Study Says Republicans Are Happier With Their Marriages -- But Is It Just a Rosy Lie?

According to a new study by sociologist W. Bradford Wilcox, Republicans are more likely to be happily married than their Democratic counterparts. His claims lie in an oft-studied national poll by the General Social Survey, which says that followers of the GOP are "more satisfied with their marriages on average than Democrats."

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The study reports that 67 percent of Republicans between the ages of 20 and 60 say they are "very happy" with their marriage, while only 60 percent of Democrats and Independents claim the same marital bliss.

They also found that Caucasians and the "religiously observant" were more likely to identify as Republicans, as well as claim greater overall happiness in their lifelong unions.

Both Mr. Wilcox and his colleague, University of Utah professor Nicholas H. Wolfinger, wondered in their findings if Republicans had a more general optimistic attitude toward life and therefore a higher likelihood of claiming a happy marriage. They wrote, "Perhaps Republicans are more optimistic, more charitable or more inclined to look at their marriages through rose-colored glasses."

They may have a point, as Republican-dominated areas have been shown to give more to charity than others. Isn't generosity one of the main components to make a marriage work? In addition, Republicans have been shown to be more open-minded than Democrats in their thinking, which could also lead to fewer conflicts in marriage, as both sides may be more willing to hear their partner and consider the opposing view before raising a ruckus.

Personally, I'm inclined to agree that more generous and open-minded people are likely to have happier marriages. But I don't think this comes down to straight political ideals. The GOP does not have a hold on generosity, yet they do tend to idolize the family unit above all else.

I am a hardcore Republican who used to value an intact family above all else. I'm happily divorced now, and I know that a lot of my social, religious, and political ideals kept me in an unhappy marriage for much longer than was healthy.

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Even just a year before my husband and I split, I would have told you that we were happy. "Sure, we have our rough spots," I would say, "but we're so happy!" My (largely Republican) religion told me that marriage was the be-all-to-end-all. My political party espoused the value of intact marriages, and the importance of raising kids with married parents.

All of those ideas got into me and clouded the truth -- I was in a toxic relationship. But no matter how bad things got, I clung to marriage as an idol, convinced that it was more important than anything else, even my own health.

So when I see studies like this, I take them with a grain of salt, and offer a prayer up to all those who are suffering in relationships because they idolize the institution of marriage more than anything else.

I honestly don't know if Republicans are really happier in their marriages than Democrats, but I've been through enough with my divorce to recognize that those of us on the right are more likely to wear rose-colored glasses and claim happiness than our friends on the left.

 

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