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?
Photo: ©Gina Smith/PhotoXPress.com
Posted in Communication, Family, Love, Marriage, Marriage Research, Relationships
Tagged improve marriage, prayer, prayer helps relationship, prayer in marriage, prayer prevents adultery, prevent infidelity, research on prayer
Poison ivy is my nemesis. I’ve learned the hard way to stay as far away from it as possible or suffer the consequences for weeks. I used to try to carefully pull it myself, but I’m convinced that the oils are strangely attracted to me. Now, when I see it in the yard, I stop weeding or whatever I’m doing and ask someone else to carefully remove it for me.
If we treated sexual temptation in the same way, there would be a lot less remorse, heartbreak and broken marriages. Sexual temptation is not something that we are adequately equipped to face head-on.
Two of my female interviewees shed light on how to handle tempting situations. (Maybe you think women are never tempted, but they are often tempted to begin emotional affairs, which can lead to physical affairs. Men are believed to physically cheat more frequently, so it’s even more important for them to not place themselves in risky situations.)
So, back to the two women. The first was a newlywed who didn’t feel her husband was meeting her needs. She opened up to a man at work who was also unhappy in his marriage. They had lunches and team-building meetings together. Before long, their one-on-one lunches were being held at a local motel. This wife was very fortunate to salvage her marriage 30 years ago, and both spouses made major changes over a long period of time to build a new relationship. Many marriages would not have survived this major breach of trust.
The second woman—who thought she would never be tempted sexually—was attracted to a music teacher with whom she had private lessons at home. Her husband was busy with work, and she found herself listening too hard for the instructor’s compliments and enjoying his company too much. She decided to quit the lessons and tell her husband about her feelings. The fact that her husband had no jealousy or feelings of mistrust (in fact he just joked about it) is a testament to the strength of their relationship. She ended the contact before her feelings became a problem, but she felt it wasn’t worth risking her marriage to place herself in a tempting situation.
I doubt there’s anyone who has been married more than a few years who hasn’t faced at least a tinge of attraction or temptation toward someone other than their spouse. Mutual attraction can be a nice feeling. You find someone who has common interests, “gets” your personality or is fun to be with. However, you only have to read about the politicians, celebrities, and even people of faith, whose private lives have been splashed across the news to know it’s a serious and common problem. They all probably thought they could handle the temptation.
Do you think flirtations and private communication with members of the opposite sex are no big deal? Better to treat these liaisons like poison ivy.
Posted in Divorce, Family, Love, Marriage
Tagged affairs, emotional affairs, Family, improve marriage, infidelity, Love, Marriage, prevent divorce, prevent infidelity, sexual temptation