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Published Date: July 29, 2006

Published Date: July 29, 2006

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Egalitarian Marriages Are Happier and Healthier

There is an excellent article on called, “Empirical Data in Support of Egalitarian Marriages and A Fresh Perspective on Submission and Authority,” that reviews many scientific studies that all say that marriages that operate on the basis of equality are much more healthy than those that are hierarchical — in fact that hierarchical approaches actually harm marriages.

The research reviewed include studies by the following professionals who work within the fields of marriage and family therapy, sociology, and demography:

  • A 2001 Barna Research Group survey of Christian denominations.
  • Dr. Howard Clinebell, Professor Emeritus of Pastoral Psychology and Counseling, Claremont School of Theology
  • Drs. Alan Booth and Paul Amato, Penn State sociologists and demographers
  • Dr. David H. Olson, Professor Emeritus, Family Social Science, University of Minnesota
  • Drs. David H. Olson and Shuji G. Asai of the University of Minnesota
  • Dr. Diana R. Garland, Professor and Chair of the School of Social Work and Director of the Center for Family and Community Ministries at Baylor University
  • Drs. Pepper Schwartz and Philip Blumstein, University of Washington sociologists

In his summary of these studies’ findings, Rev. Preato says the following:

Over the last 50 years these studies reveal that significant numbers of egalitarian marriages are happy in comparison to traditional hierarchical marriages. A recent study quantified these results revealing that over 80% of egalitarian marriages are happy while less than 20% of traditional marriages can say the same. That represents over a 4:1 ratio in favor of egalitarian marriages. Spousal abuse continues to be more than 300 percent higher in traditional marriages than in egalitarian marriages.

These research studies accomplish the following: First, they effectively discredit any traditionalists’ notion that dismantling hierarchy destabilizes marriage and that the root problem in marriage is the unwillingness of each spouse to accept the role for which he or she was designed. Second, they prove that hierarchy actually destabilizes and harms marriages. Third, they provide objective data that egalitarian marriages produce the healthiest, happiest, most intimate, and stable of all marriage relationships with the least amount of spousal abuse.

The point being made here is not that CBE is out for more “women’s rights” or is trying to upset the “traditional” ways of church and home. We are trying to save marriage and to help churches be more responsible, accurate and wise in the advice they give to husbands and wives. If this comes to pass, the impact of it will far surpass the fact that more women break through the glass ceiling in countless churches.