Based on empirical data, contemporary Czech Republic is considered to be more secular than Slovakia. The differences between these countries have been described by the way of rates of traditional forms of religiosity in society. The declining share of the religious population is often explained through the secularisation thesis. From this perspective, the process of secularisation entails decreasing importance of religion in everyday life, and it is associated with the modernisation process. Nevertheless, both religious and non-religious worldviews have an impact on people’s decisions in their everyday lives. In addressing their daily needs, individuals rely in their rational calculus on the values and opinions stemming from their worldview.
This paper explores the importance of religion for assortative mating on the marriage market. It seeks to document whether (and to what extent) the high level of secularism in Czech society, compared to Slovak religiosity, has an impact on religious assortative mating. An answer to that question will help us explore the importance of religion on the marriage market, or the role religious belief plays in people’s search for their prospective partners. The question is whether religious people prefer religious partners or whether their religiousness is rather irrelevant.
There are two possible methodological approaches to analysing the significance of religion for assortative mating. The first approach is based on identifying the degree of importance of religious belief when searching for a potential partner. The second approach measures the degree of religious homogamy or heterogamy in the society, as the rate of religious homogamy/heterogamy is a result of the previous choices made on the marriage market. An analysis of the significance of religion for assortative mating through the degree of religious homogamy is referred to as ex-post sociological explanation.
Compared to Slovakia, religion can be assumed to be less important for assortative mating in the contemporary Czech society, given its higher rate of secularisation. Secularisation is defined as declining significance of religion in society. The role of religion in assortative mating decreased along with the general significance of religion in society. The process of secularisation has been explained by many theories, which associate secularisation with the process of modernisation. In other words, there are processes of detraditionalisation and individualisation in society that enable individuals to decide freely about their own lives.
This paper proposes two hypotheses. First, religion has lower importance for assortative mating in contemporary Czech society than it has in contemporary Slovak society. This is due to the high level of secularism in the Czech Republic. Second, the importance of religiosity for assortative mating has also dropped in cases of people with self-declared traditional religiosity because the influence of traditional forms of religiosity has been eliminated by the processes of detraditionalisation and individualisation of religion. None of the hypotheses were confirmed. Only 20 percent of people of both countries listed shared religious views as very important in their relationship. On the other hand, it was established that nearly 90 percent of partners shared the same worldview. This indicates that these couples were religiously homogamous and that there were no large differences between both countries in the level of religious homogamy/heterogamy. Substantial differences were only found between self-declared level of significance of religion for assortative mating and the rate of religious homogamy in couples. In other words, there are differences between the subjective and objective indicators of the significance of religion for assortative mating. But no major differences between the two countries were not found. Judged narrowly by the significance of religion for assortative mating, as measured by both subjective and objective indicators, worldview (whether a religious or non-religious one) in contemporary Czech society is not a substantially different factor than in Slovak society.