Prayer as a conflict resolution ritual: Clinical implications of religious couples’ report of relationship softening, healing perspective, and change responsibility

Mark H. Butler, Julie A. Stout, Brandt C. Gardner

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63 Citations (Scopus)


Spirituality and spiritual practices loom large as predictors of individual and relationship outcomes (Richards & Bergin, 1997). For religious couples, Deity’s influence in their marriage is often invoked and experienced through prayer, and Deity may more regularly and significantly influence religious couples’ interaction than anyone else, including family members (Butler & Harper, 1994). As a preliminary test of this hypothesis, a geographically diverse sample of religious spouses (n = 217) completed a 102-item Likert-scaled questionnaire assessing their phenomenological experience of prayer during marital conflict. Participant spouses noted relationship softening, healing (neutral/self-change) perspective, and perception or experience of change responsibility as significant effects associated with their prayer experience. Issues surrounding clinical use of prayer as a conflict resolution tactic for religious couples are considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-37
Number of pages19
JournalAmerican Journal of Family Therapy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2002

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