It’s a pretty tough claim to make, but a study completed this summer and reported by The Economist in an article called “Faith and Faithfulness: Praying for Your Partner Stops You From Straying” suggests that prayer can indeed guide people away from adulterous behavior.
Researchers at Florida State University were attempting to discern why past research has concluded that couples who attend religious services are more satisfied and more faithful than couples who do not attend such services. They set out to explore links between prayer and fidelity, studying 83 individuals who were in romantic relationships, measuring their psychological levels of infidelity before and after the study.
Participants were assigned to one of four daily activities: praying for their partner’s wellbeing, engaging in undirected prayer, thinking about positive aspects of their partner, or reflecting on their day. After the four-week study period, the group who prayed for their partner’s wellbeing showed significant increases in their psychological levels of fidelity and belief that their relationship was sacred. These increases were significantly higher than those who used undirected prayer, who reflected on their day or who focused on positive aspects of their partner.
A follow-up study was done in which trained research assistants evaluated the commitment of the relationships based on observing couple interaction. (They did not know which of the four activities the couples had completed.) The research team found those who had prayed for their partner had higher commitment scores than those who thought positively about their partner.
The article concluded “people worried about potentially cheating spouses may find praying together a better safeguard against adultery than checking mobile-phone bills and scrutinizing credit card receipts—and one that builds trust rather than destroying it.”
Do you pray for your spouse? If so, what do you pray for? Do you think it has an impact on your relationship? What do you think of the study results?
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