and the authority of the Bible have been found in many other studies to predict family-related attitudes and practices, such as childrearing and child discipline.

Why is this true?  The authors addressed this issue and suggested that when couples share beliefs and values, they each have a great tendency to live by the Golden Rule, and to understand the teaching of Jesus on forgiveness.  They suggested that shared beliefs and values included a deeper awareness of appropriate conduct in different situations and a better understanding of how to handle conflict in a constructive manner.  In addition, these shared beliefs and values typically include a common understanding of marital roles and responsibilities.


So what does a couple do when they don’t share these beliefs and values?  I remember a secretary that worked for me years ago.  She and her husband did not share religious beliefs, but they did share a number of values.  But the key to their marital satisfaction was, according to the wife, that her husband respected her beliefs, and encouraged her in her faith.  He did so even though he had no apparent interest in discussing her faith beliefs.


So it is more important to share values, at least.  If there are questions about whether or not you and your spouse share the same values, it’s time for a conversation.  Take what is important to each of you, in terms of your values–not your beliefs–and have a thoughtful discussion about what you perceive to be differences.  It may take more than one discussion.  Then move to a discussion of your beliefs later.


How would you define your values?  How are they different from your beliefs?

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2 Responses to Something Important in Addition to Praying Together

  1. Zulqarnain says:

    My belief is very simple (at least I think so). GOD is great he will forgive you of your sins you have made against him once you truly repeant. But the suffering or harm you caused deliberately to other people’s is nearly unforgivable until the sufferer do so. So take extra care in this case.

  2. Eduardo says:

    I screwed up and hit submit to soon. You are way to quick. That’s my story on speeling, and I’m sticking to it. I’ll take your points one at a time. My response is in italics only to differentiate from you comment. Not as an inflection. 1) I don’t think religion and education belong in the same classroom. I attended public school and a private religious school. Religion was not in every classroom. When it was English class, it was spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Literature class, it was Shakespeare, ee cummings, Hemingway, Melville, etc. Biology or science classes were the same as public. History classes were the same as public. Math the same in both schools. Basketball and PE the same. The difference came with one religion class and/or chapel service. BTW sex education was in health class.2) I think children should be given an opportunity to find their own spiritual beliefs. I think children will come to a time of choosing their beliefs. But, in coming to their choice I also believe, as parents, we should guide them. I do not hold the same religious beliefs as my parents. I do not attend the same church as others in the family. My children attend a similar church, but do not hold my exact beliefs. So, I guess I disagree with leaving children to flounder looking without some sort of input. 3) I think sex education should be mandatory in school. I agree. I think we disagree upon what the degree or curriculum may be.4) I think the only person that should be able to deny a student (of reasonable age), a sex education, regardless of private or public, should be the student. On that I disagree. I do not believe all students are sufficiently ready in maturity or judgement to make that decision. And, a parent’s input is necessary. Especially, after watching Dr. Phil today. Although the parent’s input didn’t help change that girl’s mind. There now you have my complete response and “speeling” is corrected. So, you remember me from the old days. I’m flattered. But, I’m not changing my opinions.

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