Friday, April 24, 2009

Why are atheists better at marriage?

Many months ago, Personal Failure linked to a study of divorce rates in the US, divided by religion, region, etc. One of the more interesting things in it was that atheists divorce rates were lower than any other religion/philosophy.
Atheists are just better at being married.
And so I started wondering why. Does it have something to do with the fact that they are free of a lot of the various crap that goes along with a religion? They don't worry about a god, or hell, and can live each day without worrying about something eternal, lurking around the corner, waiting for you to screw up.
The atheists I know are really nice. They are happy, well adjusted, smart people. As a rule they are happier than a lot of people I know. And I honestly wonder if this generally happier outlook on life is what makes their marriages better. And I'm also interested in if other aspects of their lives are more positive. And if you find a general uptick in their lives, they are happier and more content as a whole, how much of that is from their basic personality, and how much is from their own belief in the universe as a whole?
Personally I'm fascinated by this subject. Atheists are generally welcomed into most pagan communities (one of the larger boards The Cauldron, is moderated by an atheist. We accept everyone. That could probably be the motto of paganism as a whole), so it's not like they are new an unusual. However in the context of pagans they are just that, not unusual. They share a lot of the same political and moral views, are just as happy, and that is probably why I never thought about how different they are from the "Big Three" religions. When someone is just like you, you don't think about how they are different from others.
Atheism is just amazing to me (and daunting, I tried to think about how I would explain death to the kiddo from a "and that's it" standpoint and was completely flumoxed). I think most religious people need to think a bit more about the other side, about where these people are coming from. It certainly couldn't hurt.


  1. well, the rates of divorce go up the more fundy you are, so i suspect that it's that atheists wait longer to marry, have sex before marriage, are generally more educated and have higher paying jobs as a result, wait longer to have children, etc.

    fundys marry young, after a much briefer acquaintance, are more likely to be lower paid, and have only one working spouse. add having children immediately and often and that is a recipe for disaster.

    oddly, i tend to include pagans in with atheists mentally, mostly because pagans are very accepting of atheists and generally hold the same social/political views.

    atheists usually tell their children that loved ones "live on our memories", which to young kids probably has the same emotional impact as "live on in heaven". you can't really understand the permanency of death until age 12 anyway.

  2. And some fundies never actually get to know each other at all before they marry, especially with this new trend of "courtship" happening where the father choses who his daughter will marry. That can not help things.
    "Live on in our memories" is a lot like what I told the kiddo when she asked (my stepfather was in the hospital and she was very very worried). Hell of a lot easier to explain than my version of the afterlife, and it sounds nicer.

  3. I agree with Personal Failure. I think it boils down to the 'no sex till marriage' part.

    Passion is at one of its greatest peaks just before a couple has sex for the first time. It clouds judgement in a way, makes one feel like you could never not love the person.

    I think this, and the fact that most fundies get married just to have sex subconsciously or consciously, is part of what leads to a break down later.

    Most atheists have a few sexual partners before marriage. They get the urge fixed and it helps them realise what they need in a partner sexually.

    I couldn't imagine the horror of marrying someone and then finding out that you're completely sexually incompatible.

  4. every time these fundies go on an on about abstinence, i am assailed by the image of two clueless virgins fumbling about. i mean, ugh. the woman has to be scared, and scared equals tight muscles, and just ow! and you know the guy doesn't last too long. plus, having a few partners allows women to figure out what works for them. (some women achieve orgasm easily, some take a while to figure that one out). I can't imagine spending my entire life orgasmless and too generally ashamed of sex to be willing to figure out why it's not working.

    or, as i told a woman once, if you're not sure if you've ever had an orgasm, you haven't.

  5. LOL no kidding on that last comment PF, and I agree that the ability to actually get to know your possible spouse before tying the knot is a big plus.

    I went out with quite a few guys, all for very short times. Once I knew it wasn't going to work, it was over for me. It took me 32 years to find the right Man. Took him 46 years to find me.

    If I had been a fundy, I would have ended up in the orgasmless group *uug* that would have been oh so fun for little me.

    Atheists don't have all the rules and stresses of religion and belief to bog down a marriage, usually by the time they decide to get married, they know the person inside and out. I think the ability to wait and get to know other people and find a person who fits with you is a great way to find a mate.

    My sister took the other route, she married her high school sweetheart and they are still married today. She did go out with a few others but all before the age of 16. My parents knew each other for only 6 months before marriage because my Father had to come back to Canada and my mom, being American, needed to marry him. I think my Dad loved my mom and thought she was a very smart woman, and I think my Mom thought my Dad was a good catch from a good family and married him to escape the life she had (very poor, small hick town) I don't really think they are suited for each other but they are still married to this day unlike most parents I know. My Dad is what I'd call an honorable man where as my mom is a bit materialist, hence, not divorce for them. :P

  6. PF: I can't even imagine what it would be like to always associate sex with pain, and I have a terrible feeling that a lot of those poor girls do. So it's dorty, and painful. Man, sex must suck amoung the Fundies.


All comments are now not moderated. Have at it folks! Don't make me regret it.