Know your scripture!

Welcome back! I am glad you are here. We are discovering together what the Bible says about wellbeing. Otherwise, how can you live a more satisfied, fulfilling life! We recently have discussed the first step to entering the gateway to Biblically based wellbeing: acceptance of Christ’s forgiveness by faith (i.e. becoming a Christian), understanding our salvation is permanent, and that we should not feel guilt. What great promises!

Where do we go from here? Last week we discussed that we can proceed in our faith using the 5 tools to maturity outlined in Acts 2:42 and 47. Today we begin to examine these tools individually and how they can promote wellbeing. Today, scriptural knowledge!!

We know from the medical literature that identifying as a Christian, church attendance and prayer can enhance wellbeing as well as various measures associated with wellbeing (1-3). To gain a better understanding of this effect Teleios has analyzed specific measures associated with wellbeing, one being scriptural knowledge. Several studies indicate that studying scripture in general enhances wellbeing (4,5). Knowledge of individual important scriptures could improve wellbeing, such as: acceptance of salvation, confidence in salvation and lack of associated guilt. Interestingly at a study done at the University of Georgia, Christian and non-Christian students alike recognized scriptural wisdom as being good for their life, such as ‘Be slow to speak and quick to listen’! More research is needed to evaluate the effect on wellbeing associated with pivotal scriptures, but we are all off to a good start!

Why would Bible study improve wellbeing? Scripture is the manual by which we can mature and live our Christian life. Scripture indicates good fruit in our life will occur as we mature in the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22). Importantly, the Spirit uses God’s word to teach us and provide us power (1 John 2:27; Ephesians 6:17). Just as when we buy a new iPhone or droid we read the manual (hopefully!) to determine how it may be used to help our life, so we should study Scripture for our Christian life. The more we read and understand the more fruit we should gain.

Importantly, this takes personal study of God’s word. It is not enough to live by the jargon within church society which may actually not represent God at all (e.g., ‘I will do this will when I have peace from God’; or ‘God will open the door’). We are to the act obediently whether or not we have peace or not and we make decisions based on His Word and prayer and then act in faith (1 Timothy 4:4-5; Romans 14:23). In a recent survey of conservative pastors conducted by Teleios, they overwhelmingly supported the concept of using scripture to teach truth and not jargon in the church.

Study God’s Word and reap the reward! If you do not know how to study the Bible contact us here please at Teleios and we will make every attempt to help you. Thanks for joining me today.

  1. MacIlvaine WR, et al. (2014). Association of strength of community service to personal well-being. Community Ment Health J, 50: 577-82.
  2. MacIlvaine WR, et al. (2013). Association of strength of religious adherence to quality of life measures. Complement Ther Clin Pract, 19: 251-5.
  3. Stewart WC, et al. (2013). Review of clinical medicine and religious practice. J Relig Health, 52: 91-106.
  4. Hamilton JB, et al. (2013). Reading the Bible for guidance, comfort, and strength during stressful life events. Nurs Res, 62:178-84.
  5. Levine EG, et al. (2009). The benefits of prayer on mood and well-being of breast cancer survivors. Support Care Cancer, 17:295–306.

Tools needed to mature your relationship with God

Welcome back to my blog. We are on a fascinating journey evaluating what the Bible says about wellbeing. We recently discussed the first step to entering the gateway to Biblically based wellbeing: acceptance in Christ’s forgiveness for our misdeeds by faith in his death on the cross (Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 3:23-26). Then we evaluated the importance of understanding that our salvation is permanent – no matter what – and that we should not feel guilt in daily life (1 Peter 1:4-5; John 10:27-31)!

This is a great start but is there more? Can we further improve our lives with the benefits of Christianity and the Bible?

The answer comes from the Bible’s 5-step approach to maturing our relationship with God which helps us access additional benefits to our wellbeing. I call this method the ‘5 tools to maturity’ and they are taken from Acts 2:42 and 47. They are as follows:

  • Prayer
  • Praise
  • Fellowship
  • Receiving Biblical teaching
  • Reach others with Biblical truth

These five tools describe the activities in the very first church in Jerusalem and provide a model to us today for what actions individuals and the church should perform routinely. Importantly, these five activities are confirmed in later verses in the epistles.

Why are these 5 tools important? When implemented consistently, and in balance with each other, these activities appropriate God’s Word into our daily lives. We will consider them individually in upcoming blogs.

