If you’re an Anglican who attends church every week, chances are you have a very happy marriage.
The Journal reported in November on a Statistics Canada finding that regular churchgoers tend to have more enduring marriages. A closer look at the data finds that 90.6 per cent of Anglicans who attend church at least weekly, report being “very happy” with their spouse, the highest of any faith group.
English Roman Catholics who attend church weekly were the second most satisfied group with 83.7 per cent reporting being very happy.
At the other end of the spectrum, just 69.1 per cent of French Roman Catholics who attend church weekly say they are very happy with their mates.
StatsCan asked more than 5,000 married men and women, almost 900 common-law partners and 14 people in same-sex relationships whether their relationship with their spouse was very happy, fairly happy or not very happy. Generally, regular churchgoers were much more likely to say they were happy with their mates than those who go to church infrequently.
Those affiliated with the United Church depart significantly from the trend because the weekly attenders are much less likely to be happy with their spouses than either their monthly or yearly attending counterparts. Besides denomination and frequency of worship attendance, several other characteristics of couples increased their likelihood of saying they’re happy with their spouse:
- living in the Atlantic provinces or Ontario;
- being younger;
- seldom arguing over chores and responsibilities, children, money, and the use of leisure time;
- calmly discussing something almost every day;
- being in a first marriage or partnership, rather than a second or higher one; and
- neither partner uses birth control methods.
The number of children in the family, whether or not the couple was living common-law, the level of household income, and the education or sex of the respondent had a relatively unimportant influence on happiness with the spouse.
Of course, being very happy with the spouse doesn’t mean that there are no arguments. Among Anglicans, 25 per cent of the very happy group say they argue over money sometimes or often. A much higher percentage of Anglicans – 61 per cent – who say they are either fairly happy or not too happy with their spouse say they argue over money sometimes or often.
What is clear from the survey is the importance of laughter in a relationship. For example, 90 per cent of the Anglicans who said they were very happy with their spouse said they laughed together almost every day, compared with 76 per cent of the other Anglicans.
summary table –> Frank Jones is an economist and a member of St. Martin’s Anglican Church in Ottawa .