Marriage Research

Developing Zoe required extensive marriage research. Through systematic and through analysis of the research, it was concluded that some of the articles did not meet the Zoe design requirement:

  • Some research was not robust or rigorous enough.
  • Some research provided only interesting information.
  • Some research conclusions did not fit the Zoe pre-marriage instrument design.

The following marriage research summaries are from some of those articles that "didn't make the cut." This research was not included in the development of Zoe, but is provided here to give you some insights into Zoe's detailed and thorough approach to analyzing and summarizing research as well as highlight some interesting findings about marriage.


Topics covered in the following marriage research:

  • Advantages of Marriage Preparation and Advising

  • Challenges for a Marriage

  • Benefits of Marriage

  • Disadvantages of Divorce (or being Unmarried)

  • Interesting Marriage Information

Advantages of Marriage Preparation and Advising

  1. Learning problem solving skills can help couples maintain marital satisfaction over time. Markman (1988) found that couples who learned problem solving skills before marriage were less likely to divorce in the first three years of marriage than couples who did not have such skills.

    Markman, Howard J., et al. 1988. Prevention of marital distress: A longitudinal investigation. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. 56 (2):210-217.

  2. Markman (1988) points out that there is frequently a decline in marital satisfaction during the first few years of married life. This has been confirmed by several research studies.

    Markman, Howard J., et al. 1988. Prevention of marital distress: A longitudinal investigation. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. 56 (2):210-217.

  3. Good communication and problem solving skills may enhance a couple's sexual relationship over time. Markman (1988) found that couples who participated in a marriage preparation program that focused on teaching communication and problem solving skills reported higher levels of sexual satisfaction after the first three years of marriage than a control group.

    Markman, Howard J., et al. 1988. Prevention of marital distress: A longitudinal investigation. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. 56 (2):210-217.

  4. Most participants feel that marriage preparation programs are helpful. Williams, et al. (1999) found that the large majority of Catholic couples who participated in marriage preparation programs found those programs helpful, especially in the first few years of marriage. Couples who participated in marriage preparation programs valued having an opportunity to discuss their relationship with each other (Williams, et al., 1999).

    Williams, Lee M. et al. 1999. An empirical approach to designing marriage preparation programs. The American Journal of Family Therapy. 27:271-283.

  5. Ministers need to unite to encourage couples to take marriage prep programs to reduce the rate of divorce.

    Smith, Charlotte Ferrell. 1999. Minister wants state churches to require marriage counseling; proposal would require four-month wedding plan. Charleston Daily Mail, News Section. P6C.

  6. Marriage preparation programs are helpful for most couples. A study conducted by Creighton University and reported by Lawler (1995) found that the vast majority or participants (66.3%) viewed participation in a marriage preparation program as valuable early in their marriages.

    Lawler, Michael G. 1995. Doing marriage preparation right: Are churches using their scarce resources in the best way in this kind of family ministry? America. 173 (21):12(3).

  7. Marriage preparation programs seem to be most effective when couples participate in them 6 to 12 months before marriage (Silliman & Schumm, 1999).

    Silliman, Benjamin and Schumm, Walter R. 1999. Improving practice in marriage preparation. Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy. 25:23-43.

  8. Premarital counseling can encourage couples to seek help before marital problems become too serious. Schumm, et al. (2000) found that couples who participated in premarital counseling were more likely to seek help when they encountered problems in their marriages before those problems became too serious.

    Schumm, Walter R.; Silliman, Benjamin; and Bell, D. Bruce. 2000. Perceived premarital counseling outcomes among recently married Army personnel. Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy. 26:177-186.

  9. One type of marital therapy will not suit all couples. Gordon, et al. (1999) point out that most marital therapy focuses on teaching good communication skills. But for couples who desire emotional distance and independent decision making, good communication is less related to marital satisfaction than it is for other couples.

    Gordon, Kristina Coop.; Baucom, Donald H.; and Epstein, Norman. 1999. The interaction between marital standards and communication patterns: How does it contribute to marital adjustment? Journal of Marital and Family Therapy. 25 (20):211-223.

