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Via  Two Sundays ago, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver both attended Mass at St. Monica’s Church in Santa Monica, California. But this time, they came alone, not together, as has been their usual pattern. Before Shriver learned of Schwarzenegger’s infidelity earlier this year, the couple and their four children were known to be frequent churchgoers at St. Monica’s.

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The marital misbehavior of Schwarzenegger, a Roman Catholic, not to mention evangelical Protestants such as John Ensign and Mark Sanford, however, should not be mistaken for the norm among married men in America today, and especially for married men who are regular churchgoers. Although the institution of marriage in the United States has fallen on hard times in recent years–for instance, the marriage rate has dropped in half since 1970, even as the percentage of babies being born outside of wedlock more than tripled over the same time period–one surprising bright spot when it comes to married life in America is that sexual fidelity seems to be on the upswing.

According to research by the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, Americans have become less tolerant of marital infidelity over the last forty years, and somewhat less likely to stray over the last 20 years. For instance, in the 1970s, 63 percent of men and 73 percent of women said marital infidelity is “always wrong.” In the 2000s, 78 percent of men and 84 percent of women said that marital infidelity is “always wrong.”

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