For now it is important to emphasize that the 5 tools may enhance personal wellbeing, not only when performed individually, but even more so done in aggregate. A number of studies have shown that church attendance, which would allow for these 5 tools to be expressed in a community setting, may enhance personal wellbeing (1-4). Further, several studies sponsored by Teleios also have noted that individuals who perform these activities have enhanced wellbeing and especially when performed in aggregate (5-6).

This is exciting news! Consequently, scripture tells us that we can have a sure and certain relationship with God, guilt free, and He provides us measures to propel our spiritual growth leading to better personal wellbeing. What great promises! Join us in upcoming blogs as we look individually at these 5 tools, and why and how they can promote wellbeing. Thank you for joining me today. I look forward to seeing you next time. Please tell me your questions and comments and please share this blog with your friends.

  1. Parsons S et al. Religious beliefs, practices and treatment adherence among individuals with HIV in the southern United States. AIDS Subject Care STDS 2006;20:97-111.
  2. Reed P. Spirituality and well-being in terminally ill hospitalized adults. Res Nurs Health 1987;10:335-44.
  3. Keefe F, et al. Living with rheumatoid arthritis: the role of daily spirituality and daily religious and spiritual coping. J Pain 2001;2:101-10.
  4. Cotton S, et al. Exploring the relationships among spiritual well-being, quality of life, and psychological adjustment in women with breast cancer. Psychooncology 1999;8:429-38.
  5. MacIlvaine WR, et al. Association of strength of community service to personal wellbeing. Community Ment Health J 2014;50:577-82.
  6. MacIlvaine WR, et al. Association of strength of religious adherence to quality of life measures. Complement Ther Clin Pract 2013;19:251-5.

Your Relationship with God is Secure!

Welcome back. We recently started an important journey on what the Bible says about wellbeing. Last week we considered the vital topic of entering the gateway to receiving improved Biblically based wellbeing: by faith in Christ’s forgiveness for your sins by his death on the cross. By his gracious sacrifice, God sees you as without fault and completely accepted by him (Ephesians 2:7-9; Romans 3:21-25; Romans 10:9).

What is the next step? This is also most important and it is to realize that as a Christian you are SECURE in your relationship with God. Why is this critical? We cannot grow in our faith and serve others well if we lack confidence God that accepts us.

The Bible itself makes a great example in Ephesians 5:20-33. In this fascinating letter the Apostle Paul likens the relationship between Christ and the church (individual believers) to marriage. In the same way a married couple will find it difficult to grow in their love, intimacy and confidence in each other if they fear their partner will reject them, so a Christian will find it next to impossible to grow in the love of God if they fear His repudiation.

Likewise our loving God, who made and understands us, knows we cannot grow in His love without the confidence that He will not reject us. Wow, this seems incredible! How can we know this from Scripture? There are three basic arguments:

What great promises! Because of our faith in Christ we are a new person who cannot be unmade, with legally unchangeable promises that guarantee our salvation. This comfort and confidence allows us to invest ourselves in knowing and serving within a wonderful relationship with God. We should not be burdened with guilt and worry over the status of God’s acceptance of us.

Everyone wants security! Next time we will continue our discussion security and how it relates to guilt.

Thank you as always for joining me. I’m honored that you would read my blog.

Scripture that can impact our wellbeing: Salvation!

Welcome back to our blog. I appreciate you spending time with us.

So far we have been exploring Teleios’ research regarding Christianity and wellbeing. Teleios’ purpose in conducting this research is to show the validity and usefulness of God’s Word in living a content, productive and purposeful life. How exciting! Teleios’ research on this topic is ongoing and we will share more information as it becomes available.

Now we want to turn our attention to specific scripture that can impact our wellbeing. Let’s start from the beginning: salvation!

Prior psychological research has shown that an adverse relationship with God hurts wellbeing and places a person at risk for depression (1). In contrast, Christianity is generally associated with positive wellbeing and a positive relationship with God (2,3). How does a person transition from a negative to positive relationship with God?

Scripture provides the clear sure pathway! It states an adverse relationship with God may be corrected by admitting our need for forgiveness, recognizing that Christ died on the cross for all wrongdoings so we could receive forgiveness. We receive this forgiveness by simply asking God by faith to forgive us and correct our relationship with Him.

Scripture declares:

  • For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
  • If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9

It’s as simple as that, 3 steps:

  • Recognize that you need a correction in your relationship with God because of your past wrongdoings.
  • Recognize He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross on your behalf because of your past wrongdoings.
  • Trust God by faith that you’re forgiven as activate the free gift of salvation.