  10. This article overviews significant developments in couple therapy over the last decade. Key trends include: (1) couple therapy becoming firmly established as the accepted treatment of choice for couple problems, (2) the blossoming of the science of relationships, (3) strong evidence supporting the effectiveness of couple therapy both for relationship problems and DSM disorders, (4) greater understanding of the ramifications of gender, (5) new respect for the diversity of family forms, (6) increased accent on the role of emotion, (7) the influence of postmodernism, (8) greater recognition of couple violence, and (9) the move toward integration across models of treatment.

    Johnson, Susan and Lebow, Jay. 2000. The "Coming of Age" of couple therapy: A decade review. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy. 26 (1):23-38.

  11. According to a review of dozens of studies, it is clear that marital and family therapies can help couples and families in trouble. Lebow and Gurman (1995) conclude that numerous studies show that couples and families participating in therapy do better than control subjects and that the effects can be sizeable.

    Lebow, Jay L. and Gurman, Alan S. 1995. Research assessing couple and family therapy. Annual Review of Psychology. 46:27 (31).

  12. Marriage preparation programs can improve couples' communication. Markman, et al. (1993) reported that couples who participated in a marriage preparation program that taught communication and problem solving skills used more positive communication, had less negative communication, and showed greater overall communication skill during the first few years of marriage.

    Good communication skills may help reduce physical violence in a marriage. Markman, et al. (1993) found that the couples who participated in a marriage preparation program that taught communication and problem solving skills had fewer instances of physical violence in the first few years of marriage.

    Marriage preparation programs can teach problem solving skills. According to research by Markman, et al. (1993) couples who were taught problem solving skills in a marriage preparation program showed a greater ability to solve problems in a positive way during the first few years of marriage.

    Markman, Howard J., et al. 1993. Preventing marital distress through communication and conflict management training: A 4- and 5-year follow-up. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. 61 (1):70-77.

  13. Couples who see themselves as competent and are seen as such by their therapists did better in marital therapy than less competent couples (Hampson & Prince, 1999).

    Couples with children may benefit more from family therapy than from marital counseling. Hampson and Prince (1999) found that couples with children improved more in marital therapy than couples with children. The authors speculated that family therapy may be more appropriate for couples with children because it deals with the whole family system, which may be dysfunctional.

    Hampson, Robert B.; Prince, Catherine C.; and Beavers, W. Robert. 1999. Marital therapy: Qualities of couples who fare better or worse in treatment. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy. 25 (4):411-424.

Benefits of Marriage

  1. Korenman and Neumark point out that it has long been observed that married men earn 10% to 40% more per hour worked than single men, regardless of age, education, work experience or industry in which one works.

    Korenman and Neumark (1990) found that married men earned 11% more per hour than never-married men while divorced or separated men earned about 9% more per hour than never-married men.

    Korenman and Neuman (1990) reported that the chances of promotion for a married man were about 34% higher than for a single man. They found that married men generally had higher performance ratings than single men and the higher performance ratings were linked to promotions.

    Korenman, Sanders and Neumark, David. 1990. Does marriage really make men more productive? Journal of Human Resources. 26 (2):282-307.

  2. According to the results from numerous studies, married people are better off than non-married people. Married people appear to report greater happiness, show less anxiety and depression, engage in less risky behavior, and live longer than single people (Amato & Booth, 1997, p.84).

    Wamboldt, Frederick S. and Reiss, David. 1989. Defining a family heritage and a new relationship identity: Two central tasks in the making of a marriage. Family Process. 28:317-335.

  3. Being married is associated with higher psychological well-being. Stack (1998) cites data from several studies that suggest that married people have lower levels of depression, lower rates of mortality, lower rates of suicide and higher levels of happiness compared to non-married people.

    Stack, Steven. 1998. Marriage, family and loneliness: A cross-national study. Sociological Perspectives. 41 (2):415-432.

  4. Alcohol consumption tends to decrease for both husbands and wives during the early years of marriage (Leonard & Das Eiden, 1999). These authors also found that heavy binge drinking declined for husbands during this time.

