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Sexuality and Fidelity

Christianity Today, March 9, 1992, pp. 42-43

Sexuality and Fidelity

(Andrew) Greeley bases most of his unconventional conclusions on the results of the Love and Marriage Gallup study of 657 married couples, which was conducted in 1989-90 for Psychology Today. According to Greeley, this was the first "full-scale" national probability study of sexuality and fidelity in marriage. Many of the findings defy conventional wisdom and indicate that marriage in America is far healthier than we have been led to believe: Ninety percent of American couples have had only one sexual partner since they were married (and it is not because they are afraid of AIDS). Four-fifths say they would marry the same person if they had to do it over again. Over 80 percent of all married men, regardless of age, say their wife is good-looking. Three-quarters of married people say their spouse is their best friend. Three-quarters of those questioned say divorce is "not at all likely." Over 60 percent of American couples describe their marriage as "very happy." The best predictor of whether or not a couple is happy together is joint prayer. The study found, for example, that couples from two-income families that pray together are less likely to consider divorce than single-income families that do not pray together. People who live together before marriage are less likely than those who did not cohabit to say their marriage is very happy. Those who have had premarital sex are also less prone to say their marriage is very happy.