Shared reality in courtship : does it matter for marital success?



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This study provides evidence that individuals who share similar experiences that are grounded in the actual features of the courtship are likely to remain married over 13 years later. Using logistic regression and path analyses to examine 168 married partners, results support previous research suggesting that “enduring dynamics” best predicts the developmental pathway for couples who remain married, whereas “disillusionment” prefigures marital instability. Specifically, findings revealed that marriages are more likely to be stable when premarital partners (a) feel similar depths of love for one another, (b) move toward marriage at comparable rates over the course of the courtship, and when feelings of (c) love and (d) ambivalence reflect how frequently they experience conflict and downturns in their estimations of the likelihood of marriage. Gender differences and exceptions to this pattern are discussed.