    Leonard, Kenneth E. and Das Eiden, Rina. 1999. Husband's and wife's drinking: Unilateral or bilateral influences among newlyweds in a general population sample. Journal of Studies on Alcohol. Supplement No. 13:130-138.

  5. According to Waite (1995) in 1993, 38% of white men and 41% of white women were not married, compared to 58% of black men and 61% of black women.

    Research by Waite (1995) indicated that married men reported significantly greater physical and emotional satisfaction with their sex lives than either single of cohabiting men.

    Waite (1995) reports that married men have somewhat higher wages than single men. She suggests that married men may be healthier and miss less work, they have more incentives to achieve, and women may take over household tasks, freeing men's time and energy for work.

    Waite, Linda J. 1995. Does marriage matter? Demography. 32 (4):483-507.

  6. Gove, et al. (1990) report that "for most individuals marriage appears to have a strong positive impact on their well-being" (p.25).

    Gove, Walter. 1990. The effect of marriage on the well-being of adults. Journal of Family Issues. 11 (1):4-35.

  7. Among young married couples, when marital problems were present, women were more likely than men to be depressed (Horwitz, et al., 1997).

    Marriage provides many benefits to couples. According to Horwitz, et al. (1997) "Marriage directly contributes to mental and physical health, serves as a buffer when stressful life events emerge, and is a source of long-term support for people undergoing chronic strain" (p.124).

    Couples who were financially well off and had children reported higher levels of support and fewer problems with their partners (Horwitz, et al., 1997).

    Horwitz, Allan V. et al. 1997. How the negative and positive aspects of partner relationships affect the mental health of young married people. Journal of Health and Social Behavior. 39:124-136.

  8. Lally and Maddock (1994) found that Catholic engaged couples generally held similar values regarding sexuality.

    Lally, Catherine Fourre and Maddock, James W. 1994. Sexual meaning systems of engaged couples. Family Relations. 43:53-60.

  9. Hurlburt and Acock (1990) found that the social networks of married couples were more family-centered and more close-knit than the networks of single or divorced individuals.

    Hurlburt, Jeanne S. and Acock, Alan C. 1990. The effects of marital status on the form and composition of social networks. Social Science Quarterly. 71 (1):163-174.

  10. While the overall differences were small, Amato and Keith (1991) found that across dozens of studies, children from intact families were found to have higher levels of well-being than children of divorced parents.

    Amato, Paul R. and Keith, Bruce. 1991. Parental divorce and the well-being of children: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin. 110 (1):26-46.

  11. Compared to single or happily married people, those who were in unhappy relationships had the highest levels of depression (Ross, 1995). She concluded that being in relationship was better than being in an unhappy relationship.

    As others have also reported, Ross (1995) found that married couples report higher levels of financial well-being than people who are divorced or widowed.

    Married people report receiving higher levels of emotional support than do single, divorced or widowed individuals (Ross, 1995).

    Compared to people who are cohabiting, married people report higher levels of happiness (Ross, 1995).

    Ross, Catherine E. 1995. Reconceptualizing marital status as a continuum of social attachment. Journal of Marriage and the Family. 57:129-140.

  12. It is well established that people choose to date others who are similar to them in physical appearance and attractiveness. But Keller, et al., (1996) found that unless couples share psychological similarities, these dating relationships do not mature into marriages.

    It is often found that married couples share psychological traits such as intelligence, cheerfulness, emotionality and sensitivity. It is fairly well established that this similarity comes from people choosing others who are similar to them, not from people growing more alike over the years (Keller, et al., 1996).

    Keller, Matthew C.; Thiessen, Dale and Young, Robert K.. 1996. Mate assortment in dating and married couples. Personality and Individual Differences. 21 (2):217-221.

  13. Marks (1996) found that in many cases there were differences in psychological well-being between single and married people.

    As have other studies, Marks (1996) found that married couples had significantly higher incomes than divorced or separated individuals.

    Marks, Nadine F. 1996. Flying solo at midlife: Gender, marital status, and psychological well-being. Journal of Marriage and the Family. 58:917-932.

