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Keywords:

  • couples;
  • family;
  • marriage;
  • parenting;
  • religion;
  • spirituality

This review examines the role of religion, for better and worse, in marital and parent–child relationships according to peer-reviewed studies from 1999 to 2009. A conceptual framework of relational spirituality is used (a) to organize the breadth of findings into the 3 stages of formation, maintenance, and transformation of family relationships and (b) to illustrate 3 in-depth sets of mechanisms to delve into the ways religion shapes family bonds. Topics include union formation, fertility, spousal roles, marital satisfaction and conflict, divorce, domestic violence, infidelity, pregnancy, parenting children, parenting adolescents, and coping with family distress. Conclusions emphasize moving beyond markers of general religiousness and identifying specific spiritual beliefs and practices that prevent or intensify problems in traditional and nontraditional families.