Study: Why Couples Avoid Getting Married?

According to a recent study report from the Pew Research Center, many committed couples aren’t marrying because they fear divorce, though many other reasons for and against marriage abound in young adults from different social classes. Social pressures and thoughts of deeper commitment may promote wedding vows in middle-class young adults, while fears of extra responsibilities and the costs of exiting the relationship make working-class women more fearful of marriage.

Cohabiting Couples
In the study, the researchers performed in-depth interviews with 122 people (61 couples interviewed as individuals) who lived with their partner in or around Columbus, Ohio, between July 2004 and June 2006. The respondents were organized into two groups: middle-class or working-class, based on their education and annual income. They were asked open-ended questions on several topics as a part of a larger study, and about their thoughts and plans for marriage.

The most excited about marriage were middle-class participants, who viewed living together as a natural stepping stone to tying the knot. But the social, legal, emotional and economic consequences of divorce were a big worry for 67 per cent of the study participants. Divorce came up in 81 of the 122 interviews, which covered four main topics. Being sure they had found ‘the one’ before entering a marriage was a big concern for many of the respondents. Other concerns included the social and economic impact of divorce, the prominence of divorce in society and previous experience of one’s parents or friends divorcing.

“The most common refrain among our respondents was their strong desire to ensure that when they wed, they ‘did it right’ and only married once,” the authors wrote. “Included in this perspective are those who asserted their intentions to defer marriage until they were ready to take their vows seriously, those who referenced strong religious strictures against divorce, and those who felt that preparing themselves personally, financially and emotionally for marriage would ensure that they made good marital decisions.”

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