  14. In a sample of 41 dual-income couples, the best predictor of overall happiness with life was marital happiness. Couples who were happier with their marriages were generally happier with their lives (Thomas, 1990).

    Thomas, Veronica G. 1990. Determinants of global life happiness and marital happiness in dual-career black couples. Family Relations. 39:174-178.

  15. Married people fare better both psychologically and physically than unmarried people. According to a review of studies by Ross, et al. (1990) married people have better physical health, psychological well being and lower mortality than unmarried people.

    In general, married people have a healthier lifestyle than unmarried people. Studies reviewed by Ross, et al. (1990) found that married people are more likely to quit smoking, eat a balanced diet, and have diets low in cholesterol and high in fruits and vegetables. They are less likely to drink too much, drive too fast, get into fights or engage in other risk-taking behavior.

    Ross, Catherine E. et al. 1990. The impact of the family on health: the decade in review. Journal of Marriage and the Family. 52:1059-1078.

  16. Marriage generally is found to increase income. According to Rogers (1995) this increased income is associated with lower early death rates for married individuals, perhaps because they have better access to health care.

    Rogers, Richard G. 1995. Marriage, sex and mortality. Journal of Marriage and the Family. 57:515-526.

  17. Marriage can have a positive effect on health and lifestyle. Lillard and Waite (1995) summarize evidence that indicates that married men are much less likely to engage in unhealthy lifestyles and risky behavior than single men.

    Being married (and the financial security that accompanies marriage) is good for women's health. Lillard and Waite (1995) examined data indicating that married women were healthier and lived longer than unmarried women, primarily as a result of the financial benefits that came from being married.

    Marriage can have a positive effect on health and lifestyle. Lillard and Waite (1995) summarize evidence that indicates that married men are much less likely to engage in unhealthy lifestyles and risky behavior than single men.

    Lillard, Lee A. and Waite, Linda J. 1995. 'Til death do us part: Marital disruption and mortality. American Journal of Sociology. 100(5):1131-1156.

  18. Studies consistently show that marriage has positive effects on psychological and physical well-being (Sperry & Carlson, 1992).

    Sperry and Carlson (1992) suggest that married people have better health and fewer medical problems because marriage protects spouses from stress. Regular meals, social support, intimacy, and healthful routines all help to protect people from the effects of stress.

    Sperry, Len and Carlson, Jon. 1992. The impact of biological factors on marital functioning. American Journal of Family Therapy. 20 (2):145-156.

  19. Hibbard and Pope (1993) report that the companionship that marriage provides is linked to better health for both husbands and wives.

    According to Hibbard and Pope (1993) Married women, women with children and women in the labor force tend to have better health than women who do not have these roles.

    Women who shared decision making with their husbands had a decreased risk of death from stroke, heart disease or cancer (Hibbard & Pope, 1993).

    According to Hibbard and Pope (1993) there is some evidence that nurturing roles such as wife, mother, caregiver are frequently reported to be stressful and have some association with poorer health.

    Hibbard, Judith H. and Pope, Clyde R. 1993. The quality of social roles as predictors of morbidity and mortality. Social Science Medical. 36 (3):217-225.

  20. Compared to individuals who were cohabiting, divorces or separated, married individuals reported having significantly better health (Ren, 1997).

    Individuals who were happy in their relationship reported slightly better health than those who were not happy (Ren, 1997).

    Ren (1997) concluded that the positive health impacts of marriage stem from the fact that married individuals have better emotional support, economic ties and greater participation in social activities.

    Ren, Xinhua Steve. 1997. Marital status and quality of relationships: The impact in health perception. Social Science Medical. 44 (2):241-249.

  21. It has long been observed that married people generally have better health than single or divorced people. Goldman, et al. (1995) suggest that because married people have better social ties, they may be encouraged to seek medical care, information and services, engage in less risk-taking, have greater economic resources, and be protected from stress.

