Research says 'living in sin' damages love
Living "in sin" can damage future married life, according to a new study that also suggests devout Christians have better love lives.
"Having experienced a de facto relationship in the past is associated with lack of intimacy and greater insecurity in a current relationship," Andrew Cameron, one of the report's authors, said on Saturday.
"Our research also shows that the greater security, intimacy and harmony experienced by Christian married partners can be only partly explained by the fact that far fewer Christians have had de facto relationships and multiple partners."
In a story published in the Sun-Herald , The Age's religion writer Barney Zwartz reports that Dr Cameron said the fact that Christian belief is strongly linked to healthy relationship across all four of the study's indicators - security, intimacy, harmony and conflict over gender roles - suggested something more complex was going on.
The research - by a team from Edith Cowan University in Perth, the National Church Life Survey and Anglicare, based on a 350-question survey of 1500 Australians - was presented by Anglican researchers at a conference in Sydney yesterday.
The research found that religious people, especially orthodox Christian believers, experienced greater wellbeing than people with a secular or Eastern spiritual orientation. It found that marriage enhanced feelings of security and harmony, and gave a slight advantage in intimacy. De facto relationships were more strongly linked to insecurity than were such factors as poor health, poverty or work stress.
Nearly one in 10 people who once had a de facto relationship now reported a cold marriage, compared with one in 20 who had not had a previous de facto relationship. Only 7.5% of married people doubted their relationship would last, compared with 21% of de factos, and 42.5% of married people said their partners treated them very well, compared with 31% of de factos who felt that.
Dr Cameron, who is ethics lecturer at Sydney's Moore Theological College, suggested that "Bible-believing" Christianity enhanced the health of a marriage.
He said the researchers realised such claims for Christian spirituality could seem smug and arrogant.
Love is better if it's not lived in sin (Sydney Morning Herald/Sun-Herald 27/11/05)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
CASE - God and Family Conference
Sexpert back on the couch (sydneyanglicans.net 23/11/05)
Strangers to Rome; Marriage as a Mission (Zenit 24/11/05)
Why Catholics Should Avoid Secular Living Wills (Zenit 11/11/05)
'Family' in Constitution will remain based on marriage (catholicireland.net 8/11/05)
28 Nov 2005