New sociological research suggests that certain kinds of shared religious practices among married couples leads to better relationships:
[F]or all groups, shared religious activity – attending church together and especially praying together – is linked to higher levels of relationship quality.
The findings were particularly significant for African-American couples (and to a lesser extent, Latinos), according to sociologist and co-author W. Bradford Wilcox:
“Without prayer, black couples would be doing significantly worse than white couples. This study shows that religion narrows the racial divide in relationship quality in America.”
But not all religion is beneficial for marriages:
Couples holding discordant religious beliefs and those with only one partner who attends religious services regularly tend to be less happy in their relationships, the researchers found.
The findings make sense: couples who share a religious perspective and activities benefit while those who don’t share perspectives or activities suffer. The most interesting finding seems to be that about African-American and Latinos benefiting from shared religious activity: the authors suggest such activity helps overcome stress minorities experience.