    Compared to unmarried people, married individuals generally have more family members (including children) in their social network, are more likely to have a confidant to confide in who provides emotional support, and are more likely to have relatives who discourage unhealthy behavior such as drug use, poor eating habits and smoking (Goldman, et al., 1995).

    Goldman, Noreen et al. 1995. Marital status and health among the elderly. Social Science Medical. 40 (12):1717-1730.

Challenges for a Marriage

  1. Couples who struggle in their marriages, but point out how these struggles make them stronger or bring them closer together, have a better chance of staying together than couples who are not able to do this (Buehlman, et al., 1992). According to these authors, couples with this view of marital problems have marriages that grow stronger and get better over time.

    Buehlman, Kim Therese et al. 1992. How a couple views their past predicts their future: Predicting divorce from an oral history interview. Journal of Family Psychology. 5 (3/4):295-318.

  2. Blair and Johnson (1992) found that women continue to do the chores that are traditionally "women's work" (laundry, childcare, housecleaning) while men's household tasks are typically "masculine" (yard work, snow shoveling, car repair).

    Blair, Sampson Lee and Johnson, Michael P. 1992. Wives' perceptions of the fairness of the division of household labor: The intersection of housework and ideology. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior. 54:570-581.

  3. Mederer (1993) found that wives with higher education and incomes did a smaller proportion of housework compared to women with lower educations and incomes.

    Mederer, Helen J. 1993. Division of labor in two-earner homes: Task accomplishment versus household management as critical variables in perceptions about family work. Journal of Marriage and the Family. 55:133-145.

  4. Greenstein (1996) points out that most studies find that women do the majority of housework (33 hours per week to men's 14 hours per week) and that generally women are responsible for traditionally "female" tasks (laundry, cooking, housecleaning) while men still do traditionally "male" chores (yard work and auto maintenance).

    Greenstein, Theodore N. 1996. Gender ideology and perceptions of the fairness of the division of household labor: Effects on marital quality. Social Forces. 74 (3):1029-1042.

  5. Following the birth of their child, men most frequently complained about a diminished sex life and having to cope with their wives' mood swings (Hackel & Ruble, 1992).

    Hackel and Ruble (1992) suggest that one reason for the observed decline in marital satisfaction following the birth of children could be that male and female roles tend to become more traditional, with women taking on a large proportion of child and house care. This could be distressing to a woman who had expected more help from her husband or who believes in less traditional marital roles.

    Hackel and Ruble (1992) found that following the birth of a child, women reported doing more housework and childcare than they had expected, while men were doing less than they had expected.

    Hackel and Ruble (1992) found that the division of labor following the birth of a child became more traditional than couples had expected.

    Hackel, Lisa S. and Ruble, Diane N. 1992. Changes in the marital relationship after the first baby is born: Predicting the impact of expectancy disconfirmation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 62 (6):944-957.

  6. It is important to resolve marital problems before they become too serious. Couples with severe marital problems are less likely to be helped by marital therapy than less distressed couples (Jacobson & Addis, 1993).

    When one or both partners are depressed, marital therapy is usually ineffective (Jacobson & Addis, 1993).

    Jacobson and Addis (1993) found that most marital therapy techniques are effective to some degree. Most seem to improve relationships relative to couples who received treatment.

    Jacobsen, Neil S. and Addis, Michael E. 1993. Research on couples and couple therapy: What do we know? Where are we going? Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. 61 (1):85-93.

  7. Based on data analyses by Martin and Bumpass (1989) they conclude that about two thirds of all first marriages are likely to disrupt.

    Martin, Teresa Castro, and Bumpass, Larry L. 1989. Recent trends in marital disruption. Demography. 26 (1):37-51.

  8. Remarriages have a high risk for divorce. Wineberg (1992) reported that in his sample, about 29% of second marriages ended in divorce within 5 years. About 50% ended within 10 years.

    Wineberg, Howard. 1992. Childbearing and dissolution of the second marriage. Journal of Marriage and the Family. 54:879-887.

  9. Smith, et al. (1993) found that individuals were attracted to those who had similar attitudes toward sexuality as their own, regardless of whether those attitudes were positive or negative.