This is the first and ground-laying step to increased wellbeing in your life. If you have not done so, take this first step to a sure relationship with God. We will then explore together how it will enhance your life and you will in turn benefit others.

Thanks for visiting and I look forward to seeing you next week.

  1. Fitchett G et al. Religious struggle: Prevalence, correlates, and mental health risks in diabetic, congestive heart failure and oncology patients. Intl J Psych Med 2004;34:179-96.
  2. MacIlvaine WR et al. Association of strength of community service to personal wellbeing. Community Ment Health J 2014;50:577-82.
  3. MacIlvaine WR et al. Association of strength of religious adherence to quality of life measures. Complement Ther Clin Pract 2013;19:251-5.

Does Bible Study Really Help?

Welcome again to the Teleios blog! We have been exploring together practical ways by which the Bible improves our lives.

“Oh, do I have to study the Bible every day?” Many people consider Bible study a time-consuming chore that they must endure to prove their faithfulness to God. The Teleios team considers Bible study as a wonderful life-enhancing activity that is part of our vital relationship with God.

We decided to evaluate the effect of a Bible study on the wellbeing of 46 healthy young adults from a Christian community environment. This was a “proof of concept” study since we don’t know of any prior research about this topic. The design was a prospective, randomized, active-controlled, single-blind interventional trial (more details here).

Subjects were randomized to either an active (detailed bible study program) or a control (minimally detailed bible study program) group in a 3:1 ratio. Ephesians Chapter 1 was chosen as the study text since it details many wonderful characteristics of our great salvation.

The results showed no differences between the active and control groups for any general or specific wellbeing measure. However, when the active group was compared to its own baseline data significant differences were observed in overall wellbeing.

It is unclear from our results why there was an increase of overall wellbeing in the active group. We speculate that the gain in knowledge about the security of their relationship with God, by faith alone, allowed for less guilt and greater confidence.

Interestingly, increased wellbeing was also observed in the control group, but did not quite reach significance, possibly because of the smaller sample size. This group also studied Scripture, but about events surrounding the creation of man in Genesis Chapters 1-4 that did not contain the salvation information from Ephesians provided to the active-intervention group.

Consequently, with a larger sample size it could be that greater wellbeing would have been statistically significant in both groups. If true, it might be that studying any Scripture, regardless of the specific content, could have a positive effect on wellbeing.

This proof of concept study suggests that increases in short-term well-being potentially can be achieved by a Scripture study program over the course of 4-weeks in young Christian adults.

More research is needed to better understand the effect of improved wellbeing associated with Scripture study both in the short and long term.

Can adherence to a biblical lifestyle cure guilt?

Ever feel guilty? This emotion seems to afflict most of us at least intermittently. Non-Christians think Christianity causes guilt. Is this true? Amazingly, Christian practice recently has been associated with enhanced wellbeing. Further, increasing adherence to biblical lifestyle principles such as praise, prayer, fellowship, church attendance, service and Bible study have been associated with improved wellbeing.1,2 Guilt, in contrast, is linked with diminished wellbeing3,4 No surprise there!

Unfortunately, little information is available that examines the effects of guilt in a healthy Christian population and how to minimize it. Teleios recently examined the influence of guilt on the wellbeing of evangelical Christians especially associated with their adherence and knowledge of their faith. We defined evangelicals as those who accepted the free gift of salvation through faith in Christ’s death on the cross for forgiveness of their sins (Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 3:21-26).

Our study (complete results found here) showed that wellbeing scores appeared generally healthy among our evangelical subjects. However, of those who felt no guilt there was greater wellbeing reported with each question (see table) except ‘God cares about me’ than the in those who felt some level of guilt. This finding indicates that the presence of guilt may degrade wellbeing in a generally healthy population.

The overwhelming cause for those who indicated they felt some guilt was although they had confidence in their salvation, they “feared that they had not performed enough good works to gain God’s ongoing satisfaction.” The most common reaction to guilt by participant was anxiety, followed closely by a desire for complete acceptance by God.

Importantly, when the eight wellbeing rankings were compared to the scores for adherence to the Christian faith, those who indicated they held to the activities or beliefs noted above showed statistically greater scores compared to less adherent participants! This was especially true among those who most often studied the Bible study or praised God.

