Can baseball save a marriage? The research suggests that it certainly can’t hurt!
Howard Markman, who co-directs the University of Denver’s Center For Marital and Family Studies, made an interesting discovery a few years ago. He found that cities with a Major League Baseball team have a 28% lower divorce rate than cities that don’t have a team, but had expressed interest in one. Another interesting statistic is that between August 2006 and September 2007, almost 4 million married women attended an MLB game. That’s 30% more than football, basketball, and hockey combined.
Markman doesn’t claim that watching baseball can save a marriage, but he does claim, based on the findings of his research, that couples committed to having fun together have stronger marriages.
“The more you invest in fun and friendship and being there for your partner, the happier the relationship will get over time,” he says. “The correlation between fun and marital happiness is high and significant.”
A related USA Today article goes on to say that men and women tend to have different takes on bonding. Men tend to enjoy shared activities, while women to tend to prefer shared activities as a backdrop to good conversation. Husbands and wives should be aware of these differences as they seek to create a sense of intimacy. A union is made stronger, the research indicates, when couples take time for each other — doing fun things and talking together as good friends.
These principles are true for couples and for the wider Christian community. We all know about the importance of fellowship. The book of Acts talks about the strong connection the early church had, sharing possessions with one another, breaking bread together, spending time in each other’s homes. As a result, “All believers were one in heart and mind.” (Acts 4:32)