    Spouses who enjoyed sex were better at knowing what sexual behaviors their partners preferred and enjoyed (Smith, et al., 1993). These couples were shown to have the most satisfying sexual relationships.

    Smith, Eleanor R. et al. 1993. Sexual attitudes of males and females as predictors of interpersonal attraction and marital compatibility. Journal of Applied Social Psychology. 23 (13):1011-1034.

  10. Galbaud, et al. (1994) found that married couples are similar on traits of mental well-being and psychological distress. They suggest that this may be due to individual preferences that operate when one chooses a partner; we choose partners who are similar to ourselves in these areas.

    DuFort, G. Galbaud, et al. 1994. Spouse similarity for psychological distress and well-being: A population study. Psychological Medicine. 24:431-447.

  11. Stevens, et al. (1990) found, as have others, that people marry others who are similar to them in educational achievement.

    Stevens, Gillian et al. 1990. Education and attractiveness in marriage choices. Social Psychology Quarterly. 53 (1):62-70.

  12. Women in marriages dominated by negative interactions reported poorer health than women in happier marriages.

    Gottman, John M. and Levenson, Robert W. 1992. Marital problems predictive of later dissolution: Behavior, physiology and health. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 63 (2):221-233.

  13. According to Cherlin (1992), about half of all cohabiting relationships result in marriage or break up within 1 1/2 years. 90% do so within 5 years. About 60% result in marriage and 40% in break ups.

    According to Cherlin (1992) more than a third of divorces occur among couples married less than 5 years.

    Cherlin, Andrew J. Marriage, Divorce, Remarriage. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. 1992

  14. Black husbands whose wives were invested in their own careers experienced lower marital well-being. Orbuch and Custer (1995) suggest that Black husbands may experience their wives' work as a threat to traditional gender roles and perhaps worry about their wives' commitment to the family.

    Orbuch, Terri L. and Custer, Lindsay. 1995. The social context of married women's work and its impact on black husbands and white husbands. Journal of Marriage and the Family. 57:333-345.

  15. Couples who participate in programs designed to teach them how to manage conflict and anger can improve their marriages (Stanley, et al., 1995).

    Stanley, Scott M. et al. 1995. Strengthening marriage and preventing divorce: New directions in prevention research. Family Relations. 44:392-401.

  16. According to Cowan and Cowan (1995) many couples find that their roles become much more traditional following the birth of their first child.

    Cowan, Carolyn Pape and Cowan, Philip A. 1995. Interventions to ease the transition to parenthood: Why they are needed and what they can do. Family Relations. 44:412-423.

  17. Smoking is related to a higher incidence of divorce. Peterson (1999) described a study by Doherty and Doherty, in USA Today on 02/02/99 that found that smoking rates were higher for individuals who later divorced. Smokers were 53% more likely to have been divorced than non-smokers. This was true regardless of age, race, gender or income. They speculate that individuals who smoke may have higher levels of anxiety and depression, which may decrease marital success.

    Peterson, Karen S. Smokers, marriage don't always click. 1999. Gannett Co., Inc.

  18. Based on data collected from 1973 to 1988, Norval (1991) concluded that the probability of achieving marital success has declined in recent years.

    Glenn, Norval D. 1991. The recent trend in marital success in the United States. Journal of Marriage and the Family. 53:261-270.

  19. According to research by Rogers and Amato (1997) couples married in the 80's and 90's, compared to those married earlier, experienced less marital interaction, more marital conflict and more problems in their marriages. In spite of this, they were more likely to divorce or describe their marriages as unhappy.

    Rogers and Amato (1997) found, as have many others, that young age at marriage was associated with lower marital quality.

    According to Rogers and Amato (1997) social changes in the last few decades, such as increased employment of women and the family stresses that produces, make marriage more difficult and less satisfying than it was in the past.

    Rogers, Stacy J. and Amato, Paul R. 1997. Is marital quality declining? The evidence from two generations. Social Forces. 75 (3):1089-1100.

  20. White and Keith (1990) studied couples in which at least one partner was employed doing shift work and found that this was significantly related to lower marital happiness and higher sexual problems.

