Shared Reality and Grounded Feelings During Courtship: Do They Matter for Marital Success?


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This study provides evidence that newlywed pairs who have a shared and well-grounded understanding of their courtship are better able to establish unions that endure. Using a sample of 168 couples, the authors found that marriages were more likely to survive when courting partners (a) loved each other to a similar degree, (b) depicted the probability of marriage and changes in the likelihood of marriage in a corresponding fashion over the course of their courtship, and (c) portrayed the courtship as escalating from a low (25%) to a high (75%) probability of marriage as spanning a comparable period of time. The durability of marriages was reflected, as well, in how solidly courting partners' feelings for each other were interwoven with their courtship experiences. More specifically, courtship difficulties were not as associated with weakened feelings of love or with heightened feelings of ambivalence among couples who later divorced as compared to those who stayed married.