Shared Beliefs and the Union Stability of Married and Cohabiting Couples


Population Research Institute, 504 Oswald Tower, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802 (


Cohabiting couples and couples who cohabit prior to marriage have less stable relationships than married couples who did not cohabit, and these differences in stability may be linked to different processes within the relationships. This research examines the similarity of partners’ beliefs about the division of household labor using the National Survey of Families and Households (N = 1,039), finding that couples who do not share beliefs about the division of household labor are more likely to end their union. Cohabiting couples have a particularly high likelihood of ending the union when the two partners hold widely divergent views about whether housework should be shared, suggesting that cohabiting and married couples may have different responses to dissimilarity between the partners.