    White, Lynn and Keith, Bruce. 1990. The effect of shift work on the quality and stability of marital relations. Journal of Marriage and the Family. 52:453-462.

  21. Men and women in poor marriages were more likely to become depressed following a crisis than those in good marriages (Edwards, et al., 1998). Men and women in good marriages who were unsupported by their partner during the crisis also had increased rates of depression.

    Edwards, Angela C. et al. 1998. Gender differences in marital support following a shared life event. Social Science Medical. 46 (8):1077-1085.

  22. Couples who were more negative had greater increases in blood pressure and their blood pressure remained elevated longer following problem solving discussions (Kiecolt-Glaser, et al., 1993).

    Kiecolt-Glaser, Janice K. et al. 1993. Negative behavior during marital conflict is associated with immunological down-regulation. Psychosomatic Medicine. 55:395-409.

Disadvantages of Divorce (or being Unmarried)

  1. Shelton and John (1993) found that married men earned significantly more than did cohabiting men. Cohabiting men in their sample were younger, which could explain the income differences.

    Shelton and John (1993) found that married women spent less time in paid labor and earned less than did cohabiting women.

    Shelton and John (1993) found that the more education and income a couple has, the less time the wife spent doing housework.

    Shelton, Beth Anne and John, Daphne. 1993. Does marital status make a difference? Housework among married and cohabiting men and women. Journal of Family Issues. 14 (3):401-420.

  2. Marks and Lambert (1998) reported that divorce seems to lead to an increase in depression which is explained by the accompanying increase in economic problems, reduction in standard of living and the unavailability of confidants.

    Marks and Lambert (1998) found that, over a five year period, individuals who were married fared better psychologically than those who were separated or divorced. Separated or divorced individuals declined relative to married individuals in terms of depression, global happiness, self-acceptance, global happiness, and positive relations with others.

    Divorce seems to take more of an emotional toll on younger people. Lamert and Marks (1998) found that middle aged men and women experiencing divorce report less increase in depression and more self-acceptance than younger divorcing men and women.

    Marks and Lambert (1998) found that couples marrying for the first time experienced an increase in well-being as measured by self-acceptance, a sense of mastery, personal growth and a sense of purpose in life.

    Marks, Nadine F. and Lambert, James David. 1998. Marital status continuity and change among young and midlife adults. Journal of Family Issues. 19 (6):652-686.

  3. Marital status is related to loneliness. Numerous studies have found that people who are not married (either never married, widowed, or divorced) report greater loneliness than married people (Stack, 1998).

    Being married is generally associated with greater financial well-being. Stack (1998), reporting data from nearly 20,000 individuals across 17 countries, found that marriage increases financial satisfaction. Increased financial satisfaction is also associated with lower levels of loneliness. This relationship is less strong for couples who live together outside of marriage.

    Stack, Steven. 1998. Marriage, family and loneliness: A cross-national study. Sociological Perspectives. 41 (2):415-432.

  4. According to Leonard and Rothbard (1999), following divorce, both men and women report increases in alcohol consumption and alcohol-related problems.

    Researchers have frequently documented what they call the "marriage effect"--which is the finding that married people have fewer alcohol-related problems and tend to drink significantly less alcohol than single people (Leonard & Rothbard, 1999).

    Leonard, Kenneth E. and Rothbard, Julie C. 1999. Alcohol and the marriage effect. Journal of Studies on Alcohol. Supp. No. 13:139-146.

  5. Being married appears to enhance wealth. Hao (1996) found that married couples had substantially greater wealth than cohabiting couples or individuals who were divorced or never married. The levels of wealth increased the longer they were married.

    Hao, Lingxin. 1996. Family structure, private transfers, and the economic well-being of families with children. Social Forces. 75 (1):269(24).

  6. Research by Swann, et al. (1994) suggests that dating and married couples seek different things from their partners. They found that dating couples were most intimate with partners who evaluated them favorably. On the other hand, married people were most intimate with partners who they believed evaluated them accurately, whether that was favorable or not.