How do we explain this? Studying the Bible may be important because it reinforces scriptural principles that salvation is achieved only by God’s grace, not human efforts, and thus removes guilt as a factor in a Christian’s life. Those less willing to embrace scriptural lessons may demonstrate more guilt because they may imagine God’s wrath and rejection based on their own contrived system of works.

Praise also may help alleviate guilt as it demonstrates an expression of the believer’s view of God’s authority and power to save them and helps maintain a correct mental attitude of humility towards God. Humility has been shown in prior work to have psychosocial benefits.5

This study suggests that Christians who conform to basic activities and beliefs of their faith are likely to demonstrate improved wellbeing and less guilt then those who are less adherent.

  1. MacIlvaine, et al. (2013). Association of strength of religious adherence to quality of life measures. Complement Ther Clin Pract, 19:251-255. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ctcp.2013.05.001.
  2. MacIlvaine, et al. (2014). Association of strength of community service to personal well-being. Community Ment Health J, 50:577-582. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10597-013-9660-0.
  3. Piderman, et al. (2011). Spiritual well-being and spiritual practices in elderly depressed psychiatric inpatients. J Pastoral Care Counsel, 65:1-11. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/154230501106500103.
  4. Satterly, L. (2001). Guilt, shame, and religious and spiritual pain. Holist Nurs Pract, 15:30-39. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12119916
  5. Krause, N. (2010). Religious Involvement, Humility, and Self-Rated Health. Soc Indic Res, 98:23-39. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11205-009-9514-x  

The effect of religion upon wellbeing in the general population

Welcome back to my blog! In recent posts we have been exploring the exciting topic of how Biblical truth enhances personal wellbeing. We’ve discussed research performed by Teleios through a series of surveys in healthy individuals and ophthalmology patients, as well as a review article regarding religion in the medically ill.

Today we explore another medical literature review we conducted regarding the effect of religion upon wellbeing in the general population. Most all the studies we reviewed evaluated members of the Christian faith. Please see the full report here.

Our review showed a positive effect on wellbeing from religion in the lives of healthy people who were: > 10 years old, both genders, and either African-American or Caucasian.

Religion improved general wellbeing and also in specific measures such as:

  • sense of community
  • purpose
  • satisfaction
  • hope
  • social relationships
  • ability to forgive

Even more, the findings indicated that the measures typically used to adhere and grow in religious faith also increased wellbeing including:

  • fellowship with other believers
  • scripture study
  • prayer
  • praise
  • outreach in the local community

Additionally, increased adherence to one’s faith gave even greater benefits on wellbeing!

What does this mean practically? This review helps us recognize that religion, and in this case Christianity specifically, may enhance personal wellbeing generally but its benefit also extends to specific areas of life such as career satisfaction, marriage, family functioning, and socialization.

Why would Christianity provide an improved wellbeing? We don’t know of any studies about this but here’s what we speculate.

First, on a spiritual level the confidence of God’s acceptance through faith in the sacrifice of Christ helps remove guilt and insecurity about a person’s relationship with God. The importance of such confidence was indicated in several studies noting that medically ill patients who have a negative, insecure relationship with God suffer with worse wellbeing.

Second, in practical daily life the Christian scriptures provide advice on wise living in regards to family life, career, ethical choices, treatment of people in terms of mental mindset and speech (i.e., forgiveness, thankfulness, etc.). The benefits stemming from this advice can be gained by adherence to Biblical principles causing maturity (fellowship with other believers, prayer, praise, service and a Biblical learning process).

Our review demonstrated that religion, and Christianity in particular, may provide enhanced general wellbeing across various age and ethnic groups and specifically in family and social relationships as well as career. More research is needed, however, comparing wellbeing to other religions and among cultures.

Pastors’ attitudes towards Biblical exhortations

Hello again and welcome back to my blog! We’ve been examining the growing number of studies that have shown religion has a positive impact on wellness in healthy and diseased individuals (1-6). The vast majority of these studies have been performed in countries in which Christianity dominates, either in a cultural or spiritual sense (2).

Historically the church, as it does today, often contends against extra-Biblical beliefs emerging from the current culture. Generally the sources are from secular pressures (often from academia, media, or the government) and then cultural pressures from inside the church. For example, churchgoers may support truisms that seem Biblically based, but may deviate just enough to promote lies about God. Such cultural influences have caused even some seminaries to abandon the founding principles of the Bible!

