Ch. 7 Selecting a Life Partner
Cohabitation: The Best Way to Select? Who Cohabits? Patterns of Cohabitation Cohabitation Compared to Marriage Cohabitation as a Preparation for Marriage
Cohabiting Couples: • Twice as likely to be interracial • Compared to married women, cohabiting women are more likely to earn more and be several years older than their partner • Relatively short-term • Cohabitors pool their finances to a lesser extent • Less likely to say they are happy with their relationships • Find their relationships less fair • Higher incidence of depression • Place greater importance on sexual frequency • Have more sex outside the relationship
Children’s Outcomes • 38% of cohabiting heterosexual households contain children under age 18. • Having a child while cohabiting does not necessarily increase a couple’s odds of staying together, but marrying before the baby is born does increase union stability. • Instability with cohabitation is related to problematic outcomes for children. • Cohabiting parents spend less on their children’s education than do marrieds. • Adolescents are more likely to experience earlier premarital intercourse, higher rates of school suspension, and antisocial and delinquent behaviors. • Compared to single-parent homes, children do benefit economically.
Free-choice Culture • The United States is an example of a free-choice culture: • People choose their own mates, although typically they seek parents’ and other family members’ support for their decision.
Arranged Marriages • Not uncommon in the less Westernized parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa. • Couples in arranged marriages are expected to develop a loving relationship after the marriage. • A study that compared marital satisfaction among arranged marriages in India to those more freely chosen in the United States found no differences in marital satisfaction between the two groups. • What are some advantages of arranged marriage? • Some disadvantages?
Types of Marriage Homogamy — Marriage between two people who are similar in social and demographic characteristics, such as age, race, ethnicity, and religion Heterogamy— Marriage between two people who are dissimilar in some social and demographic characteristics (race, age, education, religion, or social class.) Hypergamy— Marriage with someone who is from a higher socioeconomic background
Reasons for Homogamy • People tend to marry people of similar race, age, education, religious background, and social class. • Geographic availability: (propinquity or proximity) geographic segregation, which can result from either discrimination or strong community ties, contributes to homogamousmarriages • Social pressure: cultural values encourage marrying someone who is socially similar to ourselves
Heterogamy: Interfaith Marriages in the U.S. • Between 30-40% of Jewish, Catholic, Mormon, Muslim, and a higher percentage of Protestant adults and children live in interfaith or interdenominational households • One study found strong religious beliefs are associated with less couple conflict. • Shared religiosity gave them a commitment to permanence, coupled with a willingness to forgive the spouse when conflicts emerged.
Religious Affiliation and Marriage Source: Sherkat, 2004.
Heterogamy: Interracial/Interethnic Marriages in the U.S. • Interracial marriages include unions between partners of the white, black, Asian, or Native American races with a spouse outside their own race. • Unions between Hispanics and others, as well as between Asian/Pacific Islander or Hispanic ethnic groups are interethnic marriages. • In June 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that interracial marriages are legally valid in all states.
Interracial/Interethnic Heterogamy and Human Values • One study found higher relationship satisfaction compared to same-race couples. • Regardless of differences in race or ethnicity, common values and lifestyles contribute to relationship stability. • Polls show Americans becoming less disapproving of interracial dating and marriage.
Number of Married Couples of Mixed Races and Origins: 1980–2008 (in thousands) Source: U.S. Census Bureau 2004/2005 and 2010b.
What Characteristics Are Important to You? Age Ethnic Background Race Religion Education Personality Attraction Physical Characteristics (height, weight, hair color, etc.) Any others?
Why Assortative Mating? -Assortative mating refers to marriage between two people who are similar on one or morecharacteristics. -Assortativemating stresses the fact that mate selection is nonrandom. Propinquity Attraction Family Traditions and Pressures
Predictors of Marital Satisfaction Timing Equity Communication PREPARE: A Multifactor Approach