    Swann, William B.; De La Ronde, Chris; and Hixon, J. Gregory. 1994. Authenticity and positivity strivings in marriage and courtship. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 66 (5):857-869.

  7. Mastekassa's (1994) cross-cultural data confirmed that that individuals who were married reported higher levels of happiness than those who were never married.

    Mastekaasa, Arne. 1994. Marital status, distress, and well-being: An international comparison. Journal of Comparative Family Studies. XXV (2):183-205.

Interesting Marriage Information

  1. According to Huston and Geiss (1993) there is little evidence that stereotypically "masculine" men tend to marry stereotypically "feminine" women.

    Huston, Ted L. and Geis, Gilbert. 1993. In what ways do gender-related attributes and beliefs affect marriage? Journal of Social Issues. 49 (3):87-106.

  2. Whether one holds traditional or egalitarian views of relationships does not seem to affect one's likelihood of marrying. Peplau, et al. (1993) found that people who held traditional, moderate or egalitarian views of relationships in college were all equally likely to be married 15 years later. In addition, contrary to stereotypes, traditional individuals did not marry at younger ages.

    Peplau, Letitia Anne; Hill, Charles T.; and Rubin, Zick. 1993. Sex role attitudes in dating and marriage: A 15 year follow-up of the Boston couples study. Journal of Social Issues. 49 (3):31-52.

  3. Lauer, et al. (1990) found, in their study of couples married 45 years or more, that over 90% reported their marriages as happy or very happy. The couples reported both high and low points in their marriages, but there was a general trend of increasing satisfaction over time.

    Many researchers find that marriage improves with time. Eighty-five percent of the couples married 45 years or more said that their spouses were more interesting to them now than when they were first married (Lauer, et al., 1990).

    Laver, Robert H. et al. 1990. The long-term marriage: Perceptions of stability and satisfaction. International Journal of Aging and Human Development. 31 (3):189-195.

  4. The chronic illness of a partner challenges marriages in a number of unique ways. Couples must renegotiate sexuality, care giving roles, independence, boundaries and also face fears of loss and death. Healthy couples can face these issues and grow together (Rolland, 1994).

    Rolland, John S. 1994. In sickness and in health: The impact of illness on couples' relationships. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy. 20:327-347.

  5. Horowitz and White (1996) found, as have many others, that marriage has greater positive effects on men's mental health than it does on women's. Married men had lower levels of depression than single men, while being married or single did not relate to women's depression.

    Horowitz and White (1996) found that married women reported having greater social support from relatives and friends than did single women.

    Horwitz, Allan V. and White, Helene Raskin. 1996. Becoming married and mental health: A longitudinal study of a cohort of young adults. Journal of Marriage and the Family. 58:895-907.

  6. Commuter marriages can put strains on relationships. Groves and Horm-Wingerd (1991) found couples in commuter marriages who saw each other more frequently were happier than couples who saw each other less frequently.

    While couples in commuter marriages cited a number of drawbacks to the arrangement, such as loneliness and social isolation, they also cited benefits, such as increased appreciation for their family and greater independence (Groves & Horm-Wingerd, 1991).

    Groves, Melissa M. and Horm-Wingerd, Diane M. 1991. Commuter marriages: Personal, family and career issues. Sociology and Social Research. 75 (4):212-217.

  7. Fincham and Linfield (1997) found that while couples are typically classified as being happy or unhappy, there were two other possible ways to describe marital quality. Couples who saw both very positive and very negative aspects of their marriage were classified as "ambivalent" while those who saw few negative or positive qualities were described as "indifferent".

    Fincham, Frank D. and Linfield, Kenneth J. 1997. A new look at marital quality: Can spouses feel positive and negative about their marriage? Journal of Family Psychology. 11 (4):489-502.

  8. According to Glenn (1990) most studies find that marital satisfaction is high prior to having children, is lower during the parenting years, and then increases after children leave home.

    Glenn, Norval D. 1990. Qualitative research on marital quality in the 1980s: A critical review. Journal of Marriage and the Family. 52:818-831.