Compassionate love as a mechanism linking sacred qualities of marriage to older couples' marital satisfaction

Allen K. Sabey*, Amy J. Rauer, Jakob F. Jensen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Previous work has underscored the robust links between sanctification of marriage and marital outcomes, and recent developments in the literature suggest that compassionate love, which is important for intimate relationships, may act as a mediator of that relationship. Accordingly, the current study used actor-partner interdependence models to examine the relationship between a spiritual cognition (i.e., perceived sacred qualities of marriage) and marital satisfaction, and to determine whether that relationship is mediated by compassionate love, in a sample of older married couples (N = 64). Results revealed that wives' greater sacred qualities of marriage were significantly and positively linked to marital satisfaction on the part of both spouses, and that these links were partially mediated by couples' reports of compassionate love. These findings highlight the importance of moving beyond simply establishing the existence of the link between global markers of involvement of religion and marriage to understanding how specific spiritual cognitions may foster better relationship quality, especially among older couples.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)594-603
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2014


  • Compassionate love
  • Marital satisfaction
  • Older adulthood
  • Religiosity
  • Sanctification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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