The impact of these cultural pressures may be important to pastors because they can dilute the positive influence on wellbeing that religious adherence has demonstrated, as noted in the medical and psychological literature.

For this reason recently we surveyed graduates of three seminaries that hold to Biblical teaching (Master’s, Denver and Westminster) in spite of cultural pressures to drift from Biblical teaching. Questions were based on exhortations derived from scripture or frequently accepted attitudes within the church but not directly sourced from the Bible. 200 pastors participated in the survey.

Our results showed that pastors generally believed it was ‘important’ to ‘very important’ for church members to maintain Biblical exhortations related to their attitudes towards: one another, the church body and leaders, their speech and the outside community. Extra-Biblical attitudes, although perhaps accepted or fashionable within the church, were more often deemed either ‘not important’ to ‘somewhat important’. Look below at the results.

Why are these findings important?

  1. These results should encourage church leaders because they demonstrate that a substantial group of church pastors recognize the importance of maintaining fidelity to Biblical teachings. To our knowledge this is the first time a survey has shown that pastors trained in a Biblically adherent seminary maintain a current focus on Scriptural exhortations.
  2. Church leaders can take comfort that extra-Biblical attitudes are deemed generally less important by pastors. These data should encourage both pastors and church leaders to maintain their focus on strong Biblical teachings that are associated with an improvement in wellbeing in many religion and wellness studies.
  3. This should inspire seminaries not to bend their theological stance with cultural trends. Such seminaries will produce Biblically adherent pastors who will tend to maintain these teachings, thereby providing the best chance of promoting physical and mental health.

This study showed that individuals trained in seminaries that teach Biblical principles continue to hold to those principles once they become pastors. As shown in the medical literature, these principles contribute to improved wellbeing.

Thank you for taking time to visit my blog. I look forward to seeing you again next week.

  1. MacIlvaine WR, Nelson LA, Stewart JA, Stewart WC. Association of strength of community service to personal wellbeing. Community Ment Health J 2014;50:577-582.
  2. Stewart WC, Adams MP, Stewart JA, Nelson LA. Review of clinical medicine and religious practice. J Relig Health 2013;52:91-106.
  3. MacIlvaine WR, Stewart WC. The apologetic value of religion and wellness studies. Christian Apologetics Journal 2013;11:65-83.
  4. Dehning DO, Nelson LA, Stewart JA, Stewart WC. Association of strength of religious adherence to attitudes regarding diabetes. J Christian Nurs 2013;E1-E11.
  5. MacIlvaine WR, Nelson LA, Stewart JA, Stewart WC. Association of strength of religious adherence to quality of life measures.Complement Ther Clin Pract 2013;19:251-255.
  6. Stewart WC, Sharpe ED, Kristoffersen CJ, Nelson LA, Stewart JA. Association of strength of religious adherence to attitudes regarding glaucoma or ocular hypertension. Ophthalmic Res 2011:45:53-6.

 

A sure-fire way to enhance health: Pay attention to your body!


A guest blog from Rod MacIlvaine…

In 1 Corinthians 6:19 Paul says, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”

This would have been a very surprising statement for Paul to make to an assembly of sophisticated Greeks living in the 1st century. The Greek view of the body suggested it was the prison house of the soul. The body was a hindrance to the freedom of the inner-self. That view caused many people in the ancient world to disrespect their bodies in many health-destroying ways.

The biblical view of the body is very different. From Genesis to Revelation the Bible asserts a unity between the physical body and the immaterial soul. What we do with our bodies affects our soul; what we do with our soul affects our body. Because we are a soul/body unity, it’s critically important that we respect our physical body as something that can impact emotions, joy and consequently many ranges of mental health.

Conversely, those disciplines that calm and center our soul on God have the potential to affect our physical health.

Specifically, in this case, Paul says, “Don’t commit acts of sexual immorality.” Why? We know today from the vantage point of modern science that these acts will create body/soul memories, imprints that often interfere with genuine long-term stable relationships, especially with those we love the most, not to mention causing estrangement in our relationship with God.

Moreover, sexually transmitted diseases are exploding today. According to the CDC, “half of the estimated 20 million STDs that occur in the United States each year are among young people.” According to RH Reality Check, the recent rise in sexually transmitted diseases continues as epidemic proportions (1).

But we can extend Paul’s principle of respecting the God-given boundaries of our bodies, to other areas as well. We live in a world where science-based studies inform us about all sorts of healthy and unhealthy behaviors. So, I think Paul would say, by application, “Look, glorify God in your bodies by maintaining good habits of mental and physical health.”

