Soul Mates: Religion, Sex, Love, and Marriage among African Americans and Latinos

In 1994, David Hernandez, a small-time drug dealer in Spanish Harlem, left the drug business and turned his life over to God. After he joined Victory Chapel — a vibrant Bronx-based Pentecostal church — he saw his life change in many ways. Today he is a member of the New York Police Department, married, the father of three, and still an active member of his church. David Hernandez is just one of the many individuals whose stories inform “Soul Mates: Religion, Sex, Love, and Marriage among African Americans and Latinos” (Oxford University Press, 2016), which draws on national surveys and in-depth interviews to paint a detailed portrait of the largely positive influence churches have on relationships and marriage among African Americans and Latinos — and whites as well.

Soul Mates shines a much-needed spotlight on the lives of strong and happy minority couples. Wilcox and Wolfinger find that both married and unmarried minority couples who attend church together are significantly more likely to enjoy happy relationships than black and Latino couples who do not regularly attend. They argue that churches serving these communities promote a code of decency encompassing hard work, temperance, and personal responsibility, which benefits black and Latino families.

Wilcox and Wolfinger provide a compelling look at faith and family life among blacks and Latinos. The book offers crucial insights into the effect religion has on minority relationships, as well as the unique economic and cultural challenges facing African American and Latino families in 21st-century America.

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