Marital Satisfaction and Spirituality Study

Chapter 2, Page 20

This study was conducted between 1999 and 2003. Data were [if you’re a non-researcher, yes, it is plural] collected from 441 married couples in Central Alberta and the study explored a number of factors associated with marital success.

Marital Satisfaction was measured by two widely used instruments: The 3-item Kansas Marital Satisfaction Scale, and the Locke and Wallace Marital Assessment Test, a 15-item inventory that has a single question that measures global satisfaction, 8 questions that assess extent of agreement between couples on key issues, and 6 additional questions that assess interactive elements of the relationship. A third marital satisfaction measure was a combination of the two measures weighted equally.

Spirituality was measured by the George, Mabb, Walsh Spirituality Scale, an 18-item measure that assesses personal spirituality but not religiosity.

Also measured in the study was the denomination of the husband, the denomination of the wife, and a coding that identified whether husband and wife were congruent (both belonged to the same denomination) or not congruent (belonged to different denominations).

The husbands’ spirituality was significantly and powerfully (most p values < .001) associated with higher marital satisfaction on all three measures for himself, and, the husbands’ spirituality was also significantly (and equally powerfully) associated with the wife’s marital satisfaction.

The husbands’ spirituality was powerfully (r = -.436, p < .001) and negatively associated with denominational discrepancy. In simple language, husbands who rated high in spirituality were very unlikely to belong to a different denomination than their wife.

The wives’ spirituality followed a similar pattern but the results were not nearly so robust. Wives’ spirituality was significantly associated with their own marital satisfaction AND with their husbands marital satisfaction, but p (significance) values ranges from .016 to .033 compared to the husbands’ values all rating .001 or lower.

The implications are that the husband’s spirituality has a greater influence on marital satisfaction (for both husband and wife) than does the wife’s spirituality. For both husband and wife, however, higher spirituality is significantly associated with greater marital satisfaction for both partners.

As with the husbands, a denominational discrepancy was powerfully associated (p < .001) with lower levels of spirituality. Again, wives high in spirituality were very unlikely to marry a husband from a different denomination.

Influence of denominational discrepancy on marital satisfaction: For every marital satisfaction measure (the 3 marital satisfaction measures for the husband and the 3 marital satisfaction measures for the wife) denominational discrepancy had a severe and negative influence on marital satisfaction. Significance values all rated near of below .001.

Summing up:

  1. The husband’s spirituality provides a powerful enhancement to his own and to his wife’s marital satisfaction.
  2. The wife’s spirituality provides a similar but less robust enhancement of her own and of her husband’s marital satisfaction
  3. Those high in spirituality are very unlikely to marry someone from a different denomination.
  4. Discrepancy in denomination (husband and wife belong to different denominations) has a severe and negative effect on marital satisfaction.
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