All of us know that certain habits will quickly destroy physical and mental health. Pornography is a quick way to addiction. Drug abuse is a quick way to mental instability. Abusing food is a slow path toward physical ill-health.

But the ultimate reason for maintaining habits of health is that our bodies are a portable mini-temple for the Holy Spirit. Our bodies are containers. But they are more simply disposable containers.

Our bodies are dignified and spiritual. We are a temple reserved for God the Holy Spirit to do his work.

If we are healthy we’re going to have greater opportunities to represent the risen Christ through the power of his Spirit.

Another passage supports this as well: Romans 12:1-2 – “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” The fundamental way we steward our bodies is to present them to God each day.

And because we’re a soul/body unity, we are simultaneously presenting both body and mind.

Daily stewardship of our physical bodies is going to lead to greater long-term health and happiness.

Rod MacIlvaine – Director of Faith-Based Research
Rodman MacIlvaine, III, DMin is on the adjunct faculties of both Oklahoma Wesleyan University andDallas Theological Seminary. He is the founding senior pastor of Grace Community Churchin Northeastern, Oklahoma – a church that has worked extensively to serve educational needs in the Spanish Speaking Caribbean. A Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, Dr. MacIlvaine works with men and women in transition, especially those who are shifting into second careers. Dr. MacIlvaine specializes in apologetics from an historical and theological perspective. His emphasis is in showing how adhering to God’s word has generated many benefits to societies, cultures and individuals.

  1. http://rhrealitycheck.org/article/2014/01/14/report-sexually-transmitted-disease-cases-increased-2012/

Marriage – rich source of wellbeing!

Welcome back to the Teleios blog! We have been exploring together how the Bible improves our lives practically.

Most people would agree that few topics are as important to our lives as marriage. This long-standing institution has been under attack in our culture for the past few generations! Is marriage, as traditionally defined as a legal union between a man and a woman, worth preserving for society? Is there an advantage to this form of union to individuals’ mental and physical health, and to society in general?

To analyze this question we reviewed past studies in the medical literature which evaluated the benefits and disadvantages of legally binding, heterosexual marriage. We went back as far as 1966!

The analysis showed overwhelming benefits of traditional marriage on general wellbeing and specific parameters that might affect wellbeing, including physical and mental health, sexual satisfaction, family income, and children’s outcomes. Of the 42 articles evaluated, only 3 did not describe any marriage benefits. Even more, the stronger the relationship commitment, the greater trend of enhanced wellbeing. Never married, widowed and divorced individuals suffered the lowest wellbeing.

Interestingly, individuals in a committed relationship, even unmarried, generally had improved elements of wellbeing compared to those uncommitted. But marriage relationships, which typically demonstrate the strongest legal and outward social commitment to a relationship, generally had the highest wellbeing of all relationships. Further, some evidence in diseased and depressed individuals indicated that the better quality of the marriage relationship, the better the wellbeing-related outcome.

How to explain these results? We speculated on several reasons.

  • First, a committed partner helping with income, household tasks, and raising children can lessen the burden compared to a single parent.
  • Second, socialization with a marriage partner provides a potential source of personal enrichment, encouragement and empathy.
  • Third, the more committed the relationship, the greater confidence spouses can have in each other thus conserving time, money and emotion required to correct problems in their relationship.
  • Fourth, marriage partners can help maintain good health by encouraging each other to keep medical appointments, take medicines and develop a healthy lifestyle.
  • Last, the marriage commitment may facilitate sexual satisfaction by building confidence that no competing love interest is diverting the attention of their spouse.

Why would a committed marital relationship have a positive impact on children and the community? Again we speculated.

  • First, the ability of a couple to help each other provides sufficient time and money resources to better raise children and serve the community.
  • Second, satisfied couples who are not dealing with internal problems can more easily look outwards to helping their children and community.
  • Last, committed couples who agree together how to raise their children can provide a more consistent, productive, secure and supportive home environment.

Our review suggested that traditional marriage generally provides numerous benefits to the relationship partners through enhanced measures of mental and physical wellbeing, and benefits to their children compared to other heterosexual partnership arrangements or single status.

To ponder, should the US government institute policies that encourage traditional marriage as a method to enhance societal wellbeing and economic success?

Thank you for taking time to visit my blog. I look forward to seeing you again next week.